Hochul Hits Western New York

Former Rep. Kathy Hochul is back on her home turf today — campaigning in five separate events in western New York as she seeks to stave off a primary challenge from Columbia professor Tim Wu.

Hochul will appear in Cheektowaga, Niagara Falls, Lancaster and Buffalo on a tour of the area, along with a call-in to WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom.

Hochul, who represented a deeply conservative House district when in Congress, remains a better-known figure than Wu, whose candidacy on Thursday was endorsed by The New York Times editorial board.

But Wu, along with gubernatorial hopeful Zephyr Teachout, have criticized Hochul’s record in both Washington and the Erie County clerk’s office, pointing to her stances on immigration, gun control and the Affordable Care Act that aren’t in line with a broader Democratic electorate.

After she was picked to replace Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy on the ticket, Hochul said she backed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s gun control law — the SAFE Act — as well as the Dream Act, which provides tuition assistance to undocumented immigrants.

Her voting record in Congress, meanwhile, was reflective of the heavily Republican area she represented. Hochul has often cited House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s advice that she vote her district while in Congress (Hochul lost her seat to Rep. Chris Collins following a round of redistricting).

Hochul isn’t the first upstate Democrat to have to re-align her views to fit a broader base: Kirsten Gillibrand refocused her policies from taxes and gun control issues to women’s and LGBT rights issues.

After winning in two landslides statewide for her U.S. Senate seat, the emphasis on those issues appears to have been a success.

Nevertheless, the governor’s re-election team isn’t leaving much to chance with Hochul.

The state Democratic Committee — an entity Cuomo controls — has been mailing Democratic voters this week to remind them to vote in the Sept. 9. The flyers prominently feature Hochul’s image.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in the New York City area and Massachusetts today with no public schedule. (One of his twin daughters, Cara, attends Harvard University, where she’s a sophomore).

At 6:45 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on Fox & Friends, Fox News Channel.

At 7:25 a.m., Astorino will be a guest on AM970 The Answer with host Joe Piscopo.

At 8 a.m., Astorino will be a guest on “Talk of the Town” with hosts Mark Piersma & Frank Elias 100.7FM WUTQ.

At 8:45 a.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina delivers opening remarks at City & State’s 4th Annual Education Forum, CUNY Graduate Center – Proshansky Auditorium, 365 Fifth Ave., Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli hosts a breakfast reception with a major law enforcement union and residents, Holiday Inn Syracuse/Liverpool, 441 Electronics Parkway, Liverpool.

Also at 9 a.m., Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout and her running mate, LG candidate Tim Wu, speak at a public education rally, Village Gate Square, 274 Goodman St. N, Rochester.

At 10:30 a.m., Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul meets voters with LG Bob Duffy and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Alton’s Restaurant, 2550 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga.

At 11 a.m., Democratic NY-24 Rep. Dan Maffei will attend the State Fair. He’ll tour the Upstate Neuroscience Research Building at 1 p.m. His GOP opponent, John Katko, will also be on hand.

Also at 11 a.m., Duffy makes an announcement, Blue Bridge Financial, 535 Washington St., Suite 201, Buffalo.

Also at 11 a.m., AG Eric Schneiderman makes a public safety announcement, Binghamton Mayor’s Office, Conference Room, 38 Hawley St., 4th Floor, Binghamton.

At noon, Wu holds a press conference, Room 120, LOB, 98 State St., Albany.

Also at noon, public employee labor unions and advocacy groups hold a “Vote Your Dreams” rally against public corruption, West Capitol Park, Albany.

At 12:30 p.m., GOP AG candidate John Cahill holds a press conference about the Moreland Commission, 615 Erie Blvd. W., Syracuse.

Also at 12:30 p.m., Farina and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio make an announcement, P.S. 307, 209 York Street, Brooklyn.

At 1 p.m., DiNapoli speaks at the Firefighters Memorial Ceremony at the Veterans & 9/11 Memorial, New York State Fair, Syracuse.

Also at 1 p.m., Hochul tours downtown Niagara Falls projects with Mayor Paul Dyster, Robert Moses Parkway South and 4th Street, Niagara Falls.

At 2 p.m., DiNapoli presents unclaimed funds checks, State Comptroller’s Unclaimed Funds Booth, New York State Fair, Syracuse.

Also at 2 p.m., Hochul addresses Niagara County Democrats, 1412 Pine Ave., Niagara Falls.

Also at 2 p.m., Howie Hawkins, the Green Party nominee for governor, will tour the area around the Chemung County Landfill with local environmental advocates, meet at Riverside Cemetery, County Route 60, just East of Exit #58 on I86, Lowman.

