Tuesday is Primary Day, and polls will be open in Monroe County from noon to 9 p.m. Locally, Democrats will see most but not all of the action.
The Democratic gubernatorial primary has received the most public and media attention. Sitting Governor Andrew Cuomo faces a challenge from Fordham University law professor Zephyr Teachout. Cuomo has hardly mentioned Teachout in the past few months, though he and his supporters unsuccessfully sued to keep her off the ballot. Teachout is challenging Cuomo from the left, and has made income inequality and political corruption central to her campaign.
Cuomo and Teachout have lieutenant governor running mates, who have their own primary race. Former House Representative Kathy Hochul faces Tim Wu, a Columbia University professor best known for his antirust work and advocacy for net neutrality. Media reports have increasingly entertained the idea that Wu, who is Teachout's running mate, could defeat Hochul.
A Wu victory would mean a Cuomo-Wu ticket on the Democratic line in November's general election, though the Cuomo-Hochul ticket would still hold the Working Families, Independence, and Womens Equality lines (the Cuomo camp created the Womens Equality party line). If that happens, the Cuomo camp could use a loophole in election law to replace Hochul with Wu on the other tickets.
Closer to home, approximately 260 ground-level Democratic committee seats, all in parts of Northeast and Northwest Rochester, have primaries.
The Monroe County Democratic Committee consists of tiers of smaller committees. The City of Rochester is divided into several committees based on County Legislature districts. And those legislative district committees are made up of even smaller election district committees, each with four seats. The primaries involve approximately 65 city election district committees in the 21st, 26th, 28th, and 29th Legislative Districts.
The contests are arcane, but important. Committee members vote on party endorsements, and on September 23, members from across the county will vote on the party's next chair. The current chair, Joe Morelle, isn't seeking re-election.
Some committee leaders say that the contests, which are happening in unusual numbers, are related to ongoing power struggles between different factions of Democrats.
In the 29th Legislative District, Leslie Rivera faces a challenge from Ernest Flagler for a County Legislature seat. Rivera was appointed to the seat earlier this year.
Republicans in two parts of Monroe County can vote in primaries, too.
North Tonawanda Mayor Robert Ortt and conservative activist Gia Arnold are competing for the 62nd State Senate seat. The district includes the Monroe County towns of Sweden and Ogden. Ortt has the Republican Party's endorsement. George Maziarz, who's held the seat for 19 years, is not seeking re-election.
Republican Assembly member Mark Johns faces a primary challenge from Penfield resident Calvin Frelier. Johns represents the 135th Assembly District, which covers Webster, Penfield, Perinton, Fairport, and East Rochester.