This year’s general election will decide control of the New York statehouse, as incumbent Kathy Hochul, the first woman ever to hold the office of governor of New York, battles First District Congressman Lee Zeldin in what is shaping up to be the closest gubernatorial contest the state has seen in a generation.

The election will also decide control of the U.S. Congress, which the Democratic Party holds by slim majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. It is also the first election after reapportionment, the decennial process conducted after the census to draw new election districts.

Voting pattern data in this article is based on the Redistricting and You: New York Map created by the Center for Urban Research at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, which uses data compiled by the New York Times on every election district in the county.  

Candidate names are linked to their websites, if available, where voters can find information about the candidates’ platforms and biographies. Asterisk (*) denotes incumbent.

Early voting is already underway and continues through Sunday, Nov. 6. See early voting locations, dates and times here.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls in New York will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Voters must report to their regular polling place locations to vote on Election Day. Voters can find their regular polling place locations using a search tool on the New York State Board of Elections. Find your polling place here.

Nick LaLota and Bridget Fleming

First Congressional District: Nick LaLota (R) vs Bridget Fleming (D)

Nick LaLota of Amityville is a former Suffolk County elections commissioner and former Village of Amityville trustee. He currently serves as chief of staff to the presiding officer of the Suffolk County Legislature. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Navy. Although he is not a resident of the district, he said he will move into the district if elected.

LaLota has received endorsements from a number of organizations, including the Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters and the Retired Police Benevolent Association.

Bridget Fleming of Noyac is a fourth-term Suffolk County Legislator and former Southampton Town Councilwoman. She worked many years as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan, where she was a member of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit. She was also a managing attorney for pro bono programs at the New York City Bar Association.

Fleming has received endorsements from a number of organizations including the National Institute for Reproductive Health, the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association, the Police Conference of New York, the New York League of Conservation Voters and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

Redistricting changed the boundaries of the First Congressional District to include more of the north shore of Brookhaven and less of the south shore. The seat is currently occupied by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R), who chose to seek election as New York’s governor instead of running for reelection to Congress. 

The political leanings of the district are similar to two years ago, when Zeldin carried the district with 56% of the vote, outpacing President Donald Trump’s 51.5% of the vote in the presidential race. Redistricting diminishes that advantage slightly, as 50.1% of the redrawn district’s votes would have gone to Joe Biden in 2020.

Lee Zeldin and Kathy Hochul

N.Y. Governor: Lee Zeldin (R) vs. Kathy Hochul* (D)

Gov. Kathy Hochul, who assumed office in August 2021 following the scandal-fueled resignation of Andrew Cumo, is seeking her first full term in office this year. Hochul, who was born in Buffalo, served as lieutenant governor under Cuomo from 2015 until succeeding him in office last summer. She worked as a lawyer and also served on the Town Board of Hamburg, a town near Buffalo, and was Erie County Clerk before being elected to congress during a 2011 special election. Hochul is also the first woman to hold the position of governor in the state.

Hochul’s running mate is Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado, a Harvard Law School graduate and two-term former congressman from upstate, who is the first Latino to hold statewide office. 

Delgado was preceded in his position as lieutenant governor by Brian Benjamin, a former state senator who resigned after being indicted on federal bribery charges relating to contributions to his former campaign as New York City comptroller. Benjamin has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Lee Zeldin of Shirley is seeking to unseat Hochul as governor. If he is successful, he would be the first Republican governor of New York since George Pataki left office in 2006. Zeldin is a four-term congressman representing the eastern two-thirds of Suffolk County. Before his election to Congress, he was a two-term state senator representing the Third Senate Disrict. Zeldin is an attorney and an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. 

Zeldin is a staunch supporter of Trump and was a member of the former president’s defense team in his first impeachment proceeding. Zeldin also objected to the certification of Arizona’s and Pennsylvania’s electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021, after Trump lost the 2020 election and made unfounded claims of voter fraud.

Zeldin’s running mate is Alison Esposito, a former longtime member of the NYPD who rose to the rank of deputy inspector in a Brooklyn precinct.

Anthony Palumbo, left, and Skyler Johnson

First Senate District: Anthony Palumbo* (R) vs. Skyler Johnson (D)

Anthony Palumbo of New Suffolk is the incumbent state senator seeking election to a second term. He is a former assemblyman, first being sworn into office to represent the Second Assembly District in 2013, and won election to the State Senate in 2020 after the retirement of longtime incumbent Sen. Ken LaValle (R), who represented the First Senate District for 44 years. Palumbo, an attorney, has a private law practice and was previously a Suffolk County assistant district attorney.

Palumbo has received endorsements from a number of organizations including the Police Benevolent Associations of New York State and Suffolk County, as well as the Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk Counties AFL-CIO, New York State Public Employees Federation and the New York Business Council.

Skyler Johnson of Mt. Sinai is a political organizer and a non-profit employee, seeking an upset victory in the historically Republican senate district. He works at New Hour LI, an organization that advocates for women, children and families by providing direct services and resources. He is a recent graduate of Stony Brook University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in political science, and serves on the board of the Temple Beth Emeth of Mt. Sinai. He has served on campaign teams of local candidates, including as the campaign manager of Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren.

