A relatively sleepy Election Day is upon us.
No mayors, governors or even members of Congress will be crowned tomorrow in New York. It’s an off year, which means the electoral intrigue around the five boroughs is lighter—but not nonexistent.
The Observer is here to guide you through the action.
Staten Island District Attorney
You can read all you need to know about the Staten Island DA’s race here. In short, this toss-up contest to replace Republican Daniel Donovan, now a member of Congress, pits Joan Illuzi, a Republican and veteran of the Manhattan district attorney’s office, against Michael McMahon, a Democratic former congressman and city councilman. With his superior name recognition and fundraising, Mr. McMahon appeared to be the front-runner several months ago. But Ms. Illuzi, a political newcomer, has waged an aggressive campaign, attacking Mr. McMahon for his lack of prosecutorial experience. She won a Conservative Party primary against him in September and now looks to have plenty of momentum going into Election Day. The race has been as much about what the district attorney’s role should be—community advocate or no-frills prosecutor—as it has about criminal justice debates like the Eric Garner case, which dominated the headlines last year.
Staten Island City Council District 51
Assemblyman Joseph Borelli, who has no opponent, is set to replace fellow Republican Vincent Ignizio in this South Shore district. A voluble conservative unafraid of mixing it up with Gov. Andrew Cuomo or Mayor Bill de Blasio, Mr. Borelli is sure to make some waves in the City Council, where progressives dominate and moderates are typically mum. Mr. Borelli, who had plenty of Council experience as Mr. Ignizio’s former chief of staff, is no shrinking violet.
Bronx District Attorney
Democrat Darcel Clark in the Democrat-dominated Bronx has nominal opposition from Republican Robert Siano. But that’s not the point. Ms. Clark drew plenty of unflattering coverage when the Bronx Democratic machine nominated Robert Johnson, the current DA, for a judgeship after he had already filed petitions to run for re-election. This maneuver allowed the party to install Ms. Clark, a judge who once worked for Mr. Johnson, without a primary. Ms. Clark has promised to reform the Bronx DA’s office, long regarded as the most troubled of the five boroughs’. Reformers criticize the office because of the excessively long wait times defendants endure to face trial, like in the tragic case of Kalief Browder. Traditionalists underscore Mr. Johnson’s relatively low conviction rate. Ms. Clark, assuming an easy win, has her work cut out for her.
Brooklyn Assembly District 46
If Republicans ever want to grow their numbers in Kings County, this is the race to do it in. Following Alec Brook-Krasny’s resignation, a backroom battle broke out among party insiders to determine the Democratic nominee to replace him. Thanks in part to Mr. Brook-Krasny’s failure over the years to shore up support in his own district, Pam Harris, a Coney Island activist and retired corrections officer, outmaneuvered Mr. Brook-Krasny’s chief of staff to get the nod. It was a win for the Coney Island-based faction of the southern Brooklyn district, and a loss for Bay Ridge. It also granted an opening to Republican Lucretia Regina-Potter, who has run unsuccessfully for office several times. Since the district is majority white and Ms. Harris is black, she will enter Election Day with a disadvantage in demographics. But given the Democratic tilt of the moderate district, she’s still the favorite.
Brooklyn State Senate District 19
Had Assemblyman Charles Barron, a proud radical, chosen to run in this race, it would have had some juice. Instead, Assemblywoman Roxanne Persaud will manage the uninspiring feat of winning two legislative offices without having a primary opponent. Thanks to the support of Frank Seddio, the chairman of the Brooklyn Democratic Party and a major player in Ms. Persaud’s Canarsie, she will be in line to crush nominal GOP opposition and replace John Sampson, a Seddio ally who was convicted on corruption charges in July, in this southern and eastern Brooklyn district.
Queens City Council District 23
Former Assemblyman Barry Grodenchik won a close six-way primary in September and is favored to win this special election to replace Mark Weprin, who left the post earlier this year to take a position with the Cuomo administration. Mr. Grodenchik, backed by the Queens Democratic Party and a host of labor unions, is pitching himself as the experienced, no-nonsense candidate required to fill Mr. Weprin’s shoes. Retired police captain Joseph Concannon is not going down quietly; a bombastic critic of Mr. de Blasio’s liberalism and a fierce defender of the police, Mr. Concannon is hoping to tie Mr. Grodenchik to the mayor. Mr. de Blasio is unpopular in the moderate eastern Queens district. Whether enough voters associate Mr. Grodenchik, who has never worked in City Hall, with Mr. de Blasio remains to be seen.
Queens Assembly District 29
William Scarborough’s conviction of corruption charges paved the way for a special election between Democrat Alicia Hyndman, a veteran of the State Department of Education, and Scherie Murray, a perennial Republican candidate. In deep blue Southeast Queens, Ms. Hyndman is a virtual lock to win. Perhaps the most interesting note about this election is that Ms. Hyndman wants to drastically weaken the mayoral control of public schools, setting herself up on a collision course with Mr. de Blasio, a fellow Democrat.
Queens District Attorney
Longtime District Attorney Richard Brown is running unopposed on the Democratic, Republican and Conservative lines. The race is only notable because Mr. Brown’s re-election could mean, sometime down the road, that the Queens Democratic Party gets to handpick a new district attorney if Mr. Brown, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, steps aside before the end of his new four-year term. One elected official to keep an eye on is Queens Councilman Rory Lancman. Tight with the county machine and increasingly outspoken about criminal justice matters, this Columbia Law graduate could end up at some point as Mr. Brown’s successor.