New York Primary preview: AOC hoping her support helps topple those in the Assembly backed by Mayor Adams

NEW YORK — New Yorkers will go to the polls Tuesday to pick the Democrat and Republican candidates for governor and lieutenant governor who will face off in November and decide the future direction of the Empire State.

State Assembly primaries will also be held, with a number of races shaping up as a contest between Mayor Eric Adams and progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported on Monday.

Tuesday is a big day in New York politics. Gov. Kathy Hochul will take on two challengers for the Democratic nomination, there’s a four-way Republican free for all, and a slew of assembly races where AOC is trying to flex her political muscle as never before, seeking to topple entrenched incumbents backed by the mayor.

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It was the first time Hochul could vote for herself for governor — no vote was necessary after she automatically replaced Andrew Cuomo when he resigned in a sexual harassment scandal — and she did it on June 18, the first day early voting started in New York.

Hochul is being challenged for the Democratic nomination by Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. She leads in money raised with $34 million, and major endorsements, and pundits say she is expected to get a boost from recent Supreme Court decisions on guns and abortion.

“Governors are the last line of defense to protect abortion and in New York the Republican candidates want to strip it away,” she says on a campaign ad.

“She has been strong, strong on both those issues,” said Esther Fuchs, a professor at Columbia University.

Fuchs says that while supporting abortion rights and limiting gun permits will be big issues for Democratic primary voters, the flip side is true in the hard-fought Republican primary pitting Rep. Lee Zeldin, the official GOP nominee, against former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, businessman Harry Wilson, and Andrew Giuliani.

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But it will all depend on which GOP voters turn out — hard right Trump supporters or the more moderate wing of the party.

“If old-school Rockefeller Republican voters decide to turn out in this primary, then Lee Zeldin will be given a significant run for his money,” Fuchs said.

State Assembly primaries are also on the ballot. Adams and Ocasio-Cortez are duking it out for the heart and soul of the Democratic party. Adams is backing incumbents, while AOC is hoping to best the mayor by supporting insurgents and defund-the-police candidates, like former aid Jonathan Soto against Bronx Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and Delsenia Glover over Harlem Assemblywoman Inez Dinkins.

“They could totally draw blood and this is, you know, the reckoning moment, really. I think this is really something to pay attention to,” Fuchs said.

The spotlight will also be on the Democratic lieutenant governor primary, where Hochul is hoping her chosen running mate, Antonio Delgado, prevails. It would be embarrassing for Hochul if one of the other candidates wins.

It happened once before. In 1982, Mario Cuomo had to run with his opponent’s running mate.

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