MANHATTAN — Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his running mate claimed the Democratic nomination in Tuesday's primary, but the political neophytes challenging the pair captured a high enough percentage of the vote to demonstrate a measurable level of discontent.
With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Cuomo received 61.9 percent of the vote compared to challenger and Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout's 34.5 percent. Cuomo's lieutenant governor candidate Kathy Hochul received 58.7 percent of the vote while Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia University, pulled in 40.3 percent.
Cuomo will go on to face Westchester County Executive and conservative Republican Rob Astorino in the general election Nov. 4.
“Today’s outcome is a testament to the progress we have made together over the last four years: restoring economic opportunity, replacing dysfunction with results, putting people before politics and re-establishing New York as a progressive leader for the nation,” Cuomo said in a statement.
Although the victory was decisive, it was hardly the easy primary Cuomo would have liked. Teachout and Wu chipped away at Cuomo's liberal bonafides, questioned whether he had really cleaned up Albany and scared the governor enough that the state's Democratic establishment came out in strong support of Hochul in the campaign's last few weeks.
Even in defeat, both Teachout and Wu claimed political victory of a different kind.
“I will not be your next governor, but the Democrats of this great state have been heard,” the New York Times reported Teachout said to supporters at Hudson Terrace, a club in Midtown.
On Twitter, Wu was equally exuberant about his and Teachout's showing.
"We won Manhattan and 23 other counties, and began the war for the heart & soul of the Dem. party," Wu tweeted early Wednesday.
In other key races, Queens state Sen. Tony Avella held off a challenge from former Comptroller John Liu in a comeback bid. With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Avella had 52.2 percent compared to Liu's 47.8 percent.
Liu, once considered a formidable candidate for New York City mayor, was damaged by an investigation into his mayoral campaign's finances.
New York City voters were also torn on whether a politician under indictment or investigation should be returned to office.
In Queens, state Sen. Malcolm Smith, about to face retrial on corruption charges for allegedly trying to rig the New York City mayor's race, was soundly defeated by former City Councilman Leroy Comrie.
With all precincts reporting, Comrie received 69.4 percent of the vote compared to just 18.9 percent for the once-popular and powerful Smith.
But in Brooklyn, incumbent state Sen. John Sampson, under federal indictment for allegedly embezzling more than $400,000 in foreclosure funds, defeated Mayor Bill de-Blasio-backed candidate Dell Smitherman.
With all precincts reporting, Sampson received 54.2 percent of the vote compared to Smitherman's 29.9 percent.
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► District Leader Wins Democratic Primary for Eric Adams' Senate Seat
► Williamsburg State Senator Defeats Progressive Challenger in Primary
► State Sen. Toby Stavisky Tops Community Activist Challenger S.J. Jung
► Adriano Espaillat Narrowly Defeats Robert Jackson in Primary Race
► Assembly Incumbent Margaret Markey Beats Primary Challenger in Queens