Oct 26th - 12:01 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday night sent a fundraising email for the state Democratic Committee that called for the party’s takeover of the chamber.
“Every 4 years, Americans are faced with a choice, and the closer we get to Election Day, the clearer that choice becomes,” Cuomo wrote in the email, which includes a link to donating to the state party committee, which he controls.
“We see that choice clearly on every level. We see it for the House, we see it for the Senate, we see it blazingly clearly for the Presidential, and we see it in the elections for New York State Assembly and Senate.”
The fundraising email comes as Cuomo is ramping up his efforts to have the Senate flip to Democratic control, with the state party committee running a field, phone banking and digital operation.
“Please help us take back the NYS Senate and donate today,” Cuomo wrote in the email. “In the next 14 days, we have a lot of hard work to do, but it’s the right thing to do, and together, we’re going to do it well.”
Cuomo on Tuesday night speaking to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee’s fundraiser indicated he hoped the Independent Democratic Conference would form a new coalition-style agreement with the mainline conference, comparing the arrangement to a political “marriage” of sorts between the two factions.
At the same time, Cuomo said he is only interested in backing “good Democrats” who align with his agenda, which includes a limit on outside income, the passage of the DREAM Act and campaign finance reform.
Oct 26th - 11:16 am
GOP state Senate candidate Julie Killian on Wednesday is among the “races to watch” according to the Republican State Leadership Committee, a group focused on electing Republican candidates to state legislative offices.
Killian, running for the Senate seat in suburban Westchester County held by Democratic Sen. George Latimer, was the only New York candidate on the list of 16 races around the country.
“With just under two weeks to go until Election Day, state-level Republicans can feel confident in the strength and future of our party because of candidates like those highlighted today,” said RSLC President Matt Walter.
“The men and women featured in the latest phase of ’16 in ’16’ will be crucial in our fight to hold and grow our ranks nationwide, but their victories will also have a tremendous impact on the future and prosperity of their communities. Our candidates represent educators, healthcare professionals, small business owners and more, and their wide array of experiences and qualifications will prove critical in steering policy discussions and crafting effective, conservative legislation. I am so proud to stand by all 64 of our ’16 in ’16′ candidates in this final stretch to Election Day, and I wish them the best of luck on November 8th!”
The 37th Senate district has long been a goal to flip by Republicans in Albany and the GOP has periodically invested heavily in the area in order to win the seat once held by Democrat Suzi Oppenheimer.
The district is one of two races (the other being in western New York) in which Republicans are playing offense with Democratic-held seats.
Oct 26th - 7:00 am
From the Morning Memo:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday night pushed for a Democratic takeover of the state Senate, telling a gathering at a Democratic Senate Campaign Committee fundraiser he needed the chamber to flip in order to enact a range of liberal policy goals.
But at the same time, Cuomo acknowledged mainline Democrats will likely have to “compromise” and form a majority coalition with the five-member Independent Democratic Conference — a move he compared to the practical considerations of a marriage.
Mainline Democrats will have to be “smart enough and flexible enough to form a partnership with the IDC,” he said.
Cuomo’s comments come as he has sought this month to play an increasingly prominent role in down-ballot elections including key battleground races for the state Senate, which is narrowly led by Republicans.
Cuomo told the fundraiser that while he’s achieved measures ranging from same-sex marriage to more recently a $15 minimum wage and paid-family leave, other goals have been bottled up — which he blamed on Republicans in Albany.
Those measures include the DREAM Act, criminal justice reform, increasing the age of adult incarceration and a “campaign finance system that actually works.”
Cuomo said he also wants “probably most important a real ethics package that cleans up Albany once and for all.” That includes a limit to the amount of money lawmakers can earn outside of their government work, a bill that had been blocked in the Legislature this year.
“The only that’s going to happen is if we elect good Democrats to the Senate who support these positions and these policies and are going to take the state forward,” Cuomo said.
