There are only a few days left until the 2022 midterm elections on Tuesday, Nov 8. Every New Paltz resident 18 years or older is eligible to vote if they registered by Oct. 14. New York has emerged as a surprise battleground state, with nine out of 26 congressional seats locked in competitive races. Here’s what you should know before entering the voting booth in New Paltz.
Race For Governor:
First on the ballot is the race for Governor between the current New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and her Republican opponent, Rep. Lee Zeldin. Their Lieutenant Governor running mates are Democrat Antonio Delgado and Republican Alison Esposito. This has shaped up to be a fraught race for Democrats, even though New York has not elected a Republican governor in 20 years. Gov. Hochul held a double-digit lead over Zeldin, a conservative, in the polls for months, but the race tightened as Zeldin made crime the focal point of his campaign. After two teens were shot outside of his Long Island home while his teenage daughters were inside, Zeldin started campaigning on rolling back New York’s criminal justice reform and argued that Gov. Hochul ignores public safety. Meanwhile, Gov. Hochul has campaigned against Zeldin’s anti-abortion stance, his vote to overturn the 2020 presidential election and his opposition to banning assault weapons. An Emerson College poll released on Nov. 1 shows how close the race is: it found that 52% of likely voters support Gov. Hochul, with 44% supporting Zeldin.
Race For Comptroller:
Next is the race for comptroller between Democratic incumbent Thomas DiNapoli and his Republican challenger Paul Rodriguez. DiNapoli has served as comptroller for 14 years, fulfilling the role as the sole trustee of the state’s $280 billion pension fund. Under DiNapoli, the New York pension fund has been considered one of the better ones in the country. Rodriguez, who was a financial advisor to wealthy individuals, disagrees with how social issues influence DiNapoli. DiNapoli has called on corporations to conduct racial equity audits following the murder of George Floyd and to divest from fossil fuels. He has also urged them to adopt pro-LGBTQ+ positions.
Race For Attorney General:
Voters will then choose which candidate they would like as Attorney General: Democratic incumbent Letitia James or Republican nominee Michael Henry. James is the overwhelming favorite to win, and has made a national name for herself with actions like accusing Donald Trump of years of financial fraud in a civil lawsuit, publishing a report confirming former Gov. Cuomo’s years of sexual harassment that led to his resignation and suing the National Rifle Association. James became the first Black woman elected to statewide office when she was elected attorney general in 2018 after the resignation of Eric Schneiderman. She is backed by an array of advocacy groups, labor unions and Democrats. Henry, who has received the majority share of endorsements from major law enforcement unions, has framed his campaign on supporting law enforcement and opposition to the rising cost of living in New York.
Race For U.S. Senator:
The next race on the ballot is for United States Senator, between incumbent Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, against Republican Joe Pinion. Schumer is running for his sixth term and will become the longest serving New York senator in the state’s history if he wins. Pinion is the first Black candidate to be backed by a major party in a U.S. Senate election in New York, but is relatively unknown compared to Schumer’s position as one of the most popular senators in the country. As Senate Majority Leader, he has passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to provide relief after the COVID-19 pandemic and the Safer Communities Act, the first major gun control legislation the nation has seen in decades. His re-election ads have focused on his “Save Our Stages” campaign, in reference to the federal funding he obtained to keep performance venues like Broadway stages afloat. Pinion has recently hosted the show, “Saturday Agenda” on Newsmax, a conservative cable channel. He’s running against Schumer with a focal point on school choice and support for charter schools. Unlike many of his Republican colleagues, he does not say Trump won the 2020 presidential election. He is pro-life, but believes abortion is an issue to be handled state by state.
Race For U.S. Representative:
Also on the ballot is the decision of who will represent New York’s 18th Congressional District. The race is between Democratic Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan against Republican Colin Schmitt. New Paltz residents are sure to have seen stickers and signs for the candidates around town or on campus. The 18th Congressional District is a newly drawn district that includes a large section of the Hudson Valley comprised of over 700,000 individuals, including the village and town of New Paltz. Ryan’s mother received her bachelors and masters from SUNY New Paltz, and Ryan is a veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq. Ryan does not support a nationwide abortion ban and has been outspoken in supporting law enforcement like with the Invest to Protect Act, which would increase funding for small police departments. He is endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America. Schmitt’s campaign has been focused on a tough on crime stance and he has argued Ryan is tied to New York’s bail reform law, which Republicans blame for an increase in crime. He describes his stance on abortion as “common sense” pro-life, and stated that if he was elected, he would not support legislation for a nationwide abortion ban. He also stated that if elected he would immediately push for hiring an additional 200,000 police officers across the country.
Race For State Assembly:
Democratic candidate Sarahana Shrestha is up against Republican Patrick Sheehan for State Assembly in District 103. Shrestha has had a strong presence on the New Paltz campus, backing the UUP union and supporting an increase in state funding for the SUNY system. She is a first-generation Nepali immigrant, a Democratic Socialist and a climate organizer. Her campaign is grassroots funded because she has refused corporate donations and has campaigned in support of progressive issues like universal healthcare. Sheenan, a former Democrat, was inspired to run as a counter to Shrestha’s ideas that he feels are too progressive. He switched parties because he felt the New York State Democratic party had become too left-wing. He has campaigned in opposition to New York State’s bail reform, is against strict gun control laws and believes that the passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019 puts residents at risk of unreliable power disruption.
If you haven’t registered for this election, keep an eye out for students that table voting registration during the weekly Thursday markets. If you are registered, happy voting!
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