Cuomo, Nixon Release Fundraising Top Lines

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign on Monday announced it had raised more than $6 million during the first half of the year and has $31.1 million in cash on hand.

His primary challenger, Cynthia Nixon, raised $500,000 over the last month, spread among 10,500 donations.

The contributions that are fueling the two campaigns have become an issue in the race for the Democratic nomination given Nixon’s criticism of Cuomo’s high-dollar donors.

Last week, developers who have given to Cuomo’s campaigns in the past were found guilty of rigging bids as part of the governor’s Buffalo Billion economic development program. The contributions themselves were not a part of the trial.

But the trial has highlighted the overlap of donors and those with business before the state.

“This dramatic increase in fundraising is just one example of the surge of grassroots energy we’ve felt since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory,” said campaign manager Hayley Prim. “She showed that when everyday people come together it is possible to defeat establishment candidates with huge war chests from Wall Street and real estate developers.”

It’s also a line of attack picked up by Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro.

“Andrew Cuomo’s $31 million campaign warchest is an indictment of his character,” he said in a statement. “A number this large reeks of corruption. It screams: ‘I’m for sale”, which two sickening federal corruption trials have already shown us.”

But Cuomo has sought to highlight his own small-dollar donations. His campaign reported the median contribution was $150 and 57 percent of contributions were of $250 or less. Eighty-four percent of his total donors came from New York.

At the same time, Cuomo’s campaign transferred $400,000 to the state Democratic Committee, which he controls, to fund a campaign highlighting gun control legislation and an effort to elect down-ballot Democrats for the state Senate and House.

Cuomo has also maxed out to Democrats running for the state Senate, contributing $7,000 to Anna Kaplan, Peter Harckham, Monica Martinez, Lou D’Amaro, Karen Smythe, James Gaurghan and incumbent Sen. John Brooks.

He also gave the maximum $21,000 contribution to Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s campaign, who is being challenged by New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams

The figures released Monday were “top line” numbers and a full list of the donors as well as spending activity will be made available when the report is posted on the state Board of Elections website.

Schneiderman 2018 Returns $982K

The campaign of disgraced former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman returned nearly $1 million in contributions following his resignation amid allegations of domestic violence.

A campaign filing made public Monday shows Schneiderman returned $982,192 to donors.

Schneiderman, who had planned to seek a third term this year, still has $7.4 million in cash on hand.

It does not appear his campaign is spending money on legal fees related to the domestic violence allegations. The filing shows the campaign has continued to pay vendors through this month.

There had been a push by Republicans in the state Senate to have the money Schneiderman donated to other campaigns to efforts that combat domestic violence.

For Now, AG Candidates Have Some Parity On Fundraising

It’s still early, but the unexpected resignation of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman following domestic violence allegations set off a scramble to replace him — and raise money to mount a competitive bid.

With five candidates — four Democrats and one Republican — in the mix, the fundraising for now has shown some parity when it comes to total amounts raised over the last two months, at least for now.

Take Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who is set to report having raised $1.1 million. He will report $4.1 million in cash on hand.

It’s not clear how much of that will have been transferred from another account. But Maloney’s campaign points to 1,500 individual donations and 90 percent of the contributions coming in at $200 or less.

Republican Keith Wofford, meanwhile, also raised $1 million and has $1 million in cash on hand.

He’s received support from the New York Republican Committee, including $150,000 transfer and a personal loan of $100,000. Republican Chairman Ed Cox gave Wofford’s bid $44,000.

Williams Endorses Salazar In Bid To Oust Dilan

Jumaane Williams, the Democrat running a primary bid against Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, has endorsed the campaign of Julia Salazar against Sen. Marty Dilan in Brooklyn.

“Jumaane Williams has worked relentlessly to advocate for tenants and to bring the voices of our communities with him to City Hall,” Salazar said. “His bold leadership is exactly what we need in Albany, and I’m thrilled to endorse Jumaane to be our next Lieutenant Governor.”

The endorsement is interesting, given Dilan, though a longtime incumbent, has never bolted from the mainline Democratic conference in the state Senate. Several former members of the now-defunct Independent Democratic Conference have gained primary challengers, who have been buoyed by the support of incumbent officeholders in recent weeks.

“Julia is a strong progressive advocate who understands that people come before politics, and that incumbency cannot be the sole driver of an elected official,” Williams said. “I am proud to endorse her grassroots campaign for the New York State Senate, and look forward to working with her to create a more fair and equitable state.”

