Pigeon Indicted

Ryan Whalen reports:

A well-known Western New York political operative with ties to high-profile Democrats, including former President Clinton and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, faces nine separate charges in connection with a bibery case involving a now-former state Supreme Court judge. G. Steven Pigeon pleaded not guilty to all counts in state Supreme Court this morning.

This is the culmination of a long and well-documented public corruption investigation by the state attorney general’s office.

Pigeon faces two counts of bribery, six counts awarding misconduct and one count of grand larceny. The indictment handed up by a special grand jury two days ago was unsealed in court earlier today. Pigeon’s attorney Paul Cambria waived a reading of the indictment. The most serious charge could hold up to 15 years in prison. Cambria says he doesn’t expect this case to get to sentencing.

“The prosecution says it has a strong case, made stronger yesterday when state Supreme Court Judge John Michalek took a plea deal and admitted to taking bribes from Pigeon,” said Paul Cambria, defense attorney. “I will not stand for this kind of brazen contempt for the rule of law and the interests of everyday New Yorkers. Anyone who breaches the public trust will be held accountable by my office. Our investigation is ongoing.”

The prosecution said its case is stronger because of the cooperation agreement it reached with Michalek, who pleaded guilty to two felonies and agreed to resign his seat on the bench. He is continuing to cooperate with investigators in hopes of avoiding time behind bars.

Most of the charges in the Pigeon indictment involve the series of favors exchanged between him and the judge, including an attempt on at least one occasion by Pigeon to get Cuomo to appoint Michalek to an associate judgeship in the Appellate Division.

The charge of grand larceny involves an unidentified person from whom Pigeon allegedly stole property valued at more than $3,000.

The prosecution asked the judge set bail at $25,000. Despite the defense arguing Pigeon has known about this investigation for a year and a half and was no threat to flee, the judge set bail at $10,000 cash. The defense had a bondsmen at court and was processing the bond immediately after the hearing.

Pre-trial motions need to be in by Aug. 16.

NRCC Questions Deacon’s Independence

Now that the congressional primaries have passed and the general election battles are set, (for the most part), candidates in contested races across the state and their respective supporters have turned their attention to the opponents against whom they’ll be facing off in November.

That includes the NRCC, which today slammed Colleen Deacon, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand who won a three-way Democratic primary in NY-24 on Tuesday, suggesting that she’ll be ltitle more than a rubber stamp for the Democratic conference and its leader, California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, if she succeeds in ousting freshman Republican Rep. John Katko.

NRCC spokesman Chris Pack noted that Deacon’s campaign has so far received $18,700 in contributions from “Pelosi & Company.” During the primary, Deacon was endorsed by the DCCC and a number of so-called “establishment” Democrats – including her former boss – while one of her opponents, Prof. Eric Kingson, was viewed as the candidate of the party’s liberal wing, backed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Pack also pointed out that during a Capital Tonight interview back in April, the candidate said the following when I asked her whether she would be able to break from the Democratic leadership if she makes it to D.C., and if so, then on what:

“…a lot of what the Democratic platform is what I stand for so I don’t know necessarily why I would break away from, umm, why I would want to break way from any of the issues, you know, anything specifically.”

That sort of blind loyalty is just the sort of thing that voters in the closely divided NY-24 have demonstrated a dislike for, throwing out former Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei (the first time), for example, when he failed to demonstrate a sufficient degree of independence from his fellow House Democrats.

On the flip side, Katko has tried hard to portray himself as a pragmatist who is willing to work across the aisle to get things done, and he is struggling not to ally himself too closely with the GOP’s controversial presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump, refusing to formally endorse him. Of course, the Democrats are making things difficult for Katko by pointing out at every turn that he’ll be running on the same ticket as Trump in November.

Here’s what Pack had to say, officially, on Deacon’s ties to Pelosi:

“It should alarm voters that Colleen Deacon could not think of a single issue where she would break from Nancy Pelosi to work in a bipartisan fashion for Central New York. If Colleen Deacon and Nancy Pelosi had it their way, they would undo all of the bipartisan accomplishments that John Katko has secured for Central New York during his short time in office.”

Senate Dems Prepare Tax Hike Argument Against GOP

From the Morning Memo:

Seeking to turn the tables on Republican incumbents, Senate Democrats on Thursday plan to release a volley of statements blasting GOP lawmakers for taking votes in favor of tax and fee increases.

