With the midterm elections approaching on November 8, millions of ballots have already been cast across the country. Voter turnout is on pace to shatter the previous record of 122 million voters which was set in 2018 breaking the previous set record 40 years ago. Poll analysis website FiveThirtyEight gives Republicans an 82% chance of retaking the House and Democrats a 53% chance of maintaining control of the Senate. In Onondaga County, there will be 11 races on the ballot, as well as a vote on the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, which authorizes the sale of state bonds to fund environmental protection. Here is a summary of all the positions and candidates up for election in J-D for the 2022 midterm elections.
U.S. senators are tasked with confirming international treaties, confirming presidential appointments, and trying presidential impeachments. Senate committees draft legislation and determine which legislation will be voted upon before the entire Senate. Senators serve six-year terms, and they work closely with the House of Representatives to pass legislation.
Charles “Chuck” Schumer (D) is the Senate Majority Leader, and he has served in the Senate since 1999. Prior to his current position, Schumer was a member of the New York State Assembly and later the U.S. House of Representatives. Schumer’s main issues include supporting the middle class, passing climate change legislation, defending election integrity, decreasing health care costs, ensuring equal rights for all, preventing gun violence, lowering student debt, helping individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19, protecting abortion rights, improving Medicare for the elderly, and reforming U.S. immigration policy.
Joe Pinion III (R) is a moderate conservative who got his political start as a political commentator, appearing on CNN and later Newsmax. He also worked with a Republican environmental advocacy organization for non-governmental clean energy called RePublicEN. Known for his polarizing takes on controversial issues, Pinion has also worked as an entrepreneur in the healthcare, renewable energy, and media industries. Pinion’s main issues include fighting crime, providing equitable education, lowering inflation and gas prices, and improving public housing.
Diane Sare (LaRouche) is an independent candidate for the U.S. Senate who is both anti-liberal and anti-conservative. Sare is a trained classical musician who became an organizer for radical anti-British Presidential Candidate Lyndon LaRouche. Sare’s main issues include campaigning for the U.S. to leave NATO and collaborating with China and Russia to stabilize the world economically. Sare’s paramount issue is reinstating the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act — which separated commercial and investment banking — to prevent another economic collapse.
According to polling aggregation website FiveThirtyEight, Schumer has an estimated 54% victory, while Pinion lags behind at 38%. It’s important to note that poll figures often do not add up to 100% because some people vote for independent candidates while others refuse to respond to poll questions.
New York State Governor
The governor is responsible for implementing and enforcing state laws through executive orders and vetoes. Many governors can also appoint state court judges. Governors must sign state legislature bills into law. They also manage the state National Guard, oversee state agencies, and report to the federal government on behalf of their state.
Kathy Hochul (D) is New York’s first female governor. She became governor in 2021 following the resignation of Andrew Cuomo. Hochul has experience as the Erie County Clerk, a U.S. Representative, the lieutenant governor under Former Gov. Cuomo, and an executive for M&T Bank. Hochul’s main issues include providing COVID relief for small businesses and the middle class, promoting affordable healthcare, reforming gun control and criminal justice laws, protecting abortion access, combating climate change, providing equitable education, restoring trust and accountability in government, expanding access to affordable housing, and modernizing transportation and infrastructure.
Lee Zeldin (R) is a far-right U.S. Representative from New York’s 1st District, encompassing the eastern part of Long Island. Prior to becoming a U.S. congressman, Zeldin served as a member of the New York State Senate. He is currently a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve. Zeldin’s main issues include fighting crime, cutting taxes, decreasing government spending, ending COVID vaccine mandates, enacting voter ID requirements, improving the quality of New York schools, implementing term limits for NYS governors, and expanding services for veterans.
According to FiveThirtyEight, Hochul has a 51% chance of victory, while Zeldin has a 44% chance.
