The state legislative races on November ballots can be like the filet of sole on a steakhouse menu — not what most people are looking for. Yet, though the governor’s race, and even congressional races, will draw the greatest interest on Nov. 6, elections for the New York State Senate are unusually important this year and deserve New Yorkers’ full consideration.
Democrats are in solid control of the Assembly, but Republicans control the Senate by one seat. By that diaphanous margin, Republicans have helped stymie progress on women’s rights, ethics reform, rent regulation, gun safety, voting rights and more.
Instead of compounding New Yorkers’ troubles, their legislators could be pushing back as Republicans in Washington try to take away reproductive rights and eliminate deductions for state and local taxes, dunning middle-class families to finance tax cuts for the rich.
When Democrats last controlled both houses of the State Legislature about a decade ago, it didn’t go so well. A bunch of crooks, who were later jailed, held an embarrassing amount of power. But this year there has been a wave of Democratic candidates worthy of enthusiasm. In the following three Senate races, in and around New York City, voters have some excellent choices.
James Gaughran, the Democratic candidate, nearly won this seat two years ago, and he deserves to win it this year. He promises a fight against the corruption that’s made itself at home in Albany. He supports banning outside income for legislators, closing the loophole that lets campaign money get funneled through secretive limited liability companies, and prohibiting the personal use of campaign funds. He also wants to make it easier to vote in New York, starting with early voting, easier party registration and letting people cast absentee ballots for any reason they choose.
What’s more, Mr. Gaughran supports stronger gun safety measures and, unlike his Republican opponent, Senator Carl Marcellino, he would write the protections of Roe v. Wade into state law, guarding against the likelihood that the Supreme Court will gut federal abortions rights.
Mr. Marcellino has held this seat since 1995, and his better efforts, mostly for the environment, were long ago. This is a time for new energy and a new voice. The Republicans have painted Mr. Gaughran as a New York City liberal and friend of Mayor Bill de Blasio — whom he says he has never met — but he has a background of public service on Long Island. A lawyer, he has been chairman of the Suffolk County Water Authority Board, a county legislator and member of the Huntington town board, and he is well grounded in local issues. The far better choice for this district is James Gaughran.