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Green Party Success Buoys Republicans

From the morning memo:

One silver lining for Rob Astorino in these congressional polls has been the performance of Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, who is reaching double digits.

The hope for Republicans is that Hawkins, perhaps drawing in disaffected Democrats and supporters of Zephyr Teachout’s primary campaign, will eat enough into Cuomo’s lead in the general election.

Hawkins is a proven vote getter: In 2010, he received more than 50,000 votes on the Green Party, thus securing ballot status for the party this time around.

Without having to spend time petitioning for the ballot, the Hawkins campaign has been putting its efforts into field work and fundraising.

As Hawkins has gained strength in the polls, Astorino has shifted from being opposed to the Green Party candidate’s participation in a debate to being open to the idea.

Republicans are pointing to Cuomo’s public swings from emphasizing liberal issues in the lead up to the primary two weeks ago and then a quick dash back to the center on economic concerns as he tries to burnish his support in the business community as unpalatable for liberal voters.

Still, the Cuomo campaign plans to field a robust and vast GOTV effort, with an emphasis on digital advertising, person-to-person voter contact and a push to get women, even Republican women, out to the polls to vote.

Astorino Wounded For 2018?

From the morning memo:

Is Rob Astorino being bloodied up for the longterm?

Democrats certainly hope so.

Privately, state party members are pointing to high unfavorable numbers for the Republican candidate for governor reflected in recent battleground congressional district polls.

A Siena College poll of central New York’s 24th congressional district, for instance, shows Astorino with a 40 percent unfavorable rating, while only 23 percent of voters hold a favorable view of him. Meanwhile, 37 percent don’t know enough about him.

Of course, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s numbers in these districts aren’t good, either: The Democratic incumbent in the 24th has a 47 percent unfavorable rating in the NY-24. In the NY-19, his unfavorable rating is 60 percent.

But the polls still show him defeating Astorino in a head-to-head match ups.

A good part of this can be attributed to the cash disparity between the two campaigns: Records show Cuomo’s re-election campaign spent $5.9 million to quash his primary challenger, while the state Democratic committee has pounded Astorino with negative advertising, and they did it early on.

The drum beat of Astorino attack ads began in May, painting him as an “ultraconservative” on a complex affordable housing settlement in Westchester County and abortion, which he opposes.

Astorino has decried the advertising as false and nasty, especially the ad in which he’s accused of racketeering, the basis of which came from a lawsuit filed by a colorful Westchester County businessman now under indictment for fraud.

But for Astorino, Democrats hope the damage may be more longterm.

While the GOP candidate has insisted he’s running to beat Cuomo this year, Astorino may still have an eye on 2018, the next time the governor’s office is up for election.

Astorino in 2005 was pounded by incumbent Westchester County Executive Andy Spano.

But after three terms of Spano fatigue in the Democratic-heavy county, the Republican came back to defeat him in a lopsided victory in 2009.

The long game for Democrats may be this: Knock the best bench player Republicans in New York have out of the game now, before the candidate himself can burnish his statewide profile.

Cuomo, of course, hasn’t given any public indication about whether he’d seek a third term if re-elected.

Goo-Goos Seek Comptroller Scrutiny of Tax Credits

From the morning memo:

Eight good government groups recently wrote to state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, asking his office to “significantly increase its scrutiny of the state’s estimated $1.7 billion in annual subsidies provided by 50 business tax credits.”

In a Sept. 8 letter, the organizations suggested that DiNapoli begin by reviewing the largest credits, which amount to close to 75 percent of authorized business tax subsidies.

That includes the brownfield cleanup progam, the film and TV production credits and Empire Zones.

“In particular, we ask that you assess whether those programs have robust, independent, and controls and a fair and transparent process for awarding subsidies,” the groups wrote.

This has been an ongoing issue for the good government community, which has long complained about the (well documented) lack of transparency with these programs, which give away millions of dollars worth of credits annually.

The goo-goos noted that a 2013 report by former state Comptroller H. Carl McCall and Peter J. Solomon (who co-chaired one of two tax reform commissions appointed by the governor), also raised concerns about this issue, determining that “tax incentives undermine transparency.”

Stefanik Lands Indy Line

From the morning memo:

Republican NY-21 candidate Elise Stefanik’s name will appear on three ballot lines in November, thanks to a late endorsement from the Independence Party.

Independence Party leaders met over the weekend and voted to give their line to Stefanik, a former White House aide and first-time candidate for public office.

They also approved a Wilson-Pakula for her, which enables a candidate not registered in a particular party to run on its line.

