Pataki Romps, All Queens Incumbents Win
Governor George F. Pataki easily swept to a third-term victory in yesterday’s elections, according to incomplete and unofficial returns, humbling his major opponents, State Comptroller H. Carl McCall and Thomas Golisano, an upstate businessman and millionaire.
Confirming polls which had him ahead from the start of the campaign, Pataki was ran strongly among his traditional Republican–Conservative supporters as well as upstate and in the suburbs. But he also showed strength among minority voters and labor union members who ordinarily would have been in Democratic candidate McCall’s column.
In fact, McCall was having some trouble getting comfortably clear of Golisano, the Independence Party standard bearer.
In other statewide races, the comptroller contest between Democrat Alan Hevesi and John Faso, his Republican–Conservative opponent, was too close to call. But incumbent state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is comfortably ahead of his Republican opponent, Dora Irizarry, a former judge.
In congressional and state legislative races, incumbents scored easy re-election victories, continuing the Democrats’ near monopoly over the borough’s legislative positions.
Among the non-incumbent winners is Queens’ first Hispanic representative in Albany. Democrat Jose Peralta, a 30-year-old labor union official from Corona, won his contest in the new 39th Assembly District (Corona/East Elmhurst).
In other newly drawn districts, former City Councilmember John Sabini won in the 13th state Senate District, covering Jackson Heights and Corona; Toby Stavisky took the seat in the 16th Senate District stretching from Flushing to Forest Hills, defeating Julia Harrison, and Barry Grodenchik won in the new 22nd AD (Flushing). All three victors are Democrats. Peralta’s and Sabini’s districts were drawn as Hispanic seats; Grodenchick’s district was drawn for an Oriental or East Asian.
Pataki poured $38.5 million into what turned out to be a perfect campaign. He was able to make the greatest use of his incumbency, during which his decisions won him support from Hispanics and major municipal labor unions. His opponents leveled serious charges at him, but were not able to make any stick.
McCall’s campaign suffered from lack of funding and support. He spent a paltry $14 million and his ineffective campaign was unable to attract the number of black voters he needed to have any chance of winning. Over the weekend the 67-year-old two-term comptroller, the first black to run for governor, saw a glimmer of hope as reports swirled that Golisano would quit the race and support him; but it never materialized.
Meanwhile, Golisano, the 60-year-old upstate millionaire lost his $54 million bet to wrest the governor’s chair from Pataki or to be the runner-up in the three-way contest. His last-minute ploy won him some attention from the news media, but not the large number of votes he needed to finish higher up in the ballot.
Meanwhile, the easy victory anticipated by Hevesi in the comptroller’s contest turned into anybody’s race as the votes were being counted. Faso’s aggressive attacks on Hevesi’s record as city comptroller in the last two weeks of the campaign showed their effectiveness as he surged in the polls.
Hevesi’s constant charge that Faso lacked experience for the job seemed to fall on deaf ears.
In the congressional contests, the six Democrats representing Queens districts won their re-election bids easily.
•Gary Ackerman, a 19-year lawmaker, won easily in his new 5th Congressional District covering northeast and central Queens.
•Gregory Meeks (Southeast Queens), who has been in Congress for five years, won another two-year term as 6th CD rep.
•Joseph Crowley (7th CD, Queens–Bronx) and Anthony Weiner (9th CD, Queens/Brooklyn) took their elections and each will start a third term in January.
Another easy winner was Congressmember Carolyn Maloney (14th CD, Queens/Manhattan), who will be starting her 11th year in Congress in January.
In state Senate elections, Senator Frank Padavan (R–C Bellerose), the dean of Queens state legislators with 30 years of service, won a 16th term. He was not opposed in the balloting.
Senator George Onorato (D–Astoria), a veteran of 20 years in Albany, won another term over two opponents in the 14th state Senate District race.
In the 15th Senate District, Senator Serphin Maltese (R–C, Middle Village), won an eighth term, defeating two challengers.
Padavan and Maltese are the only two Republicans in the Queens contingent in Albany.
In the all-Democratic Assembly delegation from Queens, the following Assemblymembers won re-election: Audrey Pheffer (23rd Assembly District, Rockaways), Mark Weprin (24th AD, Bayside), Brian Mclaughlin (25th AD, Flushing), Ann M. Carrozza (26th AD, Bayside), Nettie Mayersohn (27th AD, Flushing), Michael Cohen (28th AD, Forest Hills), Margaret Markey (30th AD, Maspeth); Michele Titus (31st AD, Richmond Hill), Ivan Lafayette (34th AD, Jackson Heights), Jeffrion Aubry (35th AD, East Elmhurst), Michael Gianaris (36th AD, Astoria), Catherine Nolan (37th AD, Ridgewood), and Anthony Seminerio (38th AD, Ozone Park).
Lafayette is the dean of the delegation with 26 years of service, followed by Seminerio who has 24, Mayersohn, 20, Nolan, 18, Aubry, 11, McLaughlin, 10 and Carrozza, six. Markey and Cohen have each served four years and Gianaris two years.
McLaughlin, Mayersohn, Markey, Lafayette and Aubry ran without opposition.
The congressional and state legislative races represent another major victory for the Queens Democratic organization. All of the party-endorsed incumbent candidates won re-election. Peralta, Sabini and Grodenchik had also been endorsed by the county organization.