Aug 20th - 6:21 pm
In the wake of recent unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is still confident this weekend’s march on Staten Island against police brutality will be peaceful.
The Rev. Al Sharpton: “We must show the world that we are mature enough to allow a citizenry to question those in authority but respect them at the same time.”
Bronx Councilman Andy King warned Ferguson-style racial turmoil could come to New York if federal prosecutors don’t file charges against the cop who shot an unarmed black constituent, Ramarley Graham, in 2012.
A top AFL-CIO official said organized labor is witholding judgment on Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate.
Clinton will host a high-dollar fundraiser for the Democratic Women’s Senate Network at her home, along with Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Bennet.
VP Joe Biden was in Connecticut.
LG Bob Duffy, a burgeoning Twitter star, had to go dark briefly because his account was hacked.
Zephyr Teachout: “From the beginning of talking to the WFP, I said I wanted to run in the Democratic primary. And nothing that happened at the WFP convention changed that.”
Jim Kelly got “great news” when he visited a New York City hospital today. There’s no physical evidence of the oral cancer for which he’s being treated.
A video appears to catch former Attorney General and current state Senate candidate Oliver Koppell dissing residents of the district he’s running to represent in Albany.
The NRA has launched a national ad campaign against former New York City Mayor Bloomberg, whose PAC is trying to make gun control a major issue in races across the country.
Three villages will receive state grants to assist in their dissolution plans.
Another FOIL has been filed in connection with a controversial Scaffold Law report paid for by the Lawsuit Reform Alliance.
The League of Women Voters announced the launch of Vote411.org, an electronic voter guide, for select primary races.
A NYC Council committee passed legislation requiring stricter independent expenditure disclosure requirements and banning anonymous campaign ads.
TV weatherman Al Roker predicted de Blasio would serve but a single term, but the dispute didn’t stop the mayor from participating in the weatherman’s 60th birthday celebration.
Cuomo’s office is spending $35,000 for an outside law firm to make sure the state Board of Elections properly implements its pilot program of public campaign financing.
Sen. Tim Kennedy and his primary challenger Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant, engaged in “a lively, sometimes testy, but always respectful” debate.
Aug 20th - 5:15 pm
NY1 and Time Warner Cable News in Albany are inviting Gov. Cuomo and his Democratic rival, Zephyr Teachout, to a live, hour-long Sept. 2nd debate that will air statewide and be hosted by NY1 Political Anchor Errol Louis and Capital Tonight Anchor Liz Benjamin.
Invitations have also been sent to Rep. Kathy Hochul and Tim Wu to participate in a separate debate for Lieutenant Governor on Sept. 3rd.
“NY1 and Time Warner Cable News are committed to a full discussion of the issues in the Democratic primary race and we’re looking forward to hearing what the candidates have to say,’’ said NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt. “Debate season is officially underway.”
Invitations were e-mailed to the campaigns earlier this afternoon – with an RSVP date set for Aug. 28th. Both the Teachout and Wu campaigns agreed to the debate – while the Cuomo and Hochul campaigns did not immediately respond to the invitations beyond acknowledging they had been received.
Aug 20th - 3:41 pm
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will attend a fundraiser next month in Buffalo, with tickets ranging from $1,000 to $2,500, Republicans organizing the event told TWC News’ Ryan Whalen.
The fundraiser for the potential 2016 presidential hopeful will be held at the home of Jeremy Jacobs, Jr., an executive at Delaware North.
The event will benefit the Rubio Victory Fund, according to an invitation.
Due to headline the event is Anthony Gioia, a former ambassador and prominent Republican fundraiser. Also due to attend is New York GOP Chairman Ed Cox.
“The ones that are on the committee, we just all think the world of him. We like where he came from, his humble background and his vision for our country. Plus he can reach out to the Hispanic vote more than other candidates can.” Gioia told Time Warner Cable News in Buffalo.
Aug 20th - 2:26 pm
Republican attorney general hopeful John Cahill is hitting the airwaves with his first TV ad, in which he links his Democratic opponent, AG Eric Schneiderman, to the failed Moreland Commission and pledges to be “tough enough” to clean up corruption in Albany.
