All of New York’s statewide offices are on next Tuesday’s ballot, as are all 213 state legislative seats. You can the full list of Unshackle Upstate’s endorsed candidates here.


First-term incumbent Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo is being challenged by Republican Rob Astorino, who serves as Westchester County Executive. Governor Cuomo’s running mate is Kathy Hochul, former Congresswoman and Erie County Clerk.  Astorino’s running mate is Chris Moss, the Chemung County Sheriff.

The third-party polls that have been released show Cuomo/Hochul with a significant lead over their opponents. A Marist poll released earlier today shows Gov. Cuomo leading Astorino 56%-30%.

Attorney General

First-term incumbent Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman faces Republican challenger John Cahill in the race for state Attorney General. Schneiderman previously served in the State Senate before representing a district in Manhattan and the Bronx.

Cahill served as Secretary and Chief of Staff to Governor Pataki, and was responsible for the coordination of the rebuilding efforts in lower Manhattan. He also served as Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. Unshackle Upstate has endorsed John Cahill in this race.


Incumbent Democratic Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has served since he was elected by the Legislature in 2007 upon the resignation of Alan Hevesi. He previously represented part of Nassau County in the state Assembly.

His Republican challenger, Bob Antonacci, is a certified public accountant (CPA) who currently serves as Onondaga County Comptroller.

State Senate

New York biggest prize this Election Day is for control of the State Senate. The Republicans have been in control of the State Senate – except for 1965 and 2009-10 – since the 1930’s.

The Democrats controlled the Senate in 2009-10, the Republicans took it back in 2011-12, and in 2013-14 a majority coalition made up of Republicans and six Democrats.

Last June, Governor Cuomo and Senate IDC Leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) released a joint statement indicating that the Senate IDC will “work together” with the mainline Democrats to form a new coalition in the State Senate after the November elections. But this agreement – which would put the Democrats firmly in control of the State Senate – probably depends on the Democrats winning at least 32 seats in the November elections.

The Senate races listed below are the ones that will likely determine who controls the Senate in 2015:

Senate District 40 (Parts of Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties) – Republican Greg Ball decided not run for re-election, creating an open seat in this district. The Republican candidate is Dr. Terrence Murphy, who runs a health and wellness center and a restaurant, and who serves as a Yorktown Councilman.  He faces Democrat Justin Wagner, an attorney. Unshackle Upstate has endorsed Murphy in this race.

Senate District 41 (Parts of Putnam and Dutchess counties) – Democratic incumbent Terry Gipson was first elected in 2012, winning a three-way race for this seat. He previously served as a Rhinebeck Trustee, and he also owned a business.  He is being challenged by Republican Sue Serino, a Dutchess County Legislator and owner of a real estate company. Unshackle Upstate has endorsed Sue Serino in this race.

Senate District 46 (Parts of Albany, Greene, Montgomery, Schenectady, and Ulster counties) – This race is a rematch of one of 2012’s closest races. Incumbent Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk, a former legislative staffer and school board member, again faces Republican George Amedore.  Amedore runs his family’s construction business; he served almost three full terms in the Assembly before giving up that seat to run for the Senate. Unshackle Upstate has endorsed George Amedore in this race.

Senate District 55 (Parts of Monroe and Ontario counties) – First term Democratic incumbent Ted O’Brien is being challenged by Republican Richard Funke. O’Brien served in the Monroe County Legislature, and practices law.  Funke was a television news anchor in the area for decades.

Senate District 60 (Part of Erie County) – Incumbent Republican Mark Grisanti lost the Republican primary to Kevin Stocker, but remains in the race on the Independence Party line. The Senate Republican leadership is backing Grisanti over Stocker.  Democrat Mark Panepinto is also in the race. Unshackle Upstate has endorsed Mark Grisanti in this race.

State Assembly

The Assembly is overwhelmingly Democratic, and this is not expected to change this Election Day. The Democrats currently hold 97 seats, the Republicans 40. (One Independence Party member caucuses with the Democrats.)  There are currently 11 vacant seats.

Among the races of interest Upstate are:

Assembly District 126 (Parts of Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland and Onondaga counties) – Republican incumbent Gary Finch, who was first elected in 1999, is being challenged by Diane Dwire, 68, a former Camillus town councilor and state health department retiree. Unshackle Upstate has endorsed Gary Finch.

Assembly District 127 (Part of Onondaga County) – Incumbent Democrat Al Stirpe is being challenged by Republican Rob DeMarco, a former Onondaga County Assistant District Attorney.

Assembly District 143 (Part of Erie County) – This seat became vacant when Democrat Dennis Gabryszak resigned. Republican Angela Wozniak, a small business owner and Town of Cheektowaga Board member faces Democrat Mark Mazurek, a business owner. Unshackle Upstate has endorsed Angela Wozniak.

Assembly District 146 (Parts of Erie County) – Incumbent Republican Ray Walter, who was first elected in 2011, is being challenged by Democrat Steve Meyer. Meyer founded and serves as director of the State Legislative Awareness Project, “an initiative aimed at increasing the political efficacy of citizens state-wide.”