Peralta Launches Digital Ad Touting DREAM Act, Sanctuary State Support

Sen. Jose Peralta on Monday released a digital ad that highlights the diversity of his Queens district and his support for the DREAM Act as well as making New York a sanctuary state.

The digital ad comes ahead of Peralta’s Sept. 13 Democratic primary, facing Jessica Ramos, a former aide to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Peralta, a former member of the now-dissolved Independent Democratic Conference, pointed to his backing of the DREAM Act, which would provide tuition assistance to undocumented immigrants. The bill has stalled in the state Senate, where Republicans have campaigned against the measure’s enactment.

At the same time, the sanctuary state legislation, which would bar New York law enforcement from coordinating with federal immigration enforcement efforts, has failed to gain traction in the Senate, either.

“Right now, only 5 to 10 percent of Dreamers attend college, and affordability is the biggest factor when undocumented students decide whether or not to go to college,” Peralta said. “As the lead sponsor I have made it my duty to support and be a champion for all the immigrants in my community and across the state.”

DC 37 Endorses Cuomo

New York City’s largest public workers union on Monday endorsed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election to a third term — the latest labor group to line up behind the governor ahead of the September Democratic primary.

“With Trump and the ultra-conservative Republicans launching an assault on working families – attempting to undermine union labor, enacting immigration policies that are tearing children apart from their parents and launching an assault on women’s rights – New York is fighting back,” Cuomo said.

“Organized labor built the middle-class and it is the strength of organized labor that is going to keep New York moving forward. I’m proud to accept this endorsement and will continue to stand side by side with DC-37 to protect the rights of our brothers and sisters of organized labor.”

Cuomo has had a turbulent relationship with public employee unions during his first term, seeking to ring concessions from them in cost-saving contracts as the state faced structural deficits he inherited.

But Cuomo has mended his relationship with labor during term two and has pushed to bolster unions ahead of a Supreme Court decision that is expected to weaken their ability to collect dues in New York.

“Governor Cuomo has been a steadfast champion of organized labor and has consistently stood by our side,” said Henry Garrido, the union’s executive director.

“As Trump and the Supreme Court are trying to systematically dismantle union labor, Governor Cuomo has set an example for the nation by protecting our fundamental right to collective bargain and organize. Whether it’s Janus protections, $15 minimum wage, safeguarding and increasing access to quality healthcare, the most comprehensive paid leave program or making college affordable for middle- and working-class students – Governor Cuomo has our back. He has made New York the progressive capitol of the nation and I am proud to endorse him for re-election.”

The push has paid off, too, with the Civil Service Employees Association, the state’s largest public workers union, staying out of the election in 2014, and deciding to back him this year.

Miner Raises From SAM Supporters

Former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner’s independent bid for governor is being seeded in part by her old campaign account and supporters of the Serve America Movement, her campaign finance report made available on Monday shows.

Miner has $184,546 in total contributions and has spent $246,782. She also transferred $214,000 from her previous mayoral campaign account, the filing shows. She first launched her bid for governor in this spring and the filing reflects 24 days of fundraising.

Miner is running on the Serve America Movement ballot line, and her campaign contributions reflect some of the group’s organizers, including founder Scott Muller, who gave $44,000. She also received $44,000 from Charles Wall, an executive with Phillip Morris, who has supported the organization. And she received $44,000 from Michael Willner, the SAM chief executive officer.

Miner is a former two-term mayor of Syracuse and an ex-chairwoman of the state Democratic Committee.

Miner has ruled out receiving donations from limited liability companies and won’t accept donations from people or entities with business or seeking to business with the state.

In Digital Ad, Cuomo 2018 Pushes Senate GOP On RHA

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign on Monday launched a digital ad effort to push Republicans in the state Senate to take up a bill that is meant to strengthen abortion rights in New York.

The ad dovetails with a public push by Cuomo on the issue, which has heightened after the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, potentially swaying the court’s vote in abortion cases.

The ad campaign makes good on a pledge by Cuomo to target individual lawmakers. In this case, the ads specifically mention Sens. Ken LaValle, Phil Boyle, Carl Marcellino, Kemp Hannon, Elaine Phillips, Terrence Murphy and Marty Golden.

All are downstate Republicans, some of whom represent potential swing districts in the chamber.

