Sep 2nd - 5:02 pm
While in Chinatown, Democratic LG candidate Tim Wu slammed his primary opponent, Kathy Hochul, for her “damning” record on immigration.
The Personal Democracy Forum endorsed Teachout and Wu, saying they “get” how technology can improve democracy and empower “ordinary” citizens.
Teachout has raised nearly 65 percent of her campaign cash from New Yorkers compared to 81 percent for GOP candidate Rob Astorino and 82 percent for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, NYPIRG found.
Despite the Moreland mess, the New York real estate sector is “doubling down on the ‘Prince of Darkness’ (Cuomo).”
Wu raised $30,000 from a tech executive and companies tied to IAC chairman Barry Diller, who has been outspoken in his support of net neutrality.
Sen. Tom Libous has spent more than $100,000 in campaign funds on attorneys this year.
NYS Rifle and Pistol Association President Tom King on Hochul: “She used to be one of us and just like (US Sen.) Kirsten Gillibrand she switched to the other side.”
NY-23 candidate Martha Robertson’s new TV ad (the second of this cycle), doesn’t mention she’s a Democrat.
The NY Daily News endorsed Cuomo, saying he has been a “superior governor”, but makes no mention of his running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hocul.
Teachout slammed the way Cuomo handled the casino referendum, calling it “shameful.”
NYC’s first lady, Chirlane McCray, campaigned in Brooklyn with Hochul, whom she called her “friend” and a “fabulous person.”
Rep. Michael Grimm’s trial on mail, wire fraud and tax charges will begin with jury selection on Dec. 1.
Bloomberg has hired Dave Weigel, a senior political reporter at Slate, for its new politics venture being helmed by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.
State Education Commissioner John King released a “back to school” video.
IDC Leader Jeff Klein vs. Hochul on the Women’s Equality Act.
By a 66-23 percent margin, New York City voters want to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, according to a new Q poll.
The publication of Cuomo’s memoir has been pushed back once again. The new release date is Oct. 14.
The White House Office of Management and Budget has started to review new regulations for fracking on federal land – the last step before the rules can be made final.
Hillary Clinton starts off the 2016 election cycle with the lead in the key swing state of Florida over two Republicans from the Sunshine State.
The Sierra Club and Citizen Action of New York launched a petition campaign urging GOP AG candidate John Cahill to disclose his clients.
Cuomo signed legislation prohibiting the launch of watercraft in New York without taking reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to be in New Orleans this Saturday as the featured speaker at a fundraiser for Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist went to Burning Man.
Sep 2nd - 4:35 pm
Matt Wing, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press secretary, is moving over to the re-election campaign as its communications director.
The change is effective today with an eye toward the November general election.
Wing, a Brooklyn native and former spokesman for Bill de Blasio’s public advocate office and a veteran of Cuomo’s attorney general administration, has worked for the governor’s office since late 2011. He was elevated to the press secretary post in 2013.
The move for Wing bolsters a campaign staff that includes longtime Cuomo aide and confidant Joe Percoco, who moved from the government side and to the campaign earlier this year.
With Wing on the campaign, Department of Financial Services spokesman Matt Anderson will be helping fill in on the second floor.
Sep 2nd - 4:26 pm
Former New York City Public Advocate Mark Green endorsed on Tuesday the insurgent Democratic ticket of Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu for governor and lieutenant governor.
Green is a frequent critic of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and ran against him in the crowded 2006 Democratic primary for attorney general.
Green called both Teachout and Wu “fellow progressive Democrats” and said he hoped for more from Cuomo, whom he said was far too transactional a political figure.
“Can a smart, progressive law professor do well in government? Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren seem to be doing fine. So I’m today endorsing Zephyr and Tim as ‘change we can believe in,” Green said in a statement.
Not surprisingly, Green was also taken with the idea that Wu wants to make the lieutenant governor’s office a “statewide public advocate” post.
“So, as the City’s first Public Advocate, I’m enthusiastically endorsing Tim as the state’s first ‘Public Advocate.’ Many pundits consider them Titanic underdogs, but to quote our Lotto Motto, ‘ya never know,’” Green said.
