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Good Morning from Albany…

It was a good week for former Governor Andrew Cuomo. In a 16-page ruling, State Supreme Court Judge Denise Hartman ruled Cuomo would not have to repay $5.1 million in proceeds from his memoir “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the Covid-19 Pandemic.” Hartman ruled that the now-defunct New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics overstepped its authority and flouted Executive Law in ordering Cuomo to do so. Team Cuomo was pleased: “As we’ve said all along, the AG’s report, the Assembly, and now JCOPE, has been about politics—the facts and the law be damned…” said longtime Cuomo confidant Rich Azzopardi. We shall see. Cuomo was also seen helping a stranded motorist in the Hamptons.

Nationally, all eyes are on primaries and the road to November’s Midterm elections. Many of former President Donald Trump’s endorsed candidates did well last week, showing his influence is still strong in the GOP. Most notably, Wyoming GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump and Vice Chair of the January 6 House Committee, lost her primary to Trump-backed political newcomer Harriet Hageman by a 2-1 margin. The former President won Wyoming by 43 percentage points in 2020. For Cheney, it was likely all about going down swinging.

In Alaska, voters participated in ranked choice voting for the first time ever (where the top four vote-getters of any party affiliation advance to the November General election). Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, the longtime incumbent, advanced along with her main opponent, Trump-endorsed Kelly Tshibaka. Murkowski said “what matters is winning in November.” Tshibaka called the results “the first step in breaking the Murkowski monarchy’s grip on Alaska.” A member of the Murkowski family has held the Senate seat since 1981. Senator Murkowski took the seat over from her father, Frank Murkowski in 2002, winning a write-in vote in 2016. Additionally, Sarah Palin is back. The former candidate for Vice President advanced in a race to replace former Alaska at-large U.S. House Rep. Don Young, who died in March. Palin was both running in a Special Election to finish Young’s term through the end of the year, as well as a Primary for a full term beginning in January. The outcome of the Special Election likely won’t be known for a couple of weeks, however, as the ranked choice votes are calculated. 

In New York, Republican Candidate for Governor Lee Zeldin has come under intense scrutiny for his filing for an independent line in November: over 11,000 fraudulent petitions were compiled at State GOP Headquarters in Albany. Governor Hochul’s campaign issued a statement calling for a thorough investigation. “Lee Zeldin is now implicated in an actual case of alleged election fraud, and this time it’s real. New Yorkers deserve to know how more than 11,000 photocopied petition signatures were submitted on behalf of Zeldin’s campaign and who oversaw the process.”

After staying neutral in the GOP Primary, former President Donald Trump is stumping for Zeldin in New York. Trump will appear at a high dollar fundraiser for Zeldin in New Jersey next month.

Tomorrow is Primary Day #2 in New York State with races for the United States House of Representatives, New York State Senate, and two Special Elections on the ballot. Find your polling place here

For the House, there are a few key primaries that we are watching: 

And there are two special elections for the House to serve out terms through the end of the year that are worth watching:

  • In the current 19th Congressional District seat vacated by Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, a Republican, is running against Ulster County Executive, Pat Ryan, a Democrat, to fill the remainder of Delgado’s term. Recent polling showed the two County Executives in a statistical tie. Because the lines of the district were redrawn, another election is simultaneously being held this year for the newly drawn 19th District. Molinaro is running in the new 19th district for a full term in November, while Ryan — even if he defeats Molinaro on Aug. 23 — will run in a different district, the 18th Congressional District, in November.  

Tomorrow will also feature a number of key primaries that could shake up the State Senate Democratic Conference’s composition come November.

Read our full New York State Senate Primary Preview 

Finally, it is a good thing you didn’t live 23 million years ago. New research shows that the ancient Megalodon was even bigger, fiercer, and hungrier than paleontologists had previously predicted.

-Jack O’Donnell

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Our podcast is back with Election 2022 analysis. For political insight on this year’s races, including a deep dive on the NYS primaries, listen in here.





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