“John Cahill is Ironman tough and is exactly the kind of Attorney General that New Yorkers need to finally break the lock of corruption on state government,” said Cahill’s campaign spokesman Dave Catalfamo. “His ethical, active and independent approach to the AG’s office, offers voters a clear and compelling alternative to the complicit, lackadaisical, incompetent administration of Eric Schneiderman – this ad tells that story.”
The ad is scheduled to start running statewide tomorrow and will continue for two weeks (including over the Labor Day weekend), and the buy is about $750,000, according to Cahill’s campaign. That’s a sizable chunk of the money Cahill has raised to date; as of the July 15th filing with the state Board of Elections, he had $968,689 on hand.
This is actually the first spot from either candidate. Schneiderman, who has vastly out-paced Cahill in fund-raising, has reserved some $2 million worth of air time during the last few weeks before the Nov. 4 election. Buying so far in advance means Schneiderman not only received a discount, but also was able to snap up good time slots at a moment when voters are likely to be paying more attention to the race than they are in the middle of August.
Cahill’s ad also comes as yet another poll – from Quinnipiac this morning – shows that Schneiderman continues to be over 50 percent mark in his reelection bid, leading Cahill 51-29.
Voters approve 51-22 percent of the job Schneiderman is doing, and 44 percent say he deserves re-election. Forty-eight percent of voters said they don’t know enough about Schneiderman to have an opinion of him, despite the fact that he has been a statewide elected official for almost four years. But 72 percent don’t know Cahill, a former top Pataki administration aide, which explains why he’s spending money now in hopes of raising his name recognition and defining himself before Schneiderman and his allies do it for him.
Cahill’s ad doesn’t mention anything about his party affiliation, and it steers clear of any social issues – though it does mention his work to increase preserved open space in New York. Schneiderman’s camp has been hammering on Cahill over the abortion rights issue (he’s pro-life), trying to paint him as too conservative to represent Democrat-dominated New York.
This ad also refers to “Eric Schneiderman’s ethics commission,” which is a reference to the now-defunct corruption-busting Moreland Commission created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. To call is the AG’s commission is really a stretch, though he did deputize the commission’s members – at the governor’s request – to give them the power to investigate outside the executive branch (in other words, to target the Legislature), and also provide top staffers to assist the commission with its work.
Schneiderman has made it clear he’s cooperating with US Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigation of the Moreland Commission’s demise, but he has declined to comment beyond that. Cahill has been slamming the AG for his silence, insisting he has to come clean about what he knew of the Cuomo administration’s interference with the commission’s efforts and why he didn’t blow the whistle on that.
So far, efforts by the Republicans – including Cahill – to tar their Democratic opponents with the Moreland mess hasn’t borne much fruit. Today’s Q poll reiterates the findings of previous polls, indicating that while voters believe Cuomo should have stayed out of the commission’s way and is perhaps contributing to the corruption problem in Albany, that’s not enough to tank their support of him – or Schneiderman, for that matter.
Here’s the script from Cahill’s ad:
“A lot of people call me tough.
I served as Governor Pataki’s right hand in rebuilding Ground Zero. I helped lead the battle to preserve over a million acres of open space… and we won. As Attorney General, I’ll enforce the law and expose the corruption that cripples state government.
When Eric Schneiderman’s ethics commission began investigating his own contributors, it was shut down. Cleaning up Albany starts with a new Attorney General who’s tough enough to clean out corruption.
I’m John Cahill.”
Updated: The Schneiderman campaign weighs in.
“It’s never a good sign when a campaign is forced to squander all its money on air time in August. It must be tough to see Cahill’s paltry poll numbers, so it’s not surprising he’s resorting to a Hail Mary move so early in his campaign,” said campaign spokesman Peter Ajemian. “This ad is the latest example of Cahill running from his own record as an oil and gas industry lobbyist whose views are too extreme for New York.”
Aug 20th - 2:09 pm
A four-judge panel ruled on Wednesday that Fordham Law professor Zephyr Teachout’s insurgent primary campaign against Gov. Andrew Cuomo can continue, marking the second rejection by the governor’s re-election campaign to knock her off the ballot.
