In NY state, primary election voters can choose Governor and Lieutenant Governor candidates separately. The party’s winning gubernatorial candidate and its winning Lt. Governor candidate then form a ticket to represent the party in the general election.
Normally, the worst that can happen is that the voters stick the gubernatorial candidate with a running mate that s/he despises. But sometimes things get weird.
This year, the Working Families Party, Independence Party, and Women’s Equality Party will have a ticket of Andrew Cuomo for Governor and Kathy Hochul for Lt. Governor on the ballot. (For various legal reasons, they weren’t required to hold primaries.)
But the Democratic Party is required to hold a primary, which could lead to the Democratic candidates being Cuomo and Tim Wu.
If this comes to pass, three parties would have a Cuomo-Hochul ticket and one would have Cuomo-Wu. On the general election ballot, voters cannot split the Governor–Lt. Governor battery. So the votes for the three parties with Cuomo-Hochul would be aggregated (they’re the same ticket) but not added to the different ticket of Cuomo-Wu.
It’s possible — though unlikely — that the two Cuomo tickets would split the Democratic vote, allowing Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino to squeak into office.
Note 1: This scenario came about because Cuomo’s preferred Lt. Governor candidate is moderate Kathy Hochul (some observers call her conservative) while her opponent, Tim Wu, is more in sync with the state’s many liberal voters.
Note 2: NY Post political columnist Fred Dicker says that Cuomo has a way out: he could arrange for Hochul to be nominated for a state judgeship after the primary, which would allow Wu to take her place as the Democratic Lt. Governor candidate on the general election ballot. Thus, the four Cumo-led tickets would be aligned and Republican Astorio’s chances in November would be ended.
Thanks to Fred Dicker for his analysis, upon which this post is based: Cuomo may dump Hochul, fearing a Tim Wu primary win | New York Post.