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Election Day Features Closely Watched Statewide And Local Contests

ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI and Associated Press) - New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo seeks a third term and Republicans and Democrats battle over the makeup of the state's congressional delegation as the caustic  midterm election campaign reaches its climax.

Voters across the state will decide Tuesday on candidates for governor, senator, attorney general, state comptroller, state legislature and 27 seats in the U.S. House.

New York has more than 12 million registered voters. Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2 to 1.

Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. Unlike many other states where millions of votes have already been cast, New York doesn't have early voting, though many have mailed in absentee ballots.

Some of the most watched races this year involve incumbent Republican members of Congress fighting an unusual number of Democratic challengers.

New York voters will soon settle several contentious congressional matchups and decide whether Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo deserves a third term.

In western New York, 27th District Republican Congressman Chris Collins is seeking another term despite federal charges of insider trading. He faces Democrat Nate McMurray and Reform Party candidate Larry Piegza.

There are other  closely watched congressional races throughout Western New York and the Finger Lakes, including the 25th district in Monroe County where Democrat and Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle is running against  Dr. Jim Maxwell for the seat that was held for decades by Democrat Louise Slaughter. She died earlier this year. Voters in the 25th district actually vote twice: once to finish out the remainder of Slaughter's term this year, and again, for the full two-year term which begins in January.

The 23rd congressional district features a contest between Republican incumbent Tom Reed and Democratic challenger Tracy Mitrano, and in the 24th district, which is based in Central NY but includes Wayne County, Republican John Katko is running against Democrat Dana Balter.

In the Hudson Valley, Republican Rep. John Faso faces Democrat Antonio Delgado in a race considered a dead heat. And in central New York, first-term Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney hopes to fend off Democrat Anthony Brindisi.

In the governor's race, polls suggest Cuomo has a substanial lead over Republican Marc Molinaro, although the latest Siena Poll showed a tightening of that race. There are also three third-party challengers.

Tuesday's ballot also features a contest for state attorney general between Democrat Tish James and Republican Keith Wofford, and third-party challengers.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is running for re-election as well. The Democrat faces Republican Jonathan Trichter as well as third-party challengers.

Also, Democrats are aiming to win control of the state Senate, the GOP's last bastion in the Legislature.

Locally, there are also a number of contests including those for State Supreme Court, Family Court, and Ontario County Sheriff.

And no matter who wins  in the state and congressional seats that are contested locally, it could mean some big changes in Albany and in Washington in terms of how much influence the Rochester and Finger Lakes area can muster.

That’s according to Kent Gardner, who is an economist with the Center for Governmental Research and also the Opinion Editor of a new regional online publication called the Rochester Beacon.

He notes that with Congresswoman Louise Slaughter’s death this year, and Democratic Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle running for Congress rather than running for re-election, it will have an impact.

“We know that seniority really matters in Washington, regardless of the particular candidate that wins. There’s no question, but that the person is going to come in as a complete newbie and unfortunately seniority matters more than competence or good ideas in Washington, I think we all wish that it was different, but that’s kind of the way it is,” Gardner told WXXI News.

The polls across New York State are open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.