The attacks are being leveled at four of the Republican lawmakers Democrats this year believe to be especially vulnerable — Sens. Bill Larkin, George Amedore, Carl Marcellino and Kemp Hannon.

The campaign releases themselves (a typical headline: “Amedore Voted For 96 Tax Increases In Last 2 Years”) come as Democrats hope to compete in suburban and upstate districts in which taxes could be a key issue for moderate voters.

“As our region’s businesses, residents and school districts have struggled to cope with burdensome taxes, George Amedore have been slowing our economic recovery by raising them even higher,” Amedore opponent Sara Niccoli said.

“Upstate families need a Senator who understands that taxes are already too high, and that voting nearly 100 times to increase them is only harming our communities. For our local businesses, Main Streets, and residents to thrive, we need to reduce onerous mandates and taxes, and that clearly won’t happen while George Amedore is a Senator.”

For Republicans, the claims from Democrats are especially ironic. After all, the GOP conference has spent the last six years warning of what would happen if Democrats regained power in the chamber, namely by enacting similar tax hikes they backed during their two-year stint in the majority.

At the same time, Republicans have been ones running on tax cuts, including a cap on local property tax levy increases and the middle-class tax cut in the budget — a measure initially proposed by Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan.

Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif scoffed in a statement at the “absurd” criticism from Senate Democrats.

“This is one of the most absurd and misleading political attacks the New York City Democrats have ever come up with, and it’s amazing they can even do it with a straight face,” Reif said.

“When it comes to taxes, there’s simply no comparison. Senate Republicans have been the champions of hardworking taxpayers and their families, enacting the 2 percent property tax cap, winning the largest middle-class tax cut since the mid-1990s, enhancing the STAR program and passing dozens of other meaningful tax relief measures totaling $11 billion. The tax-and-spend Senate Democrats approved 124 tax hikes in just two years when they led the Senate, adding up to a whopping $14 billion in new and higher taxes. This must be a joke.”

Siena Poll: Voters Give Session A Passing Grade, Barely

Most New York voters were not overly impressed with the legislative session in Albany, scoring Gov. Andrew Cuomo with a “C” grade on the last six months and the state Legislature earning a “C-“, according to a Siena College poll released on Thursday.

The poll found a middling reviews for the ethics agreement struck in Albany, nor were they in agreement with Cuomo’s claim the session was “the probably the most successful in modern history, the poll found.

Cuomo’s own favorability rating remain largely flat from the last time the poll was conducted a month ago, standing at 56 percent to 38 percent. His job performance rating remains under water and similarly little changed from last month: 40 percent to 59 percent, the poll found.

Amid a push to clean up Albany following a series of scandals that rocked the Senate and Assembly — including the convictions of both legislative leaders last year — as well as ongoing corruption probes into economic development spending in upstate New York, most voters, 56 percent to 27 percent, believe the measures approved in June won’t lead to a significant reduction in fraud and corruption.

Only 23 percent of voters agree with Cuomo’s claim the session, which stretches from January through June, was one of the most productive in modern history. The session included the passage of a budget that contained a tax cut aimed at middle-income earners, a phased-in increase of the minimum wage to $15 downstate and a 12-week paid family leave program.

Nevertheless, voters graded Cuomo’s work on the session with a “C” and both chambers of the Legislature with a “C-” for the last six months

“Thirty-nine percent of New Yorkers would give Cuomo an ‘A’ or ‘B’ for the 2016 session, while 25 percent would fail him or give him a ‘D.’ His overall GPA is 2.09 – a solid ‘C’ – his lowest post-session grade ever, and down from 2.35 the last time Siena asked in 2013,” Siena pollster Steve Greenberg said. “The good news for the Assembly and Senate is that their grades haven’t fallen as much as the Governor’s; the bad news is that their grades – both have GPAs of 1.88 – are worse than the Governor’s, earning both the Senate and the Assembly grades of ‘C-,’”

The poll also found 64 percent of voters give him a negative job performance rating on ethics, education and his handling of the state’s economy. Democratic voters, too, had little cheer with Cuomo on those issues, according to the survey.

Though Cuomo is not up for re-election this year, all 213 seats in the state Legislature are, and voters indicated they are ready to keep their incumbents in place, despite the dim view taken of the session.