At 2:30 p.m., Cahill holds press conference about the Moreland Commission, 207 Genesee St., Utica.

At 3 p.m., de Blasio holds a hearing and and signs Intro 449, Intro 292-A, Intro 6, Intro 148-A and Intro 441, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 4 p.m., Teachout and Wu hold a press conference on environmental issues, CyberCafe West, 176 Main St., Binghamton.

At 6 p.m., Hochul attends the Lancaster Democratic Committee’s annual steak roast, Bowen Road Shelter, 3937 Bowen Rd., Lancaster.

At 7 p.m., Hochul visits Buffalo Irish Center’s “Under the Tent Series” with Buffalo Comptroller Mark Schroeder, 245 Abbott Rd., Buffalo.

Headlines…

The New York Times endorsed Zephyr Teachout’s running mate, Columbia Law Prof. Tim Wu, over former Rep. Kathy Hochul for lieutenant governor, saying: “Albany needs an independent voice, someone who can bring fresh ideas to a very stale and often corrupt political culture. Timothy Wu is the one who best fits that bill.”

The paper cited Hochul’s “deeply troubling record on health reform, gun control and environmental deregulation,” said said while Wu (like Teachout) is inexperienced, not much experience is needed for the “feeble” job of LG.

When the WFP was still grooming Teachout for a possible run on its line, the party conducted a private poll to test how well an unknown, oddly named law professor might fare in a Democratic primary. They used the name “Teresa Woodstock,” and she got between 11 percent and 19 percent of the vote.

Five ways Teachout differs from Cuomo on key issues.

Outgoing LG Bob Duffy defended Cuomo’s record over the last four years after the New York Times refused to endorse him, saying the incumbent Democrat doesn’t take enough credit for his successes during the first term.

GOP NY-24 candidate John Katko had his own handgun stolen in 2000 when he was an ADA, and it was used in holdup/shootout that left two men dead.

Cuomo’s campaign promised to pay for his excursion to Israel this month. But the well-stocked re-election fund won’t cover the thousands of dollars associated with the State Police detail that provided round-the-clock security for the candidate.

New York State Fair attendance surged Wednesday, as more than 65,000 people attended throughout the day. Officials attributed that in part to concerts by Carrie Underwood and Joan Jett.

More >

Teachout Would Rather Talk About ‘Blowing The Whistle’ Than The Bills

So far Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Zephyr Teachout has focused her campaign on cleaning up corruption in Albany, education, and the economy.  But during a stop in Buffalo it became pretty clear she won’t be spending a lot time talking about the Buffalo Bills.

“I want to keep the focus on tonight.  I want to let everyone know why I’m here and that’s blowing the whistle, breaking the glass ceiling,” said Teachout.

Teachout was a guest of the Buffalo Teachers Federation Wednesday and met with the Buffalo media beforehand.  Teachout was asked several questions about the Bills and if the team needed a new stadium in Western New York.

“I have to look into it further. My biggest focus is on keeping the cost down and that in this area you don’t end up taking on too much of a burden.  So it all depends on cost as well as negotiating the best deal,” said Teachout.  

With the team up for sale and the NFL’s Commissioner repeatedly suggesting a new stadium was needed to keep the team in Western New York, there’s been little talk locally about anything else.  While the gaggle of reporters tried several times to get her to expand upon her initial answer Teachout stayed on message.

“They need their fans and I will be an advocate for all New Yorkers including the fans to make sure that the cost falls in the right place.  If you look at my whole career you’ll see I’ve always fought for an economy that works for all of us and what I look forward to hearing about is what people on the front lines are seeing,” Teachout said.

Governor Cuomo, who’s spent a great deal of his first term trying to win over Western New York, has made keeping the Bills here a central theme of his re-election bid.  Cuomo has been reluctant to commit taxpayer funds to a new stadium but said he would consider it if it was absolutely necessary.

When asked by one reporter if she may look at professional sports and the billions of dollars poured into it differently, Teachout insisted she’s a big sports fan.

“Sports is an important part of my life.  I was the New England Champion of cross country running and a state champion in track and I coached from time to time ‘girls on the run’ because I like to encourage young women to get involved in running.  And one of my core platforms is that we have to see a lot more support for sports in schools as well as arts, and music and counselors,” Teachout added.

Extras

A Gawker writer castigates the New York Times for its non-endorsement in the gubernatorial primary, saying the paper “is unwilling to endorse the idea of voting for someone to actually defeat Cuomo.”

