Governor Kathy Hochul and her running mate, Antonio Delgado, visited the Kew Gardens Hills home of Nati and Revital Elishaev last Sunday in a final push to secure the vote of the Queens Jewish community. They listened as local elected officials and community leaders spoke of their support for the pair and the need for Jews to vote in the primary this past Tuesday.
Within an hour of the polls closing, Hochul had a commanding lead in the Democratic primary over Rep. Tom Suozzi and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. Running respectively as the conservative and leftist alternatives to Hochul, none of their attacks aimed at Hochul reached their mark. She was able to emerge from the shadow cast by her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, who resigned last August in a harassment scandal, and kept her distance from Brian Benjamin, whom she appointed as her Lieutenant Governor. He left office in April amid federal bribery charges.
From the start of the contest, Hochul had the advantage, being well-known among upstate voters as a former Congresswoman from Buffalo and the first governor in a decade from outside of the downstate region. In the Jewish community, Hochul and her staff worked hard to show her support for Israel, combating anti-Semitism, and providing resources for community organizations. From the two Satmar Rebbes, to Borough Park, Crown Heights, Far Rockaway, and her two visits to Kew Gardens Hills, Hochul was the candidate of Jewish leaders and activists across the hashkafic spectrum.
Perhaps on account of her expected victory, many leftist activists devoted their primary election efforts in the race for Lieutenant Governor, who ran on a separate ballot line. Hochul’s running mate, Antonio Delgado, is a former Congressman from the Hudson Valley and the Catskills, having been appointed to the position after Benjamin’s resignation. Like Hochul, he was previously elected in a historically Republican district. As a pair, they ran as centrists with crossover appeal but also with solidly Democratic credentials on abortion, healthcare, and social issues.
His leftist opponent, Ana Maria Archila, served as Williams’ running mate, with the endorsements of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Working Families Party, and The Jewish Vote – a group of leftist Jews supportive of the BDS movement and state interference in yeshivah curriculums.
As with other recent local elections, Orthodox community leaders did not want The Jewish Vote to appear as representative of the actual Jewish vote, which is overwhelmingly pro-Israel, opposed to bail reform, and supportive of autonomy for yeshivos in setting their educational programs.
With nearly two-thirds of the vote counted on election night, Hochul and Delgado led the primary with more than 60% of the vote.
In the Republican primary for governor, Rep. Lee Zeldin of Eastern Long Island has 42% of the vote against Andrew Giuliani and former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. Zeldin has been serving for three terms in Congress, presenting himself as a loyal ally of former president Donald Trump, with conservative social, economic, and foreign policy positions. Should he win in November against Hochul, he would be the first Jewish Republican to serve as New York’s governor. There was no Republican primary for Lieutenant Governor, with NYPD veteran Alison Esposito serving as Zeldin’s running mate.
Among Orthodox voters, the race between Hochul and Zeldin reflects national politics between a Democratic incumbent who has a good relationship with community leaders, and a Republican challenger who speaks of combating crime, reining in public spending, and returning to traditional views on the definitions of family and gender.
By Sergey Kadinsky