As Election Day grows closer, the race between current governor Kathy Hochul and her opponent Lee Zeldin is only becoming more narrow.
Polls are currently indicating that the gap between the two is tightening. This isn’t the first close race residents of New York State have seen.
According to the Times Union, during the first half of the 20th century, races for governor were much more competitive. In the second half elections became more heavily influenced by individual candidates and their campaigns and outreach.
The Times Union reports the five closest races for governor in the last century.
Five closest races in NYS
The 1954 election resulted in a win from Governor W. Averell Harriman. The margin was just 11,125 votes, or 0.22%.
This is the closest election in the last 100 years. Harriman, a Democrat, was elected over his Republican competitor, Irving Ives. Harriman’s resume included a financier, U.S. ambassador, and Secretary of Commerce. He unsuccessfully ran for president. There were 5.1 million votes cast, and part of the slim margin came from John McManus of the American Labor Party, David Weiss of the Socialist Workers and Nathan Karp of the Industrial Government Party.
In 1928 the election was won by Franklin D. Roosevelt, who would later go on to be the U.S. President. The margin in this election was 25,264 votes, or 0.59%.
Roosevelt was governor in 1928 and 1930, and he was the cousin of President Theodore Roosevelt, who was also a former NY Governor. He beat Republican Albert Ottinger, a state Attorney General. Roosevelt was in the Senate and former assistant Secretary to the Navy.
Herbert Lehman was the 1938 election by 64,394 votes, or 1.36%.
Lehman, a Democrat, won the re-election and served a fourth term as New York State Governor. He won against Republican Thomas Dewey, who later became governor.
Alfred Smith won the 1924 election with a margin of 108,550 votes, or 3.33%. He won the third term against Republican Theodore Roosevelt Jr. Smith would go on to serve four terms.
In 1994 Republican George E. Pataki beat Governor Mario M. Cuomo who had been aiming for another term. This was one of the most expensive elections the state had seen. Pataki would go on to serve three terms.
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