New York State Attorney General
The state attorney general is the chief legal officer of the state. The attorney general is tasked with advising agencies and legislatures, as well as acting in the best interests of the public. The main powers of the state attorney general include issuing formal opinions to state agencies, proposing legislation, enforcing federal and state environmental laws, representing the state and its agencies before state and federal courts, handling criminal appeals and serious statewide criminal prosecutions, conducting civil lawsuits on behalf of the state, and operating victim compensation programs.
Letitia James (D) is the incumbent New York Attorney General and the first African-American and the first woman to hold the position. James has worked as a public defender, a New York State Assembly staffer, a member of the New York City Council, and the New York City Public Advocate. She was briefly a 2022 gubernatorial candidate, but she suspended her candidacy to run for re-election as attorney general instead. James’s main issues include regulating guns, protecting families from fraud and predatory employers, fighting greed and corruption in business and government, and advocating for environmental justice.
Michael Henry (R) is a commercial litigation lawyer in New York City. Before becoming an attorney, Henry worked in the mortgage industry. He has appeared as a legal analyst, political analyst, and columnist for various media outlets. Henry’s main issues include strengthening law enforcement, fighting corruption and the politicization of the attorney general position, and lowering the cost of living to curb population loss.
Thanks in large part to her investigations into Former Governor Andrew Cuomo and Former President Donald Trump, James has a lead of 53-37%, according to a Siena College poll.
New York State Comptroller
The state comptroller works with state agencies to ensure proper use of funds through audits and financial reports. In New York State, the comptroller controls the state pension fund, administers billions of dollars in paychecks to state employees, reports on state finances, manages state debt, reviews and audits state contracts, and oversees the fiscal affairs of local governments.
Thomas DiNapoli (D) has been a New York State Assembly Member since 1986 and the New York State Comptroller since 2007. As Comptroller, DiNapoli has worked to fight climate change, expose corruption and misuse of government funds, increase punishments for corrupt politicians, grow the state pension fund, ensure the quality of schools, and reform campaign finance to reduce the influence of special interest groups.
Paul Rodriguez (R) is a former Wall Street banker and credit analyst from Queens. He has held several local political positions in various organizations around New York City. Rodriguez’s main issues include fighting corruption, investigating fraud, allocating state pension funds for retirees responsibly, providing transparency regarding the state budget, increasing Comptroller oversight, and empowering small businesses.
DiNapoli has a 52% chance of election, while Rodriguez only has a 29% chance, according to the Siena College poll.
New York Congressional District 22 (U.S. House of Representatives)
House representatives, or congresspeople, introduce bills and resolutions, offer amendments to existing legislation, and serve on committees to determine which legislation is voted on by the House. The House has the power to impeach the president and to elect the president if no candidate receives the necessary 270 electoral votes.
Francis Conole (D) is an Iraq War Veteran, former Defense Secretary Policy Advisor, and former Syracuse City Chair of the Onondaga County Committee. He is currently a commander in the Navy Reserves. Conole’s main issues include lowering healthcare costs, investing in clean energy and infrastructure, fighting climate change, strengthening election security, ensuring abortion access, decreasing the influence of special interest groups, combating racism, reforming the criminal justice system to end mass incarceration, increasing equitable access to higher education, regulating guns, supporting Medicare and Social Security, addressing the opioid crisis, and preparing for the next pandemic.
Brandon Williams (R) is a former Strategic Missile Officer in the Navy and a former technology entrepreneur and executive. Currently, Williams owns a truffle farm and agritourism business in Central New York. Williams’s main issues include increasing police funding, establishing congressional term limits, reducing inflation by decreasing government spending, advocating for American energy independence, strengthening the military, encouraging quality education, emphasizing states’ rights, supporting veterans, decreasing abortion access, implementing voter ID laws, fighting for the Second Amendment, limiting illegal immigration, and combating censorship by “big tech” companies.
The Siena College poll shows a 45-40% lead for Williams over Conole.