Johnson has received endorsements from a number of organizations including the CSA Local 1: American Federation of School Administrators AFL-CIO, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and the environmental advocacy group Sierra Club.

The First Senate District encompasses the five East End towns of Riverhead, Southold, East Hampton, Southampton and Shelter Island, as well as part of the Town of Brookhaven. The district was slightly changed during reapportionment, losing parts of the south shore of Brookhaven, but gaining more ground on the north shore.

Palumbo won the First Senate District with 51.7% of the vote in 2020, although Biden won the district with 50.5% of the vote in the presidential election. Redistricting increased the Democrats’ chances of flipping the district slightly, as 52.5% of the new district’s votes would have gone to Biden in 2020.

Fred Thiele, left, and Peter Ganley

First Assembly District: Fred Thiele* (D) vs. Peter Ganley (R) 

Fred Thiele of Sag Harbor is the incumbent assembly member seeking election to his 15th term in the State Assembly.

Thiele was originally elected as a Republican, and later switched to the Independence Party. He caucused with Democrats before officially joining the party this year after the Independence Party lost its ballot line. 

Thiele has received endorsements from a number of organizations including the League of Humane Voters and New York League of Conservation Voters.

Peter Ganley of Southold is seeking to unseat Thiele. Gabkey has worked in Zeldin’s district office, assisting with both press and constituent services. He also serves as treasurer of the Southold Town Republican Committee.

Ganley has received endorsements from the Suffolk County Superior Officers Association, Suffolk County Correction Officers Association and Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association.

Thiele won the First Assembly District with 57.6% of the vote in 2020, while Biden won the district with 55.5% of the vote in the presidential election. Redistricting increased the Democrats’ chance of keeping the district blue, as 58.9% of the new district’s votes would have gone to Biden in 2020.

Jodi Giglio, left, and Wendy Hamberger

Second Assembly District: Jodi Giglio* (R) vs. Wendy Hamberger (D) 

Jodi Giglio of Baiting Hollow is the incumbent assembly member seeking election to her second term. Giglio owns a construction management company and is a former three-term Riverhead Town Council member.  

Giglio has received endorsements from a number of organizations including the Police Benevolent Associations of New York State and Suffolk County, the National Rifle Association, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 138 and the Suffolk Association of Municipal Employees.

Wendy Hamberger of Center Moriches is a lawyer and mediator with a  practice based in Holbrook specializing in family law. She attended CUNY School of Law and was admitted to the bar in 1999. She previously worked as a legislative aide for Assembly Member Nettie Mayersohn of Queens. Her work has been honored by Nassau-Suffolk Law Services as “Pro Bono Attorney of the Month” in January 2015 and Nassau County Bar Association Pro Bono Attorney of the Year in 2019. 

Hamberger does not list any endorsements from organizations on her campaign website.

The newly drawn Second Assembly District map, passed by a Democratic majority of the state legislature, removed the Town of Southold from Assembly District 2 and added the communities of Riverside and Northampton to the district. It also expanded the district further west and south in Brookhaven Town, including into Hamberger’s neighborhood in Center Moriches. The state’s redrawn assembly districts were ruled invalid in June, although not in time for the 2022 election. The assembly district lines will be redrawn in time for the 2024 elections. 

Giglio won the Second Assembly District with 56.3% of the vote in 2020, while Trump won the district with 55.1% of the vote in the presidential election. Redistricting increased the already overwhelming Republican district’s chances of reelecting Giglio, as 57.5% of the new district’s votes would have gone to Trump in 2020. 

Other races

Other statewide races include the race for attorney general, where first-term incumbent Letitia James (D) is facing challenger Michael Henry (R), an attorney from Queens. 

Fourth-term U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D), seeking his fifth six-year term in the Senate, is the current Senate majority leader. He is facing a challenge  from Joe Pinion (R), a former television host and the first Black person to receive a major party’s backing for U.S. Senate in New York. 

Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy (R), who is running for his fifth term, is being challenged by Thomas Dolan (D), the CEO of the Town of Babylon Industrial Development Agency. 

Vincent Puleo (R), the longtime Smithtown town clerk, and Lisa Jimenez (D), a longtime employee and manager of human resources for Suffolk Regional Off-Track Betting are competing for Suffolk County Clerk. The incumbent county clerk, Judith Pascale (R), lost to Puleo in the Republican Party primary.

Ballot proposals: Environmental Bond Act, county term limits, quarter-percent housing fund tax

Local voters will have the opportunity to vote on two or three ballot propositions in the general election, depending on the town they live in.

Ballot proposal one is a statewide proposition seeking approval for the $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act.

The proposition reads:

“To address and combat the impact of climate change and damage to the environment, the “Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022” authorizes the sale of state bonds up to four billion two hundred million dollars to fund environmental protection, natural restoration, resiliency, and clean energy projects.

Shall the Environmental Bond Act of 2022 be approved?”

The $4.2 billion bond act was approved by the legislature as part of the governor’s budget proposal. Climate change its largest category of funding under the act, which also requires that a portion of the total funding be allocated to disadvantaged communities that bear a disproportionate share of negative environmental consequences.

