Schumer, An Eager Booster For State Senate Democrats

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer has been on the campaign trail a lot this election season.

No, he doesn’t face re-election himself and he’s not stumping for other U-S Senators he knows from Washington. He’s here in New York, endorsing candidates for the state Senate, like Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk.

“It’s really important that we get a lot of people involved in the political process and when I see folks like Senator Schumer and Congressman Tonko and the governor say they support me, I think we’re on the right path,” Tkaczyk said at an endorsement rally in Rotterdam on Tuesday at the public library there.

Tkaczyk is among several incumbent Democrats running in key Senate races whose victories could decide who controls the chamber next year. Schumer says he’s backing these lawmakers and candidates in competitive races because of their support for issues he’s backing in Washington, such as a minimum wage increase.

“The candidates that I’ve endorsed believe in those things,” Schumer said. “I think it’s really important. My passion is to get the middle class back on track and I think we need a state Senate that’s going to do it.”

Not as present on the campaignt trail for Senate Democrats: Andrew Cuomo.

The governor pledged to help Democrats take full control of the state Senate this year. He’s endorsed a handful of Democratic candidates in key races, including Tkaczyk, Senator Terry Gipson and Justin Wagner over the weekend.

But those weren’t personal appearances. Cuomo was traveling in Puerto Rico when his campaign issued press releases (Cuomo did give his nod, in person, to Long Island Democratic Senate hopeful Adrienne Esposito).

“I believe the governor endorsed CeCe a couple of days ago and Kathy Hochul was here and so, yes, I think the governor and I are singing from the same hymnal,” Schumer said.

The state Democratic Committee, which Cuomo essentially controls, has sent out mailers with the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee in conjunction with their candidates. Part of the tricky situation is that Cuomo is not popular in some of these upstate and rural Senate districts Democrats won two years ago and are now defending.

In the 46th Senate district, voters are being hit with a ton of mail pieces, as well as an endless stream of television ads. Tkaczyk says voters could be densitized to it all, but she hopes they focus in the final weeks of the campaign.

“I think people are getting inundated, but there’s a lot at stake,” Tkaczyk said.

Senate Republicans continue to link Tkaczyk to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“It’s no surprise that another liberal New York City politician is endorsing the full slate of Senate Democrat candidates,” said Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif said. “Who’s next? Mayor de Blasio? Everyone knows that New York City wins big and Upstate taxpayers lose if Democrats seize control of the chamber next month, especially the New York City politicians. We are not going to let happen.”

Tkaczyk denies de Blasio’s support for a Senate Democratic takeover will influence her votes.

“I’m listening to the voters in the 46th Senate district,” she said. “I’m not listening to Mayor de Blasio and any indication otherwise is just fear mongering from my opponent.”

Extras

Former Rep. Anthony Weiner admits his political career is “realistically” over, and he’s no longer looking for a way back in.

Sen. Liz Krueger opposed the redistricting constitutional amendment (Prop. 1), calling it “fake reform” and urging friends and colleagues to vote “no.”

The NYC Council’s Progressive Caucus also opposes Prop. 1.

US Attorney Preet Bharara will be a guest on “The Capitol Pressroom” with Susan Arbetter tomorrow morning.

The first – and only – televised debate between the gubernatorial candidates will take place tomorrow night in Buffalo.

Proctor’s is screening the debate.

Less than a day after the CDC announced new safety protocols for treating Ebola patients, thousands of New York City health-care workers gathered for a mass demonstration of proper use of head-to-toe protective gear.

The state Court of Appeals has reinstated a slander suit by two former SU ball boys who alleged Orangemen Head Coach Jim Boeheim’s assistant coach, Bernie Fine, had molested them.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the CPR in schools bill into law.

NYCLU announced an historic settlement that overhauls public defense in five counties and lays the foundation for statewide reform of New York’s broken public defense system.

“The Contender,” a biography about Cuomo by Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Shnayerson, is scheduled for release on Feb. 17, and it has a cover.

Republican AG hopeful John Cahill said Democratic incumbent Eric Schneiderman should be working with new businesses like AirBnB instead of investigating them.

After VP Joe Biden endorsed Rep. Dan Maffei, several reporters questioned why two bands from the Syracuse School District performed at a political rally.

