In six of the city's 51 districts, Democratic Council candidates are running unopposed.
Manhattan's Margaret Chin (Chinatown and Lower Manhattan) and Inez Dickens (Central Harlem) join three Queens Council members—Julissa Ferreras (East Elmhurst, Corona), Danny Dromm (East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) and Jamie Van Bramer (Long Island City, Sunnyside)—as incumbents facing not even a minor-party challenger. None of the three Queens reps even faced a primary challenge, so they'll cruise to re-election totally unopposed.
In Brooklyn's 35th district, covering Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, Democrat Laurie Cumbo, who led a large primary field, faces no general election opposition. She's the only non-incumbent facing no challenge on November 5.
In sixteen other districts through Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, Democrats face only third-party challengers because there is no Republican in the race. And Maritza Davila faces no GOP opposition in her bid to replace Vito Lopez in Bushwick's state Assembly seat.
In Staten Island and the Bronx, all Council races feature Republican and Democratic contestants.
There are Democrats and Republicans in all the borough presidency races except Brooklyn's, where State Sen. Eric Adams, a Democrat running to replace Marty Markowitz, faces only third-party opposition.
This year's menu offers slightly less choice than in 2009, when five Council candidates ran totally unopposed in the general election and 11 faced no major-party opponent. One of the unopposed was Ferreras, meaning she hasn't faced a meaningful election since the primary in '09.
Of course, facing a third-party opponent, or even a Republican, doesn't necessarily mean a Democrat faces a real challenge. In 2009, all five borough presidency races faced major-party opponents, and none of the winners received less than 75 percent of the vote.
The low turnout New York City has seen in recent municipal elections (in 2009, fewer than one in eight Democrats voted in the primary and less than a quarter of registered voters came out for the November election) has many causes, but the lack of even token competition is likely a contributing factor. If so the fact that this year's public advocate and comptroller races are being treated as coronations for Democrats Letitia James and Scott Stringer, that polls suggest a landslide in the mayor's race and that nearly half of the City Council races are low-drama affairs suggest this year's turnout won't reverse the trend.