The Independence Party had given a very early nod to Stefanik’s erstwhile GOP primary opponent, businessman Matt Doheny.

But Dohney endorsed Stefanik after she defeated him in the June primary, and asked Independence Party leaders to find a way to remove his name from the ballot.

At that late date, there weren’t too many options. Dohney could either die, move out of state or be nominated for a judgeship (as an attorney with at least 10 years of membership to the bar, he is eligible to run for a seat on the bench).

The Conservative Party, which endorsed Stefanik before the primary (incurring Doheny’s wrath in the process), did the Independence Party a favor and nominated Doheny for a state Supreme Court judgeship in Kings County (otherwise known as Brooklyn).

Conservative Party leaders confirmed Dohney’s name will appear on the ballot in Brooklyn this November.

In a statement, Stefanik said she is “honored” to accept the Independence Party’s line, and she thanked Doheny “for providing the Republicans a great opportunity to win back this seat serving the people of the 21st District.”

Stefanik is facing another first-time candidate, Democrat Aaron Woolf, whose name will also appear on the Working Families Party line, and Green Party contender (and a third political newcomer) Matt Funiciello.

A recent Siena poll found Stefanik leading Woolf 46-33, with Funiciello receiving 10 percent of the vote and 11 percent undecided.

Schneiderman’s 1st TV Ad: ‘One Set of Rules’

From the morning memo:

AG Eric Schneiderman, who reserved millions of dollars worth of air time in advance, but held off actually releasing any ads, is about to debut his first TV spot of his re-election campaign.

The ad, titled “One Set of Rules for Everyone,” starts airing statewide today (covering the five major media markets) and will run through Election Day.

Schneiderman: As attorney general, I put criminals behind bars.

This is part of a multi-million dollar buy, and that’s just a fraction of what’s to come as the Democratic incumbent battles his GOP opponent, former Pataki administration official John Cahill.

Back in June, Schneiderman reserved $1 million worth of air time for the final weeks of the campaign. He doubled down on that in July, adding another $1 million, and recently added several hundred thousand dollars more – just as he formally kicked off his re-election campaign.

This ad depicts Schneiderman as tough on crime no matter who the perpetrator might be – from big banks, to fellow elected officials, to drug kingpins.

Schneiderman’s campaign noted that since taking office in January 2011, the AG has prosecuted more than 50 corrupt officials, including former NYC Councilman Ruben Wills, ex-Sen. Shirley Huntley and former Met Council chief William Rapfogel.

The AG has also helped secure more than $60 billion in settlements from the big banks that caused the financial crisis, $4 billion of which has been allotted to New York families and communities hurt by the crash, his campaign said.

And Schneiderman has made hundreds of arrests for heroin, cocaine and crack related offenses, and his office has broken up 18 major drug rings in cities across New York.

Cahill has tried to paint Schneiderman as not tough enough to be the state’s top attorney – especially when it comes to cracking down on public corruption.

In fact, Cahill’s first ad, which came out in August, played up the private sector attorney’s toughness and sought to link Schneiderman to the Moreland Commission mess.

At Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s request Schneiderman deputized the commission’s members to empower them to investigate the state Legislature.

The AG has been mum on what he knew and when regarding the governor’s meddling in Moreland, but he has said repeatedly that he is working with US Attorney Preet Bharara as he probes the commission’s demise and continues the cases it started but didn’t have a chance to finish.

The state GOP recently started running an anti-Schneiderman TV ad that also ties the AG to Moreland, but the spot doesn’t even mention Cahill.

As of mid-July, Cahill had just under $1 million on hand, and planned to spend $750,000 on his first ad. Schneiderman had $6.8 million on hand, and hadn’t yet begun to spend significantly on his campaign.

A late August Siena poll showed Schneiderman had extended his early lead over Cahill to 27 percentage points (54-27), though 59 percent of New Yorkers still have no idea who he is. A whopping 80 percent of poll respondents didn’t know anything about Cahill.

An internal poll Cahill recently shared with donors showed the AG race considerably tighter. The Republican’s campaign was forced to file portions of the poll with the state Board of Elections after it was made public.

Here’s the script for the AG’s ad:

TV news anchor: New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced today the arrest of 25 people…

Schneiderman: I go after those who think they’re above the law.

TV news reporter: Breaking news on the JP Morgan settlement, $4 billion dollars for consumer relief, according to the New York attorney general.

Schneiderman: It doesn’t matter how rich or powerful you are.

TV news reporter: A walk of shame for a New York City councilman in a case that the attorney general says is about as low as you can go.

Schneiderman: I’ll never stop fighting for everyday New Yorkers, because there has to be one set of rules for everyone.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and Erie County.

