Cuomo and Nixon slugged it out all summer, the incumbent governor with an enormous war chest filled the airways with TV slots, Nixon, with very limited dollars kept up a steady barrage, and, education policy was on a back burner. Nixon trumpeted more dollars for education, clearing up the teacher evaluation morass and clearly is not a friend of charter schools, Cuomo, silent.
Cuomo, following the polling predictions, won easily with 64% of the vote; however, the story is further down the ballot.
The progressives, the anti-party establishment, the Democratic Socialists, whatever you want to call them, rejected the incumbent Independent Democratic Caucus (IDC), winning in six races, including rejecting the IDC leader Jeff Klein who spent over 2 million dollars, an incredible sum in a state senate primary race.
Juumane Williams, a Brooklyn City Council member with a checkered past and a conservative on social policies came close in the Lieutenant-Governor race and Tish James, the Public Advocate in New York City won the four-way Attorney General race with 40% of the vote; Zephyr Teachout, who ran against Cuomo in the primary four years ago had 25% of the vote.
What this means is that Joe Crowley’s shocking loss in the June congressional primary was not a fluke. Sages clucked away blaming Crowley: he lived DC, only occasionally toured the district, didn’t take his opponent seriously, and the race was an anomaly. The victories across the board of young, vibrant, virtually unknown candidates may be a sea change in New York State politics.
The turnout was huge.
Will the wave of young, progressive candidates and voters continue two months from now in the general election?
The national Republican Party will not pump dollars into a losing campaign and it is likely that Cuomo will roll to victory; however, will Cuomo have coattails and will other progressives defeat incumbent Republicans in state senatorial races?
The state senate majority teeters, while the Democrats currently hold a 33-32 edge one member, Simcha Felder, votes with the Republicans, giving the Republicans the edge. If the blue wave continues to roll the Democrats will seize the state senate.
Past democratic majorities in the senate led to internal mud wrestling and the last two Democratic leaders ended up in jail. Can the current dem leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, actually lead her contentious troops? Jeff Klein will be gone, the remaining IDC leader, Diane Savino, is isolated, a new cluster of very young and very progressive dems confronting old guard dems; of course, first the dems have to prevail in November.
At the NYS AFL-CIO Endorsement Conference the unions were all over the place, some unions supporting the former IDC incumbents, others in the insurgents, a few unions supporting Republicans. The Conference endorsed Cuomo-Hochel-deNapoli-James and failed to make any endorsements in the hotly contested races, a 2/3 vote is required for endorsement.
NYSUT, the state teacher union, made no endorsement for governor.
If the dems prevail and take control of the senate charter schools will be a loser – perhaps a big loser.
The governor, at times, has been both a friend of charter schools, at other times ignored charter schools. If the blue wave rolls I believe Cuomo will join the wave. Not only will the charter school cap not be increased it is altogether likely that legislation will require further scrutiny of charter schools: much greater transparency of school finances, tightening up the regulations, namely, charter schools students, including student with disabilities and English language learners at the same level as surrounding public schools. Charter schools commonly force out low performing students before state tests, one idea is to “credit” the test score results to the charter school.
The revised teacher evaluation law that was bottled up in the senate by the Republican leader will pass.
Perhaps the legislature will increase the power of State Education to remove school boards in conflicted districts, i. e., Hempstead and East Ramapo. BTW, a very long time Assembly member in Hempstead was defeated in the primary.
The blue wave in both houses may attempt to grapple with creating alternative assessment pilots, regional Career and Technical Education (CTE) sites, additional Community Schools, expanding Universal Pre-K and 3-for-All programs across the state.
The new ESSA law does call for greater transparency in all schools in regard to the use of dollars and Cuomo has been a fan of fiscal transparency.
Will the blue wave reach into currently Republican controlled districts? Replacing the six IDC Democrats with six progressive Democrats will be a futile gesture without also taking control of the senate.
Will the losers, Cynthia Nixon, Zephyr Teachout, campaign across the state for Democratic candidates? Teachout is weeks away from giving birth so we’ll give her a pass. I would love to see TV ads with Nixon and Teachout pumping up their troops, pumping up that blue wave across the state.
In 2008 and 2012 record numbers of voters raced to the polls to cast a vote for Obama, two years later, in 2010 and 2014 they stayed home and the Congress went Republican. The job is never done, the primaries were a first step; the “real” election is in November.