For Cuomo And Astorino, Two Different New Yorks

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his Republican opponent, Rob Astorino see two very different states when it comes to the New York economy.

For Cuomo, it’s a state that’s weathered an economic recession and come out better on the other end. The governor, when promoting his economic record, is in the thrall of statistics, from the lowered unemployment rate, changes made to the state’s tax structure and the improved credit rating.

“Unemployment rate down to 6.2 percent, lowest unemployment rate since 2008 and 511,000 new jobs, which is a very big deal — a half million families who are working,” Cuomo told reporters last week. “So economically, we’re having great news.”

Cuomo points to budgets that have held the line on spending, passed on time and led to upgrades in the state’s credit rating. Last week, Cuomo received an award from the Tax Foundation for changes made to the state’s income tax. Never mind that only two years ago, a top Cuomo aide knocked the organization as a right-wing think tank.

“We streamlined our code dramatically, which is one of the factors they take into consideration and that’s why we went from 25th to fourth,” Cuomo said. “It’s no doubt, they are a conservative organization. It’s no doubt they bring their philosophy to bare.”

As he campaigns around the state, Astorino sees a different economic picture for the state and a governor who hasn’t done enough. Indeed, Astorino, a Republican who is playing up his economic agenda (and not socially conservative stances on abortion and same-sex marriage) prefers illustrating an economic outlook for New York that is far different from Cuomo’s.

Astorino, who is behind Cuomo by 20 percentage points in the most recent poll, believes the governor seeing things through rose-colored glasses.

While Cuomo sees the macro picture, Astorino is trying to show New Yorkers — including the press, voters and anyone who cares to listen — the individual’s experience in the current economic climate.

Astorino frequently invokes anecdotal experiences on the campaign trail of property owners, business owners and farmers who are not seeing, for whatever reason, a recovery.

But the challenge for Astorino is a stark one.

Cuomo has sought to take the tax-and-spend attack Republicans make, a case he made at the state Democratic convention in May.

“The Democratic Party has a new credibility. Remember how our opponents liked to scare people? They’d say if you elect a Democrat, you know what those Democrats are going to do they’re going to raise your taxes because Democrats love big government,” Cuomo said in his convention speech.

Cuomo pushed for and won a cap on increasing local property taxes.

He engineered a change to the state’s tax code that he has alternatively claimed was a tax hike (satisfying liberals who wanted the so-called “millionaires tax” rates re-approved) and, more recently, played up as an income tax cut (only in Albany does something that generate $1.9 billion in revenue toward paying down a deficit become cutting taxes!).

The moderate, or some might say conservative, approach on taxes and spending has alienated Cuomo from the left and he was forced to put down a spirited primary challenge from a little-known Fordham Law School professor, Zephyr Teachout.

This, in part, is why Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins now hopes to potentially move the third-party’s ballot line position up to potentially Row C, campaigning on a tax-the-wealthy, hike the minimum wage to $15 an hour platform.

The Working Families Party considered running their own candidate before the governor agreed to a series of concessions such as allowing local governments to raise the state’s minimum wage on their own through a state-based formula.

Nevertheless, Cuomo insists throughout his book, “All Things Possible,” that governing from the center is the appropriate and more comfortable place for most voters.

He’s dusting off 90s-era Clintonian third-way Democratic politics. While it’s always annoyed liberals, Cuomo hopes it will give him at least 51 percent of the vote next month.

But it’s an agenda that has earned him support from the business community, including the state Business Council. For two years, Cuomo virtually had his own super PAC, the Committee to Save New York, running ads promoting his economic agenda (The group, composed of wealthy business and private-sector interests, folded up shop before new independent-expenditure disclosure laws came into effect).

With monied traditional allies of Republicans — real estate, hedge-fund types — on Team Cuomo, perhaps that is why Astorino has struggled to make a dent on the issue.

The Westchester County executive has slammed Cuomo on mandated spending and regulatory issues and has pledged to change laws businesses find onerous like the Scaffold Law.

But with Cuomo receiving high marks from the business community, Astorino can come close to sounding like a populist when criticizing Cuomo on the economy.

“There’s a difference between Cuomo’s world and the world of New York that we live in,” Astorino said while visiting a hardware store in Saratoga County on Sunday.

He was campaigning with two Republican candidates for Congress and state Assembly, Elise Stefanik and Steve Stallmer.

As he spoke about the state’s tax climate, Stefanik occasionally chimed in with a “that’s right!” while Stallmer at one point interrupted Astorino to note the out-migration from the state.

