‘Disconnect’ and ‘discontent’ seen in Democratic primary results

By Maury Thompson  9/10/14 PostStar.com

The local results of Tuesday’s Democratic primary for governor and lieutenant governor were puzzling to Warren County Democratic Chairwoman Lynne Boecher.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his lieutenant governor running mate Kathy Hochul, political moderates, won the state, but did not carry counties in the Glens Falls region, generally considered a moderate area.

Zephyr Teachout and running mate Timothy Wu, liberals from the New York City area, had the most votes in Warren, Washington, Saratoga, Essex and Hamilton counties, and many other northern New York counties, although they lost their respective primaries statewide.

“Obviously there is a disconnect and a discontent. Those are markers that must be addressed. And I am confident they will be,” Boecher said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

Boecher said she was still attempting to figure out the source of the discontent, but she did not think it was because Cuomo refused to debate Teachout or because of the SAFE Act, the controversial gun control legislation the governor championed.

“I’m disappointed, I am taking a serious look at a message that gives, as I am sure Gov. Cuomo and lieutenant governor candidate Kathy Hochul are,” she said.

Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader said even though Teachout lost, her strong showing in the Glens Falls region and her receiving about one-third of the vote statewide is a sign that change is afoot.

“I hear a rumble from the people getting under way,” said Nader, who will campaign with Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins and Green Party congressional candidate Matt Funiciello at noon Sunday at the Charles R. Wood Theater in Glens Falls.

“This is a pretty stunning performance by someone (Teachout) who had virtually no ad budget and only a couple of union endorsements — didn’t get all that much press,” Nader said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

The results of the Democratic primary have increased optimism for supporters of Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, said Ron Jackson, regional vice chairman of the state Republican Committee.

“I think it reflects that it’s not going to be quite the runaway in November that people were predicting just a few days ago — a least upstate. Now I don’t know if upstate can make up for downstate,” he said.

Jackson suggested the SAFE Act was the major factor in the Democratic primary results locally.

“Cuomo spent a lot of time in Essex County, And he certainly spent a lot of money helping repair the infrastructure,” said Jackson, who also is Essex County Republican chairman. “And people, while I’m sure they like that, both the attention and money, they can’t get past the SAFE Act.”

“In trying to think about what happened in Saratoga (County), part of it’s got to be anti-casino backlash,” said Robert Turner, a political science professor at Skidmore College.

Turner said Cuomo’s and Hochul’s failure to carry area counties may have been because Democrats are not as organized as their New York City counterparts.

“There’s not going to be party pressure the way there is going to be downstate. And if you’re a liberal up there, you’re probably really liberal,” he said.

Local Democrats will continue emphasizing Cuomo’s economic development initiatives, his on-time budgets and his being willing to work with Republicans such as state Sen. Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, said Boecher, the Warren County Democratic chairwoman.

“I don’t take the (primary) results lightly,” she said.