Cuomo: Hochul Will Win

Gov. Andrew Cuomo swatted away questions over whether he’d take Columbia professor Tim Wu as a running mate, insisting his preferred choice for lieutenant governor will be victorious in the Sept. 9 primary.

“Kathy Hochul is going to win the race for lieutenant governor,” Cuomo said. “People understand that the lieutenant governor could become governor and experience really matters.”

Wu, the running mate of Cuomo primary challenger Zephyr Teachout, has spent the last several weeks blasting Hochul’s voting record in the House of Representatives, which he says demonstrates she’s too conservative for a broader Democratic electorate in New York.

“They don’t know Kathy Hochul,” Cuomo told reporters at the West Indian Day Parade in New York City. “Kathy Hochul was in the U.S. Congress. Ask Nancy Pelosi about Kathy Hochul. Ask Charlie Rangel about Kathy Hochul.”

Bolstering their support among the major labor unions, the Cuomo-Hochul ticket was endorsed Monday by 1199/SEIU and the Transport Workers Union.

The turn out operation of 1199/SEIU in particular is considered key in New York City.

Still, there are signs that Cuomo and Hochul are taking the challenge from Teachout and Wu seriously.

Hochul last week appeared in a 3-minute YouTube video touting her liberal credentials. The state Democratic Committee released a mailer that prominently featured both Cuomo and Hochul, and reminding Democratic voters to head to the polls on Sept. 9.

A Hochul loss in the Democratic primary would upend the race for governor.

Hochul would appear with Cuomo on the minor party lines — Independence, Working Families and the newly formed Women’s Equality Party line — but on the Democratic ballot line, having the effect of those votes be counted separately.

Cuomo dismissed the notion of having Wu as a running mate.

“It’s not going to happen,” he said.

Labor Day Wrap-Up

The West Indian Day Parade in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, drew all manner of elected officials and candidates, including both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his Democratic primary opponent, Zephyr Teachout, and her running mate, Tim Wu.

Cuomo dismissed speculation that his running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul, could lose the Sept. 9 primary to Wu, insisting: “It’s not going to happen.”

“Ask Nancy Pelosi about Kathy Hochul,” Cuomo said. “Ask Charlie Rangel about Kathy Hochul. She represented a district in upstate New York that had some very conservative areas, some areas more conservative than New York City, but she’s a progressive through and through, there’s no doubt about that.”

Hochul did not attend the West Indian Day Parade, but marched with Rep. Brian Higgins in her native Buffalo.

Richard Johnson: “(D)on’t underestimate the number of knee-jerk liberals who will vote for Wu just because he has the endorsement of the New York Times.”

It’s “Hochul” – rhymes with “local” – not “Hoople” or “Hopeful,” (although technically speaking, that last one is applicable).

According to Fred Dicker, Cuomo’s political operatives are eyeing a “painful scenario” to dump Hochul as the governor’s lieutenant governor candidate amid growing signs Wu is picking up steam.

Former Gov. David Paterson criticized Wu, saying he’s treating the post of LG “like it’s a joke instead of a real job.”

Wu called the attack by the former governor (and LG) a “sign of desperation,” adding: “I’m going to do a lot more than David Paterson did in that job.”

Wu could be the first Asian-American to win statewide office. He has campaigned heavily in Flushing, Chinatown and Sunset Park, and even used his fluent, if slightly out of tune, Mandarin.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is backing Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky in her primary battle with businessman and activist SJ Jung.

The de Blasio family reprised their “Smackdown” dance at the West Indian Day Parade.

The DCCC has launched its second TV ad attacking Rep. Michael Grimm over his indictment — reprising the tagline “Can you believe this guy?”

AG Eric Schneiderman issued a Labor Day report containing highlights of his office’s labor enforcement work over the past three years.

A week before the Democratic primary, Cuomo is scheduled to meet tomorrow with a group of prominent Jewish leaders in New York City to brief them on his recent trip to Israel.

With the Senate Republicans striving to hold on to power in Albany and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino trying to gain it, their message isn’t always in unison.

Talk of a Mitt Romney 2016 run is heating up. A USA Today poll shows Romney with a huge lead in Iowa, far ahead of 14 other potential GOP candidates.

