Democrats and Republicans alike will be watching Tuesday's local races closely for what they could mean statewide, as key county executive offices are up for re-election.
“Usually they're a bit of a talisman,” said SUNY Albany professor Bruce Gyory. “The county executive races tend to predict what's going to happen in some of those key counties in terms of partisan balance.”
Democratic county executives in Erie in western New York and Suffolk on Long Island are seeking re-election. In Dutchess County, Republican Marc Molinaro is seeking another term after losing the governor's race in 2018 against Democrat Andrew Cuomo.
Gyory says the campaigns could be key for how either party will fare next year, providing a barometer for local-level enthusiasm.
"If the Republicans were able to win either of those, it would get peoples' attention,” said Gyory. “On the other hand, if the Democrats hold them, particularly since they're both swing counties in statewide races, it would be a little deflating to Republicans.”
Republicans, however, see opportunities around the state, arguing Democratic rule in New York has moved the pendulum toward the GOP.
“That's a message that we need to be out there and communicating and it really starts at the local level,” said state GOP spokeswoman Jessica Proud.
Proud says Republicans are fielding a strong slate of local candidates this year.
“They're the closest to the taxpayer, they're the ones delivering the service and they know the people in their area, so they are the greatest ambassadors we have for the party,” said Proud.
This was also the first year New York had nine days of early voting, with an estimated statewide turnout of 1.9 percent.