The poll found by a 48 percent to 37 percent margin they are ready to re-elect their state senator rather than a generic “someone else. In the Assembly, the re-elect rate is slightly smaller, 42 percent to 38 percent, the poll found.

In the race for president, the poll found Democrat Hillary Clinton maintaining a wide lead over presumed Republican nominee Donald Trump, 54 percent to 31 percent.

Republican Wendy Long’s bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer continues to face steep odds: The likely Democratic Senate leader leads Long, 66 percent to 23 percent.

The poll of 803 registered New York voters was conducted from June 22 through June 28. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

SNY0616 Crosstabs by Nick Reisman

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Sullivan County.

At 9 a.m., the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey holds a public board meeting, 2 Montgomery St., Jersey City, New Jersey.

At 10 a.m., Sens. Jose Peralta and Toby Ann Stavisky and Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman announce a bill to provide a car insurance premium reduction for noncommercial vehicles equipped with a dashboard camera, 90-02 Queens Blvd., Queens.

At 10:15 a.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray will provide the keynote address at the Broome Street Academy Graduation, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers St., Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., Cuomo makes an announcement at the 2016 Catskill Summer Challenge with special guest, actor Robert DeNiro, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, 200 Hurd Rd., Bethel. (LG Kathy Hochul is one of the elected officials who will also be on hand).

Also at 10:30 a.m., Erie County Clerk/state Senate candidate Chris Jacobs holds a press conference to call for ride sharing to be available in Buffalo, Thomas R. Beecher Innovation Center on Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, 640 Ellicott St., Buffalo.

At 11 a.m., Rep. Nita Lowey and advocates for gun violence prevention and women’s justice hold a roundtable as part of the National Day of Action to Prevent Gun Violence, Rep. Lowey’s office, 222 Mamaroneck Ave., Suite 312, White Plains.

At noon, Bronx County District Attorney Darcel Clark, Richmond County District Attorney, Michael McMahon and New York City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson celebrate the baselining of $22 million for district attorneys in the city budget, Bronx Supreme Court, 851 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

Also at noon, McCray will tour the Montefiore Wellness Center at Waters Place with the U.S. Surgeon General, Deputy Mayor Palacio and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Basset, Waters Place, the Bronx.

Also at noon, Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson and a candidate for her seat, Jamaal T. Bailey, make a joint announcement, steps of Mount Vernon City Hall, 1 W Roosevelt Sq., Mount Vernon.

At 1 p.m., AG Eric Schneiderman makes an announcement, Main Place Tower, Suite 300A, 350 Main St., Buffalo.

At 1:15 p.m., Rep. John Katko will join local leaders, community members, elected officials, and stakeholders at Fort Ontario and Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Oswego to provide an update on legislation to advance the designation of the site towards National Park status, 2 E 7th St., Oswego.

At 2 p.m., NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. will host a press conference to announce charges in two cases relating to gang violence and narcotics trafficking, NYPD Headquarters, One Police Plaza, 2nd Floor Press Room, Manhattan.

At 3 p.m., Cuomo attends the 2016 Catskill Summer Challenge luncheon and awards ceremony, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, 200 Hurd Rd., Bethel.

At 6 p.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and state Sen. Jeff Klein co-host the Bronx Fireworks Extravaganza and Empanada Eating Contest, Orchard Beach Pavilion, the Bronx.

At 6:30 p.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is an honoree at the Subway Surface Supervisors Association, Villa Barone Manor, 737 Throggs Neck Expy., Bronx.

At 7 p.m., Assembly members Clifford W. Crouch, Nicole Malliotakis and Ron Castorina Jr. attend forum on protecting the rights of people with developmental disabilities, I.S. 24 Myra S. Barnes Intermediate School, 225 Cleveland Ave., Staten Island.

Also at 7 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams host a town hall meeting to discuss gun violence prevention, Tilden Education Campus; 5800 Tilden Ave., Brooklyn.


New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s top lawyer, Maya Wiley, is leaving City Hall next month amid multiple investigations into the mayor’s administration and fundraising activities.

Wiley is taking a job heading the NYPD Civilian Complaint Review Board, filling a two-month vacancy created by the resignation of its chairman, Richard D. Emery, in April. (The PBA is not at all happy about the move).

De Blasio’s social media director, Scott Kleinberg, abruptly quit after less than two months on the job — and took to Facebook to say he resigned “for the sake of my health and my sanity.”