For the first time in the contest’s 13-year history, the U.S. National Buffalo Wing-Eating Championship was broadcast live on ESPN3. Joey Chestnut, the No. 1-ranked eater in the world, won by eating 192 wings in 12 minutes.

A new study found that the proportion of working-age New York City residents who were members of unions had rebounded in the last 18 months to nearly one in four.

Time and again, villagers have steadfastly voted down attempts to wipe their boundaries from the map. The New York Department of State says 11 villages have shut down since 2009.

Capital Region leaders hoping to reap fiscal rewards from gambling should be rooting for the Rensselaer casino project with the Hard Rock brand, if anticipated gross gaming revenues are considered.

New York’s late arrival at the betting table is forcing developers to think smaller.

Former Brooklyn BP Marty Markowitz is backing indicted state Sen. John Sampson’s re-election bid.

More people have attended this year’s New York State Fair than last year, and the first-ever Dollar Day is still going strong.

Chobani yogurt, which is based in the upstate town of Norwich, has planted branded refrigerators filled with its Greek yogurt in the DC offices of US Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Richard Hanna.

A new invasive insect has devastated northeastern berry crops, and growers are working with Cornell University plant experts to develop strategies to fight it.

The Weekend That Was (So Far)

The New York Times endorsed two Democratic primary challengers – Oliver Koppell and John Liu – to IDC Leader Jeff Klein and IDC member Tony Avella, respectively.

The Buffalo News endorsed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s running mate, Kathy Hochul, for LG, saying she is “eminently qualified” to serve as LG and will be an advocate for Western New York at a “critical time” in the region’s history.

A Cuomo campaign official said the governor won’t be spending big money on a GOTV operation against Zephyr Teachout, insisting to do so would be “silly.” Team Cuomo is also doing some pre-primary spin, saying any protest candidate will get around 20 percent of the vote.

Facing a lack of resources to raise her name recognition, Teachout is criss-crossing the state, campaigning hard.

Local officials in New York City did not take kindly to comments Sen. Ted Cruz’s Bronx bashing.

Millions of New Yorkers will be getting two rounds of rebate checks from the state this fall. But that easy money that shows up in their mailboxes isn’t exactly free. The postage for those roughly 4 million checks will cost the state $1.6 million.

Former Gov. David Paterson says US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was not his first choice to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Senate after Clinton was confirmed as secretary of state. Paterson wanted to name himself to the seat.

Brooklyn – along with backing of deep-pocketed New Yorkers — should be a “slight favorite” to land the 2016 Democratic National Convention, former party chief Ed Rendell said.

NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina is an “active and engaged grandmother” of two boys.

Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were guests Saturday night at the nuptials of Sam Kass, their devoted family chef, and MSNBC host Alex Wagner.

The state is investigating equine fatalities during the Saratoga Race Course meet this year — 11 thoroughbred deaths compared with eight last year, the Gaming Commission said.

The controversy about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s influence over the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption is a reminder that Moreland Commissions can have unintended consequences for governors.

During the past two fiscal years, the Schenectady school district’s surplus plunged 73 percent, or about $4 million, so it could cover its bills, state auditors said.

The New York State Fair set a new single-day attendance record Saturday, welcoming the largest crowd ever to the fairgrounds in its history.

Hillary Clinton will be in Ottawa Oct. 6 for a luncheon speech. She’ll arrive at a time of what many observers say is a strained Canada-U.S. relationship over a variety of issues.

Former President Bill Clinton, widely considered the leading Democratic fundraiser, will visit Miami on Friday, Sept. 6, to campaign for Republican-turned-Democrat gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist.

Former President Bill Clinton will headline a fundraiser this coming Tuesday in New Haven, Conn. for the state Democratic Party in an effort to help Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as he seeks reelection this fall.

The I-594 advocacy group Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility in Seattle, Washington is getting a $1 million donation from Everytown for Gun Safety, the umbrella organization driven by dollars from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The latest data from the Department of Education’s Fitnessgram assessment program show the Washington Heights neighborhood has the heaviest kids, with 47 percent listed as overweight or obese.

The Manhattan DA’s office said it would investigate the NYPD’s role in the death of a man who was high on a hallucinogenic drug and subsequently restrained in a protective body wrap by officers.

