Governor of New York - Kristin Davis (Anti-Prohibition). You don't need to remind me that she's a former madam. And I saw clips of her performance in the debate - she did too much reading, and her one-liners wouldn't be too helpful if she were elected. But she has the best policy set of anybody in the race. Cuomo would keep our state where it is, and Paladino might well take it backwards. In a field of sub-par candidates, Davis is the least sub-par.
New York Comptroller - Harry Wilson (Republican). I'll admit I'm not as informed about this race as I could have been; especially not good since the polling shows this is a very tight race. But I knew DiNapoli (the incumbent Democrat) was appointed out of the Assembly, which makes him less palatable to me, given the current situation in the State House. Wilson has experience in business and seems like a numbers-oriented guy.
New York Attorney General - Dan Donovan (Republican). This one gave me some thought, and was the only one I was undecided on when I left for the polling station this morning. I had received two mailings from Donovan. One of them mentioned that Eric Schneiderman opposes civil confinement for sex offenders; that issue nearly swung me to Schneiderman's side. (Don't get me wrong; sex offenses are heinous crimes, but the Eighth Amendment still applies, and I think civil confinement rises to "cruel and unusual punishment.") Also, Donovan has a track record as a district attorney, while Schneiderman is currently...a state senator. Taking everything into account, the scales tipped in Donovan's favor.
Judges in various courts, and Suffolk County Clerk - Yes. The judgeships take up about half the ballot. Many are cross-endorsed by both the major parties, as was the nominee for county clerk. I voted for some of them. These officials have a lesser impact on policymaking - and I intend to stay out of the courts, so my vote in these races shouldn't have occasion to come back and haunt me.
And now, on to the legislative races:
U. S. Senate, Class 3 (full six-year term) - Jay Townsend (Republican). Reason: He's not Chuck Schumer. The seat is about as safe as can be, so it doesn't matter much. But if the Democrats retain the Senate, Schumer could become Majority Leader, and I don't want to lend any aid to that possibility.
U. S. Senate, Class 1 (remaining two years of Hillary Clinton's term) - Joseph DioGuardi (Republican). Reason: He's not Kirsten Gillibrand. Also a safe seat. It's too bad that in a year when control of the Senate is in play, and BOTH of my state's seats are open, it probably still won't affect the outcome.
U. S. House, New York 2nd district - John Gomez (Republican). Reason: He's not Steve Israel. (Sensing a theme here?) Also, he ran an ad that quoted Gomez saying that Social Security and Medicare are not rights. Speaking strictly in terms of the current law, that's correct; those benefits can be modified by Congress at any time for any reason. And the same ad said Gomez was "too radical" - which is probably a good thing for Washington in these days.
New York Assembly, 9th district - Andrew Raia (Republican). And now, I break with the previous trend and vote for the incumbent. Raia has always struck me as a good hard-working person. The Assembly is overwhelmingly (more than two-thirds) Democratic, so this vote doesn't have as much of an impact.
New York Senate, 5th district - Carl Marcellino (Republican). Much more important, given the precarious balance in this chamber (and the farce that resulted from that last year). The working of the New York State government has never been a thing of beauty, but it seemed to function better when the two chambers of the Legislature were controlled by different parties. I cast my vote primarily to restore such a "balance."
What I would really like to see on future ballots is an option for "none of these