What Anemic Early Turnout Means for Democrats and Republicans in the New York Primary

Turnout in the Democratic and Republican primary was anemic throughout New York City during the first full-fledged gubernatorial primary since early voting was introduced, according to Election Committee statistics.

Just 87,000 of the 3.6 million registered Democrats and Republicans cast their ballots during the nine days of early voting ahead of Tuesday’s primary — a miserable turnout of just 2.4 percent, city BOE figures show.

Turnout among Democrats was slightly better than average at 2.6%, although Gov. Kathy Hochul is heavily favored to beat her main challengers in today’s vote. Only 1.4% of GOP voters cast their ballots ahead of time in their four-way contest to challenge Hochul in November.

“It seems to be endemic, people just don’t care unless it’s an actual breed,” said Doug Muzzio, professor of political science at CUNY’s Baruch College. “And most of the races have been – to be honest – a nap and this one is similar.”

Hochul’s challengers, Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Long Island) and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, trailed in the polls throughout the race and failed to match the over $33 million she has raised so far.

Kathy Hochul
New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul will have a preference for beating her key challengers in today’s vote.
Tori Schneebaum/NY Post
“People just don’t care unless you have a real race,” said Doug Muzzio.
Robert Miller for the NY Post

Meanwhile, the GOP establishment was unable to clear the field for Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Long Island), who faced a spirited challenge from former Westchester County manager Rob Astorino, businessman Harry Wilson and Andrew Giuliani , the son of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and a former Trump White House aide.

“Italian-American voting is huge in a Republican primary. It dominates state turnout but also has catchment areas in subway suburbs in most parts of the state,” said Bruce Gyory, professor of political science at the University of Albany.

“The question is – is Astorino Giuliani undercutting more among Italian voters across the board,” asked Gyory. “Is Wilson hurting Zeldin in the backcountry with the heavy TV ads?”

Republican candidates
The four Republican candidates faced each other during the Republican gubernatorial debate in New York on June 20, 2022.
Brittainy Newman/Newsday via AP

But a longtime political adviser and activist said the race was likely to heat up ahead of November’s general election, thanks to a combination of bad economic news, controversial gun and abortion decisions from the US Supreme Court and the governor’s first race with a woman. Hochul, at the top of the ticket.

“This will be a potentially explosive election season nationwide — given historic trends in midterm elections, mixed with Supreme Court decisions, mixed with the first woman governor in our state’s history,” said Peter Kauffman, a former longtime adviser to Hillary Clinton and other top Democrats. “There will be a lot of energy on both sides.”

– Additional reporting by Bernadette Hogan and Zach Williams What Anemic Early Turnout Means for Democrats and Republicans in the New York Primary


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