The ruling, issued this afternoon, tossed aside the challenge to Teachout’s residency, which Cuomo lawyer Martin Connor has argued does not meet the state’s five-year residency requirement.
The Appellate Court determined in a two-page ruling that the burden proof isn’t on Teachout to show she meets the residency requirement, but on Cuomo’s campaign to “show by clear and convincing evidence she does not meet the resident requirements” in the state’s Constitution, although today’s ruling left the door open to the potential for Teachout’s residency to be challenged.
The ruling comes after a lower court upheld Teachout’s ballot status.
The appeal court that ruled today includes Judge Peter Skelos, the brother of Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos.
The effort to knock Teachout off the ballot has dwindling legal options: Because the appeals court was unanimous in its decision, the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, doesn’t have to automatically agree to take the case.
In addition to Teachout, Cuomo faces comedian and activist Randy Credico in the September primary.
Updated: Cuomo campaign spokesman Peter Kauffmann said there are no plans to appeal today’s ruling, guaranteeing Teachout will remain on the ballot for next month’s Sept. 9 primary.
Aug 20th - 12:11 pm
Democratic congressional hopeful Domenic Recchia is up with his first TV ad that highlights his Saturday routine Staten Island-Brooklyn schlep across the Verrazano Bridge.
“This ad showcases why I got involved in this race nearly two years ago — I believe that this district deserves new leadership that can be trusted to fight for working families each and every day,” Recchia. “As a husband, father, and small business owner, I understand what it’s like for middle class families in this district, whether it’s traffic on your way home from work or to a baseball game or having to include tolls in our family budget. I’m going to be a voice for them and I won’t ever give up.”
Recchia is trying to flip the Staten Island seat from Republican Rep. Michael Grimm.
Rather than highlight Grimm’s ethical and legal problems, the spot focuses primarily on Recchia’s role as a family guy, traveling between the two boroughs that comprise the House district to pick up his mom and attend barbecues.
His campaign says the ad will air on TV stations in both boroughs.
Aug 20th - 11:58 am
Add another $58,000 to the Legislature’s legal costs.
The state Assembly was approved for a contract amendment with Whiteman Osterman and Hanna LLP for outside legal aid, according to the state comptroller’s office.
Meanwhile, the comptroller’s office approved $50,000 in payments to Rossein Associates for outside counsel relating to the Assembly’s sexual harassment investigations.
An additional $10,000 to Roemer Wallens Gold & Mineaux LLP was also approved in order to pay for outside investigations as part of the Assembly’s sexual harassment policy.
Both the Senate and Assembly have increasingly relied on the use of outside legal firms and counsel to handle either sexual harassment investigations, lawsuits and the probe from the Moreland Commission To Investigate Public Corruption as lawmakers sought to quash subpoenas from the anti-corruption panel.
In non-legal related spending, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office has also approved a $894,000 revenue contract with Swank Motions Pictures, Inc. in order to gain public performance licneses in order to show movies at the state’s correctional facilities.
The state also approved a $5.2 million payment for capital upgrades at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the home of the Buffalo Bills.
Aug 20th - 11:45 am
Zephyr Teachout may be largely unknown to voters, but her campaign says that’s beside the point.
Teachout, who is running a Democratic primary campaign against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is unknown to 85 percent of voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday.
But Teachout’s campaign manager, Mike Boland, says that may not matter, given the low turnout expected in next month’s primary, as well as primaries tending to turn out true believers.
“The outcome of this election is going to be determined by the passion of parents and teachers, the energy of the anti-fracking movement, and voters energized by our vision of a small business economy that works for all of us,” Boland said. “Let’s take a look at the numbers: turnout in the Democratic Primary is going to be somewhere around 15%, and already 15% of Democrats know who we are. Most of the people who know us are voting for us. For the Governor, his scandals are killing enthusiasm among his base. Everyday its more bad news. Yesterday he couldn’t muster enough support by organized labor to get their endorsement.”
Meanwhile, Teachout’s running mate, Columbia professor Tim Wu, plans to campaign in Buffalo, the home turf of former Rep. Kathy Hochul, who is Cuomo’s choice for lieutenant governor. His stops include a meeting with the Buffalo Federation of Teachers.
