By Joseph Spector
Albany Bureau Chief
ALBANY Voters in New York's largest cities will head to the polls Tuesday to choose mayoral candidates in primary elections.
The Democratic primaries are looking good for incumbents, polls by Siena College have shown.
In Buffalo, Mayor Byron Brown held a 63 percent to 30 percent lead over Bernie Tolbert as Brown seeks re-election to a third term, Siena said Sunday. In Rochester, Mayor Thomas Richards had a 63 percent to 27 percent lead over City Council President Lovely Warren as Richards seeks election to his first full term, Siena said.
Last month, Siena found that Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner held a sizable lead in a three-way Democratic primary. Miner, the co-chair of the state Democratic Committee, is seeking a second term.
The state's three largest upstate cities have all grappled with population loss, a dwindling tax base and budget woes.
But Siena found that voters appear largely satisfied with the job the incumbents are doing, said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg.
"Among likely voters, they think their cities are headed in the right direction," Greenberg said. "They think things are going well, and that usually bodes well for an incumbent."
New York City and Albany have open mayoral seats.
In a Quinnipiac University poll Monday, Bill de Blasio, the city's public advocate, held a lead in the New York City mayoral race with 39 percent of the vote in a crowded Democratic field. He would need 40 percent Tuesday to avoid an Oct. 1 runoff between the top two finishers.
In a Republican primary for New York City mayor, Joe Lhota, the former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, faces John Catsimatidis, a billionaire grocery store owner.
The winner in November will succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is leaving after three terms because of term limits.
Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings is retiring at year's end. A Siena poll Sunday showed City Treasurer Kathy Sheehan leading Corey Ellis 68 percent to 20 percent in a Democratic primary.
Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer is seeking a political comeback. Spitzer, who resigned in 2008 amid a prostitution scandal, is running for New York City comptroller against Scott Stringer, Manhattan's borough president, in a Democratic primary.
Spitzer, who is self funding his campaign, had big leads in polls last month, but a Quinnipiac poll Monday showed Stringer with a 50 percent to 43 percent edge.
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in New York City, Long Island and in Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Erie counties.
In all other counties, polls open at noon and close at 9 p.m.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Monday that his office will have a Election Day hotline to help voters, including minority-language voters and people with disabilities.
The Voting Rights Act requires bilingual ballots, bilingual election-related materials and language assistance at the polls.
"My office is committed to full enforcement of the Voting Rights Act and other federal and state laws that require equal access to the ballot box," Schneiderman said in a statement.
To report an issue at a poll, voters can call 800-771-7755 or email civil.rights.@ag.ny.gov between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Tuesday.