Astorino in particular points to Cuomo not making a decision on whether to allow high-volume hydrofracking in the state’s Southern Tier, which continues to lag the rest of the state in job growth.

For Astorino, the argument is the individual New Yorker isn’t seeing the fruits of the economic turnaround.

“The average person is getting pummeled with taxes, cannot afford to live in this state anymore,” Astorino said. “Businesses are closing, people are moving, that’s the reality of New York right now — other than the privileged few, the well-connected that write $50,000 checks to this governor and get a little break in their taxes from him.”

In other words, Astorino’s saying, Cuomo is out of touch on the individual economy, no matter the stats he can throw out there.

Astorino also took a swipe at Cuomo for traveling to the Caribbean to appear with officials in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Astorino began his own campaign in the Bronx, which as a county has the highest unemployment in the state.

“While he’s in the presidential palace in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, I was in the south Bronx,” he said.


Monica Lewinsky has joined Twitter, and already has many thousand followers.

Lewinsky broke a decade-long silence to announce her campaign to end cyberbullying and today’s toxic culture of internet shaming.

Flanked by VP Joseph Biden, Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out a plan to revamp New York City’s airports – in part by having Newburgh’s Stewart Airport focus less on passengers and more on freight.

Cuomo was quick to playfully jab at Biden’s comment comparing La Guardia Airport to a third world country.

Cuomo engaged in a little expectation lowering, saying he would consider 51 percent of the vote a satisfactory win on Election Day.

The 2005 party at which AG Eric Schneiderman is alleged to have snorted cocaine was a benefit for Hurricane Katrina victims headlined by Al Franken. Attendees said there were no drugs at the event.

Activist Randy Credico, who made the allegations about Schneiderman’s drug use, now says he was “hoodwinked” by the NY Post, and he’s not happy about it.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the production of a controversial opera about the death of an American Jew at the hands of Palestinian terrorists, while broadly denouncing attacks on Jews throughout the world.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani joined the fight to stop the Metropolitan Opera’s showing of “The Death of Klinghoffer.”

Former Democratic LG candidate Tim Wu will give a speech on political corruption and the First Amendment at Columbia J-School tomorrow.

US Sen. Chuck Schumer: “Mark Warner is the culinary Cousteau for senators hoping to find new hip places in Washington.”

Cuomo brushed off the tidal wave of lousy Amazon reviews of his new memoir, arguing he didn’t have the time to do a proper book tour to make people love the book.

Research from Cornell University shows that a candidate’s physical attractiveness was perceived differently based on political affiliation.

The CBC urged New Yorkers to vote “no” on the Smart Schools Bond Act.

De Blasio rejected a request from JPMorgan Chase for more than a $1 billion in tax incentives from the city and state to keep its headquarters in New York City.

While in his hometown of Chicago, President Obama engaged in a little early voting.

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins is not rich.

Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. is defending his endorsement of GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino.

De Blasio criticized the boyfriend of his top aide, Rachel Noerdlinger, for dropping First Lady Chirlane McCray’s name while fighting parking tickets in court.

New York students will have more ways to earn a high school diploma under a change approved by state education leaders.

Now in his 10th year in the House, Rep. Brian Higgins of Buffalo remains an anomaly: a lawmaker who is every bit as unnoticed in Washington as he is revered back home.

The NRCC had some fun at Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei’s expense with Biden’s visit to NY-24 today.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina will headline a fund-raiser for Astorino in NYC Wednesday morning.

Astorino: Block Planes With Passengers From Ebola-Stricken Nations

Gov. Andrew Cuomo should direct the state Department of Health to shut down gates at JFK International Airport and block planes carrying passengers from west African from disembarking, Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino said in a conference call with reporters.

Astorino, the Westchester County executive, ripped Cuomo’s response to the Ebola outbreak, which so far has infected two nurses.

Astorino in particular knocked Cuomo for at first saying a travel ban from west African nations wouldn’t work and then on Sunday expressed an openness to such a ban.

“We’ve got a governor right now who ridiculed me two weeks for saying this. He said it wouldn’t work,” Astorino said in the call. “Now yesterday he said he’d consider it, and yet I think he sees it as a nuisance during his book tour.”

Any flight ban would be up to the federal government, a move that Cuomo on Sunday said should be “seriously” considered at this point.

While there aren’t any direct flights from west African countries into JFK, Astorino said the governor should block incoming flights with passengers who originate from the region from disembarking.

