SAFE Act, Fracking, and the NY 23’s Primary Results

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.

safeact1There 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.FrackingNY

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.


About pystew

Retired Teacher, political science geek, village trustee. I lean a little left, but like a good political discussion. My blog, the New NY 23rd (http://newny23rd) is about discussing the issues facing the people of our new congressional district. Let's hear all sides of the issues, not just what the candidates want us to hear.
This entry was posted in Environmental, fracking, Gun Violence, Hydrofracking/Gas& Oil Industry, Political, Protests and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to SAFE Act, Fracking, and the NY 23’s Primary Results

  1. Barbara Griffin says:

    Thanks for posting! I think Teachout could have won the state had her campaign reached more New Yorkers. Too little time, too little money, I suspect. However, the numbers give me hope that the 23rd will continue to lean away from the incumbent in November, and vote Martha in with a landslide.


  2. whungerford says:

    Focus on fracking and SAFE Act may oversimplify–other issues include underfunding education, union contract issues, Moreland Commission, tax cap, corruption, fair redistricting, and women’s equality agenda. Since Gov. Cuomo was almost certain to win, voters were free to cast a protest vote.


  3. pystew says:

    William, I agree. The responsibilities of a Governor is much more than the SAFE Act and Fracking. In this Primary the voters were focused on the Hot Topics. We have about 50 left until the general elections. Do you think that the anti-fracking crowd will vote for Astorino instead of Cuomo? Of course not. I have heard that some might go to Green candidate Howie Hawkins or not vote at all. SAFE Act supporters are embolden by Cuomo’s upstate shown. Where do the topics you mention fit into the grand scheme of this election? Hopefully voters will dig into the platforms and records of the candidates and the best candidate will prevail.


  4. whungerford says:

    The interactive map is very interesting and puzzling. I have no idea why Cuomo bested Teachout 76 to 18 in Erie county, but lost 20 to 77 in Columbia County. I suspect voters were motivated by different issues in certain regions of the State. It is interesting that the counties of the Southern Tier mostly favored Cuomo with Cuomo’s support growing stronger from east to west.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. pystew says:

    Another question pops up when you look at lonely Cuomo friendly Franklin County in a being surrounded by Teachout supporters and Canada.


  6. whungerford says:

    This chart shows a correlation between votes cast and percentage of votes for Gov. Cuomo. One could infer that a small number of activists tipped the result away from the Governor when turnout was slight. Where the turnout was heavy as in Erie County, Gov. Cuomo did well. The data is for ten of the eleven counties in NY-23. The vote in Tompkins County (4588 votes with only 27 percent for Gov. Cuomo) which had a large turnout and a low vote for Gov. Cuomo is not shown–it would be far to the right of the lower right hand corner of the graph far from the trendline. Perhaps Tompkins County voters, frustrated at being disrespected by Tom Reed, released their ire against an innocent bystander: Gov. Cuomo.

    NY-23 Primary Election Results


  7. Anne says:

    I can’t get over the fact that just 887 people got to the polls in my county….that’s just around 6% here, yikes. On primary day I went down around 1:30 or so to vote, and was the 6th person in that day….there are, I think they told me, 162 registered Democrats in my town. I wonder what the grand total for the day was here?

    Liked by 1 person

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