Under a bill signed into law by Cuomo, New York will officially promote the state’s growing beer, wine and liquor industries.

NYU Prof. Patrick J. Egan believes Cuomo is among a handful of governors wll positioned to run for president in 2016.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani fired back at Mayor Bill de Blasio over his protest of the critically acclaimed “Klinghoffer” opera, saying he has studied the opera and has found it “historically inaccurate.”

The lawyers representing the woman who has accused attorney Sanford Rubenstein of rape accused the Manhattan DA that his office is moving too slowly to bring charges.

The Cuomo-backed “Truth Squad” alleged GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino reneged on a pledge as Westchester County executive to prohibit sex offenders from being housed at a homeless shelter in Valhalla.

Five businesses, including four medical industry companies, have been picked to be part of the tax-free zones established by the state as part of the Start-Up NY program.

The Gothamist’s take on the NYT’s endorsement of Cuomo is worth a read.

Giuliani will be hitting the campaign trail with Gov. Rick Scott tomorrow in South Florida.

New York may replace its bar exam with a nationally administered and graded standardized test, making it easier for young lawyers to move in and out of the state without having to take another grueling test.

Real Estate Board Invests More In TV In State Senate Campaigns

The Real Estate Board of New York’s super PAC has spent an additional $200,000 in television advertising aimed at opposing the re-election efforts of two Democratic state senators, according to filings at the state Board of Elections.

The group, Jobs for New York, is spending $85,200 on TV advertising in the 46th Senate district, where Democratic incumbent Cecilia Tkaczyk faces a rematch against Republican former Assemblyman George Amedore.

In the 41st Senate district, the group is spending $114,800 on TV commercials opposing Democratic Sen. Terry Gipson who faces Republican County Legislator Sue Serino.

At the same time, the group reported spending $33,000 on unspecified polling.

Earlier today, a two pro-business groups, NFIB and Unshackle Upstate, announced a $40,000 mail campaign to back Amedore and Serino.

Harper Collins Rents Cuomo’s Campaign List

If you are a donor or a regular receiver of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign emails, you may have gotten an email from HarperCollins earlier today that promoted “All Things Possible.”

That’s because the book publisher, for an unspecified price, paid for the campaign’s email list in order to blast out the promotional note.

“Harper did rent a list from Governor Cuomo’s campaign for one time use to promote Governor Cuomo’s new book,” said Tina Andreadis, a spokeswoman for the publisher.

The use of the Cuomo campaign email list, as well as an email list from the state Democratic Committee, was first reported by The Daily News.

The cost of the email list will likely be reflected in Cuomo’s next campaign-finance report filed with the state Board of Elections.

Cuomo’s contract with the company is worth at least $700,000, according to a financial disclosure form the governor filed with state ethics regulators earlier this year.

Cuomo has promoted the book in appearances on David Letterman and in an interview with Charlie Rose. He also took a tour of local TV stations via satellite with guidelines being only the book would be discussed.

Previously, the governor’s re-election campaign emailed select donors to invite them to a book signing event at Barnes & Noble in New York City.

Sales for “All Things Possible” is currently ranked at 6,504 on Amazon.

Updated: Bill O’Reilly, a spokesman for Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, weighs in.

“Andrew Cuomo is twisting himself into a pretzel to explain all the government and campaign resources he is spending promoting a book for personal enrichment,” O’Reilly said. “Now he is caught giving Harper Collins an email list to try to buoy staggeringly poor book sales. If Harper Collins truly rented the list from Governor Cuomo, let’s see the terms of that rental agreement and the time stamped emails proving when it was coordinated. Mr. Cuomo said he’d be the most transparent governor in history. Here’s an opportunity to show it.”

In Newest Ad, Eldridge Goes With The Man-On-The-Street Approach

The most recent TV spot from Democratic congressional candidate Sean Eldridge released Tuesday gives him a supporting role.

Instead, Eldridge’s commercial puts the spotlight on constituents — supporters, obviously — who knock Republican Rep. Chris Gibson for votes on giving tax breaks to outsourcing corporations and his support for hydrofracking.

The ad is called “Truth Is” and it’s just one of a steady stream of TV ads Eldridge has put on TV in recent weeks.

