In one sense, the Republicans were embarrassed in a big way in New York yesterday. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Governor-Elect Andrew Cuomo, Senator Chuck Schumer, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand all won their races by margins between 24.8 percent and 32.6 percent. If this was Little League, the mercy rule would have been in effect.
Later in the night Eric Schneiderman, a progressive state senator who made it out of a five-way primary, easily handled Republican Dan Donovan, winning by 12 percent. The GOP’s last best hope to win a statewide race was comptroller candidate Harry Wilson, a former hedge-fund manger and member of the task force that successfully overhauled General Motors who had won endorsements from Mayor Bloomberg, the Post, the Daily News, and the Times. But it seems he wasn’t able to overcome the big glaring “R” next to his name and the taint of Wall Street. In the early-morning hours, he succumbed to incumbent Democratic comptroller Thomas DiNapoli who had been appointed to the position in 2007 after his disgraced predecessor, Alan Hevesi, resigned by 2.8 percent.
And with that, the GOP failed, once again, to win a single statewide race.
But it wasn’t all bad, actually. New York’s congressional delegation got noticeably redder last night after Republicans flipped five Democratically held seats, and incumbent GOP congressmen Peter King and Christopher Lee easily won another two years. The strong Republican showing in blue New York helped the Republican Party on its way to a new majority in the House of Representatives. Of course, New York’s candidates were in turn assisted by the nationwide GOP wave.
And then there’s the State Senate, and it remains to be seen whether that was a disappointment or success for the GOP. Three races are still too close to call and hinge on only hundreds of votes, but if each race stayed as they are now, the State Senate math would remain unchanged, with Democrats holding on to a 32-30 majority. Two Democratic seats were flipped, but they were matched by two Republican seats that went Democratic, including the Queens seat held by Frank Padavan, which was won by former city councilman (and mayoral candidate) Tony Avella. If the State Senate remains in Democratic hands, after the clownish couple of years it’s been through and voters’ universal disgust with Albany gerrymandered districts notwithstanding that would be another depressing sign for the state GOP.