President Obama is in New York City for the UN climate summit. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will also attend the summit in the morning, and departs for Manchester, England, this evening.

The Catskills/Hudson Valley casino public comment event takes place today in Poughkeepsie. It will be live streamed here.

At 7:30 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on Fox 5′s “Good Day New York.”

At 8 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at the UN climate summit.

At 8:30 a.m., Astorino will greet commuters with Sen. Marty Golden at the R Train, 77th Street and 4th Avenue, Brooklyn.

At 9 a.m., de Blasio holds a media availability, 46th and 1st Avenue, Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul tours the replica ship Half Moon with Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, South end of the Corning Preserve near the Walking Bridge, OGS Pumping Station, Albany.

At 10 a.m., US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Hakeem Jeffries, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and others call on world leaders to confront the rise in terrorism in the Middle East, E 43rd Street and Tudor City Place, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., the Astorino campaign offers the candidate’s tax returns for inspection, campaign HQ, 222 Bloomingdale Rd., Suite 201, White Plains.

At 11:30 a.m., Astorio will visit the Tomchei Shabbos of Brooklyn Warehouse to assist volunteers in packing holiday food packages for the needy, 6225 New Utrecht Ave., Brooklyn.

At noon, members of the Women’s Equality Party Coalition, including former NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Assemblywomen Deborah Glick and Linda Rosenthal, Manhattan BP Gale Brewer, NARAL Pro-Choice New York and Planned Parenthood Advocates of NY make an announcement, Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Station, entrance on 42nd Street and Park Avenue South, Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., Astorino will tour and greet holiday shoppers at Breadberry Supermarket, 1689 60th St., Brooklyn.

At 12:50 p.m. President Obama speaks at the UN climate summit.

At 1 p.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, 1339 South Park Ave., (near Abby Street), Buffalo.

Also at 1 p.m., US AG Eric Holder speaks at Greenberg Lounge, Vanderbilt Hall; NYU School of Law; 40 Washington Square South, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., the president speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative, Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, Manhattan.

At 2:15 p.m., the Women’s Equality Party makes an announcement at Astorino’s Campaign HQ, 222 Bloomingdale Rd., White Plains.

At 2:30 p.m., Astorino will greet holiday shoppers at Pomegranate Market, 1507 Coney Island Ave., Corner of Avenue L, Brooklyn.

At 4 p.m., Gillibrand will be a guest on MSNBC’s “NOW with Alex Wagner.”

At 4:15 p.m., Astorino will make an announcement with former Hewlett-Packard C.E.O. Carly Fiorina at a press conference at the Women’s National Republican Club, 3 W 51st St., Manhattan.

At 5:30 p.m., House Speaker John Boehner attends a fund-raiser for NY-21 GOP candidate Elise Stefanik, Queensbury Hotel, Glens Falls. (Protestors will greet the speaker outside the event).

At 6:30 p.m., Chemung County Sheriff and GOP LG candidate Chris Moss delivers remarks at the NYPD Columbia Association Dinner, 83-20 Queens Blvd., Queens.

At 7 p.m., The Daily Gazette hosts a debate between state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk and her Republican challenger, former Assemblyman George Amedore. The Times Union’s Casey Seiler is set to join the panel of moderators at Proctors’ GE Theatre, Schenectady.

At 7:30 p.m., Moss delivers remarks at the Whitestone Republican Club/Northeast Queens Tea Party Meeting, Grace Episcopal Church, 14-15 Clintonville St., Whitestone.

Headlines…

Long Island state Senate candidate Dave Denenberg, who promises voters that “Nobody Works Harder!”, stole $2 million by routinely billing for lawyering that never happened, his own law firm charges.

Independent Democratic Conference leader Jeff Klein will likely be the only State Senate candidate appearing on the Women’s Equality Party ballot line this November.

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo keeps a low profile on the campaign trail, his surrogates argue for four more years of his administration without actually saying much about what he’ll do with those four years.

US Attorney Preet Bharara suggested de Blasio administration officials were not moving quickly enough to make reforms at Rikers and warning that his office stood ready to file a civil rights lawsuit against the city to force changes.

Bharara said that Cuomo’s now shuttered corruption-busting Moreland Commission was created “in large part because of the wave of cases that my office brought.”

GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will make available to the media one year’s worth of federal and state tax returns (his 2013 returns) today at his campaign office in White Plains.

The gun-control group started this year by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is making its first significant political investments of the midterms — announcing endorsements in more than 100 federal and state contests and launching television commercials in two states.