The Eldridge campaign, though, is quick to note in its release this afternoon that Gibson has received $1.6 million from independent expenditure committees with an interest in the race.

Gibson’s campaign has been just as quick to point out that despite Eldridge’s opposition to natural-gas drilling, he has investments in the energy industry.

“Congressman Gibson has consistently put the interests of his corporate donors ahead of our environment and families in our region, whether it’s his support of fracking, which could pollute our drinking water, or his multiple votes to undermine the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” said Sean Eldridge. “I oppose fracking, and I’ll be an independent advocate to protect our environment and reduce the influence of corporate money in Washington.”

Cahill Promises A ‘Review’ Of Rockefeller Drug Laws

Republican AG candidate John Cahill on Tuesday pledged to review whether to bring back elements of the Rockefeller-era drug laws, which were mostly stripped away in 2009.

“We need to review the work that was done in 2009,” Cahill told reporters in Albany today. “I’m not suggesting that we incarcerate individuals who are found with simple possession. We need to go after those who are actively involved in the distribution and sale.”

Cahill has been touting a mutli-pronged approach to combating heroin that would include increased penalties for distributors as well as expanded treatment options.

Cahill added that he was happy that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman addressed allegations made by political gadfly and comedian Randy Credico to Fred Dicker that the incumbent Democrat used cocaine as a state senator in the mid-2000s.

Schneiderman’s campaign, along with guests at the party Credico alleges the incident to have happened, roundly denied any drug use. The organizer of the event called the claims by Credico “absurd.”

“I’m glad that he came out and addressed it,” Cahill said. “But it’s also true the attorney general has had a history of evolving stories. There has been a history of evolving stories with the attorney general’s office, but I am glad he came out and addressed it.”

Cahill also said he has never used illegal drugs himself, including marijuana and cocaine.

“Sorry, I didn’t,” he said. “Did I miss something?”

Cahill isn’t the only Republican talking about taking a new look at the stringent anti-drug laws.

Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss, said last week he would support revisiting a strengthening of the laws.

 

Cahill: Regulate Emerging Technologies, But Not Through ‘Subpoena Dumps’

Republican candidate for attorney general John Cahill on Tuesday said he would to build a regulatory framework for emerging companies like AirBnB and Uber, and criticized Democratic incumbent Eric Schneiderman for a “subpoena dump” of the former’s client list.

“There are issues with AirBnB, there are issues with all new emerging technologies,” Cahill said. “We need to have an AG who needs to understand that we have to develop new emerging technologies.”

Airbnb, along with other peer-to-peer sharing services like Lyft and Uber have drawn the scrutiny of state officials.

In Airbnb’s case, the company has been criticized by advocates for affordable housing as running unlicensed hotels, which they fear could drive up the cost of rent. At the same time, labor groups are uneasy with Airbnb’s skirting of occupancy laws.

Schneiderman’s office last year issued a subpoena for user data from AirBnB earlier this month, relying on a 2010 law that makes it illegal to rent out apartments.

Cahill today criticized that as a “subpoena dump” and said he would seek to come up with rules for governing the business model (The AG’s office has sought similar data from online services in the past, with success).

“We need to be more pro-active in working with those industries as opposed to doing subpoena dumps and not really understanding the ramifications it has with overall business development in this state,” Cahill said. “I would take a different approach.”

Updated: In a statement, Schneiderman campaign spokesman Peter Ajemian says the AG cannot pick and choose which laws to enforce.

“John Cahill may not understand this, but the Attorney General’s job is to enforce the laws of New York State — not to pick and choose the laws he likes. In this case, the law being enforced protects the quality of life of our neighborhoods and the physical safety of tourists, both of which are endangered by illegal hotel operators. Unlike Mr. Cahill, Attorney General Schneiderman believes in having one set of rules for everyone.”

Abortion-Rights Groups For Panepinto

Two groups that support abortion rights are backing Democratic Senate candidate Marc Panepinto in a crowded field for a Buffalo district held by Republican Mark Grisanti.

Panepinto was endorsed NARAL Pro-Choice New York and Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York, two organizations that are part of a broader coalition pushing the Women’s Equality Act this election season.

The twist in this race is Gov. Andrew Cuomo not ruling out an endorsement of Grisanti, who has supported a number the governor’s signature measures, including the legalization of same-sex marriage and the gun control law known as the SAFE Act.

