Andrew Cuomo defeated Zephyr Teachout in Tuesday’s Democratic Gubernatorial Primary. Was anyone surprised?
Cuomo had all the important factors: Name recognition, a large war-chest, and a legislative record that most Democrats approve of, such as: marriage equality, reducing middle class income tax, and placing a cap on property taxes.
Cuomo, like all incumbents, has political baggage. His happens to be well publicized political baggage.
Teachout had little money and less name recognition. Most upstaters first heard of her a few weeks before election day. News articles, campaign phone calls and emails from groups that endorsed her got her basic platform information out to some voters.
There were two issues that influenced the upstate voters—Fracking and the Safe Act. Cuomo’s seemingly neutral stance on Fracking turns off both the Pro-Fracking and Anti-Fracking voters. There is a loud, angry, well organized and well funded “Repeal The SAFE Act” contingency of voters. Advantage Teachout.
The Democratic voters knew all too well where Cuomo stood on those issues. They may have known that Teachout had endorsements from various conservation groups including the Sierra Club and many anti-fracking groups, and the New York Chapter of NOW. Her anti-fracking stand was well publicized, but did the voters know of Teachout’s stand on the SAFE Act?
With that in mind, here is the way each county of the NY 23rd Congressional District voted:
County A. Cuomo Z. Teachout
Alleghany 263 (55.3%) 175 (36.7%)
Cattaragus 901 (61.8%) 360 (24.7%)
Chautauqua 1536 (65.4%) 624 (25.6%)
Chemung 556 (52.5%) 442 (41.7%)
Ontario 601 (45.3%) 674 (50.8%)
Schuyler 129 (34.1%) 229 (60.6%)
Seneca 197 (41.7%) 264 (55.8%)
Steuben 489 (51.0%) 398 (41.5%)
Tioga 276 (42.0%) 326 (49.6%)
Tompkins 1286 (27.6%) 3302 (70.8%)
Yates 121 (37.5%) 201 (62.4%)
Total 6355 (47.6%) 6995 (52.3%)
The New York Times has interactive maps that shows the results for each county for the Governor Race and the Lt. Governor Race.
(It needs to be pointed out that these numbers are not the final count—-they were the votes casted on the voting machines on September 9. They do not include absentee ballots, affidavit ballots, or military ballots. Also, Ontario and Tioga Counties are part of two congressional districts, and the data provided is the total for each county, not just the NY 23rd District portion. Also the per cent does not equal 100% because there was a third candidate Randy Credico.)
In Yates County each of the 11 polling districts supported Teachout over Cuomo. Looking at that small slice of the data those who are in the ‘Repeal the SAFE Act’ camp came to the quick conclusion that a vote against Cuomo was a vote against the SAFE Act. They assumed that most democrats want to have the SAFE Act repealed and will also vote against Cuomo in November. Pie in the sky!
Looking at the NY 23rd as a whole, Tompkins, Yates, Seneca, Schuyler and Tioga counties, all situated in prime fracking/gas storage areas, went for Teachout. That would indicate that Fracking was the prime reason for Teachout’s surprising success in our congressional district.
I am not dismissing the passion of the supporters of the Repeal SAFE Act movement. I am assuming that there are many hunters, gun owners, and those who are negatively affected by the SAFE Act in the counties that supported Cuomo, but they still voted for him.
I am concluding that Teachout’s success, and Cuomo’s bad showing in the NY 23rd, has more to do with Fracking than the SAFE Act.
Over 13,000 democrats voted in last Tuesday’s Primary! The important vote is in November. There is one candidate who is both ANTI-Fracking , and ANTI-the SAFE Act. She has casted meaningful votes AND publicly signed pledges for both causes. The 13,000 primary voters should work to get those with similar views out to help elect Martha Robertson on November 4. They will not regret it.