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Voters get their say in primaries

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    Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his Fiscal Year 2019 Executive Budget Address in the Clark Auditorium at the New York State Museum in Albany, Jan. 16, 2018.
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    Cynthia Nixon, at an abortion-rights rally in Union Square in New York, July 10. Nixon’s insurgent bid to unseat Gov.
September 12, 2018 09:26 pm Updated: September 13, 2018 11:43 am


Twin County voters will help decide in today’s state primaries the candidates who will move on to November’s general election.

Polling sites will open noon and close at 9 p.m. Only members registered of parties with primary elections,

Attorney General Barbara Underwood urged residents to report voting problems or issues at with the office’s hotline at 800-771-7755 or email between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.


Two candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination for the 107th Assembly District seat. The winner will run against incumbent Assemblyman Jake Ashby — the Republican from Castleton who won the special election in April.

Former Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin stepped down from the seat after he was elected Rensselaer County Executive last November.

Voters will choose between New Lebanon Town Clerk Tistrya Houghtling and lawyer Don Boyajian, of Cambridge, in Washington County for the Democratic nomination.

“I’m excited and I think we are going to win,” Boyajian said. “We have a wonderful team of volunteers, we have kept the campaign positive and we have worked hard. I am on my third pair of shoes since May. There is no substitute for walking and knocking on doors, talking to people face to face.”

Houghtling is calling herself the grassroots candidate in the race. She has served the town of New Lebanon — first as town court clerk, and then as town clerk for the past two terms.

“I am feeling really good about all the support we have received,” Houghtling said. “People need a candidate who reflects them and has walked in their shoes. People have shown they are really responsive to grass roots candidates.”

If elected, Houghtling said she will work with Republicans to get solutions to issues including crumbling infrastructure and the opioid epidemic.

“These are not partisan issues and affect all people in the 107th Assembly District,” Houghtling said. “We are so polarized now. We need to open the floor for discussion. We have to meet in the middle. People are not feeling like they are being heard and represented.”

Boyajian is an environmental lawyer who works for his father’s firm in Albany, Dreyer Boyajian LLP., representing communities including those affected by PCB contamination in the St. Lawrence and Hudson rivers. Boyajian previously worked for former U.S. Rep. Mike McMahon, D-13, and as a clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York, the state Attorney General’s Office and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“I have a track record of supporting organized labor, clean water and women’s reproductive rights,” Boyajian said. “That has been pretty consistent with what people have talked about while going door to door.”


Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, D-106, is running against 23-year-old Will Truitt, of Hyde Park, for the Independence Party’s nomination for the 106th Assembly District. Barrett has ran on the party line since taking office in March 2012. Barrett is seeking her third term in November.

The Independence Party often endorses candidates running on the Republican line on the local level like Truitt, who was endorsed by the party both times he was elected as Dutchess County Legislator.

Truitt first ran for Dutchess County legislator three years ago at the age of 19, after working with current Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, who is the Republican nominee for governor against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“Winning the nomination would help out the campaign a lot, because it will solidify the support we have in that party,” Truitt said, adding he knocked on over 5,000 doors and received a good response from Republicans, Democrats and Independents. “People are ready for some new blood and want to see a young person in office.

“I am feeling confident. Regardless of the outcome tomorrow, I hope those voters will come out to support me in November.”

The 106th Assembly District covers parts of Dutchess and Columbia counties, which have a combined 12,944 active Independence Party voters as of January, according to the state Board of Elections.

“I have been having wonderful conversations with voters of all ages and in every corner of the district,” Barrett said. “We talk about how important it is to continue working for affordable health care, lower taxes and government integrity. I hope all eligible voters will turn out and vote.”


Gov. Andrew Cuomo is running for his third term as governor facing a primary challenge from “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon, of Manhattan.

Nixon, who has been a long-time critic of how the state funds public schools, attacked Cuomo about several downstate issues including public transit in New York City, while pushing for more equitable funding for public schools, single-payer healthcare and racial justice issues.

“On Thursday, New York can vote for single-payer health care,” Nixon tweeted Wednesday. “For legalizing marijuana and ending mass incarceration. For investing in schools, not jails. Vote for a leader as progressive as our state.”

Cuomo is ahead of Nixon in the polls by 41 points, 63 to 22 percent, despite hits to his credibility during the primary season, according to a Sept. 10 poll conducted by the Siena College Research Institute.

Voters will also be asked to choose between four hopefuls for state Attorney General: U.S. Rep. Sean Maloney, D-18; two-term New York City Public Advocate Letitia James; Vice President for Government Affairs for Verizon for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Leecia Eve, of Harlem; and Forham College Associate Professor Zephyr Teachout.

Teachout previously ran for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2014 and ran against U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-19, in 2016.

“We’re more divided than at any point since the Civil War,” James tweeted Wednesday. “We need an Attorney General who will fight back and defend our rights. That’s why I’m asking for your vote tomorrow. As attorney general, I’ll be a fighter for all New Yorkers.”

Maloney was elected to the 18th Congressional District in 2012 — defeating then-incumbent Republican Nan Hayworth. Maloney pushes his record of fighting against Republican legislative items as a Democrat in the House of Representatives.

“There’s so much at stake right now,” Maloney tweeted Wednesday. “New York’s next attorney general will stand on the front lines and protect our progressive values. I’m the only candidate in this race with the experience to fight back against Trump and win.”

Teachout set her priorities as attorney general as opposing policies coming from the White House, fighting corruption in Albany, fighting financial fraud and corporate scams and addressing mass incarceration.

“I’m the only candidate in the race who isn’t taking corporate money,” Teachout tweeted Wednesday. “I’m relying on everyday people to help get my message out. Your support will help me reach undecided voters.”


In addition to the primary in the 106th Assembly District, registered Independence Party voters in Greenport’s 2nd and 3rd districts will elect two candidates to the county’s Independence Party Committee. The seats carry two-year terms.

Voters in the town’s 2nd district can write in the name of two candidates they wish to elect to the committee, as no named candidates are listed, according to sample ballots from the Columbia County Board of Elections.

In the town’s 3rd voting district, former Town Supervisor Ed Nabozny is running for one of two open seats on the county’s Independence Party Committee, according to sample ballots from the board of elections. Voters in District 3 will write in the name of the candidate for the other seat.

Nabozny was the sole Independence Party member to file a designating petition in the town’s 3rd district, said Virginia Martin, Democratic election commissioner with the board of elections.

Independence Party members in voting districts 2 and 3 filed Opportunity to Ballot petitions, which do not name a specific candidate, Martin said.

The winners of Thursday’s primary will be elected to the committee and are not on the ballot in November.