The governor has come under criticism from liberals for not having committed in the past to a Democratic state Senate. As late as the summer, Cuomo was being prodded to back the chamber flipping, later sitting down with the Democratic leadership to discuss how to help.
Now the state Democratic Committee has moved to back a field, phone banking and digital operation for the mainline conference’s efforts in the chamber, even as some grumbling remains Cuomo could use some of his $19 million war chest as long as he doesn’t earmark transfers to specific races.
Still, the efforts from Cuomo to bolster Democrats — appearing at fundraisers, contributing to campaigns — has been more robust than in previous years, underscoring the fractious nature of the election cycle at the top of the presidential ticket that could drive party turnout.
“If you had predicted this,” Cuomo said speaking of the election season, “you really could have made a fortune.”
Oct 26th - 6:45 am
From the Morning Memo:
It’s not an overstatement to call the relationship between the governor and PEF, the state’s second largest public workers union, rocky in recent years.
The last round of contract talks was so acrimonious, in fact, that it contributed to the union’s decision to back Cuomo’s primary opponent, Fordham Law Prof. Zephyr Teachout, in 2014 after supporting him in his first gubernatorial run in 2010.
The union also went through its own internal upheaval, ousting its former president, Susan Kent, just three years after she successfully challenged former PEF president Ken Brynien, who had also presided over a contentious – and not terribly successful – round of contract talks with Cuomo.
Wayne Spence, who succeeded Kent, was determined not to make the same mistakes as his predecessors. With yet another contract needing to be negotiated, he vowed to have a “courteous” dialogue with the Cuomo administration, adopting a “catch more bees with honey” approach.
It looks like Spence’s approach worked – for now.
PEF leaders and the Cuomo administration recently announced a three-year contract that provided 2 percent annual raises for union members and no immediate health care cost increases, though there are a number of details that need to be hammered out.
During a Capital Tonight interview last night, Spence said he expects the deal will be approved by the rank-and-file.
Looking ahead, he predicted that while there are still PEF members who are angry with Cuomo, this contract experience may have smoothed ruffled feathers sufficiently for the union to at least consider supporting the governor should he seek a third term in 2018.
“I think now that…we can now have the conversation,” Spence said. “My members are still upset, because the state workforce is still at a 40-year low. This is the first step toward having that conversation, but I can tell you they’re still not happy. They’re not happy.”
“I remember one of my members said to me in Binghamton last week…’If the governor even wants us to have a conversation with him and even consider endorsing him, he better give us something we can live with.'”
“I believe our members were given something they can live with,” Spence continued. “Would they like three percent and everything else? Who wouldn’t. But here’s what they do recognize. This shows that he recognized the union, recognized our sacrifice.”
“What good is a major increase in health insurance, or your salary, if you have to pay a major increase in taxes. Because we’re all taxpayers. So I think this is a nice balance.”
Oct 26th - 6:30 am
From the Morning Memo:
While Gov. Andrew Cuomo is playing nice with Senate Democrats, Republicans on Tuesday fired a warning shot across his bow.
In a statement from GOP Senate hopeful Chris McGrath, Cuomo and the Democratic incumbent he recently endorsed, Todd Kaminsky, were paired together.
“The Governor who once bragged about reforming Albany is now running the most corrupt administration since Tammany Hall,” McGrath said. “And, Todd Kaminsky is his partner in crime.”
McGrath is running for a second time for the Long Island Senate seat vacated by disgraced former Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a district won by Kaminsky in an April special election. McGrath is now challenging Kaminsky’s bid for a full term.
McGrath is not an outlier candidate, but one who has been backed by the Senate GOP’s leadership. While not an incumbent lawmaker who would still have to work with Cuomo, McGrath’s comments underscore what could be a riff for Cuomo and a Republican conference with which he has developed a strong working relationship.
Cuomo this month endorsed Kaminsky and contributed $11,000 to his campaign. But the effort dovetails with a broader push to elect Democrats running in key down-ballot Senate races, especially on Long Island, which has been a GOP stronghold for the Senate.