Cuomo and his running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul, were endorsed earlier today by several women’s groups: NARAL Pro-Choice New York and Planned Parenthood Advocates of NY Political Committee.
“Governor Cuomo’s leadership in advancing women’s equality in New York – particularly his commitment to solidifying the right to choose for New York women – is both extraordinary and unparalleled. We look forward in the coming year to working with the Governor and a fully pro-choice State Senate and Assembly to pass the 10 crucial protections of the Women’s Equality Act. Governor Cuomo exemplifies what true leadership looks like, and NARAL Pro-Choice New York is proud to endorse him for governor,” said NARAL Pro-Choice New York President Andrea Miller.
Updated: Political operative Hank Sheinkopf, hired as a consultant for the Democratic committee this year, called (unsolicited) with a statement on Green’s endorsement, noting Green’s many electoral defeats.
“At least six times voters in New York have told Mark Green to go away,” he said. “They didn’t listen to him then, they won’t listen to him now,” said Sheinkopf, who advised Green’s 2006 run for attorney general.
Sep 2nd - 3:04 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo didn’t come out and say there was no need for debating his primary opponent, Fordham Law Professor Zephyr Teachout.
But he did indicate he’s fine without having a one-on-one forum with his little-known Democratic foe, who is challenging him in next week’s primary.
Cuomo, speaking with reporters in New York City, said he’s still communicating with voters, albeit in his preferred method.
“Sometimes there are debates, sometimes there aren’t debates,” Cuomo said. “There are debates if the campaigns can work it out. Otherwise, I’m communicating with voters all day long.”
This is a similar response his running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul has given when asked about debating her primary opponent, Tim Wu, a Columbia professor.
Hochul has traveled across the state, starting with areas where she is not well known, meeting with local officials allied with the governor.
Cuomo has done little to engage so far publicly when it comes to the primary challenge, but Hochul in recent days has stepped up her public appearances and is appearing in a TV commercial.
“I’m proud of my record, I’ve proud of what I’ve accomplished and that’s what I’m going to run on,” Cuomo said.
As for debating Teachout, NY1 and Time Warner Cable News have invited both Democratic tickets to televised forums, which Cuomo and Hochul never accepted (or publicly turned down, for that matter).
Asked if debating his opponent would be a service to democracy, Cuomo responded with a quip.
“I’ve been in many debates that I think were a disservice to democracy,” he said. “So anyone who says debates are a service to democracy, hasn’t watched all the debates I’ve been in.”
Cuomo, of course, may be recalling the 2010 gubernatorial debate that featured having candidate who achieved ballot status — a decision that his campaign supported. The event devolved into a circus-like farce.
There is seemingly little upside for Cuomo to participate in a debate with Teachout, whose status would only be raised by a one-on-one event with the better-known and better-funded incumbent governor.
Cuomo, too, was unconcerned as to whether Democratic voters will have enough information before heading to the polls next week.
“They should read The Daily News editorial,” he advised, referring to the paper’s endorsement in the primary.
Sep 2nd - 1:57 pm
Republican gubernatorial hopeful Rob Astorino on Tuesday released a 15-point education plan with a vow to yank the state from the controversial Common Core education standards at its heart.
“I am a product of New York public schools, and I have seen them serve as a ladder to success for a generation of New Yorkers,” Astorino, the Westchester County executive, said in a statement. “Sadly, though, politics and bureaucracy have stifled the ingenuity of teachers in the classroom, and a one-size-fits-all mentality, in the form of the experimental Common Core curriculum, has come down on high from the bureaucrats in Washington, all but negating what’s unique in each student.”
The plan proposes replacing Common Core with a curriculum developed by teachers in New York and incorporating their feedback. Astorino’s campaign raised the possibility of using standards developed by former Regent Saul Cohen before the state adopted Common Core.
Astorino also proposed overhauling how the Board of Regents is selected, favoring a move to regional elections as opposed to legislative appointments (the current process gives the Democratic-led Assembly a large role in determining the panel).
Astorino backs having the governor appoint the education commission as well as placing more emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, studies in high schools.
Additional measures including requiring foreign language be taught in elementary schools and cracking down on absenteeism.
But it has been pulling the state away from Common Core standards that Astorino has made a major theme of his campaign for governor.
