Primary Roundup: In Most Races, Few Upsets
The Congressional primaries in New York contained few surprises this evening, with candidates who had garnered local party support wining their party’s ballot line with little trouble.
But the state’s marquee congressional primary between 22-term Rep. Charles Rangel and state Sen. Adriano Espaillat remained too close to call, a repeat of the 2012 contest between the two men that saw the incumbent narrowly secure victory.
“Most of you remember what happened to Dewey when he declared victory, so I don’t want to do that,” Rangel said in an extemporaneous and at times rambling speech to supporters.
Espaillat, who trailed Rangel by more than 2,000 votes just before midnight, was also cautious to declare any sort conclusion to the primary.
“We feel this race is too close to call,” he said.
In Suffolk County on Long Island, rising GOP state Sen. Lee Zeldin won a heated Republican primary over former SEC prosecutor George Demos. Zeldin had the support of local county chairs as well as the state GOP establishment, but Demos had hammered him on votes in Albany on health care and state budgets. In the end, Zeldin cruised to victory for the Republican line. He faces Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop.
In the NY-4, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice won her primary to replace outgoing Rep. Carolyn McCarthy. She faces Bruce Blakeman.
In one of the few surprises of the evening, former Rep. Nan Hayworth has gained the Independence Party line in the 18th Congressional District, defeating Democratic incumbent Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. The two face each other in a general election re-match this fall.
In the NY-21, Republican Elise Stefanik bested businessman Matt Doheny. Doheny entered the race after Democratic Rep. Bill Owens announced he was retiring. Stefanik had locked up endorsements from various county chairs and had the aid of Republican-aligned super PACs, including Karl Rove’s American Crossroads. Doheny still has the Independence Party endorsement. Democrat Aaron Woolf and Green Party candidate Matt Funicello are also competing for the seat.
In the NY-22, moderate Rep. Richard Hanna beat back a tea party-fueled challenge from Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney. Hanna had the support of American Unity PAC, a group funded by wealthy Republican donors who support gay rights. Tenney, though, had hoped to replicate the victory of David Brat over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor earlier this year. In the end, Hanna won 52 percent to 47 percent. He does not have a Democratic challenger. Tenney’s loss adds her to the ranks of Assembly Republicans in recent years who have tried and failed to win a seat in Congress, including Jim Tedisco, Dede Scozzafava and Jane Corwin.
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