In the statement, Cuomo is knocked by McGrath for the bid-rigging and bribery allegations facing the governor’s former top aide, Joe Percoco as well as for having “lied about what he knew” in the Bridgegate scandal (claims made that Cuomo and his office strenuously deny).
“If there was ever any doubt, Todd Kaminsky is now officially the candidate of Cuomo and de Blasio, who represent the corrupt status quo,” McGrath said. “I’m with the hardworking taxpayers and families of Nassau County who want stronger ethics laws, and to bring real and sweeping change to their government.”
Updated: Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi returns fire.
“Recycling Ed Cox and Rob Astorino’s pathetic lies that hinge on the hearsay testimony of a convicted felon is a feeble attempt by Dean Skelos’ heir apparent to distract from the fact that he, unlike Senator Kaminsky, doesn’t support comprehensive ethics reform.”
Oct 26th - 5:17 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Erie County and Albany.
Hillary For New York will celebrate Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s 69th birthday with special get out the vote organizing events across the state.
At 8 a.m., Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance speaks about investments in public safety, crime prevention, and justice reform at the Citizens Budget Commission breakfast, Yale Club, 50 Vanderbilt Ave., Manhattan.
At 9 a.m., Hostos Community College’s Center for Bronx Nonprofits hosts “Building and Sustaining Communities,” a public conversion aimed at addressing the relationship between the public and law enforcement, Savoy Multipurpose Room, 120 E. 149th St., the Bronx.
Also at 9 a.m., Resist Spectra and other environmental groups participate in a statewide day of action demanding U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer stop the construction of a high pressure, fracked-gas pipeline, 780 Third Ave., Manhattan.
At 9:30 a.m., Sierra Club President Aaron Mair announces the organization’s endorsement of Democratic NY-24 candidate Colleen Deacon, Emerson Park Pavilion, 6914 E. Lake Rd, Auburn.
At 9:45 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul joins Cuomo as he makes an announcement, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Elm & Carlton streets, Buffalo.
At 10:30 a.m., NY-19 candidates Zephyr Teachout and John Faso appear on “The Brian Lehrer Show” to discuss their respective campaigns, WNYC.
Also at 10:30 a.m., Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray, NYPD and top NYC officials will host a press conference to make an announcement regarding domestic violence, Manhattan Family Justice Center, 80 Centre St., 5th floor, Manhattan.
At 11 a.m., Cuomo and Hochul attend the 43North finals qualifying round, The Atrium at Rich’s, 1 Robert Rich Way, Buffalo.
Also at 11 a.m., NYC Council members Rory Lancman, Laurie Cumbo and Dan Garodnick, and Assemblyman Ed Braunstein fight back against so-called “revenge porn” during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, City Hall steps, Manhattan
Also at 11 a.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina joins Rep. Nydia Velazquez and delivers brief remarks to celebrate Queens schools that received a Federal Magnet Grant, P.S. 254, The Rosa Parks School, 84-40 101 1st St., Queens.
At 11:30 a.m., AARP presents 1,000 petitions to NY-23 candidates John Plumb and Tom Reed urging each to commit to strengthening Social Security for the 21st Century, corner of Chemung Street and East Tioga Avenue (Plumb, 11:30 a.m.) and 46 Market Street (Reed, noon), Corning.
Also at 11:30 a.m., Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Sen. Liz Krueger and Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright will join Debbie Hardeen and other Houdini family members, along with fans and magicians, to place a historical plaque on the first NYC childhood home of Harry Houdini to mark the 90th anniversary of his death, 244 East 79th St., Manhattan.
At 2 p.m., Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente will host Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and local stakeholders to discuss Dutchess County’s highly successful “Think DIFFERENTLY” initiative to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment for individuals with special needs, Arc, Oneida-Lewis Chapter, NYSARC, 245 Genesee St., Utica.
Also at 2 p.m., Velazquez speaks to the Medgar Evers Minority Veteran Business Institute (MVBI) Veterans business event, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Building 92, 63 Flushing Ave., Brooklyn.
