New York General Election - November 2018Harter Secrest & Emery LLP | Memorandum
Tuesday, November 6, 2018 was election day in New York. There were many races to
watch during these 2018 elections. All four statewide elected officials, Governor, Lieutenant
Governor, Attorney General and Comptroller, were up for election as well as all 213 seats of the
New York State Legislature. There were also elections for a U.S. Senate seat as well as all 27
U.S. House of Representative seats in New York.
The political landscape at the national level created a voter turnout unlike anything we
have ever seen before in New York. Voters of both parties were motivated to head to the polls
and vote. Voter turnout was at a record high for mid-term elections, and there was a lot of talk of
a blue wave. We don't yet know the exact voter turnout number, but it is being reported that it
was significantly higher than the turnout in the 2014 mid-term elections and may rival the
turnout numbers from the 2016 Presidential elections. This record level voter turnout in New
York also happened during the primary elections and means we saw more votes cast in the
statewide and legislative races than would traditionally be expected. This increased voter
turnout, and resulting blue wave for New York, didn't change the anticipated results in the races
at the statewide level, but it certainly had significant consequences in the New York State
In the statewide races, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and his Lieutenant Governor candidate
Kathy Hochul, were seeking reelection to a third term of office. Governor Cuomo accomplished
this goal by defeating his Republican challenger, Marcus Molinaro, and his Lieutenant Governor
candidate Julie Killian, by a 58% - 35% margin. In the race for the open Attorney General seat,
Democratic challenger Letitia James defeated Republican challenger Keith Wofford by a 59% -
35% margin. James victory is an historic one in that she becomes the first black woman elected
to the position of Attorney General in New York State. Finally, in the race for Comptroller,
incumbent Democratic candidate Tom DiNapoli defeated Republican challenger Jonathan
Trichter by a 64% - 30% margin.
The statewide races did not present any surprises. The results in the New York State
Assembly did hold a few surprises in that several incumbents were defeated. Heading into the
2018 elections, the Democrats controlled the Assembly by a 105 - 41 margin with four open
seats. In addition to the four open seats that had not been filled by special election, there were 11 seats that were contested due to a combination of retirements and people running for different
offices. The Democrats lost one of their contested seats while the Republicans were able to
defend all of their contested seats. In addition, four incumbents were defeated in these elections;
3 Democrats and 2 Republican. This means that after the 2018 elections, the Democrats will
remain the majority party with 105 seats to the Republicans 45 seats.
The races that were the most closely watched and contested were those in the New York
State Senate where the outcome of the 2018 elections determined which party would control the
Senate. There are currently 31 elected Republicans and 32 Elected Democrats, but 1 Democratic
Senator from Brooklyn conferences with the Senate Republicans thereby giving the Republicans
control of the Senate.
While the Senate Republicans held the majority going into the elections last night, they
will not be the majority party in the Senate next year. At this point, its uncertain how large the
Democratic majority will be because some races are still too close to call. As of this update,
there are 8 races where the Democrats appear to have won but the final counts will have to go the
paper ballots and recounts. The Democrats managed to win the majority by picking up seats on
Long Island and in the Hudson Valley.
On Long Island, it appears there was a four seat gain for the Senate Democrats.
Preliminary results show that the Senate Democrats picked up an open seat on Long Island that
had been represented by Senator Tom Croci. He will be replaced by Monica Martinez, a Suffolk
County legislator, who defeated Republican Assemblyman Dean Murray. Preliminary results
also show that incumbent Republican Senator Carl Marcellino was defeated by Democratic
challenger Louis D'Amaro, incumbent Republican Senator Kempe Hannon was defeated by
Democratic challenger Kevin Thomas and incumbent Republican Elaine Phillips was defeated
by Democratic challenger Anna Kaplan.
In the Hudson Valley, preliminary results are showing that the Senate Democrats picked
up two open seats from Republicans who had retired. Democratic Assemblyman James Skoufis
defeated Republican challenger Tom Basile and Democratic challenger Jen Metzger defeated
Republican challenger Ann Rabbit. It also appears that incumbent Republican Terrence Murphy
has been defeated by Democratic challenger Peter Harckham. Finally, in New York City,
incumbent Republican Senator Martin Golden appears to have lost to Democratic challenger
We want to stress that many of these races are not finalized because the vote tallies are
very close. There is even an outside chance that the Democrats could pick up another seat or two
if other races go to recounts as well. These are the results as of election night, and therefore,
these results are not certified and final. However, it appears that the Senate Democrats will have
a substantial majority in the next legislative session.
The 2019 legislative session will begin on January 9, 2019 with the Governor's State of
the State address. The session will begin with a new majority in the Senate as the Senate Democrats
were able to pick up enough seats to secure the majority. If tonight's results are
confirmed, there would be 39 Democrats and 24 Republicans.
As you may recall from the Primary Election update, 6 of the 8 members of the
Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) and 1 member of the Democratic Conference were
defeated in their primaries. When you couple that with 5 members of the Republican Conference
who did not seek reelection and the defeat of perhaps 5 incumbents on Election Night, we will
have 17 new members in the New York State Senate next year. With 63 Senators total, and 17
new members, mostly Democrats, this means that 27% of the Senate will be newly elected
Senators. This is the largest turnover of members in either house of the New York State
Legislature in recent history, perhaps ever.
In addition to the historic nature of the turnover, the amount of money spent in this
election cycle was also historic. The final numbers are still being tallied, but this election cycle
saw unprecedented spending not only by candidates in the races but by outside interest groups as
The blue wave of voter turnout in New York did not just impact the State level elections.
The voter turnout also turned 3 House seats from Republican control to Democratic control. This
gain of 3 seats in New York helped the Democrats recapture the majority in the U.S. House of
Representatives as well. In addition, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was reelected to another 6-year
term over her Republican challenger Chele Farley by a margin of 64% - 35%.
The election results mean that there is a lot of change coming to the New York State
Legislature, and we will enter the 2019 legislative session with a new Senate Majority, all new
Senate leadership and committee chairs and a new majority leader in the New York State
Assembly as well as several Assembly leadership changes and perhaps Assembly committee
changes. We will begin assessing these changes, and we will be in touch regarding your
legislative priorities and strategies for 2019.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
For any questions regarding the legislative activity of the
Association, please contact the legislative committee chair, Mariangela
Penna at [email protected].