7 Races to Watch in the Thursday Primaries

Thursday is state legislative primary election day in New York, with Democrat and Republican voters heading to the polls to pick their candidates for the general election in November.

Below are seven must-watch elections happening throughout New York.

Upper West Side, Washington Heights

State Senator Adriano Espaillat’s failed challenge to unseat Congressman Charles Rangel opened the door for a Democratic primary reprisal. It comes in the form of Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, who has the backing of Rangel and his powerful allies in upper Manhattan. Both Espaillat and Linares have high-profile support in a contest that pits two of the Dominican community’s star politicians against each other. (Senate District 31)

Midtown, Greenwhich Village

With Senator Thomas Duane not seeking reelection, his Manhattan seat is wide open. Enter Brad Hoylman, a former local community board chair; Tom Greco, a club owner; and Tanika Inlaw, the former head of a local NAACP chapter. The race is thought to be mostly between Greco and Hoylman, the latter having received the backing of the Democrat county organization. (Senate District 27)

Rockaway, South Ozone Park

State Senator Shirley Huntley is one of a number of local politicians facing ethics probes. She was recently indicted on charges she inappropriately funneled public funds to family members working in fake non-profits. The charges have buoyed the campaign of her Democratic opponent, City Councilman James Sanders. (Senate District 10)

Crown Heights, Ft. Greene

Another member of the Assembly, Hakeem Jeffries, is poised to head to Congress, leaving his Brooklyn seat open.  Jeffries is backing Walter Mosely, a local Democratic Party district leader. Mosely is facing another local district leader, Olanike Alabi, as well Martine Guerrier, a former education department official. (Assembly District 57)


Assemblywoman Grace Meng’s Congressional bid also leaves her seat open. A crowded field of contenders in both the Democrat and Republican primaries is looking to replace her, and the victor could be the first Korean American in the state legislature.  Ron Kim, a former legislative aide, has the backing of the Democratic county organization. Phil Gim, a local businessman, has the Republican party’s backing on the other side. Four additional Democrats and another Republican challenger are also in the race. (Assembly District 40)

Williamsburg, Bushwick

With no one challenging embattled Assemblyman Vito Lopez, the state senate primary between Lopez-backed Martin Malavé Dilan and Jason Otano, a former lawyer for Brooklyn borough president, represent the closest approximation. While he may be weakened politically, the Lopez voter-turnout operation remains as formidable as ever, making Otano’s battle an uphill one. (Senate District 18)

Broad Channel, Middle Village

Senate Republicans used the redistricting process to make State Senator Joe Addabbo, Jr.’s reelection effort difficult. But first,  two Republicans will have to make it out of the primary to challenge him. City Councilman Eric Ulrich is facing off against the Queens Republican-backed attorney Juan Reyes. (Senate District 15)

Honorable Mention

One of the other major primary story lines is the fate of the Republican senators whose votes made same-sex marriage possible in New York. Only three of the four are running, as Rochester-based state Senator Jim Alesi is not seeking reelection.

Two of those still running for state senate, Roy McDonald of Troy and Stephen Saland of Poughkeepsie, face threats but are still considered front runners. The final vote, Buffalo’s Mark Grisanti, is in the battle for his political life.  All three have had their same-sex marriage votes made the primary campaign issue for their opponents.