Round one of New York's primary season is now in the books, and it was a successful night for most incumbents or establishment favorites. It was marked by low turnout and held against the backdrop of polarizing issues at the U.S. Supreme Court being waged at the state level.
Here are four takeaways from the primary.
1. Status quo prevailed.
At the statewide level, voters produced few surprises.
Gov. Kathy Hochul, endorsed by the New York Democratic Committee back in February, cruised to victory over Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. Her Republican rival, Rep. Lee Zeldin, similarly turned aside challenges from three opponents in a GOP primary on Tuesday months after his endorsement from the state party earlier this winter.
Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado, in office for only a month, was able to secure victory as well — giving Hochul her preferred running mate this summer.
At the Assembly level, voters re-nominated many incumbents, including Angelo Santabarbara in the Capital Region, Michael Benedetto in the Bronx and Jeff Aubry in Queens. Progressives appear successful in a challenge to Assemblyman Kevin Cahill in the Hudson Valley.
2. Progressives fall short statewide.
Running in the left lane remains difficult to do statewide. Ana Maria Archila fell short in her bid to win the nomination for lieutenant governor from Delgado, a former congressman appointed to the job in May.
Archila, who was running with Williams, is the latest progressive candidate to falter statewide. Williams himself lost a bid for lieutenant governor four years ago against Hochul. And Zephyr Teachout and Cynthia Nixon both lost primaries to then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014 and 2018.
3. Hochul versus Zeldin.
The general election matchup is now set. Hochul, the governor since last August, is the first woman to be officially nominated for the job by a major party. Zeldin, a Long Island congressman, has telegraphed he will mount a vigorous campaign to win back the governor's office for his party and end a 20-year electoral draught.
Surrogates and allies for both candidates have also signaled where this race will go, with both campaigns and parties portraying the other as out of touch or too extreme for New York.
“Zeldin backs the Big Lie, voted to overturn the 2020 election, repeatedly supported abortion bans, and would make our state less safe by rolling back common-sense gun safety laws," said Jerrel Harvey, a Hochul campaign spokesman. "He is so far out of the mainstream it’s hard to believe that he’s even a New Yorker — much less one that wants to represent all of us as governor."
Republicans, meanwhile, hope voters will be more responsive to pocketbook and public safety concerns — issues they expect will garner support from independents and enough Democrats.
“Kathy Hochul is right that she is a ‘Joe Biden Democrat’ — incompetent and out-of-touch," said New York Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy. "This election is going to be decided on the economic and crime crises created by one-party Democrat rule. Voters are ready to deliver a reckoning and will wipe clean the stain of the Cuomo-Hochul reign and usher in a new era of prosperity, safety, and freedom with the Zeldin-Esposito ticket."
4. This was only part one.
Up next, voters will decide primary contests for the state Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. Those primaries were moved to Aug. 23 after a successful challenge to the legislative maps drawn by Democratic state lawmakers in Albany.
A handful of key races, including a crowded Democratic primary in New York City, battles between longtime incumbents and progressive challenges to establishment lawmakers are coming.
Meanwhile, an early Democrat-versus-Republican matchup will be held as Republican Marc Molinaro faces off against Democrat Pat Ryan for Delgado's old Hudson Valley House seat.