“We’re going to be dealing with a major public health crisis soon,” Astorino said. “It’s a matter of when, not if.”

Astorino had initially stated passengers from Ebola-stricken countries should be barred from the U.S., but later in the call expanded on that by saying the entire plane’s passengers, including U.S. citizens, should be blocked

“We can’t just keep our heads on the sand,” Astorino said. “We should do everything possible to prevent this from happening.”

Ebola cannot be contracted through the air, water or through casual contact, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Cuomo Plans More Book Promotion

All things are possible, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo says “interruptions” such as governing and running for re-election are interfering with his promoting of his new memoir, released last week.

Cuomo, in New York City earlier today to discuss airport upgrades with Vice President Joe Biden, dismissed questions about the poor reviews the book have received on Amazon (which, to be fair, were likely generated by an army of Internet-based Cuomo haters).

Speaking with reporters, Cuomo said the promotion of the book will be done “over a period of time” and not in one multiple week burst.

“It’s just started, right? I’m introducing the book, but it’s not like I can do it like you normally introduce a book,” Cuomo said. “You normally introduce a book and that’s all you do for weeks is sell the book. I’ve had a couple of interruptions that have happened in the mean time here. I have an election, I’m the governor, I have a day job, I’ve just been to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. I’m going to do this over a period of time as opposed to a sprint.”

Cuomo’s Republican opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, has knocked the governor’s book promotion tour as a way of capturing publicity in the final weeks of the campaign season.

In a brief interview on Capital Tonight, Cuomo said the book’s timing was not related to the election, but meant to allow him to discuss personal issues that had been on his mind.

Molinaro Defends Serino On Energy Tax Vote

Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro is calling on Democratic state Sen. Terry Gipson’s campaign to take down a TV ad that knocks Sue Serino for backing a repeal of a residential sales-tax exemption.

“Terry Gipson’s latest ad stating state Senate candidate and County Legislator Sue Serino voted for the repeal of the exemption of sales tax on residential energy is inaccurate,” Molinaro said in a statement. “Sue voted NO on the resolution to repeal the sales tax exemption on residential energy sources and that’s a matter of fact and record (county resolution 2013341). The ad should stop running immediately.”

Serino, a county legislator, voted against a resolution to repeal the exemption, but Democrats have seized on her vote for the county budget writ large, which included built-in revenue from the sales tax.

In his statement, Molinaro says the vote for the budget, but against the tax is beside the point.

“To say or imply that Serino supported the sales tax on energy is not true,” Molinaro said. “Her opposition is and was well known even though she did vote for the county’s 2014 budget.”

The race between Gipson and Serino is considered one of the key battles for state Senate control this year.

Tkaczyk To Receive Schumer’s Nod

Democratic state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk on Tuesday will receive a re-election nod from U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer at an endorsement rally in Rotterdam.

The 1:30 event is scheduled to be held at the Rotterdam Public Library.

Schumer has traveled around the state to endorse Democrats running in key districts this month as the party seeks to gain full control of the state Senate.

Tkaczyk is one of about three Democratic incumbents who face tough re-election battles this fall.

She faces a rematch from Republican former Assemblyman George Amedore, who she defeated in the 46th Senate district two years ago by only 18 votes.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, along with his running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul, endorsed Tkaczyk, along with Sen. Terry Gipson and Democratic candidate Justin Wagner, over the weekend.

Schumer has been an especially active participant on the hustings for Senate Democrats. He doesn’t face re-election this year, but has attended a Working Families Party rally for the Democratic conference.

He also endorsed Buffalo Democrat Marc Panepinto, a district where Cuomo has not ruled out backing Republican Sen. Mark Grisanti, the last sitting Republican incumbent to back same-sex marriage in 2011.

Last Night and What’s Ahead

Governor Cuomo chooses a replacement for the State Court of Appeals, and also makes a trip outside the country. Meanwhile, the candidates for Lt. Gov. are still campaigning back in New York. Plus, we take a look at the latest campaign mailers and discuss the week’s events with our Reporter Roundtable. Here’s highlights from Friday night and a look ahead to tonight.



Full Show – 10.17.14

State of Politics LIVE – 10.20.14

Judging the Judge: Assemblywoman Deborah Glick Interview

Public Financing Problems: NYPIRG’s Bill Mahoney Interview

Postal Politics

Reporter Roundtable

Rice’s Third Ad: ‘Real Problems’

The third ad of Democratic congressional hopeful Kathleen Rice’s campaign released on Monday highlights her work as the Nassau County district attorney.

