BUFFALO, N.Y. — New Yorkers began going to the polls Saturday to cast early votes in a primary election that could determine whether Gov. Kathy Hochul keeps her job.
Select polling places will be open for early votes across the state through June 26, ahead of the June 28 primary.
Hochul cast her vote Saturday morning in Buffalo, before joining Juneteenth Festival activities.
In the Democratic gubernatorial primary, Hochul is trying to fend off challenges from U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
On the Republican side, four candidates are competing for the nomination: U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, businessman Harry Wilson and Andrew Giuliani, the son of New York City's former mayor.
Primary races for lieutenant governor, state Assembly, and judicial delegates are also on the ballot.
Democrats have an outsized voter registration edge in New York, but Republicans are hoping to win over suburban and rural voters by blaming Democrats for crime and sluggish economic gains outside of New York City.
Hochul is considered the frontrunner on the Democratic side and has been leading her challengers in fundraising.
According to the most recent campaign finance reports filed on Friday, she started last week with $12.7 million in her campaign account and raised $895,000 from May 23 to June 13.
Williams brought in more than $49,000 during that same period and reported about $101,000 on hand, while Suozzi raised about $526,000 and had about $1.7 million in his account as of June 13.
On the Republican side, Zeldin reported about $556,000 in contributions in the most recent period and $2.1 million on hand.
Astorino reported raising about $210,000 and having about $651,000, Wilson reported about $1.2 million in contributions and having more than $2 million on hand and Giuliani reported bringing in about $83,000 and having $344,000 in his account.
New Yorkers can again choose to vote by absentee ballot rather than face the risk of catching COVID-19 at polling sites through the rest of 2022.
New York will hold another primary Aug. 23 for state Senate and U.S. House races. The primary election for those offices was delayed because of a legal fight over Democrats’ efforts to gerrymander new political district maps.
Those maps were ultimately thrown out by courts, which declared that they had been enacted improperly, and redrawn under a judge's supervision.
The state chapter of the League of Women Voters and a small group of Democrats and Republicans, sued by mid-May to delay the state Assembly primary. But their legal efforts floundered, with judges in several rulings saying it’s simply too late to delay the June primary.