Correction: This story originally neglected to mention the races for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, both of which have primaries that are being held on June 28.
TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—Election season has become complicated to follow in 2022 for all in New York State, and the elections concerning the voters registered in Tompkins County are no exception.
Districts have changed multiple times, maps have been drawn and redrawn before being ruled unconstitutional before being redrawn again, and congressional representatives have left their seats adding special elections to the mix. To catch you up on everything ahead of time, this is an earlier-than-usual election primer to make sure everyone is up to speed before it’s time to head to the polls or fill out a ballot.
For voters registered in Tompkins County, all of the contested state and federal elections are taking place on Aug 23. The Democratic State Senate primary in NYS 52 between Leslie Danks Burke and Lea Webb; the Democratic Congressional primary in NY19 between Josh Riley, Jamie Cheney, and Osun Zotique; and a special Congressional race to represent the outgoing NY23 between Democrat Max Della Pia and Republican Joseph Sempolinski.
There is also a local special election in the City of Ithaca on June 28 in the Democratic primary to represent Ithaca’s Fourth Ward. Additionally, in terms of statewide races, seven candidates are running in their major party’s governor primary: incumbent Kathy Hochul, Tom Suozzi and Jumaane Williams as Democrats, and Rob Astorino, Lee Zeldin, Harry Wilson and Andrew Giuliani as Republicans. For lieutenant governor, the Democratic candidates are Antonio Delgado (Hochul’s running mate and current LG after former LG Brian Benjamin was arrested and ousted from office), Ana Maria Archila and Diana Reyna. There is no Republican lieutenant governor primary, as Alison Esposito is the only candidate.
The below chart does not include the governor or lieutenant governor’s race.
In May, New York’s highest court ruled that the congressional and state senate districts drawn by the Democrat-controlled state legislature were partisan and unconstitutional, thus putting the power to redraw these districts in the hands of a “special master” under the supervision of a Steuben County Supreme Court Judge.
This resulted in more competitive districts, and a delay to the original date for the state’s primary elections, pushing the voting back from June 28 to Aug 23 in order to accommodate the time needed to redraw those districts.
A separate court appeal resulted in the Assembly districts drawn by Democratic Legislators being deemed unconstitutional. However, the state Assembly elections are not being derailed. These maps were allowed to remain for this election cycle, and will be redrawn next year.
On top of the delayed primary votes taking place, there are two special congressional elections amid a narrowly divided house — one county residents can vote in, and another they should at the very least keep their eyes on.
A special congressional election is taking place on Aug 23 to fill the seat former Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) resigned from in May. This is in New York’s 23rd Congressional District (NY23), so Tompkins County residents can vote in this election between Max Dellia Pia (D) and Joseph Sempolinski (R) for either of them to finish out the rest of Reed’s term which ends at the start of 2023.
But this will be the last time Tompkins County voters cast their ballots for the district.
The congressional maps drawn by the special master place Tompkins County into New York’s new 19th Congressional District (NY19). So on the same day that voters will be casting their support for a candidate in NY23’s special election, Democrats in Tompkins County will also be voting to support a candidate in the primary for NY19. Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro is the only Republican candidate running in the new NY19.
There is a second special election happening in the current NY19 to fill the vacancy left by former Rep. Antonio Delgado after he accepted an appointment as New York State Lt. Governor. Tompkins County residents cannot vote in this race since it is not in the current NY19 district.
Molinaro is running against Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan in the special election for NY19. The term they’re competing for is a short one, ending with the start of 2023. Ryan is not running in the race to represent the new NY19. His bid for office is going toward the new NY18 district after the special election is decided.
A rocky summer of elections will define the field to come in November. The only race that has its candidates defined is a local one in the City of Ithaca. A special election for a single-year term to finish the rest of former Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick’s four-year term is set with Acting Mayor Laura Lewis running as a Democrat, Katie Sims on the Independent line, and Zach Winn running as a Republican.
Poll locations and other helpful information can be found on the Tompkins County Board of Elections website.
Update: After this primer’s initial publication details on the Lt. Governor and Governor’s race were added.