Election 2022: The time has come for voters to have their say – All up to you

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ELECTION 2022 – As the old saw goes, all politics is local. But local politics sometimes involves broader themes. That’s evident in a number of Capital Region contests this year.

Democrats control the U.S. House of Representatives by a thin margin during an election cycle that typically favors the minority party. Albany’s three-branch supermajority for Democrats — in the governor’s office, the state Assembly and the Senate — faces a similar threat, but with far wider margins of control. And Republicans have long held sway over Saratoga County politics, but several upstart candidates are seeking to take advantage of the county’s burgeoning Democratic enrollment.

It’s a tense election year to be sure, both nationally and locally. Republicans and Democrats are spotlighting contrasting issues: While the GOP is dead set on discussing inflation and crime, Democrats have placed abortion and election rights front and center.

“The downside of this is that in some ways we don’t actually get a meaningful discussion of the relative merits of one side’s plans versus the other,” said Bob Turner, a political scientist at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs.

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Issues ranging from hot-button national topics such as gun control to localized matters like flood-insurance eligibility have significance for a number of diverse voices residing in The Gazette’s coverage area.

In election-related letters to the editor received by The Gazette this season, voters have weighed in on a wide variety of issues near and dear to their ballots: policies affecting local hospitals, schools, small businesses and, of course, households.

You might not see the same representative you’re used to seeing on the ballot this year as a result of redistricting, a process in which district maps are redrawn to reflect U.S. Census Bureau data. A judge tossed out state Legislature-approved maps earlier this year, all of which were redrawn under a special master — the result of which was predominantly more favorable districts for Republicans.

In New York state as of Nov. 1, there were 2.8 million registered Republicans, 6.5 million registered Democrats, 163,314 registered Conservatives, 50,642 registered members of the Working Families Party, 3 million independent voters and 444,990 registered voters belonging to a different third party. In the Capital Region, voter enrollment advantages skew in favor of Democrats in the cities, while heavily favoring Republicans in the suburbs and rural areas.

Here’s a taste of what’s on the ballot:

Gov. Kathy Hochul is taking on a Republican in U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, who might be one of the most formidable GOP candidates in two-plus decades. The Long Island Republican, who faced a contentious primary in the summer, is within polling margins of 11 points despite a considerable voter enrollment disadvantage. This is Hochul’s first election in the governor’s seat since replacing Andrew Cuomo two years ago. Bail reform and inflation have become defining issues for the Republican, and for Hochul, Zeldin’s record against gun control and his vote to decertify the 2020 presidential election are the focus.

› Zeldin’s running mate, Alison Esposito, is looking to unseat Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado. Unlike presidential elections, New York’s top state executives are on separate ballot lines. Opposing party members haven’t served as governor and lieutenant governor since 1986. Delgado, a Schenectady native, was tapped to serve in the position earlier this year following scandal-scarred Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin’s fall from power.

Election 2022: Local congressional races may have national implications

› The 21st Congressional District has seeped further into the Daily Gazette’s coverage area as a result of redistricting. Incumbent Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, will face off against Matt Castelli of Glens Falls. About $9 million in donor money has flooded into the race. The former CIA officer Castelli is a newcomer, while Stefanik became a high-ranking Republican in Congress in her current and fourth term. Castelli has painted himself as a moderate while Stefanik has positioned herself with conservative, so-called “ultra-MAGA” rhetoric despite carrying a bipartisan track record.

Election 2022: Local congressional races may have national implications

› Republican Liz Joy of Glenville is taking on incumbent Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, for his 20th Congressional District seat for the second time in two years. Tonko has been an advocate of the local tech sector and environment during his career in public service — a four-decade run (with some gaps) that his opponents have labeled as excessive. He has assailed Joy’s trip to Washington, D.C., on the day of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The Republican challenger claims she has some Democratic crossover votes in a heavily blue district.

Election 2022: Republicans once again aiming to make gains in state Senate

› Schenectady County legislator Michelle Ostrelich will fight longtime state lawmaker Jim Tedisco, R-Glen-ville, for the second time in her bid for the 44th State Senate District. The two faced off in 2018, resulting in the Republican taking 59.3% of the vote. However, in the newly configured district, Ostrelich carries a wider voter enrollment advantage than in years past.

Election 2022: Newcomers, seasoned veterans eye state Assembly seats

› The 110th State Assembly District is up for grabs in a tense matchup between two Colonie residents. In nearly a decade in the Assembly, Phil Steck has rejected bail reform, supported presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and expressed early opposition to Andrew Cuomo during his sexual harassment scandal in 2020. Steck’s opponent, self-identified “reasonable” conservative Republican Alexandra Velella believes crime is out of control.

› Saratoga County district attorneys have rarely faced opposition in the GOP backed county government. This year is different. Republican incumbent Karen Heggen is up against Democrat Michael J. Phillips — the first race of its kind in at least 50 years. Phillips is a vocal critic of the incumbent’s recent cases, as well as her inaction on NXIVM during one of her previous terms. Heggen touts her record as an experienced criminal prosecutor over Phillips, who has spent much of his career in the private sector.

Election 2022: 10 candidates on the ballot for 6 state Supreme Court judgeships

› There’s only one statewide proposal up for referendum this year. Should voters pass Proposal 1, $4.20 billion would be funneled to environmental infrastructure projects this year. Proponents believe the bill would put forward major climate action, while opponents are worried it’s too expensive.

Early voting began on Oct. 29 and ends today. On Election Day, the polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, News, Saratoga County, Schenectady County

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