At 4 p.m., Rep. Louise Slaughter and Rochester faith leaders will hold a GOTV rally at Memorial AME Zion Church with special guest and civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, 549 Clarissa St., Rochester.
At 4:30 p.m., the Bernie Sanders Network, Citizen Action of New York, PAUSE and Sierra Club protest against state Sen. George Amedore’s opposition to climate change legislation and fossil fuel industry donations, Legislative Office Building steps, 198 State St., Albany.
At 5:30 p.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli hosts “A Salute to Italian Heritage and Culture: Celebrating 40 Years of Italian Culture in America,” Pace University, 163 William St., 18th Floor, Manhattan.
At 6:30 p.m., Rep. Grace Meng attends public meeting in which the National Park Service will discuss its Flushing Remonstrance study, Quaker Meeting House, 137-16 Northern Blvd., Queens.
From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Manhattan BP Gale Brewer, Sen. Brad Hoylman, NYC Councilman Corey Johnson and others participate in a phone bank birthday celebration for Clinton, The Jane Hotel, 113 Jane St., Manhattan.
From 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Assembly members Pat Fahy and John McDonald and Sen. Neil Breslin participate in a phone bank birthday party for Clinton, Albany County Democratic HQ, 10 Colvin Ave., Albany.
From 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, Broome County Democratic Party, the Broome County Democratic Women, and Southern Tier For Hillary participate in a phone bank birthday party for Clinton, Broome County Democratic HQ, 508 Upper Front St., Binghamton.
From 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner headlines a phone bank birthday party for Clinton, Hillary for America Syracuse Field Office, 716 E. Washington St., Syracuse.
Form 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., a Westchester County phone bank birthday party for Clinton is held, Hillary for America Westchester Field Office, 168 Martine Ave., White Plains.
The Sunshine State was treated to twin apocalyptic visions yesterday, when Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both warned Florida voters in dark terms that the other candidate threatens the fabric of the nation.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell told an audience of more than 1,000 Long Island business and political leaders that he will cross party lines to vote for Clinton, citing her experience, temperament and — in a jab at fellow Republican Trump — her “stamina.”
Clinton went to an Adele concert in Miami on the eve of her 69th birthday, and picked up some support along the way from the British singer, who can’t vote in the U.S. but says she’s “100 percent” behind the Democratic nominee.
Newt Gingrich thinks Megyn Kelly’s mind is in the gutter. In a heated on-camera exchange, the former GOP House Speaker accused the Fox News host of biased coverage concerning Trump’s alleged sexual assaults.
In a March 2015 interview, President Obama said that he had learned about Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state “the same time everybody else learned it, through news reports.” But that assertion concerned Clinton aides, who knew that the president himself had received emails from the private address.
Trump’s campaign is pushing back against a new report that says Trump has all but stopped raising money for the joint fundraising effort with the RNC, insisting that the campaign is continuing to support the Republican Party.
Trump, desperate for a winning political issue in the final two weeks of the presidential race, fiercely attacked Clinton over sharp premium increases that will hit some Americans covered under the Affordable Care Act.
There is at least one conspicuous object owned by Trump in New York City that never carried his name – the enormous silvery globe at the Trump International Hotel and Tower on Columbus Circle in Manhattan – but for his lack of trying.
Washington-based federal prosecutors plan to aggressively pursue charges against NYPD cop Daniel Pantaleo for the chokehold death of Eric Garner on Staten Island, a law enforcement source told The the NY Post.
An update on efforts between Roswell Park Cancer Institute and a Cuban research organization to develop a lung cancer vaccine is expected this morning from Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a trip to Western New York.
Suspects in a federal bribery and corruption case, including a former top aide to Cuomo, are negotiating possible plea deals, according to court papers. But attorneys for the eight men insist no talks are underway.
The governor raised eyebrows at a Senate Democrats fund-raiser in Manhattan yesterday by saying he would oppose fellow Dems who aren’t on board with his socially progressive, fiscally conservative agenda. “I’m going to work as hard as I can to oppose some Democratic senators as well as I’m going oppose Republican senators,” Cuomo said.