“I ended up with political hacks, plus a boss who just couldn’t get. It was a bad combination for sure,” wrote Kleinberg, who was hired by the mayor fro the Chicago Tribune in early May.

A state Supreme Court judge, John A. Michalek, pleaded guilty to bribery in connection with the state attorney general’s investigation into his relationship with G. Steve Pigeon, a Buffalo-area political consultant with ties to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

For the first time since he began serving as a State Supreme Court judge in 1995, Michalek’s role in the courtroom was as an admitted criminal, one who pleaded guilty to felony crimes of bribe-receiving and offering a false instrument for filing in a court case.

Piegon himself is expected in court today. He’s accused of bribing Michalek, with help for a promotion; favors for two close relatives; Buffalo Sabres hockey tickets; and a seat at one of Cuomo’s fund-raisers in return for favorable treatment in court cases in which he and his acquaintances had an interest.

The case stems from a raid on the homes of Pigeon and two others on May 28, 2015 that resulted in seizure of personal computers and a trove of emails between Pigeon, Michalek and what insiders say are many others.

The two leading candidates to succeed Rep. Charles Rangel tread carefully, moving to calm tensions one day after preliminary election results showed state Sen. Adriano Espaillat ahead of Assemblyman Keith Wright in the Democratic primary.

Though Wright has not conceded the race, his allies began to signal they will accept unofficial primary results, which show their chief rival, Espaillat, had won and in all likelihood will go on to represent the district that includes Harlem, a historic base of black political power in America.

Former Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV, son of the legendary Harlem pol, spent the final hours of his losing bid for Rangel’s congressional seat on Tuesday pleading for donations in a bizarre email to people who hadn’t coughed up to his campaign.

While campaigns haven’t begun in earnest, there are signs that the issue of drug abuse will be a factor in at least some Senate races, and with good reason. A May poll by Siena College found that 92 percent of voters said combating heroin addiction before session ended was “important,” with 70 percent of that group saying that the issue was “very important.”

New York’s top banking regulator is set to publish today strict and long-awaited anti-money-laundering regulations to take effect in 2017. The new rules add stringent requirements for banks to curb illegal transactions by known terror organizations and other criminals.

Charities that donate to New York state’s lobbying nonprofits may be subject to sweeping new disclosure requirements under the provisions of an ethics bill that passed in the waning hours of the legislative session. While the measure would arguably begin to close a loophole, a number of other tactics to avoid disclosure may remain.

More >


President Obama will appear next week in North Carolina with Hillary Clinton, the 2016 campaigning debut for the figure expected to be the presumptive Democratic nominee’s most potent surrogate in the fall.

Clinton just edges out Republican rival Donald Trump in a new national poll out today, though most voters say neither of the White House contenders would make a good president.

Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin said the former secretary of state’s use of a private e-mail server to conduct government business on at least one occasion got in the way of her boss’ work and left her frustrated, according to a transcript of the aide’s deposition released today.

State Supreme Court Justice John A. Michalek pleaded guilty to taking a bribe and filing a false instrument in a case involving political operative G. Steven Pigeon, and resigned his seat on the bench. Pigeon also will face charges in the case, and is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow.

It has been well over 48 hours since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling striking down Texas’ strict rules for abortion clinics, and Trump has yet to mention it. Evangelicals aren’t happy.

The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office says three suspects have been indicted in the death of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s aide Carey Gabay last year.

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer is encouraging the de Blasio administration to provide free sunblock at public parks, pools, and beaches throughout the city.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new social media director has quit — saying in a scathing Facebook post that he had to do it to save his own “health and sanity” from an office full of “political hacks plus a boss who just couldn’t get it.”

New York City has scored $179 million in federal grants to fight terrorism this year. But that could be the last large payment if Congress doesn’t restore the Obama administration’s proposed cut to a critical terror-fighting grant program in 2017.

Trump’s campaign aides are lining up a slate of iconic sports figures to appear at the GOP convention in Cleveland next month – including former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight, and NASCAR chief Brian France.

Jon Cooper, the former Suffolk County legislator and major fundraiser for President Obama, will chair a new super PAC that will raise money to defeat Trump — but not to support Clinton.

U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Bianco set a July 11 hearing for Republican Philip Pidot’s lawsuit seeking to block state Sen. Jack Martins’ certification as the GOP candidate in the 3rd Congressional District and force a date for a party primary.