New York State Senate District 50
Just like U.S. senators, state senators represent a locality in the Legislative Branch. However, they represent small districts within states rather than full states. While state senators perform the same duties of creating, debating, and voting on legislation, they often work more closely with their constituents.
John Mannion (D) is a former biology teacher and union leader. He is the current New York State Senator for the 50th Senate District. He is the chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Disabilities. Mannion’s issues include improving access to healthcare, increasing funding for education, and investing in local infrastructure. Mannion played a large role in attracting Micron to build a semiconductor factory in Clay.
Rebecca Shiroff (R) is a second-generation Cuban immigrant who previously ran for the New York State Assembly. She also ran for a position on the Manlius Town Board. Shiroff’s issues include working across partisan lines, repealing bail reform laws, lowering taxes for small businesses, improving mental health care for children, and decreasing access to abortion except in severe cases.
New York Assembly District 128
State assembly members — much like congresspeople — pass bills, set levels for state spending, raise and lower taxes, and certify gubernatorial elections.
Pamela Hunter (D) is the current Assembly Member for District 128. She served in the U.S. Army, before serving as a board member for various local charities. She was also a member of the Syracuse Common Council until her Assembly victory in 2015. Hunter’s issues include fighting inflation, providing affordable housing, increasing access to childcare, lowering gas prices, and improving education quality.
Dominick Ciciarelli (R) is a political newcomer. He is a former Service Manager at Matthews Hyundai and the owner of Ciciarelli Real Estate. Ciciarelli’s main issues include investing in infrastructure, curbing state spending, and amending criminal justice laws to be tougher on crime.
New York Supreme Court 5th District
The New York State Supreme Court is the highest court in the state court system. The court mainly hears appeals from inferior state courts. Federal courts can override state Supreme Court rulings only when there is a federal question raised by a decision. Onondaga County voters will elect four local justices to the New York State Supreme Court.
Christina Cagnina (D) has years of experience as an attorney — she has worked on cases dealing with civil rights violations, child abuse, juvenile delinquency, and child custody in divorce. Cagnina believes dignity and civility will allow her to stand up for the needs of her constituents.
John Dillon (D) has practiced law in Central New York for 27 years. He also served as Corporation Counsel for the city of Utica. Dillon believes humility and respect are the qualities that will allow him to be a good New York State Supreme Court Justice.
Charles Keller (D) has built his law career representing underprivileged communities — he has never worked for a law firm or represented a corporation. He taught law at Syracuse University for several years before returning to his practice. If elected, Keller hopes to be honest, work hard, and be brave.
David Murad (D) practiced law for 19 years before being elected Oneida County Surrogate Court judge. In 2008, he was elected New York State Supreme Court Justice, and he is seeking re-election this year. Murad stresses that his role is not political — instead, it is based on knowledge, fairness, and respect.
Julie Grow Denton (R) serves as confidential law clerk to Oneida County Surrogate Louis Gigliotti. She attended Harvard Law School and practiced law for 13 years with her family firm. She has participated on volunteer boards focusing on healthcare, education, the underprivileged, and more. Denton believes she is highly qualified based on her decades of legal experience.
Kevin Kuehner (R) is an experienced trial lawyer and Syracuse University professor. Most of his cases have centered on workplace injuries and safety laws. Kuehner believes the humility he has gained from his years as a New York State Supreme Court trial lawyer will lend itself well to a position as a justice.
William Ramseier (R) is the principal law clerk for New York Supreme Court Justice James McClusky. He has worked to address civil disputes and commercial litigation. He has also advised Justice McClusky on multiple jury trials. Meanwhile, he has served as the Clayton Town Clerk for the past eight years. Finally, he worked at a law firm in Alexandria Bay for several years early in his career. Ramseier believes understanding and patience are crucial qualities for a New York State Supreme Court Justice.