“I don’t believe the Republicans will have enough votes to be in the clear majority, and I believe Democrats in the Senate are going to have to be smart enough and flexible enough to form a partnership with the (Independent Democratic Conference),” the governor predicted. “That is the probable scenario.”
A Nassau County Supreme Court justice rejected an attempt by Republicans to force a union-backed super PAC, New Yorkers Together, to stop its heavy spending targeting two Senate Republican candidates on Long Island.
It may be small solace to New Yorkers shopping for Obamacare policies, but the average premium increase in 2017 for individuals in the Empire State is 16.6 percent, compared with 25 percent in 39 other states.
Oct 25th - 5:20 pm
Eight men charged in a federal corruption case, including Joe Percoco, a former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo; and former SUNY Poly head Alain Kaloyeros, are in plea discussions with prosecutors, according to a document filed with the court.
The case brought against Percoco, Kaloyeros, Louis Ciminelli and two other executives of Buffalo’s LPCiminelli construction and development company, and several Syracuse-area developers was given a continuance until Nov. 23 as lawyers on all sides continue to negotiate.
Former New York City Mayor and top Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani said that when he looks at Hillary Clinton, he sees her “in an orange jumpsuit.”
“We got a couple of surprises left,” Giuliani said of the Trump campaign. “Surprises in the way that we’re going to campaign to get our message out there. Maybe in a little bit of a different way. You’ll see. And I think it will be enormously effective.”
Just two weeks before Election Day, at least 75 of the 4,000-plus lawsuits involving Trump and his businesses remain open, according to an ongoing, nationwide analysis of state and federal court records by USA TODAY. That’s unprecedented for a presidential candidate.
Senior staff members on Clinton’s nascent campaign were conscious about diversity in the top ranks two months before the Democratic presidential candidate formally announced her bid, according to hacked emails from the personal account of a top campaign official.
No, you can’t cast a vote in next month’s presidential election using a social media hashtag, though fliers found on SUNY New Paltz’s campus Sunday claim you can.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, speaking on Long Island today, said he’ll vote for Clinton, and said Trump is unqualified and “selling people a bill of goods.”
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara rang the closing bell at the NYSE today.
Leading daily fantasy sports companies DraftKings and FanDuel have reached a $12 million settlement with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to end remaining false advertising claims in an enforcement action filed a year ago, seemingly putting an end to legal uncertainty for the industry in the state.
Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan has appointed a new commissioner to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, attorney J. Gerard McAuliffe, Jr. Meanwhile, Michael Romeo, an appointee of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has departed the panel.
Republican David Gurfein, a candidate for Congress in Nassau County’s 4th District, was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery in September 2010 after authorities said he pushed the mother of his child during a confrontation at her Henderson, Nevada, home.
This week, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg donated another $25 million to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, after previously donating $100 million in 2013.
Cuomo is the fourth-highest paid governor in the nation.
Is the Time Warner/AT & T merger good or bad for NYC? Greg David opines.
A restaurateur who didn’t get the concession to run the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park — even though his offer was $19.5 million higher than the winner — is now suing, charging that he lost out to a bidder who should not have participated because he donated to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York.
Federal probers in New York are “not happy” that the Justice Department in D.C. is nosing in on the chokehold death investigation of Eric Garner by replacing them with their Beltway counterparts, a federal source told The NY Post.
Schneiderman plans to introduce in the next legislative session a bill aimed at curbing the misuse of non-compete agreements, contract clauses that bar employees of one company from leaving to join or become a competitor.
A center for advanced technology to develop state-of-the-art 3D printing technology is opening at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Henrietta campus.
An 89-year-old World War II veteran from Colonie is offering a $1,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who stole the “Trump for Veterans” magnetic signs off his car on Friday while he was dining at Reel Seafood Co. on Wolf Road.