A State Supreme Court judge has placed a temporary restraining order on the Buffalo School Board for attempting to eliminate the controversial cosmetic surgery rider from the teacher contract without negotiating it with the union.

The NY-19 general election battle is now joined, and America Rising PAC slammed the Democratic nominee, “liberal Zephyr Teachout,” saying she’s “too extreme and unqualified” to represent the “moderate” district.

Rep. Charlie Rangel is “anxious” about the fact that his preferred successor, Assemblyman Keith Wright, is trailing Sen. Adriano Espaillat in the NY-13 Democratic primary to replace the veteran Harlem congressman. He said his own future is “not settled yet.”

One of the things Rangel will be doing in his post-congressional life is raising money for scholarships at City College.

The Rev. Al Sharpton backpedaled on a fiery, racially-tinged speech he made on Saturday and called for an end to “acrimony and rancor” in Rangel’s district.

In a response to an audit of the state’s “Preferred Source” contracting program, the not-for-profit New York State Industries for the Disabled accuses state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office of serving up “many inaccurate and incomplete findings” that failed to present a full picture of its work.

Extensive portions of the materials that Trump Institute students received after forking over their seminar fees, supposedly containing his special wisdom, had been plagiarized from an obscure real estate manual published a decade earlier.

NY-3: Martins Campaign Blasts Pidot’s Court Maneuvering

It’s a tale of not only two campaigns, but two legal realities.

In one corner is state Sen. Jack Martins, whose campaign insists he’s the rightful Republican nominee in the third congressional district on Long Island.

In the other is Philip Pidot, who was qualified for the ballot, but not in time to run for the nomination in Tuesday’s federal primary vote.

Martins camp says it’s case closed. Pidot says not so fast.

The ongoing legal maneuverings in the third congressional district, a seat being made vacant by the retirement of Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, spilled over into frustration as Martins’s campaign on Wednesday accused Pidot’s team of “more lies” on the state of the race.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Pidot campaign framed a court ruling from a federal judge as a victory, given the legal battle is not yet over and a new hearing has been scheduled for July 11. At the same time, the state Board of Elections is yet to certify a general election candidate in the district (It should be noted the BOE hasn’t certified any of the federal election ballots).

“I am enormously grateful that Judge Bianco ruled that I demonstrated clear Constitutional merit in my argument before the court, and my co-plaintiff and I are enormously grateful that our case will proceed accordingly,” Pidot said. “The right of Long Island and Queens Republicans to choose between two equally validated congressional candidates in a primary must be safeguarded and exercised. This is a good day for American democracy.”

Too little, too late, argues the Martins campaign, which suggested in a statement the court battle by Pidot has gone beyond quixotic, given Pidot is yet to gain ballot status.

“I am amazed that someone who claims to be a fraud investigator would continue the lies. I was in court. I heard the judge ask, ‘why are we here after the rulings in state court?’ And I also heard the fringe candidate admit his mistake in delaying the legal process saying, ‘you can’t play morning quarterback,” said O’Brien Murray, a top Martins advisor.

“The process was 78 days and the former candidate sat on his hands for 29 days. He was never on the ballot and that continues today,” he added. “When will he learn the rules apply to him?”

Wright Turn

In January of 2015, the New York State Assembly was thrown into chaos when Sheldon Silver was hit with a multi-count corruption complaint by U.S. Attorney, Preet Bharara. A lot unfolded in those days and weeks following what some described as a nuclear bomb hitting the State Capitol. The morning of the arrest, Assembly Democrats lined up in support of Silver, holding an impromptu press conference outside the Speaker’s office near the Assembly floor. There, they declared their “overwhelming” support for Silver, and insisted the charges against him were “not a distraction.” Members then admitted to Reporters both publicly and privately that they had not yet even read the complaint.

Hey, look…it was a confusing time for everyone. Silver was proclaiming his innocence, and the SCOTUS decision in the McDonnell case this week may ultimately prevent Silver, convicted on all seven corruption counts last year, from ever spending a day in prison. As someone who sat through that entire trial, I had serious questions about whether or not the government actually proved federal corruption beyond a reasonable doubt or simply demonstrated that Silver was a double talking politician who nevertheless legally used the rules ( he admittedly helped create and enforce ) to benefit himself. Either way, one could make a fair argument that it was unequivocally time for Silver to step aside after 20 years as Speaker, and focus instead on his defense. Perhaps Democrats should have understood that.