In the 30-second TV ad, Rice pledges to work with Republicans if elected and to be a “problem solver” in Washington.

“When it comes to problems facing Nassau County families, I’ve never played politics. I’ve convicted corrupt officials in both parties and took on DWI because it was the right thing to do,” she says.

Rice faces Republican County Legislator Bruce Blakeman next month for the seat being vacated by Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, who is retiring.

Senate GOP Keeps the Heat on Denenberg

Technically speaking, Democrat Dave Denenberg isn’t running anymore for the Long Island state Senate seat once held by former GOP Sen. Chuck Fuschillo. The Nassau County legislator dropped out of the race in late September, after a lawsuit by his former law firm accused him of defrauding a client of more than $2 million by billing for “fictitious” services that he never performed.

But Denenberg’s name remains on the ballot after Nassau County Democrats decided against the only option available to them to remove him from their line – nominating him for a judgeship. Though Denenberg isn’t actively campaigning against his GOP opponent, Nassau County Legislator Michael Venditto, Senate Republicans aren’t taking any chances, launching another attack ad that highlights his legal troubles, both past and present.

The GOP needs to hold all its seats on Long Island, including the 8th SD, which was left vacant by Fuschillo’s abrupt retirement on New Year’s Eve 2013, as part of its strategy for winning back control of the chamber. The Democrats viewed Denenberg as their best chance for a pick-up on the side, but have since transferred their attention to Adrienne Esposito, who is battling Republican Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci for another open seat – the one being vacated by state Sen. Lee Zeldin, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in NY-1.

Another active race on Long Island pits businessman Adam Haber, a Democrat, against Republican Sen. Jack Martins. Denebger’s implosion freed up time and resources for the Senate Republicans to spend on defending Martins.

A Long Island GOP source says there’s a “shadow campaign” pushing Denenberg, who continues to serve in his capacity as county legislator, despite calls – most notably, from former US Senator-turned-lobbyist Al D’Amato – for him to step down.

Here’s the script for the new anti-Denenberg ad, which hits the airwaves today and is similar to a past ad that said the Democratic attorney would “fit right in” with the string of Albany lawmakers busted on corruption charges:

Announcer: “There’s no other way to put it, Dave Denenberg is a criminal. First Denenberg is arrested and convicted for fraud and deceit. Then Denenberg is fired from his law firm for stealing $2 million from his clients, creating fake bills for work he never did. The kicker: Denenberg forges more than one judge’s signature to cover it all up. We already have too many criminals in Albany. Do we really need another one. No, Mr. Denenberg, we don’t.”

Watch Here >>

Soros-Backed Group Launches $200K Ad Campaign In SD-40

The pro-public financing Friends of Democracy is launching a $200,000 TV ad campaign in the 40th Senate District, knocking Republican candidate Terrence Murphy for his support of a gas pipeline.

The ad ties Murphy’s support to the pipeline, which it claims would run under local park land, to campaign contributions from the energy industry.

“Terrence Murphy took tens of thousands of dollars from energy interests and then voted their way,” said David Donnelly of New York Friends of Democracy. “The last thing Albany needs is another politician doing the bidding of big money donors and special interests.”

The ad released on Monday will run on cable from now through Election Day.

Murphy, a Yorktown councilman, is running against Democratic Senate candidate Justin Wagner for the 40th Senate District, a seat that’s being vacated by Republican Sen. Greg Ball.

Friends of Democracy is a political action committee founded and funded by Jonathan Soros, the son of liberal financier George Soros that is boosting candidates who support public financing.

Friends of Democracy is also active in the 46th Senate District on behalf of Democratic incumbent Cecilia Tkaczyk, who faces a rematch from Republican former Assemblyman George Amedore.

The group launched an anti-Amedore ad earlier this month that takes a similar approach to the Murphy spot released today: knocking him for campaign contributions the group says influences his voting pattern while in office. That campaign, totally $230,000, is still on the air in the Albany area.

Friends of Democracy was also active two years ago in key Senate races around the state during a concerted push for public financing.

Republicans have seized on the group’s activities this election cycle and especially the Soros angle.

Murphy, too, is receiving some help from deep-pocketed independent expenditure groups. Jobs for New York, a super PAC funded by the Real Estate Board of New York, has spent $43,500 on digital media campaign for Murphy, as well as $7,476 in campaign literature, Board of Elections records show.