Republicans this year created their own ballot line called “Stop Common Core” in the hopes of siphoning some votes from Democrats and liberals who are also upset with the standards.
Opposition to Common Core has united factions of both the conservative right and liberal left. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Democratic primary opponent, Zephyr Teachout, also supports pulling the state out of Common Core standards.
Cuomo has said he backs the standards, but has been critical of how the state Department of Education has implemented them.
Cuomo and the Legislature agreed to delay aspects of the standards for students and later teachers in their annual performance reviews.
Allies of the governor criticized Astorino’s proposal.
“The foundation of Rob Astorino’s education platform remains nothing more than a cynical plot to win votes on a sham ballot line,” said Jenny Sedlis, the executive director StudentsFirstNY. “His so-called ‘plan’ is not policy, it’s an election year gimmick. After months of promising a substantive education agenda, he’s merely re-peddling the right wing’s factually deficient smear campaign on higher standards for children. Parents in New York expect more from political leaders than gimmicks. If Astorino were serious about addressing the education challenges facing New York public schools, he would get on board with higher, more rigorous standards to ensure that every child in the state can graduate high school ready to succeed in college or career.”
Sep 2nd - 12:55 pm
Pension costs for governments and other employers in New York are expected to be cheaper as contribution rates for the state and local pension system are expected to decline in the 2015-16 fiscal year, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office on Tuesday announced.
The average contribution rates are expected to decrease by 9 percent, from 20.1 percent of payroll to 18.2 percent of payroll.
The average contribution rate will decline for the police and fire pension system by 11 percent: 27.6 percent of payroll to 24.7 percent.
The rate decline comes as the pension system hits $180 billion, which DiNapoli said is a sign the fund is recovering following the 2008 recession.
“The state pension fund’s solid investment performance has delivered another decline in employer contribution rates,” DiNapoli, a Democrat who is up for re-election this year, said in a statement. “The effects of the 2008 financial market collapse are still being felt around the country, but New York’s pension fund is well-funded, is steadily recovering and will continue to meet its obligation to our more than one million Retirement System members and retirees.”
The state’s fiscal year begins April 1.
Sep 2nd - 12:26 pm
John Liu, the former city comptroller running a Democratic primary challenge against Queens Sen. Tony Avella, declined to say this morning in a radio interview who he supports in next week’s primary between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Zephyr Teachout.
“I know who I’m voting for,” Liu told Brian Lehrer on WNYC. “I’ve made up my mind at least for my part at least for governor and we’ll see what happens.”
Pressed on saying who he backs, Liu took a pass.
“There’s a choice and I always believe in any democratic process a choice leads to a better process overall,” he said, adding, “Let’s leave it at that.”
Passing on making a public endorsement comes as Teachout’s running mate, Columbia professor Tim Wu, issued an endorsement of Liu in his primary against Avella, a member of the Independent Democratic Conference.
“John Liu has been endorsed by the New York Times, was a great city comptroller, and has a strong track record,” Wu said. “He is challenging Tony Avella, an opportunist who has done nothing but serve his own interests at the expense of the State’s democratic majority.”
Wu backing Liu is multi-fold: He hopes, in part, to have pull among Asian voters, especially in Queens who will be voting in Liu’s primary while also giving a nod to a candidate running against an IDC lawmaker.
But at the same time, Liu’s taking a pass on the race is also strategic: He likely doesn’t want to upset the liberal Teachout-Wu Democrats voting in next week’s primary, but likely wouldn’t want to anger an incumbent who is the odds-on favorite to be sworn in for a second term come January.
Liu’s primary bid was launched before Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio brokered a new coalition agreement in the state Senate between the breakaway IDC and the mainline conference.
But the primary challenge to Avella continued on, as have other races between the mainline conference and IDC.
Updated: In a statement, Liu disavowed Wu’s endorsement in the most stringent way possible.
“Just to be clear: I do not know this person, I have not met this person and I’m not interested in accepting endorsements from people I have never heard of before,” Liu said.
Sep 2nd - 11:59 am
The Hotel and Motel Trades Council on Tuesday endorsed the Cuomo-Hochul ticket, a move that follows the roll out of other major labor organizations announcing their support.
