Downstate “Blue Wave” carries Democrats to control all chambers of state government and all statewide elected positions – Now What?

Assemblyman Karl Brabenec (R) thanks Republicans in Wesley Hills Country Club in Orange County for his successful re-election in the 98th Assembly District. (Photo: Kathy Kahn)

CORRECTION – [This article originally reported the wrong winner of the Orangetown clerk race]



Governor Andrew Cuomo and his running mate, Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, easily won victory over Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro Tuesday. A blue wave that did not quite materialize nationally did, in fact, swamp downstate New York. Turnout in the state was the highest for a mid-term since 1994. 

While Rockland broke blue for most races, when one looks north, the majority of the upstate vote actually went to Molinaro and his running mate, Julie Killian. It has long been a tale of two states in New York. 

In local seats, the Orange County Town of New Windsor manager Colin Schmitt (R) easily defeated Matthew Rettig for the seat being vacated by James Skoufis (D), who won the seat retiring Sen. William Larkin’s 39th Senatorial District seat over Stony Point Councilman Tom Basile (R). The Assembly seat represents Stony Point and the Senate seat represents most of North Rockland. 

Basile had buoyed himself to Larkin as the longtime incumbent’s preferred successor, but in a year where downstate New Yorkers were politically motivated, Basile faced strong headwinds. The district, mostly in Orange County, is also a difficult one for any Rocklander to campaign for. 

Here is a breakdown of the races in the U.S. Senate, New York State and Rockland County:

U.S. Senate: 

Kirsten Gillibrand (D)-New York* 



Andrew Cuomo, 

Kathy Hochul (D)*


Tom DiNapoli (D)*


Letitia James (D)


TNYS Senate District 39:

James Skoufis (D) 

TNYS Senate District 38:

David Carlucci (D)

NYS Assembly District 96:

Kenneth Zebrowski (D) *

NYS Assembly District 97:

Ellen Jaffee*

NYS Assembly District 98:

Karl Brabenec (R)*

NYS Assembly District 99:

Colin Schmitt (R) 

(replacing James Skoufis, who vacated the seat to run for Senate Dist. 39)

Town of Clarkstown:

Proposition #1 “Whether the Town of Clarkstown should amend Chapter 71 (Ward District Boundaries) of the Town Code of the Town of Clarkstown to change the length of term of office of town councilpersons from two years to four years, and this amendment shall apply to the town councilpersons who are elected at the town elections to be held on or after November 5, 2019?” – NO

Proposition #2- “Whether the Town of Clarkstown should add a Chapter to the Town Code—Length of terms of elected officials—supervisor, town clerk and superintendent of Highways—to change the length of term of office of the three officials from  two years to four years, and this new Chapter shall apply to the supervisor, town clerk, and superintendent of Highways who are elected at the town elections to be held on or after November

5, 2019?” – NO

Village of Nyack: (two trustees)

Donna Cooper (D)

Louise Parken (D)

Justice Court: Ernest Buonocore (D)

Town of Orangetown:

Clerk: Rosanna Sfraga (R)

Village of Piermont: (two trustees)

Richard Burno (D)

Nathan Mitchell (D)

Town of Ramapo:

Town Council: Yuhuda Weissmendi 

(ran unopposed)

Spring Valley (one trustee)

Zach Cierina (D)

Village of Suffern: (two trustees)

Steven Alpert (D)

Paul Giarardi (D)

Proposition 1: Service Awards for Firefighters: YES

Ninth Judicial District:

Kathie Davidson (D)

David Everett (D)

William Giacomo (D)

Hal Greenwald (D)

David Everett (D)

Joan Lefkowitz (D)

Barry Warhut (D)

Tom Zugibe (D)

*indicates incumbent

As for Cuomo’s plans off of his 20-point romp over Molinaro, the NY Post reported: “With Democrats taking control of the state Senate next year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo vowed Wednesday to move quickly to pass reforms blocked by Republicans: tighter ethics laws, early voting, the Dream Act, gun safety legislation and strengthening the state’s abortion law.

‘“We need ethics reform and there’s no reason not to pass it,”’ Cuomo said on Westchester radio station WVOX, his first interview since the election that gave him a third term.

‘“Legislative jobs should be full time … with restrictions on outside income,’” he said.

‘“We need to close the financial loophole, what they call the LLC loophole,”’ he said.

Cuomo also promised to pass the Dream Act, which would provide tuition assistance for undocumented college students brought here illegally as kids — a law long sought by immigration advocates.

That could be a tough vote for upstate and suburban Democrats. When they were in charge, Republicans blocked the measure, arguing it rewards illegal behavior and would come at the expense of students who are citizens.

Cuomo countered that it was a moral issue.

Dylan Skriloff contributed to this report

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