The Times laments that most readers didn’t really get the purpose of its editorial. “It’s worth pointing out that an endorsement is not the same as an actual vote.”

The Nation endorsed Zephyr Teachout.

In her forthcoming book, US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand reveals a male colleague told her not to lose too much baby weight because “I like my girls chubby.”

When is it appropriate to comment on a colleage’s body? Simple: Never.

Unless the state’s top court intervenes, there will be a Republican primary between incumbent state Sen. Tom. Libous and challenger Denver Jones.

Under fire for walking away from questions on Social Security, Medicare and raising the retirement age, NY-21 GOP candidate Elise Stefanik released a new web ad on the issues.

The NYC Council will hold an oversight hearing next month on an NYPD review of its training procedures following Eric Garner’s death.

New York voters could see as many as 12 parties putting up candidates for governor this fall, with six independent parties petitioning to get onto the ballot.

Introducing the Sapient Party.

An anti-charter school PAC has debuted a new digital ad promoting former NYC Comptroller John Liu’s primary challenge to Sen. Tony Avella.

President Obama will attend two fundraiser in Westchester this Friday.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg and his former deputy, Dan Doctoroff, did the ice bucket challenge.

A review of financial disclosures filed by Teachout and her running mate, LG candidate Tim Wu, reveal neither are rich, but both received book advances.

You can read a full transcript of Mark David Chapman’s latest parole hearing here. (His parole request was denied for the eighth time).

Former US Sen. Alfonse D’Amato is pleased Cuomo is finally “free” of the need to curry favor with the AFL-CIO and NYSUT, which didn’t endorse his re-election.

Former President Clinton campaigned in Rhode Island today for Democratic general-treasurer candidate Seth Magaziner - the son of a longtime close Clinton confidante.

Clinton and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will headline “the ultimate  women’s power lunch” on Oct. 20 to benefit the DCCC.

Gillibrand on whether Clinton will run in 2016: “Anytime I’ve ever talked to her, I’ve offered every bit of help in the world and she’s never said no.”

Democratic NY-19 candidate Sean Eldridge lashed out at Burger King for supposedly dodging taxes, but his husband, whose fortune is financing the congressional run, stands to benefit from the move.

A Hillary Clinton-inspired clothing shop in Kosovo is very popular.

Teachout: NYT Non-Endorsement ‘A Rebuke’ Of Cuomo’s Term

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Zephyr Teachout called the non-endorsement in next month’s primary a “powerful rebuke” of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s record in Albany.

“The New York Times came as close to an endorsement as it possibly could without an actual endorsement. It was a really powerful rebuke to Andrew Cuomo’s four years in office,” Teachout told reporters in New York City this morning. “As they pointed out, the arguments I am making are exactly what Albany needs.”

However, the Times wasn’t impressed with Teachout’s candidacy, either, suggesting she lacked the experience to lead the state. The editorial board ultimately suggested a vote for Teachout in the primary would be tantamount to a protest vote, since Cuomo’s victory in the November general election seems all but assured (The editorial board’s blog today included an explainer on the non-endorsement, insisting it wasn’t akin to a non-vote).

Teachout addressed the notion that her resume as a Fordham Law professor, former director of the Sunlight Foundation and one-time aide Howard Dean’s presidential didn’t qualify her to be governor.

“I am fully ready to be governor of the state of New York,” she said.

Meanwhile, the liberal magazine The Nation endorsed Teachout’s primary bid.

Astorino Assistant Resigns Following DWI Arrest

An assistant to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, the Republican nominee for governor, resigned this morning following a DWI arrest earlier this week.

The resignation of Hugh Fox, the chairman of the Westchester County Conservative Party who earned a $105,740-a-year salary with the county, was accepted immediately, confirmed spokesman Ned McCormack.

“Hugh Fox offered his resignation Tuesday morning, effective immediately, and it was accepted,” McCormack said. “In submitting his resignation, he said he understood the seriousness of the situation surrounding him and would to take full responsibility for his actions. The legal issues are now before the court to be resolved.”

The arrest and resignation was first reported by the Yonkers Tribune.

Updated: The Journal News has more, including that Fox was in a county-owned car at the time and got into a five-car accident.

Astorino had the backing of the local county conservative party during his first bid for the county executive post in 2005, which was unsuccessful.

Astorino defeated incumbent Democrat Andy Spano in 2009, but without the party’s endorsement, which had the time had sided with the incumbent (State Chairman Mike Long supported Astorino’s candidacy).

