By STEVE BITTENBENDER
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) — Gov. Kathy Hochul and Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado are the Democratic ticket facing U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin and Alison Esposito, the Republican challengers, in New York’s gubernatorial race Nov. 8.
All won primary races independent of each other on Tuesday, and the Democrats did so in convincing and benchmark fashion. Ms. Esposito was unopposed in the Republican primary, and Rep. Zeldin emerged from the day’s closest multi-candidate battle.
“To the women of New York, this one’s for you,” Gov. Hochul said to a cheering crowd at her campaign’s election night party.
Ms. Hochul is the first woman to serve as New York’s governor, and with her win Tuesday, she became the first woman to be a gubernatorial candidate from a major party in the state.
New York party candidates are independent of each other in primaries. In the general election, the governor and lieutenant governor candidates form a single ticket by party.
Gov. Hochul was a clear winner in the Democratic primary less than half-hour after polls closed, defeating U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. With about a third of the state’s 12,860 election districts reporting unofficial results, Gov. Hochul was garnering 64.8% of the vote, beating Mr. Williams by more than 43 percentage points. Rep. Suozzi had 11.9%.
Rep. Zeldin, a Long Island congressman, defeated Andrew Giuliani, Rob Astorino and Harry Wilson. Rep. Zeldin had the backing of most party leaders in the state, but he faced a strong challenge from Mr. Giuliani, who worked in the Trump White House and is the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Ninety minutes after polls closed with nearly 47% of the districts reporting, Rep. Zeldin held a 10-point lead over Giuliani, a difference of more than 17,000 votes.
Lt. Gov. Delgado became a late addition to the ballot when former Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin resigned from office and withdrew his candidacy after federal authorities arrested him on federal bribery charges.
Early results showed Lt. Gov. Delgado nearly matching Gov. Hochul’s performance. After a third of the vote had been tabulated, he had 59% of the vote, with Ana Maria Archila next with 23.2%. Diana Reyna held 12.4% of the vote.
Ms. Hochul became governor, elevating from lieutenant governor, last August with the resignation of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. A GOP candidate has not won the governor’s race in New York in 20 years, and the state has only shifted more Democratic since. It’s about a 2-to-1 edge in registered voters.
A Survey USA poll last week showed Gov. Hochul up on Rep. Zeldin by 24 points in a theoretical matchup. She had larger leads on other GOP candidates.