Cuomo: Sanders Helped Unite NY Democrats

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday credited Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s appearance at a breakfast gathering of the Democratic delegation from New York with uniting the fractious party.

“You had a divided group in that room,” Cuomo told reporters in Philadelphia. “You’ve had Sanders supporters who were not yet ready to fully accept Hillary. That room was probably 60-40 Hillary supporters. But they stood up and they were unified.”

Sanders urged his supporters in the New York delegation to support Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, part of a series of delegation appearances he made during the morning.

While Sanders sought to unite Democrats in New York, he also boosted Cuomo’s own standing with liberals, who have not always seen Cuomo has a steadfast ideological ally.

Sanders similarly urged delegates at the convention to back Clinton’s bid against Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, and has tried to calm the vocal supporters who wanted him to continue to push for the nomination.

At the breakfast, Sanders pointed to Cuomo’s push for a $15 minimum wage as well as paid family leave, part of a series of accomplishments the governor can claim on the left side of the political spectrum.

“It was nice that he came and he acknowledged New York’s leadership on those issues,” Cuomo said. “And not just New York talks about it, New York did it.”

Cuomo has often touted New York as a leader on liberal issues such as gun control and civil rights, especially on same-sex marriage.

“I am a Hillary Clinton supporter, but I’m also a progressive governor,” Cuomo said. “This state is the progressive bellwether for the rest of the nation.”

Cuomo is often described as representing a moderate, Clinton-oriented wing of the Democratic Party, which has declined in influence over the years as more liberal advocates reject the “third way” politics of the 1990s.

Cuomo doesn’t think this is just a symptom of the Democratic Party, however.

“The world has become more progressive,” Cuomo said. “I believe it’s partially demographics, because young people are more progressive.”

Cuomo On Backing Democratic Senate: ‘I Support Democrats’

Whenever Gov. Andrew Cuomo is periodically asked about whether he will actively support a Democratic majority of the state Senate, he says a lot, without saying much at all.

That happened again on Tuesday, with Cuomo speaking with reporters in the middle of his first day in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention.

In short: Cuomo once again said he is backing Democratic candidates, but in the same breath insists he’s focused on “getting stuff done” for New York, which requires working with Republicans.

“It’s a game. You guys like to play the game. It’s not an honest game,” Cuomo said of state Senate political questions. “I govern, right? Every four years we have an election, every two years we have a legislative election. Everyday I govern. To get any bill passed, I have to work with Democrats and Republicans.”

Democrats in the Senate as well as liberal advocates have questioned Cuomo’s liberal bonafides in part because of his hesitance to support a full takeover of the chamber by his won party. They argue he should open up some of the $19 million that sits in his campaign war chest to help them.

Cuomo, of course, has some counter examples of what happens when a Democratic politician who needs to govern — Bill de Blasio and Eliot Spitzer chief among them — try to go to war with Senate Republicans.

Republicans hold a narrow majority in the state Senate, their last remaining toehold of official power in Democratic heavy New York.

“The people make the decision, not me,” Cuomo said of the Senate’s composition. “The people chose a Republican Senate, not me. Well, you should reject the peoples’ choice. I’m governor, not king.”

Cuomo at the same time has emphasized liberal goals in Albany, including an increase in the minimum wage to $15, measures that have been approved with held from the GOP conference.

Cuomo on Tuesday appeared with Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who challenged Hillary Clinton for the nomination, in a show of unity.

“To become hypoerpolitical I think violates your oath of office,” Cuomo said. “Now, in an election year, I support Democrats. They have to be people of integrity, but I support Democrats.”

Katko’s 2nd Ad Features Democratic Testimonial

Freshman Republican Rep. John Katko, one of the Democrats’ top targets in the November elections, has released his second TV ad of the campaign, again trying to position himself as a pragmatist who is willing to work across the aisle to represent a closely divided district that has traded hands several times over the past several years.

The spot features two registered Democrats – John and Tina Socci of Cayuga County – who have been dramatically impacted by the state’s opioid/heroin epidemic, according to the Katko campaign.

The Soccis lost their daughter, Katie, five years ago when she was killed by her ex-fiancé – a man addicted to opiate-based painkillers. And then two years later, the Socci family lost their son, Chris, to a heroin overdose.

The couple has worked with the congressman in his efforts to address this crisis. In the ad they call him “a very good ally” and someone who understands the “danger of drugs,” thanks to his experience as a former federal prosecutor.