New York State United Teachers is seeking to intervene in an anti-tenure lawsuit filed against the state.

The Showboat Casino Hotel is closing though it remains profitable to reduce the number of casinos in Atlantic City, which has been struggling with plunging revenue and increased competition. Its owner, Caesars, will still own three other casinos in Atlantic City.

Luna, the Buffalo Zoo’s 1½-year-old polar bear cub, fell about 14 feet into the dry moat of the tiger exhibit early Saturday afternoon, where she has been staying while the zoo undergoes its transformation.

Joseph Persico, best-selling author, historian and speechwriter for Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller, has died. He was 84.


A quick note heading into this holiday weekend: There will be sparse blogging over the next three days, and no Morning Memo on Monday (Labor Day). Regularly scheduled blogging will return Tuesday, Sept. 2. For those SoP readers who are also CapTon viewers, there will be no show on Monday night. We will return Tuesday night at 8 p.m. And now, some late afternoon headlines…

Chelsea Clinton is leaving NBC News.

Syracuse Post-Standard: “Come out, come out, wherever you are, Gov. Andrew Cuomo” (and debate Zephyr Teachout).

Former Gov. David Paterson told radio listeners he believes the recent spike in heroin overdose deaths is a consequence of over-medicating children.

NYSUT filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit challenging teacher tenure.

While at SUNY New Paltz, Teachout said higher education should be “basically free.”

Cuomo has directed state agencies to suspend road construction that would cause traffic delays over the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Roger Stone believes a yet-to-break scandal will prevent Hillary Clinton from running for president in 2016.

Teachout slammed one of Cuomo’s most prized initiatives by calling for a reversal of what she claims was an unconstitutional reorganization of the Long Island Power Authority.

Donald Trump did the ice bucket challenge in a suit and tie, with the help of Miss USA and Miss Universe.

Onondaga County GOP Chairman Tom Dadey – assisted by two youngsters, no beauty queens – also did the ice bucket challenge in a suit.

Sen. Greg Ball did his ice bucket challenge on a Texas beach, in what was possible the “most Greg Ball video ever.”

Phil Reisman is annoyed by the president’s Westchester visit.

Disgraced ex-Senate Majority Leader John Sampson refused to acknowledge he was booted from the Democratic conference after his indictment on embezzlement charges.

“The President stands squarely behind the decision he made yesterday to wear his summer suit,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

Rep. Pete King is furious about the tan suit.

Democratic Syracuse City Councilor Jean Kessner, briefly a state Senate candidate, pressed NY-24 GOP candidate John Katko on the 2000 theft of his loaded gun.

There are big deals to be had at the State Fair on Labor Day.

The “Twinx” probably contains about 1,000 calories, but fairgoers don’t seem to care.

US Sen. Charles Schumer doesn’t always endorse in Democratic primaries, but he has made an exception for Queens Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky.

It was 25 years ago this month when Ralph C. Wilson Jr. caused panic and outrage with the idea he might move the Bills out of Orchard Park at the end of the team’s original lease on Rich Stadium.

Harry Reid’s alma matter, Southern Utah University, is removing his name from a school building after citizens and alumni lobbied the school president and pledged more than $40,000 to the cause.

An unusual post-layoff goodbye.

Cuomo Raises $600K In 20 Days

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign on Friday reported raising more than $603,000 since Aug. 9, while spending $2.4 million.

The campaign has $30.6 million in cash on hand ahead of the Sept. 9 primary with Fordham Law professor Zephyr Teachout.

The filing shows Cuomo has heavily during the normally sleepy month of August.

Cuomo’s campaign spent $806,904 on television advertising, while the state Democratic committee — which have been surrogates attacking Republican rival Rob Astorino, spent $571,497 on TV ads. The state Democratic Committee during this 11-day filing period raised $206,100.

Cuomo also spent $40,470 on polling on Aug. 20, records show. The polling comes as his running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul, began to focus her primary campaign against Columbia professor Tim Wu by defending her voting record in Congress as well as her liberal credentials.

The governor’s air travel expenses to Israel — an expenses footed by the campaign — was $23,596.

The campaign also has had its share of legal expenses this month.