Oct 25th - 12:57 pm
The state Democratic Committee is planing a “robust” operation to aid Democrats running in down-ballot state Senate races.
The committee, which is essentially controlled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, will be committing resources for the party’s Senate candidates in key and competitive districts.
The effort includes field and phone banking work as well as digital-based advertising.
“At Governor Cuomo’s direction, the state party will be undertaking a robust coordinated campaign to elect Democrats up and down the ballot, particularly in hotly contested state senate and congressional districts,” said Basil Smikle, the state Democratic Committee executive director, in a statement to Capital Tonight.
It’s unclear how much money the state committee will ultimately spend.
Liberals have been skeptical of Cuomo’s previous efforts for Senate Democrats after he has worked well with Republicans in the chamber for the past several years.
And he’s still being pushed by the labor-aligned Working Families Party to spend from some of his own campaign war chest.
“The jury’s still out on whether Cuomo will spend even $1 million of his $19 million war chest on behalf of a more progressive New York,” WFP Executive Director Bill Lipton told The New York Times.
Smikle, however, disputed Lipton’s assertion Cuomo was not helping the Senate Democrats’ cash efforts.
“The Governor has been forcefully and effectively raising money for and contributing to Senate Democrats, including the maximum amount allowed by law from his campaign account,” Smikle said.
“Bill Lipton’s comments that he should break campaign finance rules by exceeding maximum allowed campaign finance limitations is disturbing — particularly for someone who spends so much time talking about campaign finance reform.”
The state Democratic Committee last reported having $125,183 in cash on hand.
But the purse strings are being loosened at a critical time for the mainline Democratic conference in the narrowly divided chamber. Democratic challengers are pressing to win seats in Long Island districts, many of which are in Nassau County and the Hudson Valley.
On Monday, Cuomo was on Long Island to personally endorse Sen. Todd Kaminsky and Democratic candidate Adam Haber, who is running for an open Senate seat. At the same time, Cuomo pushed for the election of Democrat Jim Gaughran, who is running against incumbent Sen. Carl Marcellino.
The involvement from the statewide Democratic apparatus dovetails with the efforts from Cuomo in recent weeks to bolster Senate Democrats. The governor is appearing at a fundraiser for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee as well as incumbent Democrats in Westchester and Nassau counties.
Oct 25th - 11:16 am
The super PAC allied with House Democrats on Tuesday released its latest TV ad in the 24th congressional district that once again seeks to tie Republican Rep. John Katko to Donald Trump.
In the ad, Katko is shown saying that Trump “wants to keep the country safe” and “has a lot of good principles.”
Katko, to be clear, has not endorsed Trump and hasn’t ruled out voting for an independent candidate for president.
But the independent expenditure group, the House Majority PAC, is spending up to $370,000 in airtime in the central New York district to push the point, even as a TWC News/Siena College poll show Katko leading Democrat Colleen Deacon by a wide margin.
“For Congressman Katko, it’s all about politics before principles,” said House Majority PAC Communications Director Jeb Fain.
“While Donald Trump laid out a dangerous agenda for our country, Katko parsed words and has even offered praise to his presidential ticket-mate. Central New Yorkers deserve better than a politician who couldn’t take a principled stand against the dangerous, divisive demagogue leading his party’s ticket.”
Katko and Deacon will appear in a TWC News debate from Syracuse at 7 p.m.
Oct 25th - 10:14 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo later this evening will appear at another fundraiser for the Democratic presidential ticket, according to a copy of an invitation obtained by Capital Tonight.
Tickets to the event, to be held in New York City, range from $2,700 to $25,000.
Cuomo is appearing as a special guest with vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine as well as the actor Liam Neeson.
The email was sent out to Clinton supporters by former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn on Monday evening.
“There are just fifteen days left until Election Day — and we are all working hard to make sure Hillary Clinton is our next President,” Quinn wrote in the email.
Cuomo earlier this month held a fundraiser with Kaine in New York City, part of an overall push for Democrats running up and down the ballot this cycle.