“I will be taking questions at my events in Buffalo and they are open to the press,” Wu wrote in a tweet. “I believe democracy requires open debate on the issues.”
Aug 20th - 7:27 am
From the Morning Memo:
The pro-business, anti-tax organization Unshackle Upstate released its 2013-14 legislative scorecards yesterday, indicating which Assembly members and senators are likely to receive its endorsement this fall.
But Unshackle has decided not to pick sides just yet in any of the statewide races, although the group’s executive director, Brian Sampson, was not shy about indicating during a CapTon interview last night which way his board is leaning.
“We’ve had initial conversations…about what we want to with the statewide races, and we’ve made a determination at this point we’re not going to engage,” Sampson told me.
“However, we do have concerns about where certain individuals are aligned and what they’re pushing for relative to the Working Family Party and the Senate going back to New York City control, which would be bad for us and upstate. We’re going to have to see where things go.”
“…We’re going to engage in a few primaries where we think it’s important,” Sampson continued. “Then after Labor Day I’ll be getting my board back together to discuss what we want to do both in local elects and in statewide races.”
Unshackle’s rules require unanimous consent among board members for endorsements.
In 2010, the Rochester-based lobbying group sat out the governor’s race, declining to back either Cuomo (then the state attorney general) or his GOP challenger, Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino.
It did endorse Republican hedge fund manager Harry Wilson for state comptroller, but he lost in a very tight race to the Democratic incumbent, Tom DiNapoli.
Based on its scorecards, it’s easy to see that Unshackle will be siding with the Senate Republicans again this year, though one Democrat – Syracuse’s Dave Valesky, an IDC member – scored high enough (88) to be considered for the group’s nod. (A lawmaker must score 85 or higher to be endorsement eligible).
That’s a switch for Valesky, according to Sampson. In 2012, the Central New York Democrat received a 72.
In the Assembly, just one Democrat – Buffalo’s Robin Schimminger, who tends to vote on the conservative side, especially when it comes to fiscal and tax matters – made the cut for Unshackle’s endorsement consideration. He received a 94.
Aug 20th - 7:25 am
A whopping 83 percent of New York voters think state government corruption is either a very or somewhat serious problem, and close to half (48 percent) believe Gov. Andrew Cuomo is contributing to the mess, according to a Quinnipiac poll released this morning.
Forty-one percent of those polled said Cuomo is part of the solution to the swamp that has engulfed Albany.
Concern over corruption and the governor’s role in combatting it (or failing to do so) has so far not had much of an impact on either his favorability rating or his lead over all challengers in the fall elections.
Cuomo continues to enjoy a massive lead over his GOP opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, trouncing him 56-28, which is virtually unchanged from 57-28 in a May Q poll (conducted well before the Moreland mess heated up, thanks to a July 23 New York Times report).
As for Cuomo’s Democratic primary challenger, Fordham Law Prof. Zephyr Teachout, 88 percent of New Yorkers have no idea who she is. Ditto (or nearly, at 89 percent) for Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins.
“Is the governor’s race all over? Did it ever start?” said Q pollster Mickey Carroll.
“Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino gets only the standard Republican numbers. Voters give Gov. Cuomo a big lead and say he deserves reelection.”
“First, Cuomo has the primary challenge from Zephyr Teachout, who’s about as anonymous as a candidate can be,” Carroll added.
The governor’s favorability rating is 55-36, and 57-28 approve of the job he has been doing. Fifty-three percent of voters say Cuomo deserves to be re-elected, which is about the same as in May.
Fifty percent of voters disapprove of the way Cuomo is handling ethics in government, but 50 percent also say he’s honest and trustworthy.
Of the 51 percent who have read or heard anything about the governor’s decision to shutter the anti-corruption Moreland Commission, 77 percent say the shutdown was a political deal with legislative leaders while 11 percent say the decision was good government.
Even Cuomo’s fellow Democrats believe – 68-15 -that the demise of Moreland was the result of a political deal.
Forty-six percent of all voters think the feds should continue the defunct commission’s work, though another 46 percent said they haven’t heard enough about this issue to have an opinion one way or the other.