“As a husband and father of three young daughters, Marc Panepinto has made women’s equality a centerpiece of his campaign. He has pledged unequivocal support for the full, 10-point Women’s Equality Act and recognizes the urgency in fighting for women’s health, safety and equality,” said Andrea Miller of NARAL Pro-Choiew New York. “NARAL Pro-Choice New York is proud to endorse Marc Panepinto, a vocal and committed leader who won’t back down to extremists’ attempts to restrict women’s rights.”

In a statement, the groups pointedly note both Grisanti and Republican Kevin Stocker oppose the abortion provision in the 10-point women’s agenda.

Cuomo is yet to weigh in on the race that is considered one of the key Senate contests this year.

Grisanti earlier today was endorsed by New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, a group that has prominently supported the SAFE Act.

NY GOP: Cuomo Running ‘Mean-Spirited’ Campaign, ‘Afraid’ to Debate

On the eve of the first – and it appears only – gubernatorial debate, which will take place tomorrow night in Buffalo, the state GOP has released a new TV ad trashing Gov. Andrew Cuomo for running a “mean-spirited” campaign and being “afraid” to debate his Republican opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

The ad claims Cuomo is on the attack against Astorino because he is “failing” New Yok on taxes and job creation.

It also maintains the governor is under federal investigation for witness tampering and obsctuction of justice, which isn’t entirely true, though it has been speculated that those could be charges under consideration – if any charges are indeed to be brought – by US Attorney Preet Bharara, whose office is investigating the demise of Cuomo’s now-defunct corruption-busing Moreland Commission.

Also, there have indeed been tax cuts during Cuomo’s four years in the governor’s office, and according to data released today by the state Department of Labor, the statewide unemployment rate has fallen from 7.4 percent in September 2013 to 5.6 percent last month. Meanwhile, the national jobless rate improved from 7 percent a year ago to 5.7 percent this part September.

The state party is stepping in to assist Astorino in the final weeks of the campaign with this ad, which will run through Election Day. But it’s going to be difficult to make a dent in the flood of TV ads – both positive and negative – that the Cuomo campaign and the state Democratic Party have been running, since they are both flush with many more millions of dollars worth of campaign cash than Astorino has managed to raise.

Cuomo, Astorino, Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins and the Libertarian Party’s Michael McDermott will square off tomorrow in a debate sponsored by The Buffalo News and WNED/WBFO of Buffalo. The debate will be televised, and will kick off at 7 p.m.

Cuomo had offered to debate Astorino one-on-one on WNYC public radio, but Astorino rejected the offer, saying any head-to-head debates between the two major party candidates should be televised. Astorino had previously called for eight debates with the governor.

Here’s the script of the GOP’s new ad; the party is not disclosing the size of the buy or any details about where the spot is running:

Announcer: “Andrew Cuomo spent millions on campaign ads filled with lies. The reason: Cuomo’s failing New York.

Under Cuomo we have the highest taxes, and record job losses. Cuomo is at the center of Albany corruption, under federal investigation for obstruction of justice, witness tampering.

Cuomo failed on jobs, failed on taxes, and failed us. That’s why Cuomo is running a negative, mean-spirited campaign. And that’s why Cuomo is afraid to debate his opponent.”

NRCC Launches 4th Anti-Bishop Ad in NY-1

And speaking of NY-1, residents in the congressional district at the tip of Long Island have been subjected to a veritable barrage of ads this campaign season, and the hits just keep on coming.

The NRCC has released its fourth ad attacking Long Island Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop, who is facing off against GOP state Sen. Lee Zeldin next month. Bishop is among the Republicans’ top targets this cycle, and the race may well be tightening, given the Democrats’ calling in of former President Clinton to headline a rally for Bishop tomorrow.

Here’s the script of the new ad:

Announcer: “Congressman Tim Bishop is still under investigation. Watchdogs name him one of Congress’ most corrupt. But what’s even worse?

Bishop spent twelve years backing higher taxes and reckless spending. Voting with Obama and Pelosi on every major piece of legislation. Even voting to give rights to foreign terrorists.

Congressman Tim Bishop, he’s made things worse.

We have a better choice. Lee Zeldin. The change we need.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.”