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Cuomo holds off challenger Teachout

By Kelsey Durham

Gov. Andrew Cuomo survived Tuesday’s Democratic primary with strong support from Queens, but not without a spirited fight from challenger Zephyr Teachout.

The incumbent’s biggest competition in a three-way race, Teachout surprised many New Yorkers when she received 34 percent of the vote in the Sept. 9 primary, finishing second to Cuomo’s 62 percent.

Although she did not come away a winner, Teachout, a law professor at Fordham University, received more votes than Cuomo in more than 20 counties across the state, mostly up the eastern border from Putnam County all the way to the Canadian border.

Cuomo took all five boroughs of New York City by an overwhelming margin, including the 74 percent he received in Queens compared to 22 percent for Teachout.

The largest differential in the city was the 82 percent of votes he received in the Bronx vs. Teachout’s 14 percent.

The Associated Press projected Cuomo as the winner just after 10 p.m., about an hour after the polls closed, when Cuomo had twice as many votes as Teachout with about 40 percent of ballots counted at that time. The governor ended up with a total of 330,162 votes while Teachout took in 181,991.

The third candidate, political satirist and comedian Randy Credico, received just more than 19,000 votes, about 4 percent. Credico did not campaign much throughout the state and was not heavily talked about as a challenger to his two opponents. He also did not name a running mate for lieutenant governor.

The final tally meant 40 percent of the voters who turned out at the polls did not vote for Cuomo, who suffered a setback in the race despite his victory. Teachout’s campaign targeted the governor’s decision to dismantle the Moreland Commission, which he had set up to investigate corruption in Albany.

Cuomo’s running mate, former U.S. Rep. Kathy Hochul, was declared the winner in the lieutenant governor race with 60 percent of the vote after all ballots had been counted.

Teachout’s running mate, Timothy Wu, took in about 40 percent.

As Queens residents filed into the polls Tuesday, voters around the borough had differing opinions about the importance of the gubernatorial race, with some saying they were more focused on Cuomo and his challengers and others saying they paid more attention to the hot state Senate races Queens offered this year.

In the central part of the borough, voters said they were most interested in the governor’s race and came out specifically to vote for the three candidates on Tuesday’s ballot.

But in northeast Queens, voters were faced with one of the state’s most publicized races as former city Comptroller John Liu sought to unseat Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside). Some residents voting at PS 169 in Bay Terrace said they thought the Liu/Avella race overshadowed the gubernatorial primary, but they said it was partly at the hands of candidates. Avella was called the victor in the very tight contest, but Liu has not conceded.

“We really haven’t heard from them here at all,” Florence Hochhauser, a Bay Terrace resident, said of Cuomo and his two challengers.

Another voter at Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bayside, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was aware who the candidates for governor were but said she thought the race was less important to voters than other ones throughout the city.

“Cuomo is in the news a lot, but not so much the people against him,” she said. “I think people just assume he will win no matter what.”

Cuomo and Hochul will move on to face GOP candidate Rob Astornio and his running mate for lieutenant governor, Chris Moss, in the general election in November.

Reach reporter Kelsey Durham 718-260-4573 or by e-mail at kdurh‌am@cn‌gloca‌l.com.

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