“From giving workers a voice in the workplace to ensuring fair wages for hospitality workers for years to come, Governor Cuomo is the clear choice to stand up for working people in New York State. Governor Cuomo has fought for the issues that matter to working and middle class New Yorkers, and he has delivered,” said Peter Ward, President of the Hotel Trades Council. “We are also proud to support Democrat Kathy Hochul, who has always stood up for working families and will be an outstanding Lt. Governor. That’s why in every corner of this state, we are prepared to activate our resources and turnout operation to ensure Governor Cuomo and his running mate Kathy Hochul are elected on Tuesday.”
Like the endorsements released on Monday from 1199/SEIU and the Transport Workers Union, the nods are not wholly surprising.
HTC, in particular, has already given heavily to Cuomo’s re-election campaign.
But the endorsements from these labor unions comes also with their vaunted voter turnout operations, which will be key in next week’s primary contests.
Cuomo faces Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham Law School professor.
Hochul, a former representative from western New York, is being challenge for the Democratic ballot line by Columbia professor Tim Wu.
Sep 2nd - 11:19 am
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday endorsed Democratic Senate candidate Dell Smitherman, the primary opponent to Brooklyn Sen. John Sampson — a nod that follows the endorsement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“Dell has been a dedicated organizer and activist for years, and he’s been a steadfast ally in my fight to make life better for working families in New York,” de Blasio said in a statement released by Smitherman’s campaign. “From fighting for a higher minimum wage to expanding healthcare access and public transit, Dell’s priorities are the priorities of working New Yorkers. I’m proud to endorse his campaign for Senate, and look forward to doing my part to ensure he wins on Primary Day.”
Over the weekend, Smitherman was endorsed by Cuomo, who praised the labor advocate for “fight for working and middle class New Yorkers.”
“I am proud to endorse Dell Smitherman for State Senate,” Cuomo said. “Dell is a lifelong Brooklyn resident who has dedicated his career to fighting for working and middle class New Yorkers. He helped rally community support for our successful effort to raise the minimum wage and I look forward to working together in Albany next year to build on that progress and pass the Dream Act and the Women’s Equality Act.”
Both Cuomo and de Blasio have pledged to help Democrats regain full control of the Senate, helping broker a new coalition agreement with the mainline conference and the Independent Democratic Conference.
A Sampson defeat next Tuesday would be an important piece of that puzzle falling into place, considering the lawmaker is technically not part of any legislative conference in the chamber.
Sampson is facing charges of embezzling from an escrow account he managed in order to fund his campaign for district attorney in Brooklyn. The one-time Senate leader was indicted again earlier this year for lying to federal law enforcement.
Smitherman has been endorsed by the Working Families Party as well as a host of key labor groups: AFL-CIO, 1199 SEIU, 32 BJ SEIU, Hotel and Motel Trades Council, Communication Workers of America 1180, Communication Workers of America District 1, UAW, Transport Workers Union, Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, United Food and Commercial Workers.
Smitherman is also the preferred candidate of the good-government organization Citizens Union in the primary race.
Sep 2nd - 10:48 am
Republican congressional candidate Elise Stefanik has tapped a veteran of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign to become her communications director.
Stefanik on Monday announced Lenny Alcivar, a native New Yorker who served as the director of Romney 2012′s digital rapid response unit, will take over press duties for her campaign to replace Democratic Rep. Bill Owens in the North Country.
“As we enter the final stretch of our campaign to bring new leadership to Washington, I’m excited to welcome Lenny to the team. He is a skilled professional with diverse communications and new media experience. He is also a native New Yorker who will help us deliver our message more effectively,” said Stefanik in a statement.
In addition to working for Romney, Alcivar has worked for Rudy Giuliani’s administration, the second Bush administration and for U.S. Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez.
“Elise is a proven candidate with a positive vision for the future of the 21st District who will be ready to lead from day one,” said Alcivar. “From creating jobs jobs to cutting taxes to replacing Obamacare, I am honored to help Elise communicate her common sense, bipartisan solutions to the challenges facing North Country voters.”
Romney himself endorsed Stefanik during her campaign against Matt Doheny.
Stefanik faces Demcoratic candidate Aaron Woolf and Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello for the sprawling North Country House district.