Katko is facing off in the NY-24 general election against Democrat Colleen Deacon, a former aide of U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who won a three-way primary in June.

Deacon and the DCCC have sought to portray Katko as in lock step with his fellow Republicans, particularly presidential nominee Donald Trump, though the congressman has declined to formally endorse the New York businessman’s candidacy.

Katko’s new ad is starting to air immediately on broadcast and cable stations. The campaign did not provide any information on the size of the buy. Here’s the script:

“Our daughter was killed five years ago by her ex-fiancé.

He had become addicted to opiate-based painkillers and he strangled Katie to death…in front of their 18-month-old daughter.

Just over two years later, our son passed away…on his 25th birthday…from a heroin overdose.

We have adopted our granddaughter. I hope she grows up in a better world than this. We can’t bring back our son or our daughter, but we can help.

We know that John Katko is willing to do whatever it takes. Whatever it takes to battle drug abuse, to battle domestic violence.

John Katko has helped us. John Katko has been a very good ally.

As a federal prosecutor, he knows the danger of drugs.

When John Katko tells you he is going to do something, he does it.

John Katko has earned the right to continue this fight.”

Continue This Fight from John Katko for Congress on Vimeo.

Women Reflect On Clinton’s History-Making Bid

Tonight, Democrats are slated to officially nominate the first woman to head a major-party presidential ticket.

And for women in New York, it’s a major statement of the direction of the country, it’s politics and for future generations.

“Hillary Clinton has made it possible for girls and boys to see a woman run for president and see that it’s not unusual,” said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner.

Only two women in New York hold statewide office: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, a Manhattan Democrat, pointed to only a quarter or so the 213 legislative seats in the Senate and Assembly being held by women.

“It’s hard to believe that in 2016, only 27 percent of those seats are held by women,” she said.

Glick readily agreed with the sentiment, too, that opposition to Clinton is fueled some respects by sexism.

“I don’t think there’s any question,” she said. “As far as we’ve come, we take 10 steps back.”

Repeatedly, however, women in elected office in New York returned to the theme of the impact of seeing a woman nominated for president on children, especially young girls. It’s an emotion not dissimilar to ones black voters felt when Barack Obama was first nominated in 2008 for president.

“It says this is the greatest country in the world,” said Christine Quinn, the former New York City council speaker and vice chair of the state party. “Problems that have dogged us for hundreds of years — racism, sexism, anti-Semitism — they will still be with us, but it says we take them on.”

Tonight, Quinn said, she’ll be thinking about her grand nieces watching Clinton be officially nominated.

“They’re going to watch TV tonight and see a woman nominated to be president of the United States,” she said. “Their little minds are never going to be full of the thought that only a man can be president of the United States.”

Derrick Keeps Trade Heat On Stefanik

Mike Derrick, the Democrat challenging Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik in NY-21, has released his second TV ad hammering her for her support of fast tracking the controversial trade deal known as TPP (the Trans Pacific Partnership).

As he did in his first ad, Derrick notes that Donald Trump is against TPP, and this time he throws Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders into the mix for good measure.

“Trump and Bernie don’t agree on much, but they’re right that we need to stop unfair trade deals,” Derrick says in the ad. “Say no to TPP. And take on both parties in Washington.”

Again, Derrick is trying to appeal to the middle with this ad, specifically independents, who could very well be the swing vote in this race, though the presence of the Green Party candidate, Matt Funiciello, does likely cut into Derrick’s Democrat support (particularly with those die-hard Sanders supporters).

Stefanik’s campaign has gone to great lengths to stress that what the congresswoman supported and voted “yes” on was TPA, not TPP, crossing party lines to support President Obama’s request for fast track authority to negotiate trade agreements – something on which a number of the president’s fellow Democrats disagree, including Hillary Clinton, though she supported TPP before she was against it.

In the press release that accompanies this ad, Derrick’s campaign notes that a number of Stefanik’s fellow House Republicans – Reps. Chris Collins, Chris Gibson, and John Katko – opposed both fast-tracking and supporting the TPP.

Again, no word on the size of the buy for this ad or the duration of time it will run.

Cuomo, Facing Liberal Skeptics, Brings Sanders To NY Delegation

Gov. Andrew Cuomo brought a major liberal validator with him to a breakfast meeting of the New York delegation in Philadelphia on Tuesday: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The joint appearance by both men sharing the stage was a mutually beneficial one: Cuomo needs to bolster his liberal credentials with skeptics on the left, while Sanders has been working overtime at the Democratic National Convention to nudge his supporters into backing Hillary Clinton for president.