The environmental bond act allows for the sale of state bonds in the amount of up to $4.2 billion for certain capital projects for the purpose of making environmental improvements that preserve, enhance, and restore New York’s natural resources and reduce the impact of climate change.

If approved by New Yorkers in a majority vote, the proposal would allow the state to borrow up to $4.2 billion to provide funding for capital projects for the following:

climate change mitigation (up to $1.5 billion) will fund projects that expand clean energy infrastructure, increase energy efficiency, reduce green gas emissions, and protect air and water quality to help fight and mitigate climate change;

restoration and flood risk reduction (at least $1.1 billion) will fund projects to enhance New York’s natural and manufactured coastal resilience systems, such as shoreline protection, wetland restoration, local waterfront revitalization, green infrastructure, and voluntary buyout programs.;

open space, land conservation and recreation (up to $650 million) will fund the expansion of open space conservation programs, promote outdoor recreation, protect natural resources, improve biodiversity, benefit threatened and endangered species and help farmers who are facing the challenges of climate change. Funding will invest in restoring and maintaining native fish populations and increasing public access to our waterways to support Long Island’s maritime culture; and

water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure (at least $650 million) will fund projects that protect water quality, with at least 35% of the total spent in disadvantaged communities.

The proposal also would allow the state to refund the debt to take advantage of lower interest rates if the opportunity arises. To accomplish this, the proposal authorizes the state comptroller to issue additional state bonds in sums up to or exceeding the amount of the bonds initially issued to refund, to advance refund, or otherwise repay part or all of such bonds prior to the scheduled dates of their maturity.

Ballot proposal two is a countywide proposition to clarify an existing charter law that established term limits for certain county officers.

‘Shall Resolution No. 462-2022, Adopting a Charter Law To Set Term Limits For The Offices Of County Executive, County Legislator And County Comptroller At 12 Years In Total, Be Approved?”

Suffolk County voters in 1993 approved term limits of 12 years for the offices of county executive, county comptroller and county legislator. The language of the 1993 term limits law prohibit an individual from serving in any of these offices for a period of more than “twelve consecutive years.”

This charter law amendment would clarify that the 12-year term limit constitutes a lifetime limitation on an individual’s service in any of these positions. It would prevent the term-limits “clock” from resetting if an individual leaves office for a period of time.

The 12-year limit is a limit on the total number of years that may be served, with one exception. Resolution No. 462-2022, adopted by the legislature in April, also clarifies that a partial legislative term served as a result of a legislator taking office to fill an unexpired term after a special election or appointment shall not be used in calculating the total number of years served by a legislator.

There is a third proposal on the ballot for voters in Southampton, Southold, Shelter Island and East Hampton.

Proposal three asks voters to approve a local law amending their local town code to establish a half-percent (0.5%) tax, paid by the purchaser on the transfer of real property, with revenues from the half-percent tax deposited in the community housing fund to address affordable housing in the town.

The the fund can be used to create government-sponsored affordable housing, make loans and grants to first-time homebuyers with lower incomes who work or live in the town, subsidize housing related services, and more. The five East End towns were given the option to create the fund by state legislation enacted last year.

Riverhead is the only East End town that did not elect to pursue a ballot proposal this year seeking voter approval of the new quarter-percent tax. Town officials have expressed their belief that Riverhead has an adequate amount of affordable housing already. However, they did not rule out moving forward with a ballot proposition to establish the tax in 2023.

All three ballot proposals are on the back side of the ballot. Candidates running for offices up for election this year are on the front, so remember to turn the ballot over to vote on the propositions.

Sample Ballot: Town of Riverhead

Page 3 of 2022 General - Sample Precinct Ballot Booklet (2)
Contributed to DocumentCloud by Denise Civiletti (East End Local Media Corp.) • View document or read text

Sample Ballot: Town of Riverhead Propositions

Page 4 of 2022 General - Sample Precinct Ballot Booklet (2)
Contributed to DocumentCloud by Denise Civiletti (East End Local Media Corp.) • View document or read text

Sample Ballot: Town of Southampton (Riverside, Northampton)

Page 145 of 2022 General - Sample Precinct Ballot Booklet (2)
Contributed to DocumentCloud by Denise Civiletti (East End Local Media Corp.) • View document or read text

Sample Ballot: Town of Southampton (other than Riverside, Northampton)

Page 143 of 2022 General - Sample Precinct Ballot Booklet (2)
Contributed to DocumentCloud by Denise Civiletti (East End Local Media Corp.) • View document or read text

Sample Ballot: Town of Southampton Propositions

Page 146 of 2022 General - Sample Precinct Ballot Booklet (2)
Contributed to DocumentCloud by Denise Civiletti (East End Local Media Corp.) • View document or read text

The survival of local journalism depends on your support.
We are a small family-owned operation. You rely on us to stay informed, and we depend on you to make our work possible. Just a few dollars can help us continue to bring this important service to our community.
Support RiverheadLOCAL today.

Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: alek@riverheadlocal.com