“As the Supreme Court and extreme conservatives in Washington threaten the rights of women across this country, New York is standing up against the Trump Administration to protect the values this state was built on,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“The political games need to end – Senate Republicans must come back to Albany and allow a vote to codify Roe v. Wade into New York State law before the Supreme Court has the ability to act. The Republicans in the State Senate have dodged this question for far too long and it ends now. If the Republicans won’t put this on the floor, every New Yorker should assume the entire conference is against a woman to control her own reproductive health.”

The ad pushes Republicans to take up the Reproductive Health Act, which would shift language for abortions from the state’s penal code to the public health law, change abortion’s status as an exception to homicide and allow abortions in the third trimester of a pregnancy under certain circumstances.

The bill has been proposed for the last decade, but has not gained traction in the Republican-controlled Senate, becoming part of an occasionally pitched political battle over abortion in the narrowly divided chamber in the process.

“There is nothing the Governor won’t say or do to change the subject from the rampant corruption that is sweeping through his administration,” said Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif. “His top aide, top economic development official and top contributors have all been convicted of bribery and bid-rigging, and are headed for prison, and he focuses on legalizing drugs and convincing people who don’t believe him that Roe vs. Wade is about to be overturned. Scared to death of Cynthia Nixon, the Governor is all politics all the time these days, and the people of this state deserve far better. Maybe the next Governor will clean up the mess Andrew Cuomo has made.”

Maloney Endorses Jackson In SD-31

From the Morning Memo:

Rep. Carolyn Maloney on Monday will endorse state Senate candidate Robert Jackson in his primary bid against incumbent Sen. Marisol Alcantara.

Jackson, a former city councilman, is challenging Alcantara in the Sept. 13 primary, one of several primary contests faced by ex-members of the now-defunct Independent Democratic Conference.

“Robert Jackson is a high-integrity Democrat who has a long and consistent record of standing up for what’s right,” Maloney said.

“An education hero for his fight for our public schools, Robert has courageously fought for small businesses, reproductive health, paid family leave and promoted fairness, justice and equality. With Trump in Washington, we can’t afford to have GOP-aligned Democrats representing us in Albany. We know which side Robert Jackson is on and we can count on him to stand up and fight for women, immigrants and all of us. I’m proud to endorse Robert Jackson today.”

The IDC dissolved in April and rejoined the Democratic conference in the state Senate, but that has done little to quell progressive challenges that had previously declared campaigns.

And since then, some of those campaigns have gained momentum that’s only increased in the last several weeks following the victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over incumbent Joe Crowley in Queens in a June congressional primary.

Jackson was previously endorsed by Rep. Jerry Nadler, as well as New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and former Mayor David Dinkins, among others.

Maloney survived a primary challenge of her own last month, turning back a challenge from Suraj Patel.

Cuomo Courts Small Dollar Donors With Billy Joel

From the Morning Memo:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push to generate more contributions from modest donors continued over the weekend with a giveaway for a photo opportunity with his friend and performer, Billy Joel.

The price to enter: $5.

“My friend Billy Joel is giving his 100th concert at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday July 18th,” a fundraising email sent Saturday states. “It is sold out. But we have two tickets to give away and the opportunity to take an exclusive photo with Billy.”

The email comes as Cuomo is due to reveal his latest campaign fundraising report covering the first six months of 2018.

A prodigious fundraiser who last reported $31 million in cash on hand for his re-election campaign, Cuomo has come under scrutiny for his high-priced fundraisers and large-dollar contributions they generate from powerful figures.

After a New York Times article charted the relative lack of small-dollar giving with the Cuomo campaign, his campaign planned a series of fundraisers geared toward lower contributions, including an event with his daughters and the Winklevoss twins, initially billed as an “all you can drink” affair, later scaled back due to state liquor laws.

The Winklevoss twins are traders of cryptocurrency and have successfully sought New York state regulatory approval for their bitcoin exchange, Zcash.

Joel held a more exclusive fundraiser on Thursday with Cuomo on Long Island, praising him as a governor who can accomplish things for the state.

The event was held hours after the guilty verdicts were announced in the bid-rigging trial of former SUNY Polytechnic President Alain Kaloyeros and prominent upstate developers who contributed to Cuomo’s campaigns, though the contributions themselves were not an issue in the trial.

Cuomo is seeking a third term this November.