In yesterday’s midterm Elections, New Yorkers across the state went to the polls to vote for governor. Their choices were incumbent Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul and Republican Lee Zeldin. With 94% of precincts reporting, Hochul holds an irreversible lead of 52.8 to 47.2 with more than 5.7 million ballots cast.
We hit the streets and spoke with an array of voters yesterday evening around 8 p.m. outside of the polling station at 817 Avenue H in Midwood, Brooklyn, some of whom asked to remain anonymous. Here’s what they had so say.
Interviews have been lightly edited for clarity. If you click on the interviewee’s name, you can hear the full interview.
Who did you vote for for governor?
For the Democratic candidate.
And why did you do that?
Only because she’s the Democratic candidate. I mean that I’m not happy with her. I do not like the stadium that she paid for. I do not like some of the decisions that she’s made that clearly have been made for the benefit of the people who contribute to her campaign. But I don’t want a Republican.
What are the issues you care about?
That’s your #1 issue?
Can you tell us why you voted for Zeldin?
I don’t think Hochul has given enough attention to the economy and there were also some Jewish issues which she didn’t address, as well.
And what are the issues you care about?
Economy, environment, public safety.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I think it’ll be a close race.
Why did you vote for Kathy Hochul?
To stop Lee Zeldin. I don’t particularly love Kathy Hochul but as a person on the left, obviously reducing harm to most communities and stopping Lee Zeldin.
What kind of issues do you care about?
I particularly care about income inequality
And you don’t think Zeldin would help that?
No, of course not.
Do you think that Hochul’s doing anything to help that?
I’m reluctant to say anything particularly enthusiastic about Kathy Hochul but obviously as a registered voter on the left, certainly I think that one party is better than the other on the issue of income inequality and it’s the Democrats.
Why did you vote for Hochul?
Because I think our democracy is at stake, and we have to keep Democrats in power so that we don’t lose that democracy.
And why do you think that Zeldin, a Republican, has been able to go so far in this race?
I think because there’s a lot of fear right now, which is not illegitimate, and that when people are afraid they want someone who feels tough rather than someone who’s gonna actually address systemic challenges. And it’s easier to say, “I just want someone who is gonna fight crime.”
What are the issues you care about when voting?
I care about the environment. I care about public education — I have kids. I care about gun safety and I care about economic and racial justice.
Why did you vote for Hochul, the Democratic candidate?
First of all, because I would not vote for a Republican or a a conservative. To be honest, I haven’t really followed the race so much but I always vote for Democrats or progressives so for me it wasn’t even — I didn’t debate that.
You said sometimes you vote progressive. Hochul is a pretty conservative Democrat. Would you like to see a more progressive candidate for governor?
Absolutely. And just more progressive politicians in general, everywhere, represented in all spheres.
And did you vote in the Democratic primaries for Governor? Hochul, Jumaane Williams, et cetera —
No, this is actually my second time voting. The first was in the general election, last election.
Why is that?
It is because I am a new citizen, relatively.
Where are you originally from?
I’m originally from Ukraine and Israel.
I’m a comedian on stage. I usually perform at the Broadway Comedy Club. I live in Midwood. It’s been kind of a tough race for me, personally, to decide who I would vote for, the reason being that Eric Adams has endorsed Kathy Hochul and Mike Pompeo, the CIA director who’s a very smart guy, I believe, endorsed Zeldin. […]
I just feel like if the wheel ain’t broken, don’t fix it. I really like the way the system has been running lately. There’s been a positive feedback between police officers and the general public and civilians around New York City that I’ve spoken to the very few times that I do step outside or go on stage. And I did notice a way calmer atmosphere with her around. And you know what I think it is? I think it’s that New York has finally got that feminine energy they’ve been waiting for for so long, for so many decades you could say, cause she’s the first female governor.
Ever since I saw Eric Adams endorse her, I already knew who I was gonna vote for, which was literally just a few hours ago on TV. I was having a difficult time deciding, because there is a lot about how the other candidate, Zeldin, is exaggerating the way crime rate has gone up, which I don’t believe at all. I actually see people when I walk outside are way more peaceful. The neighborhoods have become more diverse, and friendly, surprisingly, after it has become more diverse here in Midwoon alone. I don’t feel threatened just because I see different types of races or groups hanging out here together. Generally, white people across the country in the South are more used to being diverse and I feel like the North has a lot more trouble with that.
It’s funny too because I also just changed my status. I was originally an Independent and then I went to Democrat, because I wanted to be a part of the party that everybody was a part of, which that’s what it generally is here in New York. But then it really got me ticked off with the way Democrats have been treating Republicans, so I did change to Republican. So now it’s funny that I’m a Republican voting for a Democrat.
And have you voted Republican recently? Did you vote for Trump?
It’s crazy, until Joe Biden got rid of that student-loan debt — like my credit score has gone up from the last time I ever paid a bill. That’s insane. I originally supported Trump but I didn’t go out and vote because I didn’t think my vote would matter. But I did campaign for him, just grassroots on the street, talking to people. And right now, I’m also a supporter of Joe Biden and what he’s done for people.
You felt this literal change.