As part of an unsuccessful effort to knock Teachout off the ballot, Cuomo 2014 paid election lawyer Marty Connor, a former state senator, $23,441.

Records also show Cuomo’s campaign spent $10,000 on representation from Elkan Abramowitz, a white-collar criminal attorney who is representing the administration in the ongoing federal investigation of the Moreland Commission.

Cuomo’s campaign, meanwhile, Hochul’s campaign account $246,787 in the form of a loan for TV ads and mail dated Friday.

Hochul reported raising $368,114 and has a cash-on-hand balance of $863,932.

Avella Endorsed By Nurses Association

The New York State Nurses Association on Friday endorsed Queens Sen. Tony Avella’s re-election.

Avella, a member of the Independent Democratic Conference, faces a primary challenge from former city Comptroller John Liu next month.

“Registered nurses are proud to stand with Tony Avella because he shares our values of promoting quality, affordable healthcare for all New Yorkers,” said Jill Furillo, RN, Executive Director of NYSNA. “Tony is a strong advocate for the people of Queens and has supported our efforts to enact safe staffing ratio legislation, in keeping hospitals open for care, protecting patient care and stopping the for-profit takeover of our hospitals. NYSNA believed Tony will best represent the interested of all working people in New York.”

The association represents 37,000 registered nurses in New York.

“Whether it’s working to reach safe staffing goals or fighting to keep hospitals providing the best care possible, NYSNA has been on the front lines of healthcare issues. I was proud to fight alongside NYSNA this year for the inclusion of safe staffing in the budget, and I am honored to receive their endorsement for my re-election,” Avella said in a statement.

Hochul Receives Women’s Campaign Fund Nod

Another endorsement was rolled out for Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul on Friday when she received the unanimous backing the Women’s Campaign Fund.

The endorsement comes after the National Organization for Women’s New York chapter announced over the weekend it was endorsing the primary rival of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham law professor.

“I have traveled across the state to support women’s equality, and I’m proud to receive the unanimous support of the Women’s Campaign Fund as we fight to put women’s rights front and center, where it belongs, ” said Lt. Governor candidate Kathy Hochul. “The women of New York deserve nothing less than true and full equality, and working with greater partners like WCF, I am confident that we will win this fight to have our voices heard and counted.”

Hochul had the backing of the group in 2011, when she ran in a special election for Congress to win a seat vacated by Republican Rep. Chris Lee.

She has also been the point person for the creation of the Women’s Equality Party, a ballot line Democrats formed for the November election.

Hochul faces Tim Wu, a Columbia University professor, in a Democratic primary next month. If elected, Wu would be the first Asian-American to win a statewide office.

“Women’s Campaign Fund is thrilled to endorse former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul in her race for Lieutenant Governor,” said Betsy Mullins, President and CEO of WCF. “Kathy is a proven leader who will use the office of Lieutenant Governor to improve the lives of all New York families. With her record of public service as a Congresswoman and County Clerk, in addition to her legal experience, Kathy is the most qualified candidate in the race. We are proud to have stood with Kathy all these years and we are especially proud to stand with her today.”

Earlier today, her campaign announced the endorsement of a trio of Asian-American elected officials.

United Food And Commercial Workers For Klein

The United Food and Commercial Works Union Local 2013 on Friday endorsed Sen. Jeff Klein’s re-election bid.

In giving its nod to the Bronx lawmaker and Independent Democratic Conference leader, the union pointed to Klein as a “strong ally” in negotiations with FreshDirect and overall support for labor.

“We are proud to announce our support for Senator Jeff Klein today,” said Mark Carotenuto, President of UFCW Local 2013. “Senator Klein has been a strong ally in our contract negotiations with FreshDirect and a fighter for union workers across New York. When it comes to supporting working families, Senator Klein’s track record is unparalleled – from freezing rents for seniors to providing universal Pre-K to increasing the minimum wage – he has delivered for New York families. We strongly endorse Senator Klein and we look forward to working with him and a new Democratic majority in the Senate.”

UFCW Local 2013 represents 15,000 workers.

Klein faces former city Councilman Oliver Koppell in a primary next month.

