NEW YORK - New Yorkers have cast their votes for representatives in Congress, the state Legislature and the White House, but many races remained undecided as Election Day drew to a close.
Democrat Joe Biden won the race for New York’s 29 electoral votes. Several liberal stalwarts in New York City won reelection to Congress, as did some conservative Republicans in upstate New York.
One New York City Democrat became one of the first openly gay Black people elected to Congress.
But with a record number of votes cast by mail, closely contested races could take weeks to decide. The counting of at least 1.2 million absentee ballots won't begin for several days. Voters had to wait more than a month to know the winners in some races in the state’s June primary.
Democrats could also potentially gain a supermajority in the state Legislature. A victory like that wouldn’t alter the balance of power in a state where Democrats already control the governor’s office. It could, however, give legislators more leverage with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is now a monolithic force in state politics.
Here's a look at results in New York's most closely-watched races:
Democrat Ritchie Torres will become one of the first openly gay Black men in Congress after an expected victory in the South Bronx. Torres, a 32-year-old member of the New York City Council, defeated Republican Patrick Delices in one of the most heavily Democratic districts in the country. Torres, who identifies as Afro-Latino, succeeds U.S. Rep. Jose Serrano, who is retiring.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez easily won her first reelection bid. The New York City Democrat defeated Republican John Cummings, a teacher and former police officer. Ocasio-Cortez has become one of the most well-known voices of the American left in her first term. Her district in parts of Queens and the Bronx was among those hit hardest by the coronavirus.
Democrat Jamaal Bowman easily won the general election after dispatching U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in the state’s spring primary. Bowman beat Conservative Party candidate Patrick McManus, a retired firefighter, in a district that includes parts of the Bronx and New York City’s Westchester County suburbs. There was no Republican candidate.
Republican U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin is trying to fend off a challenge on eastern Long Island from Democrat Nancy Goroff. Zeldin, seeking a fourth term, claimed victory but The Associated Press has not yet declared a winner in the race. Zeldin praised President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic as “phenomenal” during a speech to the Republican National Convention. Goroff is a chemistry professor who took a leave from Stony Brook University to seek elective office for the first time.
Republican Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino and Democrat Jackie Gordon faced off in a race to succeed U.S. Rep. Pete King, a popular Republican who is retiring. The contest on Long Island's South Shore is taking place in a district that has tilted Republican in the past, but King’s departure created an opening for the Democrats, who poured money into Gordon's campaign. Garbarino was leading in early tallies.
Republican Nicole Malliotakis is looking to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Max Rose, who is seeking his second term. Malliotakis declared victory a little over an hour after polls closed, but The Associated Press has not yet called a winner in the race. Rose said it was too early to declare a winner. The district is whiter and more conservative than the rest of New York City and went for Republican Donald Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton by 10 points in 2016.
Democrat Mondaire Jones will join Torres as the other first openly gay Black man in Congress after he prevailed over Republican Maureen McArdle Schulman. Jones is a 33-year-old attorney. He’ll take over from Rep. Nita Lowey, who is retiring after more than three decades in Congress.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney faces Republican Chele Farley in a battleground district in New York’s Hudson Valley. Farley moved to the district from New York City after an unsuccessful run for U.S. Senate in 2018. Maloney is one of just a few dozen Democrats nationwide who represent congressional districts where a majority of voters favored Trump in 2016. He is seeking his fifth term.
Military veteran Kyle Van De Water, a Republican, was trying to knock off Democratic U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, who is seeking a second term in a district stretching from New York City’s northern suburbs to rural counties near Albany. Delgado is another rare Democrat representing a congressional district that voted for Trump in 2016. Van De Water, 40, has run on a pro-Trump platform. He has promised a stronger U.S. border, tax cuts and 2nd Amendment protections.
Former Republican U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney is in a rematch with U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi, who ousted her from office in 2018 but is seen as one of the more vulnerable Democrats in Congress. The district, which runs from Lake Ontario to the border with Northeastern Pennsylvania, was another one in New York that favored Trump in 2016. The first contest between the candidates two years ago took weeks to decide as absentee ballots were tabulated. Tenney held an early lead in the in-person vote.
Republican U.S. Rep. John Katko is also in a rematch, facing Democrat Dana Balter after defeating her in 2018. Katko seeks a fourth term in a central New York district that includes the city of Syracuse. Balter, 44, has worked as a community organizer and at a disability services non-profit but has not held public office. Democrats narrowly outnumber Republicans in the district, but Balter appeared to be trailing with absentee votes still uncounted.
In western New York, Republican U.S. Rep. Chris Jacobs defeated Democrat Nate McMurray, the same candidate he beat in a special election five months ago. Jacobs said it would be an honor to represent the district for a full term. He won a special election in June to serve out the remainder of the term of fellow Republican Chris Collins, who was convicted of insider trading. McMurray, an attorney and former town supervisor, also challenged Collins and lost in 2018.
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