New York Democratic Primary Update

On November 29th, U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi announced he is entering the Democratic Primary for Governor, positioning himself as the most solidly moderate candidate. “The far right and the far left have gone too far, and they’re stopping us from getting things done,” Suozzi said. “My message is going to resonate all around the State. I want to reduce taxes, I want to fight crime, I want to get homeless people off the streets, I want to continue to fight for the environment, I want to help the kids in our failing schools, and I have the plans to do those things and the proven experience of getting things done.”

At the time of Suozzi’s announcement, he was the fourth candidate to enter the Democratic primary for Governor, which also included Governor Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Letitia James, and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. However, in a surprise move on Thursday, December 9th, Letitia James announced she was dropping her bid Governor after six weeks, and choosing instead to seek another term for Attorney General. “I have come to the conclusion that I must continue my work as Attorney General,” James said. “There are a number of important investigations and cases that are underway, and I intend to finish the job.” 

The move by James also completely shook up the Democratic Primary for Attorney General. Over the last month, State Senator Shelley Mayer, Assemblyman Clyde Vanel, Zephyr Teachout, and former NYS DFS Superintendent Maria Vullo all announced their plans to run for AG. However, since AG James announced she is running for re-election, all have ended their candidacies, making James the only Democratic candidate.

There are also several State lawmakers who will be facing primary challenges in June. Those lawmakers and their challengers include:

  • State Senator Brian Kavanagh
    • Socialist Attorney Alana Sivin;
    • Mental Health worker Illapa Sairitupac;
    • Trial lawyer & Democratic District Leader Vittoria Fariello; and
    • Sources have reported that Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou is seriously considering jumping into the race.
  • State Senator Kevin Parker
    • DSA-backed for-hire vehicle driver organizer David Alexis; and
    • Samantha Adler, a program manager at the New York Peace Institute.
  • State Senator Luis Sepulveda
    • Methodist Preacher Ian Harris
  • State Senator Simcha Felder
    • Lawyer Kaegan Mays-Williams
  • Assemblyman Michael Benedetto
    • Community Board 10 District Manager Matthew Cruz
  • Assemblyman Kevin Cahill
    • DSA-backed activist Sarahana Shrestha
  • Assemblyman Erik Dilan
    • 53rd Democratic District Leader Samy Nemir-Oliveres
  • Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz
    • Former City Council aide George Diaz; and
    • Jessica Altagracia Woolford, a former Press Secretary to U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
  • Assemblyman John McDonald
    • Albany County Legislator Sam Fein
  • Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan
    • Activist Mary Jobaida; and
    • “Vax Daddy” Huge Ma, who created a website to help people make appointments for the COVID vaccine.
  • Assemblyman Jose Rivera
    • Shanequa Charles, Executive Director at Miss Abbie’s Kids Inc.

Finally, on Monday, December 13th, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, the longest serving Legislator in state history, announced that he will be retiring after 52 years in the Assembly. “I am grateful to my talented staff (present and past), hundreds of dedicated colleagues in the Legislature, nine Governors (each with a distinct personality), and countless advocates and experts,” Gottfried said. “Their commitment to solving problems is why we have been able to accomplish so much for the people of New York. Most of all, I thank my amazingly supporting and loving family. It hasn’t been easy – particularly during the endless days and nights of budget and end-of-session. None of this would have been possible without them.” So far, no officials candidates have announced plans to run for Gottfried’s seat, but it has been rumored that former economic development official, and one of Governor Cuomo’s sexual harassment accusers, Lindsey Boylan is considering running.