“I’m honored to receive the endorsement of the UFCW Local 2013, whose men and women work so hard each and every day and I was proud speak up for their workers in FreshDirect negotiations that now will bring good union jobs to The Bronx. I will continue to be a voice for them in Albany and all hardworking New Yorkers across this state,” Klein said in a statement.

Dems Shun Anti-Cuomo Clemency Event

From today’s Morning Memo:

Our report on State of Politics yesterday about a march and vigil to call out Gov. Andrew Cuomo for failing to exercise his clemency powers appears to have touched a nerve.

Minutes after we posted an item about the event, which is to be held outside the Mount Kisco home Cuomo shares with Food Network star Sandra Lee on Sept. 6 – three days before the Democratic gubernatorial primary – our phone started ringing off the hook.

On the line were members of the Senate Democratic conference and one Senate candidate whose names were listed on a flyer for the vigil as “participating or supporting.”

They were calling to make sure we knew that they had no intention of actually showing up on the governor’s doorstep to protest anything at all, though one senator did assure me that he’s very much in favor of clemency “when it’s appropriate.”

Those who went out of their way to call (either in person or via emissary) were: Sens. Jose Peralta; Liz Krueger; Gustavo Rivera (“I’m very busy in my primary campaign and in my district,” he said); and Brad Hoylman.

Also not attending: Former NYC Comptroller John Liu, who is challenging Sen. Tony Avella, an IDC member, in the Sept. 9 primary; and former Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, who called this afternoon to say that he had been asked to sign on to a letter described as “harmless” that would express support for clemency, but did not agree to participate in an event that is “clearly an attack on the governor.”

The Sept. 6 event is being supported by a number of organizations and individuals that have made clear their disappointment with Cuomo this campaign season, including NOW-NYS (which endorsed his primary opponent, Fordham Law Prof. Zephyr Teachout), the Village Independent Democrats (also backing Teachout), and Democratic gadfly/donor Bill Samuels.

Several actors from the Netflix hit “Orange is the New Black” are scheduled to participate, as is “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” star Kathryn Erbe.

The vigil is being organized by Allen Roskoff, who is president of the Jim Owles Democratic Club and an outspoken – and often controversial – LGBT activist.

In a series of telephone and email conversations yesterday, Roskoff said only one person – Liu – had actually renegged on attending this event.

The others, he said, made it clear to him that they’re supportive but weren’t able to make it that night.

Roskoff also accused the governor and members of his staff of “strong arming people to not participate in a peaceful vigil for clemency” instead of “debating a primary opponent and governing the state.”

One source did say that calls had been made after our blog post appeared by “interested parties” connected to Cuomo seeking information about who planned to attend. But that source refused to name names.

Cuomo has exercised his clemency power far less than his predecessors – something that has drawn criticism from the left, including from comedian/activist Randy Credico, who is mounting a long-shot primary challenge to Cuomo this fall.

In December 2013, Cuomo issued three pardons to New Yorkers who had completed their sentences, but “whose legal status and rights were hampered by their criminal records,” according to his office.

Poloncarz Sends Fundraising Appeal For Hochul

Democratic Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz on Friday sent out a fundraising appeal for “hometown candidate” Kathy Hochul, the former representative now running for lieutenant governor alongside Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“Kathy has fought for us and now we must fight for her. Please consider making a donation, any size donation, even $5.00, to her campaign,” Poloncarz wrote in an email. “And all Western New York Democrats must come out and support Kathy on Primary Day. Please consider visiting her website at and donating to her campaign.”

The email includes a link to a video released by state Democrats on Thursday that features Hochul for three minutes defending her liberal credentials, a move that comes her primary opponent, Columbia professor Tim Wu, has criticized her conservative voting record in Congress.

The email from Poloncarz reiterates a number of the points made in the video by Hochul, including her campaigning against cuts to Medicare and her loss in 2012 to Rep. Chris Collins.

“Now, she has been selected as the running mate of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has fought to pass the SAFE Act, marriage equality and is fighting to pass the DREAM Act, and the entire 10 point Women’s Equality Agenda that will end pay discrimination and protect a woman’s right to choose,” he writes.

Poloncarz is a key western New York ally for Cuomo, who has lavished attention on the region since taking office. Cuomo lost a large swath of western New York in 2010 to Republican nominee Carl Paladino, a Buffalo businessman.