And for Sanders’s New York fans — of which there are many in the delegation — it was like being dragged to a Dave Matthews Band concert, but with Phish as a surprise opening.

Both men bounded up on stage to chants of “Ber-nie! Ber-nie!” and sustained applause.

“We believe in progressive politics, we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk,” Cuomo said, his voice rising.

Cuomo, who had criticized Sanders’s record during the presidential primary campaign on his gun control record singled out the Vermont lawmaker’s advocacy for affordable housing, an issue that’s especially personal to him.

Sanders, meanwhile, returned the favor, praising Cuomo’s recent efforts on increasing the minimum wage in the New York City metropolitan area to $15 over the next several years and creating a 12-week paid family leave program.

“Our first task is to make sure that Hillary Clinton is elected our next president,” Sanders said to applause from the delegation. “Our second task, in my view, is to continue the political revolution whose goal is nothing less than transforming this country.”

Sanders handily lost the state’s April presidential primary to Clinton, but he draws strong support from liberals, including pockets of upstate New York.

Cuomo, meanwhile, has worked over the last several years to shore up support from the left after a first term accomplishments that include caps on spending in the budget, limits to local property tax increases and other methods of fiscal restraint following the recession.

Though that first term included a signature gun control law and the landmark passage of same-sex marriage, Cuomo’s foes on the left felt he was inconsistent, especially when it came to public-secotr labor and education.

In 2014, Cuomo faced a stronger-than-expected primary challenge on the left from Zephyr Teachout, now a Democratic candidate for Congress in the 19th district.

Liberals remain skeptical, however, Cuomo is truly on their side, pointing to what they see as half-hearted attempts at public financing of political campaigns and flipping control of the Senate to his own party.

At the same time, he remains mired on an ongoing feud with the liberal mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio.

But even as Cuomo places a new emphasis on liberal issues, he has often stuck to a philosophy that is about reaching accomplishments and working with Republicans to secure legislative victories.

It’s a stance that is shared in many ways with Hillary Clinton, whose campaign for president has faced the same populist headwinds Cuomo sailed into in New York.

A Democratic Policy Divide On Display

From the Morning Memo:

The primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders exposed policy fault lines within the party on issues ranging from the minimum wage, to free trade and hydrofracking. For supporters of Sanders, it’s a push to making Clinton lean further to the left.

“There are several places where we feel Hillary Clinton’s positions are inadequate,” said Joshn Fox, a Sanders supporter and a documentary filmmaker.

Fox says Democrats should focus more on what the base of the party wants: Opposition to hydrofracking and more skepticism of free-trade agreements, like the Trans Pacific Partnership.

“It makes no sense for Democrats to be pro-tracking,” Fox said. “Fracking is the number one issue on the climate change front. So you can’t be a climate change person and support tracking.”

Clinton supporters like Washington County Democratic Chair Sheila Comar argue negotiation and compromise is needed on these complex issues. Clinton herself has said she plans to stick to Democratic values, but also work to get things done.

“Things aren’t set in stone,” said Washington County Democratic Chairwoman Sheila Comar. “A lot of times, things aren’t black and white. There’s a little gray area and I think it’s time to look at things and maybe negotiate.”

New York Democratic Committee Executive Director Basil Smikle says Clinton and Sanders are already having a conversation finding ways to develop a policy platform that adhere’s to party’s principles, noting that’s something Republicans failed to do last week in Cleveland.

“Both Bernie and Hillary have had a conversation about policy that has been incredibly substantive. It’s something that we haven’t seen the Republicans promote at all,” Smikle said.

“If you look at the Democratic platform, there’s a real pathway to economic and social justice that’s really lacking in the Republican platform.”

One concession Sanders supporters want in New York is more open elections, including ending the practice of so-called closed primaries in which only party members can vote in that party’s primary.

“We have to look at everything under these conditions,” said Queens Democratic Sen. James Sanders, an endorser of the Vermont lawmaker and delegate. “If a system can be rigged, it means people won’t participate in our system after a while.”

But already the Sanders campaign has scored the victory of the Democratic Party officially backing a $15 minimum wage, a measure Clinton had been hesitant to embrace on the campaign trail.

SD-6: RWDSU Endorses Cronin

From the Morning Memo:

Democratic state Senate hopeful Ryan Cronin has been endorsed by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, his campaign announced in a statement being released on Tuesday.