Fox joined the Astorino administration in 2010, and became the county chairman a month later. Fox has insisted politics weren’t at play in getting the job.

Astorino won re-election last year against Democrat Noam Bramson with the endorsement of the Conservative Party.

Duffy Defends Cuomo After NYT Endorsement Snub

Outgoing Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy defended Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s record over the last four years on Wednesday, saying the incumbent Democrat doesn’t take enough credit for his successes during the first term.

Duffy was reacting to a question about The New York Times’ editorial board declining to endorse in the primary campaign between Cuomo and Fordham Law School Professor Zephyr Teachout.

The editorial board concluded that while it couldn’t endorse Cuomo based on his lack of strengthening ethics in Albany, Teachout was too inexperienced for the post (This led Gawker to declare The Times is just as “cowardly and corrupt” as Cuomo).

“Endorsements — those are opinions of people,” Duffy said at a ribbon cutting ceremony in Binghatmon. “I can’t speak to opinions, but I can speak to facts. I’m not sure what criteria they use.”

Referring to the recent construction at SUNY Binghamton, Duffy praised Cuomo’s handling of the job.

“I’ve seen first hand what he’s done,” Duffy said. “I don’t think he takes enough credit for what he does do.”

Duffy is not running for re-election this year, vacating the number two spot on the ticket in favor of former Rep. Kathy Hochul.

The former Rochester mayor pointed back to 2011, when Cuomo push for, and won, the passage of same-sex marriage legalization in the state.

“I go back to year one with marriage equality and right forward to see some of the things he’s led. So I can’t speak to their criteria, but I’ll defend my governor any day of the week with what he’s done,” Duffy said. “I’m not in office next year, so this is Bob Duffy’s opinion. It’s my opinion now, it’s my opinion next year.”

Nader To Campaign For Hawkins

Former presidential candidate and consumer advocate Ralph Nader will campaign next month in Albany with Green Party gubernatorial hopeful Howie Hawkins.

Nader is due to speak at the Unitarian Church in Albany on Sept. 14 at 4:30, organizers announced.

A donation of $20 is suggested, or $10 for students and the low-income.

In addition to appearing with Hawkins, Nader will also travel about one hour north to appear alongside congressional hopeful Matt Funiciello, one of three candidates running for the NY-21 being vacated by Democratic Rep. Bill Owens.

Hawkins ran for governor in 2010 and achieved automatic ballot status for the Green Party this election cycle.

Cuomo’s 24-Hour Notices Roll In

This week began the official start of 24-hour notices for candidates and committees involved in primary campaigns.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign reported to the state Board of Elections $54,500 in contributions over a 24-hour period.

Those donors include a Long Island-based development company that contributed $10,000 and a $14,500 contribution from Jay Snyder, a businessman and Democratic donor who served on Cuomo’s transition team.

Cuomo this month reported $32.4 million in cash on hand.

Along with his running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul, Cuomo faces a primary on Sept. 9 from Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham Law School professor. Also on the ballot is Randy Credico, a comedian and political activist.

Meanwhile, the national office of the Communications Workers of America pumped $398,700 into the political action committee of its New York affiliate, one of the key labor unions in the state.

State Regulators To Investigate TWC Outage

State regulators will investigate Wednesday morning’s nationwide Internet outage that impacted more than 11 million Time Warner Cable customers, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

The investigation, to be conducted by the state Department of Public Service, will be part of a larger review of the company’s merger with Comcast.

Time Warner Cable is the parent company of Time Warner Cable News and its sister station, NY1.

“I have directed the New York State Department of Public Service to investigate this outage as part of its review of Comcast’s proposed merger with Time Warner,” Cuomo said in a statement. “The Department will also review whether the outage affected Time Warner’s provision of telephone service in any way. In addition, the Department will include its analysis of this event in its ongoing study of the telecom industry, which is exploring potential changes to the regulatory landscape pertaining to telephone, internet and cable.”

Cuomo earlier this year asked state regulators to review the proposed merger with Comcast, which would create the nation’s largest cable and Internet provider, especially with respect to its impact on broadband access.

“Dependable internet service is a vital link in our daily lives and telecommunications companies have a responsibility to deliver reliable service to their customers,” Cuomo said.

The call for the investigation comes as the primary opponents of both Cuomo and his running mate, Rep. Kathy Hochul, Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu, have made an issue out of the cable merger especially with respect to the concept of “net neutrality.”

The outage began at 4:30 this morning during routine maintenance, the company said. By the 6 a.m. hour, services were mostly restored, according to the company.