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New York state election, 1973

The 1973 New York state election was held on November 6, 1973, to elect the Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals. Besides, a $3,500,000,000 transit-bond issue was proposed by Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, and rejected by the voters with 1,593,531 votes For and 2,210,907 votes Against it.


Chief Judge Stanley H. Fuld would reach the constitutional age limit of 70 years at the end of the year.

For the first time since the election of Frank H. Hiscock over Almet F. Jenks in 1916, the election for Chief judge was contested. For almost 60 years, all Chief Judges had been cross-endorsed by the two major parties.


Democratic primary

The Democratic State Committee met on March 12. No candidate received a majority, and the three contenders who polled more than 25% of the vote, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York Judge Jack B. Weinstein, Appellate Justice Francis T. Murphy and Supreme Court Justice Irwin R. Brownstein, were designated to run in a primary election for Chief Judge.[1] Trial lawyer Lawrence D. Fuchsberg filed a petition to challenge the designees. The primary was held on June 5.[2] The result was so narrow that the winner was known only after the release of the official result on June 21, Fuchsberg winning by a plurality of 755 votes.[3]

1973 Democratic primary results
Office Party designees Challenger
Chief Judge Jack B. Weinstein 242,039 Francis T. Murphy, Jr.[4] 213,673 Irwin R. Brownstein 81,618 Jacob D. Fuchsberg 242,794

Other parties

The Republicans met on March 7, and nominated Charles D. Breitel.[5]

The Liberals met on March 10, and endorsed the Republican nominee Charles D. Breitel.[6]

The Conservatives nominated Supreme Court Justice James J. Leff, a registered Democrat, for Chief Judge.


The Republican/Liberal candidate was elected.

1973 state election result
Ticket / Office Chief Judge
Republican Charles D. Breitel 1,957,314
Democratic Jacob D. Fuchsberg 1,850,552
Liberal Charles D. Breitel 248,075
Conservative James J. Leff[7] 219,314


  1. ^ Five Democrats Will Vie In Primary for Chief Judge in NYT on March 13, 1973 (subscription required)
  2. ^ Fuchsberg Has Slim Lead In Counting for Judgeship; 'Could Go Either Way;' Leads in 3 Boroughs in NYT on June 6, 1973 (subscription required)
  3. ^ Chief-Judge Nomination Is Won by Fuchsberg in NYT on June 22, 1973 (subscription required)
  4. ^ Francis T. Murphy (b. 1927), of The Bronx, son of Francis T. Murphy (1896-1973 assemblyman 1945-46), New York Supreme Court justice 1968-97, Appellate Division (First Dept.) 1972-96, Presiding Justice 1978-97, A Prominent Judge Retires, Objecting to the Governor's Litmus Test in NYT on December 14, 1997
  5. ^ G.O.P. Nominates Breitel For Chief Judge of State; Pact Barred by Feud in NYT on March 7, 1973 (subscription required)
  6. ^ Breitel Wins Bipartisan Support as Liberal Party Endorses Him for Appeals Court Post in NYT on March 11, 1973 (subscription required)
  7. ^ James J. Leff (ca. 1921-1998), of Manhattan, DeWitt Clinton High School, New York University and Harvard graduate, New York supreme Court justice 1969-96, James J. Leff, 77, Outspoken New York Judge Obit in NYT on April 9, 1998


  • Official result: Metropolitan Briefs; New York Certifies Transit-Bond Vote in NYT on December 13, 1973 (subscription required)

See also

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