Orthodox Jews came out in full force for Zeldin. Turnout in the heavily Jewish neighborhoods and towns of the state was remarkable. Most were animated by the potential for Hochul and state lawmakers to crack down on Hasidic yeshivas, which have been accused of teaching substandard levels of English, mathematics and science. So far Hochul has declined to act, doing what most Democrats in power have historically done when it came to these yeshivas: Look the other way. The Orthodox vote was potent enough to possibly persuade Hochul to keep the status quo. Reformers within the Hasidic community want her to act, as do liberals in the education movement beyond the affected communities. Hochul will have serious decisions to make.
And then there is the court. Hochul still needs to appoint a replacement for Janet DiFiore, the chief judge of the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court. DiFiore was a relative conservative and a close ally of the disgraced former governor, Andrew Cuomo. Progressive activists want a more liberal judge, and many Senate Democrats, who must confirm Hochul’s pick, agree. Still, the Senate has historically done what the governor wants, and Hochul may hunt for another centrist or someone in the DiFiore mold.
With campaigning finally done, Hochul will have a chance to consider what she wants the next four years to actually look like.
Note: At press time, Brandon Williams (R) leads Francis Conole (D) in NY-22, though the race has not been officially called.