It was a good night for New York’s incumbent chief executive Tuesday, as Gov. Kathy Hochul clinched a decisive win in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.
With nearly all of New York's election districts reporting unofficial results, Hochul took about 66% of the vote, heartily besting her challengers, Long Island congressman Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
The Associated Press called the race at around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.
"Are you with me when we stand up for real New York values, our hard earned rights, that we’ve had from Seneca Falls all the way to Stonewall?" Hochul said jubilantly from the stage at the state Democratic Party's election night gathering Tuesday. "Are you with me? Because I’m with all of you. Let’s do this together."
Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado also won his primary, according to the Associated Press, taking about 57% of the unofficial vote tally with nearly all of New York's districts reporting. His challengers for the role included Diana Reyna and Ana Maria Archila.
"We need public servants, who will fight to unite folks around a common cause and deliver results," Delgado said Tuesday night. "New York has always led the country in moments like these. New York has always been ahead of the national curve, setting the pace. Now more than ever, we need New York to hold the line. And in Gov. Hochul, New York has a leader for these times."
Hochul will face Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Long Island congressman and Trump loyalist who won the Republican primary Tuesday night, in November's general election. Alison Esposito will run for lieutenant governor alongside Zeldin.
After abruptly stepping into the governorship following the resignation of Andrew Cuomo last year, Hochul has built a network of organizational and financial support as she seeks her first term leading the ticket. And with twice as many registered Democrats than Republicans, Hochul now becomes the front-runner, while Zeldin is seeking to become the first Republican governor since George Pataki two decades ago.
Hochul and Delgado formed a formidable team, even as Delgado is brand new to the post after Hochul’s first lieutenant governor, Brian Benjamin, resigned in scandal after being arrested for bribery related to a past campaign.
They ran on a platform built on experience, transparency and a connection to what real New Yorkers need, whether that’s economic stability, assurance of civil and social rights and a commitment to fighting crime.
"Just this past week, the Supreme court came after our right to protect citizens from guns on the streets and abolished the ability to have women’s autonomy over their own bodies, so once again our rights are at stake," Hochul said. "Are we going to surrender? Or are we going to fight back? I know what I’m going to do…I’m fighting back. No matter what the Supreme Court thinks they can do, New Yorkers, you are protected."
The voter turnout for Tuesday's elections was low, as is common in most statewide primaries.
With nearly all districts reporting by Wednesday morning, only about 15% of nearly six million registered New York Democrats had voted for a candidate for governor, and about 17% of 2.6 million registered Republicans.
The vote tally included early voting, as well as absentee ballots that arrived Tuesday or earlier, according to the New York state Board of Elections.
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Who won the Republican primary?
In a rare crowded Republican primary, Rep. Lee Zeldin, representing the 1st congressional district on Long Island, beat out a slate of opponents and took about 44% of the Republican vote across the state, according to the Associated Press and an unofficial tally with just over two-thirds of districts reporting.
Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani who enjoyed a modest surge in support as the primary approached, was neck and neck with Zeldin earlier in the night, and eventually held about 23% of the vote with most districts reporting.
Former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and businessman Harry Wilson lagged behind the two front runners.
In his victory speech Tuesday, Zeldin spoke of New Yorkers moving out of state to greener pastures elsewhere in the U.S., based on safety or affordability concerns.
"New Yorkers don’t feel safe on our streets, on the subways and in their homes and in their places of employment," he said. "They feel like life in New York is unaffordable and that their money will go further somewhere else.
We want all New Yorkers to be able to stay, to live here, to thrive," he continued. "Our campaign is a campaign to try to convince you to stay."
Zeldin’s campaign issues focus on crime, transparency in state government and slashing energy prices and other costs to consumers.
He’s a staunch Trump supporter and an unapologetically pro-life and pro-gun rights candidate, giving him opportunities to appeal to conservatives in the wake of back-to-back Supreme Court rulings on abortion and New York’s gun laws last week.
His challenge now will be to rally New York Republicans around his campaign going into November, as crime, economic upheaval and an array of social issues will continue to define voter priorities in the months to come.
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What other primaries took place?
A number of Assembly members ran in primaries around the state, mostly in the New York City metro area and the Hudson Valley.
Both Attorney General Letitia James and New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, as well Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.
What's next for voters in NY?
New York’s primary schedule is not over. Thanks to a complex and drawn-out redistricting process, the state’s congressional and state Senate primaries will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 23. The general election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Sarah Taddeo is the New York State Team Editor for the USA Today Network. Got a story tip or comment? Contact Sarah at STADDEO@Gannett.com or on Twitter @Sjtaddeo. This coverage is only possible with support from our readers. Please consider becoming a digital subscriber.
This article originally appeared on New York State Team: NY primary results: Kathy Hochul, Lee Zeldin win nominations for governor