NEW YORK – With their party’s candidates bleeding all over the country, the victory parties for New York State Democrats were bound to be somewhat subdued, but the relatively weak showing of their once-high flying governor Andrew Cuomo and their inability to win control of the State Senate made most just want to go home and catch up on rest after a grueling campaign.
Although Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey was not up for re-election, he was a victim of the Democrats’ loss of the U.S. Senate since he will lose the chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Hellenes in the New York Metropolitan Area, especially Greek-Cypriot Americans, have enjoyed a close relationship with Menendez, and they will now have to work with a new Republican chairman.
The Washington Post writes that “Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) is a likely candidate to take over the chairmanship…He is not guaranteed to assume the top role…some of his Republican colleagues have accused him of being too moderate…”
Until recent years, Republican foreign policy leaders have been strongly pro-Turkey. That started to change when President Erdogan began his unceasing attacks on Israel, and the trend may be accelerating in light of U.S. frustration with Turkey over its Syria and ISIS policies.
Those developments present the community with new opportunities to make its case regarding relations with Greece, Cyprus and Turkey.
NEW YORK RESULTS
Andrew Cuomo won re-election as governor by a healthy 54 to 41 percent margin over Bob Astorino, but he fell short of his hopes of topping the 65 percent his father Mario Cuomo garnered in his 1986 re-election bid.
It was less filial rivalry than his own Presidential ambitions that that drove 56 year old Andrew to want to top Papa Mario.
“Gone is the aura of invincibility that made Albany lawmakers clear out of his path. The governor’s future is uncertain, with a presidential bid presumably blocked by Hillary Rodham Clinton,” the New York Times reported.
After an excellent start when Cuomo the Younger was elected to his first term in 2010, the disenchantment of his party’s left wing and voter anger over the apparent abandonment of his pledge to root out corruption in the state capital sucked the wind from his sails.
“His pledge to clean up Albany ricocheted against him,” the Times noted, “as federal prosecutors started an investigation into his shutdown of an ethics panel he had made a show of creating only nine months earlier.”
In other statewide races, Democrat Eric Schneiderman defeated John Cahill 55 to 41 percent and Thomas DiNapoli was re-elected state comptroller by 60-37 percent.
Michael Gianaris is the second highest Democrat in the Senate, is the chair of the New York State Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and has worked hard to make a democratic majority a reality. That goal will be pushed back two more years.
Carolyn Maloney breezed to re-election with an 80-20 percent margin.
Democrats Frank Skoufis and Frank Skartados won re-election to the NY State Assembly with 50.4 and 57 percent of the vote respectively.
Greek-Americans in Staten Island may witness the spectacle of seeing their embattled Congressman Michael Grimm having to resign the seat he just won by a comfortable 55 to 43 if he cannot overcome his federal indictment on fraud charges.
Malliotakis was loyal to her fellow Republican, and told TNH Grimm’s victory “is the result of his work ethic…he has worked very hard and has delivered for this district.”
Regarding her own triumph, she said, “I am so overwhelmed by the support I have received from my district,” she told TNH. Malliotakis worked incessantly support her constituents’ recovery from Hurricane Sandy. Her polling has gone from 54 to 61 and now to 73 percent.
Of her party’s national successes, she said, “I think the taxpayers was sent a message nationally that the police of Obama, Pelosi, and Bill de Blasio are taking us in the wrong direction.”
Malliotakis was very happy that New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skellos retained the Republican majority.
Senator Michael Gianaris, who won with 96 percent of the vote, first told TNH “I am deeply grateful for the support western Queens showed me in this year’s elections… However, there is always more to be done, and I look forward to continuing our work together with the support of western Queens’s residents.”
He then said regarding the Senate as a whole “Senate Democrats will continue working to make life better for all New Yorkers by enacting a real increase in the minimum wage, passing meaningful ethics and campaign finance reform, and fighting for women’s equality. We hope that members of other conferences join us in supporting these measures that are overwhelmingly supported by a majority of New Yorkers.”
State Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas was not up for re-election, but her election day duties enable her to tell constituents “Thank you so much for your confidence and support…“I look forward to fighting for what matters most to our community…I will continue to do all that I can to help provide a brighter future for all Astorians.”