In a statement, Cronin said he was “proud to receive the support” of the labor group.

“People are tired of the same failed leadership since the 1970’s that has brought nothing to Long Island but higher taxes, less jobs and crumbling schools,” Cronin said. “With strong support like this we will go to Albany with a fresh voice and ideas to pass real ethics reforms, spur economic growth on Long Island and fight for the best interests of working families.”

Cronin is running against Republican Sen. Kemp Hannon, a Nassau County lawmaker, in what Democrats hope to be a crucial swing-district race for control of the Senate this fall.

“Working people on Long Island need a strong candidate to take back the 6th State Senate District,” said RWDSU President Stuart Applebaum.

“Ryan Cronin is that candidate. A life-long Democrat, he is committed to standing with working people and has stood with workers as they collectively bargained for better wages and working conditions. We are pleased to support him.”

Here And Now — Day 2 In Philly

Good morning from Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where things are already off to an interesting start. It’s going to get even more busy for the New York delegation this morning as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio plan a series of events to be held around the city throughout the day ahead of the convention festivities themselves at the Wells Fargo Arena.

Your schedule:

Both Cuomo and de Blasio are holding a full plate of events in Philadelphia today.

At 10 a.m., Cuomo will deliver remarks at the New York delegation breakfast, Loews Hotel, Regency Ballroom, Floor 2M, 1200 Mark Street, Philadelphia.

Also at 10 a.m., Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will deliver remarks at the topping off ceremony for the Albany Capital Center
Intersection of Howard and Wendell Streets, Albany.

At noon, de Blasio will participate in a panel discussion at the National League of Cities, Philadelphia City Hall, 1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.

At 12:30 p.m., Cuomo will deliver remarks at the DNC LGBT Caucus Meeting, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St., Room 118ABC, Philadelphia.

At 1 p.m. de Blasio will deliver remarks at the Working Families Party opening session, Philadelphia Marriott, Liberty Ballroom A.

At 2 p.m., Rep. Elise Stefanik will hold a results tour event at River Hospital, 4 Fuller St., Alexandria Bay.

At 3:15, de Blasio will attend the congressional Progressive Action Caucus reception, Franklin Institute, 222 North 20th St., Philadelphia.

At 3:45 p.m., Cuomo will deliver remarks at a meeting of AIPAC, Logan Hotel, 1 Logan Square, Philadelphia.

At 4 p.m., Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara will announce a public safety investment, Schenectady Fire Department Station 3, 1200 3rd Avenue, Schenectady.

At 4:15 p.m., de Blasio will deliver remarks at the Patriotic Millionaires and IMPACT Arts and Film Fund Reception, Berger & Montague, 1622 Locust Street.

At 6:15 p.m., Cuomo will deliver remarks at the HELP USA Reception, Loews Hotel, 1200 Market St., Philadelphia.

At 8 p.m., both Cuomo at de Blasio will attend the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia.


The DNC in Philadelphia began with a rough start as party officials continued to deal with the fallout of a series of leaked emails and Debbie Wasserman Schultz was booed by her home delegation.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in his convention remarks urged his supporters to put aside their differences and support his former rival for the nomination, Hillary Clinton.

It seems like Sanders is not really in control of his own supporters, however, as he was booed at a rally earlier in the day when he suggested they vote for Clinton.

Comedian Sarah Silverman further inflamed things at the convention on Monday night when she said Sanders boosters were “being ridiculous.”

A Sanders delegate tells TWC News’s Geoff Bennett: “Our mission is to shift the party.”

Sanders delegates from New York faced a more acute issue on Monday: Finding space at the state delegation hotel in Philadelphia to meet.

Sanders supporters at a demonstration on Monday tore down a flag that included the Confederate flag symbol.

The big question remains over whether Sanders supporters will ultimately stick with the Democratic Party after he lost the nomination amid complaints of a “rigged” system.

Newsday’s Dan Janison argues Clinton is still not ready to ride the tidal wave that is the “political revolution” being sought by Sanders and his supporters.

After his own rocky convention, Donald Trump took some delight in the discord among Democrats in Philadelphia, saying Clinton threw Wasserman Schultz under the bus amid the email scandal.

A Russian diplomat is disputing the allegations the country’s intelligence community played a role in hacking the Democratic National Committee and giving the emails to WikiLeaks.