Mark Rose (R) is a veteran city court judge for civil and criminal trials. Over his 30-year legal career, Rose has been a city attorney, town attorney, village attorney, and school attorney. He has served as a member of the Fifth District Grievance Committee and as the president of the Herkimer County bar association. Rose believes he has the respect and temperament to make a fair justice.
Onondaga County Court Judge
County courts handle civil cases up to $25,000, and they prosecute all crimes committed in their county. With no current judges seeking re-election, voters will choose two of four candidates for the position.
Ted Limpert (D) was a Syracuse City Court Judge for ten years. He was in private law practice for 20 years before that. He is also a colonel in the Air National Guard, and has been deployed seven times. While a city court judge, he worked to address issues such as veteran’s treatment and human trafficking. Limpert believes his experience and temperament will allow him to succeed as the Onondaga County Court Judge.
Annaleigh Porter (D) seeks to become the first female Onondaga County Court Judge. She has served as a law fellow with the NAACP, a clerk for National Organization of Women President Karen DeCrow, and a County Court and Federal District Court lawyer focused on felony litigation. Porter says she is qualified, committed, and fair.
Melinda McGunnigle (R) began her career as a prosecutor in the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office. After handling a variety of felony cases, she was promoted to the Major Offense Bureau. Next, she worked in the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office. She has worked in the Special Victims Bureau, and she is now the Chief of the Homicide Bureau. She has tried over 50 homicide cases throughout her career. McGunnigle believes her greatest attributes are her fairness, ethics, and work ethic.
Jeffrey Schiano (R) is a defense attorney and a Clay Town Justice. He also served as an assistant district attorney. With experience as a prosecutor and a defense attorney, Schiano hopes to bring his integrity, humility, and commitment to justice to the Onondaga County Court.
Onondaga County Family Court Judge
Family courts have jurisdiction over matters concerning families and children. Most of their proceedings focus on support for dependents, juvenile delinquency, child protection, foster care placements, and related topics.
Julie Cecile (D) is seeking re-election after serving a ten-year term as Family Court Judge. She has presided over juvenile delinquency cases for years, and she is the co-chair of the Onondaga County Partnership for Youth Justice. She was instrumental in implementing the Raise the Age legislation, which raised the age to be tried as an adult from 16 to 18 in New York State. She also focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the New York State Court System. Prior to her election in 2012, she was a defense attorney for 20 years.
Jim Corl, Jr. (R) has served as Second Assistant County Attorney in Madison County, and he was also chosen as an Attorney for Children. He started his own law practice for family cases. Currently, he is a law clerk in the Onondaga County Family Court. He has also served as a county legislator, town supervisor, and town councilor. Corl’s platform is based on integrity, knowledge of the law, and common sense.
Onondaga County Sheriff
The county sheriff is the only elected law enforcement officer in the state of New York. The sheriff is the primary law enforcement executive in each county. The county sheriff manages the sheriff’s deputies, ensuring that all laws are followed. County sheriffs perform a similar role to police chiefs in municipal police departments.
Tobias Shelley (D) has campaigned several times to become the Onondaga County Sheriff. He is a retired Onondaga County sheriff’s deputy who is now a police officer for the Jordan Village Police. He has also served in the military for 30 years. His key values are integrity, accountability, and transparency. If elected, he hopes to support use of the AIR 1 patrol helicopter, create a safe schools program with retired police officers, and make it easier to register new firearms.
Esteban Gonzalez (R) is the Chief Custody Deputy for the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office. He has worked for the sheriff’s office since 1994, and he was named Chief Deputy in 2012. He is a national corrections training consultant, and he manages a local correctional facility. Prior to becoming a police officer, he served in the Army National Guard. Gonzalez hopes to build trust and legitimacy, increase police oversight, utilize technology for policing, and improve centralized police command systems.
To vote in the 2022 midterm elections, go to iwillvote.com to register to vote and find your local polling places. Its too late to request an absentee ballot online or by mail in New York, but you can still vote early before Nov. 8 at an early voting site.