ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo's convincing victory Tuesday was fueled almost entirely by New York City and its suburbs, pushing him to a 22-point win despite losing most of the state's counties.
Cuomo, a Democrat, ran up the score in the state's most-populous city en route to a big re-election win on Tuesday, racking up 1.6 million votes in the five boroughs alone, or 1.3 million more than Republican challenger Marc Molinaro got there.
It was a different story outside New York City: Molinaro bested Cuomo by a slim 5,600 votes in the rest of the state, though many paper ballots have yet to be counted.
In all, Cuomo's electoral map looks very similar to his win over Republican Rob Astorino in 2014, when the governor also relied on a convincing victory in New York City to overcome being edged out in the rest of the state.
Here's what we can take away from Cuomo's big win:
Cuomo won votes; Molinaro won land
Take a look at a county-by-county map of Tuesday's gubernatorial election results and you'll notice right away: There's a lot more red than blue.
Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive, won 47 of the state's 62 counties — all of which were north of New York City.
But Cuomo made his counties count, population-wise.
He took home wins in 13 of the state's 15 most populous counties, including each of the city's five boroughs; Erie (home to Buffalo), Monroe (home to Rochester), Onondaga (home to Syracuse) and Albany; and the four major suburban counties of Westchester, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk.
It was New York City and Westchester that really put Cuomo over the edge.
He took 1.6 million votes in heavily Democratic New York City — or 81.5 percent of the total and more than five times the 297,696 votes Molinaro got there, according to the state Board of Elections' unofficial, pre-paper-ballot count.
All told, New York City accounted for 47 percent of Cuomo's vote total. For Molinaro, it was 14 percent.
In Westchester — the governor's home county — Cuomo took in 205,817 votes to Molinaro's 96,057.
The most-populous counties Molinaro won were his home county of Dutchess and Orange.
"I don’t think anybody could have effectively planned for the seismic turnout in the city," Molinaro said Thursday. "And that really at the end of the day made the difference."
Similar story to 2014
Overall, Cuomo's victory followed a similar path as his win over Astorino in 2014.
That year, like in 2018, Cuomo cleaned up in New York City only to be narrowly defeated in the rest of the state.
In 2014, Cuomo took home 782,911 votes in New York City to Astorino's 177,450.
Outside the city, Astorino took in 1.4 million to Cuomo's 1.3 million.
Aided in part by significant turnout this year, Cuomo upped his total margin of victory this year, though.
Cuomo took home 59 percent of the vote in 2018 compared to Molinaro's 37 percent.
It 2014, Cuomo had about 54 percent to Astorino's 40 percent.
"It wasn't just Democrats, you had significant numbers of independents, Republicans," Cuomo said Thursday on WAMC-FM (90.3) in Albany.
"I got more votes than have ever been cast for a governor in history. So it's not just partisan, the blue wave; it was New Yorkers voting New Yorkers' values, in my opinion."
Differences from 2014
Seven total counties flipped from 2014 to 2018.
Cuomo was able to flip three from red to blue, including Monroe County, which he narrowly lost to Astorino by about 3,000 votes in 2014.
This time around, Monroe went for Cuomo over Molinaro by more than 20,000 votes — 134,735 to 113,987, according to the unofficial count.
The governor also flipped Suffolk County on Long Island and Ulster County.
Molinaro, on the other hand, flipped four counties from blue to red, though three were sparsely populated North Country counties that netted him just a few thousand votes.
The fourth was Broome County in the Southern Tier, which Cuomo won by 4,000 votes in 2014. This year, Broome went for Molinaro by about 5,800 votes.
Vote counts way up
Voter turnout, meanwhile, was way, way up in 2018. Turnout was aided by heavily contested U.S. House races throughout the state.
A total of 5.7 million voters cast their ballot in the New York governor's race this year, according to the unofficial count.
That's 49 percent of the total active registered voters in the state.
Compare that to four years ago, when 3.8 million people cast a ballot in the race, or 35 percent of the active registered voters at the time.
Or, you could put it this way: Molinaro garnered about 2.1 million votes in this election and lost handily. Cuomo garnered 2.1 million votes in 2014 and won handily.
Jon Campbell is a correspondent for the USA TODAY Network's Albany Bureau.