The FBI is investigating possible ties to Russian intelligence over the leak nevertheless, with Trump declaring the allegations of international involvement to sway the election are “a joke.”

Former President Bill Clinton is set to deliver his 10th convention speech this evening, but he is likely to face a different, and potentially tougher, crowd tonight when he boosts his wife’s nomination for president.

The left-leaning website Salon urges liberals to “stop fretting” about vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine’s personal stance on abortion, comparing his position to Mario Cuomo’s own view of the issue informed by his Catholicism.

Delegates from New York brushed aside the email scandal, saying they were solidifying their support behind Clinton’s nomination.

One of the unifying figures for the Democrats here in Philadelphia is First Lady Michelle Obama, who delivered a rousing speech on Hillary Clinton’s behalf Monday night.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown is settling into his role as the chair of an increasingly diverse state Democratic Committee, saying the big tent draws a sharp contrast with the Republicans.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was in no mood to discuss the role his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, is set to play at the convention this week as he endorses Clinton.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s convention story began with a white-knuckle ride in a turbo-prop plane and ended with running into former Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

Political operative Michael Caputo, who played a role in the Trump campaign, insists the New York businessman has a good shot at winning New York this fall.

Robert Mercer, a top donor to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, is switching his loyalties (and cash flow) to Donald Trump’s campaign.

Congressional candidate and state senator Adriano Espaillat was joined on stage with his fellow New York Democrats as he acknowledged his former status as an undocumented immigrant in a convention speech.

In addition to her speaking role at the convention, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will be the headliner of a closed-door event being held at the DNC.

The protests at the DNC have been heated — quite literally — as dozens were hospitalized amid scorching heat and humidity on Monday.

In non-convention news:

A federal investigation is being launched into what role New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio played in the sale of Long Island College Hospital.

A group that is funding challenges to opponents for de Blasio in 2017 does not plan to support Donald Trump, Jr. should he run for mayor.

The 2016 election is a far more low-key affair for the five-member Independent Democratic Conference than the challenges from the left their members faced in 2014.

RIP Mike Kane, a top campaign aide to the state Assembly Democrats, who died at 56.

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo is scrutinized once again over his level of support for Senate Democrats, a spokesman to the governor calls a Bill de Blasio political adviser “a political hack” when returning fire over criticism of recent appointments.

Prosecutors from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office in court papers said disgraced former legislative leaders Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver should be sent to prison and not have their corruption convictions overturned.

New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton does not plan to stay on in his post after 2017, he says in an interview with The Times.

Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy is once again being discussed as a potential successor to state Chairman Ed Cox, with the succession a topic of discussion at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week.

Businessman Gary Greenberg’s PAC supporting the passage of the Child Victims Act has endorsed Democratic Assembly candidate Rachel Barnhart, who is running in a primary against incumbent Harry Bronson.

Democratic state Senate candidate Amber Small is calling attention to waste overflow at western New York parks and landmarks, urging that someone “cut the crap” and clean up the problem.

A Long Island yacht club and banquet facility is being forced by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office to pay $50,000 in back wages after they failed to pay overtime in the last six years.

Gov. Cuomo has approved a new law that will allow hunters to wear pink, a measure that is aimed at drawing more women and girls into the sport.


In Philly, de Blasio Decries ‘State Level’ Paralysis

In a panel discussion on Monday afternoon in Philadelphia, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decried “state level” paralysis that has prevented cities from enacting liberal policies.

In his remarks, de Blasio urged local government officials to not be discouraged when state officials thwart their plans, but instead work together to build support for their issue.

“In the time of federal paralysis, and I can certainly say we’ve seen this at the state level in many, many states, too — state governments that are resistant to their cities and state governments resistant to progressive change; we’re not powerless as a result,” de Blasio said at a panel discussion at the National Museum of American Jewish History on Philadelphia.

“It doesn’t mean go home. It means do things at home and tie them together to what other cities and towns and counties are doing.”

De Blasio, like his predecessors, has seen his own agenda foiled in Albany during the course of his term in office. Most recently, a New York City-backed move to charge a 5-cent fee on plastic bags was delayed amid concerns from state lawmakers.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been feuding with mayor over the last year, has touted a state government during his administration that has enacted the broad strokes of his agenda over the last years as well as enacted on-time budgets.

The mayor has in recent months accused Cuomo of undermining his administration’s agenda in Albany and working too closely with Senate Republicans, who remain hostile to de Blasio.