More >

Housing, Hotels and Hostility

The home-sharing service Airbnb has sparked a big battle in New York City, piting affordable housing advocates against users of the site. And now that fight could be coming to Albany. State lawmakers are expected to take up rent control and other housing measures next year. As you may recall, rent control for New York City is currently tied to the property tax cap. Senator Liz Krueger and the Met Council for Housing’s Jaron Benjamin joined us to talk more about how it all connects.

Watch Here >> (TWC ID required)

Extras

NYT editor Dean Baquet fielded a call from an “anxious” Gov. Andrew Cuomo prior to the paper’s bombshell report on the Moreland Commission’s demise.

Get ready for another anti-terrorism news conference with NJ Gov. Chris Christie and Cuomo – their second in a week, and third for Cuomo. (He had his solo event last Friday).

The identity of the senator who once called his colleague, Sen. Kisten Gillibrand, chubby is revealed: It was the late Daniel K. Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii.

A “debate” (of sorts) between Cuomo and his GOP challenger, Rob Astorino, compliments of NewYorkTrue.com.

With the end of Derek Jeter’s career nearing, AG Eric Schneiderman is warning against the potential scams that could come with second-hand ticket sales to upcoming games.

“Never count your chickens before they hatch. Because you never know whether the governor’s going to lay a rotten egg.”

Democrats slammed Astorino for boasting he has visited all 62 counties in New York at least once, noting he wasn’t attending to his day job while on the campaign trail.

Several hundred people briefly marched through lower Manhattan and staged a sit-in along Broadway at the Charging Bull statue near Wall Street as part of a climate change rally.

…multiple arrests were made.

Former NYC Mayor Bloomberg: “Just remember: Happiness can never buy money.”

The Clintons’ first grandbaby is due any day now.

The first NY-1 congressional debate between Sen. Lee Zeldin and Rep. Tim Bishop takes place tonight.

All fraternities at Wesleyan University must include both men and women within the next three years.

Bloomberg said going back to work at the company he founded bests staying home and talking to his girlfriend, Diana Taylor, about “feelings.”

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani is joining a video game company’s legal fight against disgraced Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.

The Atlantic will soon shut down The Wire.

Page Six updates its report on Cuomo’s memoir, which is delayed, but not scrapped altogether. The governor will promote it on Oct. 15 in NYC.

Cuomo signed into law the Community Risk and Resiliency Act.

The US Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin’s suburban Syracuse plant a contract worth $147 million to upgrade its electronic warfare defenses against threats such as anti-ship missiles.

The mayor of Cleveland is concerned about the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger.

Four Democratic Long Beach City council members have endorsed Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice in her bid against Republican Bruce Blakeman in NY-4.

Cuomo launched “Combat Heroin” - a campaign to inform and educate New Yorkers about the risks of heroin and prescription opioid use, the signs of addiction, and the resources available to help.

Online registration for Capitol hauntings tour is now open.

Onondaga County DA William Fitzpatrick will return to the Syracuse.com offices at noon tomorrow for a live reader Q&A.

Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins will host a Sept. 28 fund-raiser for Long Island Senate candidate Dave Denenberg.

Martins Campaign Rips Haber On 45-Day Late Filing

The campaign of Republican Sen. Jack Martins on Monday continued to blast Democratic candidate Adam Haber for a campaign finance report that is now 45 days late.

The report, due to be filed with the state Board of Elections, would cover contributions from July 12 through Aug. 4.

“Adam Haber, the multi-millionaire commodities trader, is trying to buy a state senate seat and hiding the facts from the voters. He is out of touch and breaking the law by not providing required information to the public. Haber should be ashamed of himself,” said O’Brien Murray, a Martins campaign advisor.

The Haber-Martins race on Long Island is expected to be among the half dozen or so hotly contested state Senate races this year.

Martins, a second term lawmaker, narrowly won re-election in 2012 despite facing a Democrat who received scant coverage and was not on the radar for a competitive race.

Now he faces Haber, a more known quantity who ran for Nassau County executive and has deep pockets.

Naturally, the Martis campaign is questioning why Haber hasn’t made the disclosure.

“Adam Haber’s last report was 17 days late and showed he put $200,000 into his campaign account. What else is he keeping hidden? When will Haber come clean with the voters and stop hiding the source of his campaign funds?” Murray said.

Updated: Haber’s campaign responds.

“Jack Martins is trying to distract voters from his own history of repeated campaign violations and the fact that he secured tax breaks for his own deep-pocketed donors,” Jacob Tugendrajch, a Haber spokesman, said. “Martins’ shameful record is why he and his Republican cronies have blocked any real attempt at cleaning up Albany.”