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NY primaries have it all: Democratic Socialist upstarts, underdog pol targeting AOC and even an ex-con

The primary’s nine days of early voting started Saturday.

Lefty Democratic Socialist incumbent Ocasio-Cortez faces off against little known moderate retired Wall Street banker Marty Dolan in the 14th Congressional District covering parts of The Bronx and Queens.

AOC has tried to ignore her opponent — refusing to debate him — while running TV ads promoting her re-election bid.

She has instead chosen to focus much of her attention on re-electing embattled fellow “Squad” member Rep. Jamaal Bowman, who faces a formidable challenge from moderate George Latimer, the Westchester County executive.

AOC is organizing a rally for Bowman on Saturday with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

In the 1st Congressional District, which covers most of Suffolk County on Long Island — including its tony East End — several Democrats are hoping to win the party nod to run for Republican Lee Zeldin’s former House seat and take on first-term GOP incumbent Nick LaLota.

Centrist John Avlon — a former Rudy Giuliani mayoral speech writer and CNN analyst — will be facing off against liberal Stony Brook University Professor Nancy Goroff in the primary.

Zeldin defeated Goroff in 2020 before relinquishing his seat to run for governor in 2022.

Avlon has won the support of moderates such as Reps. Tom Suozzi of Long Island, Gregory Meeks of Queens and Dan Goldman of lower Manhattan/Brooklyn, as well as state Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs, also the neighboring Democratic leader in Nassau County.

Women’s groups, including Emily’s List, are backing Goroff.

Meanwhile, Democratic Socialist candidates are trying to topple incumbents in the state Assembly, and there is a Conservative Party primary fight that could impact a state Senate race in the Hudson Valley.

A primary battle in the 56th Assembly District in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant is pitting two-term incumbent Assemblywoman Stefani Zinerman against her DSA-backed opponent, Eon Huntley.

Much of the African-American leadership in Brooklyn has rallied around Zinerman, including House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, state Attorney General Letitia James and Brooklyn Democratic Party Chairwoman Rodneyse Bichotte.

A primary battle in the 56th Assembly District in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant is pitting two-term incumbent Assemblywoman Stefani Zinerman against her DSA-backed opponent, Eon Huntley.

Huntley is backed by the DSA, state Sen. Jabari Brisport and the left-leaning New Kings Democrats, who say the challenger will be stronger champion for tenants.

Real-estate interests are funding a Super Pac backing Zinerman.

In a rematch in the Bronx’s 82nd District — which covers Co-op City, Throgs, Neck, Pelham Bay, Country Club, Westchester Square and City Island — DSA-backed challenger Jonathan Soto is again trying to topple veteran Dem Assemblyman Michael Benedetto.

Benedetto is confident he will prevail again.

“My opponent is backed by the Democratic Socialists and supports defunding the police. Public safety is a big issue,” said Benedetto, 76, a retired teacher first elected in 2004 and chairman of the assembly’s Education Committee.

Assemblyman Ron Kim — who has represented the Flushing-Bayside area in the 40th CD in Queens since 2012 and is seeking a seventh term — faces a formidable primary challenge from businessman Yi Andy Chen.

Kim, the first Korean-American elected to the legislature, took on ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo over COVID-linked nursing home deaths — including that of his uncle — as the Assembly Aging Committee chairman.

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