We’re just two weeks away from the all-important statewide primaries on Sept. 13, and Queens voters in both major parties will help determine the future of New York’s government.
Keep in mind that the primaries are on Thursday, Sept. 13, with polls open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. The state primaries were pushed back from a traditional Tuesday date this year due to Rosh Hashanah and the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Democrats have the overwhelming majority of key primary races, headlined by the gubernatorial primary. Governor Andrew Cuomo seeks his third term in office against actress and political activist Cynthia Nixon; the heated primary battle featured one particularly eventful debate between the candidates on Aug. 29. You can watch a replay of it on WCBS-TV’s website.
Two other statewide primary races are also on the Democratic ballot: the lieutenant gubernatorial contest between incumbent Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams; and a four-way attorney general race between New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, upstate Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, political activist and law professor Zephyr Teachout of upstate Saatsburg, and attorney Leecia Eve of Manhattan. (The candidates debated on NY1 News on Aug. 28.)
Republican voters won’t have statewide primaries, as their candidates for governor (Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro), lieutenant governor (former Rye Deputy Mayor Julie Killian) and attorney general (Manhattan lawyer and entrepreneur Keith Wofford) have been set. On Nov. 6, they’ll face the winners of the statewide Democratic primaries.
However, Republicans in two Queens State Senate districts will go to the polls on Sept. 13 to choose their candidates for the office.
The 11th Senatorial District primary features two candidates making their first runs for elected office: Simon Minching, a Little Neck resident who works at a private software and services company who has the endorsement of the Queens County Republican Party; and Vickie Paladino, a Whitestone resident who ran a landscaping business with her husband and gained notoriety last year for yelling at Mayor Bill de Blasio during his visit to the neighborhood, a confrontation that was videoed and went viral online.
The winner of that contest will face the victor in the Democratic 11th Senatorial District primary between incumbent state Senator Tony Avella, who’s seeking his fifth term in Albany, against former Councilman and City Comptroller John Liu.
The 11th District covers much of northeast Queens, including parts of Bayside, Bellerose, College Point, Douglaston, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Jamaica Estates, Little Neck and Whitestone.
In south Queens, Republicans will also choose their nominee for the 15th Senatorial District seat between Thomas Sullivan, a Breezy Point resident and business owner who also has the Queens County GOP’s backing, and Slawomir Platta, an attorney from Middle Village. The winner will face incumbent Democratic state Senator Joseph Addabbo for the right to represent the 15th District, which stretches across southwestern Queens from Ridgewood to the Rockaway Peninsula.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]If you are not a registered voter, you have until Oct. 12 to fill out and submit your voter registration form to the New York City Board of Elections. Click here for more information.[/perfectpullquote]
The rest of the key statewide primary races in Queens all involve the Democratic party, and a few of them are real barnburners.
State Senator Jose Peralta, who represents the 13th Senatorial District, is facing a fierce challenge from Jessica Ramos, a former aide to Mayor Bill de Blasio. Peralta and Ramos, both Jackson Heights residents, went at it in a lively QNS Facebook Live debate and have been sparring for months over myriad issues, particularly Peralta’s former affiliation with the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) in the state Senate.
The 13th District focuses on the northwestern Queens neighborhoods, including parts of Astoria, Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Woodside.
Three Democratic assembly primaries are also on the Sept. 13 ballot. Headlining those contests is the 39th Assembly District race between incumbent Assemblywoman Ari Espinal, a Corona resident who won the office in an April special election, and two challengers: Catalina Cruz, a Jackson Heights attorney and civic activist; and Yonel Letellier Sosa, a former political aide from Elmhurst.
The 39th District covers parts of Corona, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Woodside.
In the neighboring 30th Assembly District, two Woodside residents are squaring off: incumbent Assemblyman Brian Barnwell and activist Melissa Sklarz. Barnwell is seeking his second term in Albany after knocking off longtime Assemblywoman Margaret Markey in a primary upset two years ago, while Sklarz is looking to make history as the first transgender person elected to the state Assembly.
The 30th District includes areas of Astoria, Elmhurst, Long Island City, Maspeth, Middle Village, Sunnyside and Woodside.
Finally, Democrats in the 33rd Assembly District in southeast Queens will choose between two Cambria Heights candidates: incumbent Assemblyman Clyde Vanel, who’s also seeking his second term in office, and civic activist Oster Bryan. The 33rd District covers the neighborhoods of Bellerose Manor, Cambria Heights, Hollis, Queens Village and St. Albans.
In New York state, primary elections are restricted to registered members of a given party. Registered Democrats can participate in the Democratic primary; registered Republicans can participate in the Republican primary. Registered independent, unaffiliated or third-party voters cannot participate in either primary.
All registered voters, however, can and should vote in the Nov. 6 general election. If you are not a registered voter, you have until Oct. 12 to fill out and submit your voter registration form to the New York City Board of Elections. Click here for more information.
For additional information on the Sept. 13 primary, visit vote.nyc.ny.us or call 212-VOTE-NYC.