In the 59 executive and legislative races where a single candidate was on the ballot, the outcome was never in doubt. But blips of resistance did appear in several contests.

N. Nick Perry

NYS Assembly

Brooklyn’s N. Nick Perry, an incumbent Assemblymember, was unopposed on November 3 for the seventh straight election. He was far from alone in facing only the slim theoretical threat of a write-in opponent.

In some ways, Assemblyman N. Nick Perry of Brooklyn was the winner of all winners on Nov. 3. He received the highest vote total of anyone running for legislative or executive office: 99.85 percent of the vote in District 58, which covers East Flatbush and part of Canarsie.

While the extent of Perry’s victory was not guaranteed—a few more handfuls of write-in votes in the race and he would have fallen to second-place among all Election 2020 winners in New York City—the outcome was certain from the get-go for he, like 58 other candidates on the ballot in New York City, ran unopposed.

In the lead-up to election day, a City Limits reader reviewing our judicial voters’ guide asked: “If it asks to vote for 3 and there are 3 listed, will all 3 likely get confirmed as judges assuming no write in candidates exceed their totals? Or is it more complicated than that?” Our answer to the second part was, in a word, “No.” It’s not any more complicated than that. An unopposed candidate just needs to get more than any single write-in candidate. And as the chart below demonstrates, the unopposed candidates did not have any trouble doing that.

Those running with no competition included one member of Congress, 10 State Senate candidates, 18 people seeking judicial posts, 29 Assembly hopefuls and one aspiring City Councilmember. Most were Democrats, but a couple of Republicans also enjoyed an easy path to re-election. Most were incumbents but five were newcomers. A few of them were treading a very familiar, suspense-free path: Perry, for one, has not faced a general election opponent since 2006—seven cycles ago—when he had a Conservative rival, whom he defeated in a landslide.

To be sure, these were not the only low-drama elections last week. While a handful of races are awaiting the results of the tally of absentee ballots, most contested races were barely that. In the 12 contested Congressional races that touched the five boroughs last Tuesday, 10 of the winners received more than 60 percent of the vote and seven earned more than three-quarters of the ballots. Most races for lower office were similarly lopsided, whether the dominant Democratic candidate was facing a Republican or someone from a more interesting party, like the candidate from the COVID-19 Stories party, Daniel Maio, whom Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi beat 83 to 16 percent.

Why bother looking at races that were over before they began? The point is not that these candidates did anything wrong; it’s not their fault no party or person stepped up to challenge them. It’s simply this: For better or worse, unopposed candidates and noncompetitive races are a major feature of democracy in New York City—one that should not escape attention amid the understandable focus on the races where outcomes are still in doubt.

What’s more, while no one on this list faced any threat of losing their race, it is interesting to consider the write-in votes, which were minuscule everywhere, but slightly less so in a few races, and wonder what message those voters were trying to send.

To play with this data yourself, please check out the online version of this spreadsheet here.

BodyDistrictCandidatePrimary partyIncumbent?Votes receivedVote shareWrite-in votesWrite-in shareTotal votes
Assembly58N. Nick PerryDemocraticYes3573799.85%540.15%35791
Assembly29Alicia L. HyndmanDemocraticYes3631199.78%790.22%36390
Assembly32Vivian E. CookDemocraticYes3369499.77%770.23%33771
Assembly71Alfred E. TaylorDemocraticYes3552099.71%1040.29%35624
State Senate10James Sanders Jr.DemocraticYes7630299.69%2410.31%76543
Assembly60Charles BarronDemocraticYes3232099.67%1070.33%32427
State Senate25Jabari BrisportDemocraticNo9034799.61%3520.39%90699
State Senate14Leroy G. Comrie Jr.DemocraticYes8578199.60%3430.40%86124
Assembly33Clyde VanelDemocraticYes3634399.59%1510.41%36494
State Senate21Kevin S. ParkerDemocraticYes9200499.47%4860.53%92490
State Senate19Roxanne J. PersaudDemocraticYes7818499.45%4310.55%78615
Assembly52Jo Anne SimonDemocraticYes4549599.44%2550.56%45750
Assembly53Maritza DavilaDemocraticYes3038399.43%1730.57%30556
Assembly72Carmen De La RosaDemocraticYes3127299.42%1820.58%31454
City Council37Darma V. DiazDemocraticNo3101099.41%1830.59%31193
Assembly42Rodneyse BichotteDemocraticYes3121999.37%1990.63%31418
Assembly62Michael W. Reilly Jr.RepublicanYes4931399.33%3320.67%49645
Congress5Gregory W. MeeksDemocraticYes15903299.29%11350.71%160167
Assembly39Catalina CruzDemocraticYes1612299.24%1230.76%16245
State Senate24Andrew J. LanzaRepublicanYes11161199.19%9060.81%112517
Assembly74Harvey EpsteinDemocraticYes3142699.19%2560.81%31682
Assembly24David I. WeprinDemocraticYes2458899.09%2260.91%24814
Assembly49Peter J. Abbate Jr.DemocraticYes1349799.05%1300.95%13627
Assembly59Jaime R. WilliamsDemocraticYes3233299.04%3150.96%32647
State Senate27Brad M. HoylmanDemocraticYes7879999.01%7850.99%79584
Assembly65Yuh-Line NiouDemocraticYes2687198.98%2781.02%27149
Assembly75Richard N. GottfriedDemocraticYes3178198.97%3311.03%32112
State Senate12Michael N. GianarisDemocraticYes7382798.91%8121.09%74639
Assembly51Marcela MitaynesDemocraticNo2217398.89%2481.11%22421
Assembly37Catherine NolanDemocraticYes2964798.89%3341.11%29981
Assembly30Brian BarnwellDemocraticYes2389798.83%2841.17%24181
Assembly69Daniel J. O’DonnellDemocraticYes3127698.81%3771.19%31653
State Senate16Toby Ann StaviskyDemocraticYes4497498.78%5551.22%45529
Assembly25Nily D. RozicDemocraticYes1901298.77%2361.23%19248
Assembly45Steven CymbrowitzDemocraticYes1825998.73%2351.27%18494
Assembly48Simcha EichensteinDemocraticYes2229398.65%3041.35%22597
Assembly27Daniel RosenthalDemocraticYes2171998.64%3001.36%22019
Assembly36Zohran Kwame MamdaniDemocraticNo2718298.33%4611.67%27643
State Senate17Simcha FelderDemocraticYes6444697.98%13312.02%65777
Assembly50Emily E. GallagherDemocraticNo2539096.38%9533.62%26343
Assembly67Linda B. RosenthalDemocraticYes3312795.76%14684.24%34595