The 5 Races You Need to Know On Election Day 2014

The scoop on the Valley’s political campaigns; PLUS: Results from our 2014 reader poll


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It’s that time of year again: Election Day is November 4. The biggie this year is the governor’s race, with Republican and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino challenging incumbent Democrat Andrew Cuomo.

One of the main points on Astorino’s platform is ridding the state of the Common Core standards in schools. To bolster the economy, he plans to decrease regulations and provide companies with tax relief, as well as offer tax incentives to start new farms. On Cuomo’s agenda is passage of all 10 points of the Women’s Equality Act. Nine points — which include issues like equal pay — almost got the bill passed last year, but the 10th, which allows abortions up to 24 weeks (in some cases later) and non-physicians to perform the procedure, even should Roe vs. Wade be overturned on the federal level in the future, halted it. He also stands behind his StartUpNY initiative (which gives companies incentives to locate in New York State), and his decision last year to sign legislation allowing four casinos to be built upstate.

And as with any campaign, the mudslinging is in full force. Cuomo cited a Westchester fair housing dispute and accused Astorino of racism. Astorino countered by calling Cuomo corrupt, referring to the Moreland scandal, an ongoing (as of press time) federal investigation of the governor and his officials who allegedly tried to cover up cases of public corruption. And we can’t forget that Cuomo declared Astorino unfit for office because he’s a Miami Dolphins fan, while Astorino accused Cuomo of killing unicorns. Serious accusations, indeed!

But besides the governor’s race, three Valley elections are being closely followed, mainly because their results could determine who holds the majority in the state senate — the Republicans or the Democrats. All eyes are on districts 40, 41, and 46. Here’s the lowdown on each.

justin wagner terrence murphy

Left to right: Justin Wagner (D), Terrence Murphy (R)

District 40 

Where it is: Some of Westchester, eastern Putnam, and a small section of southeastern Dutchess 
Who’s running: Terrence Murphy (R) vs. Justin Wagner (D) 
Where they stand: Murphy opposes the abortion bill, SAFE Act, fracking (unless it’s proven unsafe for the environment), and Common Core. Wagner supports the abortion bill and SAFE Act, opposes fracking and Common Core.
Why it’s important: Senator Greg Ball is not seeking reelection, leaving the seat vacant, so both parties are trying to snatch it up.
Fun fact: Some political bigwigs weighed in: Murphy scored an endorsement from former governor George Pataki, and former president Bill Clinton backed Wagner.

terry gipson sue serino

Left to right: Terry Gipson (D), Sue Serino (R)

District 41

Where it is: Most of Dutchess, western Putnam
Who’s running: Terry Gipson (Incumbent, D) vs. Sue Serino (R)
Where they stand: Gipson supports the abortion bill and SAFE Act, opposes fracking, and wants to reform Common Core. Serino opposes the abortion bill and SAFE Act, wants to reform the state’s education system without Common Core, and supports fracking, should scientific evidence prove it can be done without harming the environment.
Why it’s important: In the last election, Gipson defeated Republican Steve Saland — who had been in office since 1990. Now the Republicans really want the seat back.
Fun fact: If Serino wins, she will be the first female to represent the district.

cecilia tkacyzk george amedore

Left to right: Cecilia Tkaczyk (D), George Amedore (R)

District 46

Where it is: Eastern Ulster, Greene, western Albany, and some of Schenectady and Montgomery
Who’s running: Cecilia Tkaczyk (Incumbent, D) vs. George Amedore (R)
Where they stand: Tkaczyk supports the abortion bill and some SAFE Act provisions, opposes fracking, and wants to reform Common Core. Amedore opposes the abortion bill and some SAFE Act provisions, wants to reform Common Core, and thinks it’s unlikely fracking in NY will happen, so the focus should be on other green energy initiatives.
Why it’s important: This district was newly created in 2012 when the lines were redrawn — and the senate increased from 62 to 63 seats. Both parties want control of the territory.
Fun fact: This race is a rematch from the last election, when Tkaczyk scraped by with a victory over Amedore by just 18 votes.

Reader Poll Results

And where do you stand? We polled readers on our Web site and asked their opinions on some of the hot-button issues:

Party ties:

  • 21% of poll respondents are Democrats
  • 28% of poll respondents are Republicans
  • 52% belong to other parties

On Common Core:

  • 94% want the Common Core standards removed from schools

On gun control:

  • 20% support the SAFE Act (stricter gun control)
  • 80% want the SAFE Act repealed

On women’s equality:

  • 34% want to pass the 10th point of the Women’s Equality Act
  • 66% want it blocked

On fracking:

  • 58% support fracking in the state
  • 42% want fracking stopped

’Ello, gov’na!

  • If it were entirely up to our readers, as of October 1, 2014, Astorino would be governor
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