Behind the scenes, they actually did know that Silver’s days were numbered. And jockeying for the Speaker’s position began relatively quickly. That brings me to a conversation that took place early on between Assemblyman Keith Wright – (D) Harlem, and Assemblyman Carl Heastie – (D) Bronx. Wright considered himself a logical successor to Silver, and had already begun asking fellow members for their support. Wright was also on a bit of a mission. Already, Governor Cuomo had gotten involved by suggesting Majority Leader Joe Morelle would make an excellent interim Speaker to steady the ship during this period of turmoil. Wright was deeply resentful, having served as Cuomo’s Democratic State Co-Chair along with Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner, who proved a headache for the Cuomo Administration. “They don’t know what the f— to do about her,” Wright once told me.

Heastie was actually in a better position to be Speaker all along. As the Bronx Democratic County Chair, he already had a natural base of votes from Bronx County. He also had a solid alliance with Queens Democratic Chair, Congressman Joe Crowley, who could also deliver a lot of votes for Speaker. But more than that, Heastie had support among fellow Democrats who liked and trusted him. He was a natural leader, and a lot of the younger members were eager to get him installed, almost as the “Anti-Shelly.” Whereas Silver was known for his authoritarian and top-down rule, Heastie at 47 years old was perfectly situated between the old guard members in their 60s and 70s, and the younger ones in their 30s. He was able to bridge the not insignificant generational divide among Democrats in the chamber. And Heastie promised to listen to members more than Silver ever did.

I was not privy to this conversation between Heastie and Wright, but from what I was told Heastie said something to Wright last January along the lines of, “You have another path,” meaning a run for Congress. Heastie continued, “this is all I have,” meaning the Speakership. The two men agreed that Wright would step aside, and in return Heastie would do all he could bring out voters in the Bronx for the 2016 Democratic Congressional Primary. The question now is…was that actually done?

The 13th District is comprised of 496 election districts, 108 of which are now located in the Bronx after 2010 redistricting. That’s roughly 20% of the vote. According to the Board of Elections, Espaillat beat Wright in the Bronx 2,371 votes to 1,418, or by a little more than a thousand votes, which curiously enough was roughly the margin separating the two candidates last night ( it’s now around 1,200 votes ). So, the Bronx actually could have made a huge difference in helping Wright win, it just didn’t. Turnout was very low in the Bronx, and was slightly higher in the 2014 Primary.

Technically speaking Heastie has absolutely no control over GOTV efforts in the Bronx, that falls to his successor Bronx Democratic Chair, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo who was with Wright last night as the votes were coming in ( Heastie was not ). Reached by phone, Crespo says of the results, “I can’t say I’m totally shocked, no.” He added that he “doesn’t think turnout was much different than in other elections.” Finally, Crespo pointed out two things that are significant, 1) it was a very quirky year in which people are being asked to go to the polls several times and many are just “tired.” 2) At the end of the day, even County machines do not control the will of the voters.

Wright was also probably hurt by his own friend and mentor, Charlie Rangel who announced his retirement more than once, only to dangle the possibility of Wright running for the seat, then pulling it away and saying he intends to run again. All that time the demographics of the ditsrict were shifting away from what were traditional Harlem voters who first elected Rangel in 1970.

Finally, Wright is a lot of things, but at the end of the day, he is an establishment candidate. He’s been in the Assembly since 1993, and was certainly known as someone who works well within the system. There is just no question that even with low turnout, 2016 is an anti-establishment year.


Cuomo: ‘Grateful’ After Second Arrests In Gabay Shooting

Calling it an important milestone in getting justice for the death of a former gubernatorial aide, Gov. Andrew Cuomo thanked law enforcement after three more people were arrested on Wednesday in connection to the shooting of Carey Gabay last year.

“I am grateful to the law enforcement officials for their relentless work investigating this case and feel strongly that the perpetrators of this heinous act should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Cuomo said. “Today’s indictments are an important milestone in the quest for justice, and I hope that they bring solace to Carey’s family and loved ones.”

The Brooklyn district attorney’s office announced Wednesday two people — 21-year-old Tyshawn Crawford and 24-year-old Keith Luncheon — will face second-degree murder charges for Gabay’s death. A third, Micah Alleyne, 24, was arrested last month and also charged with murder in the case.

“Carey Gabay was a dedicated public servant whose life was cut short due to reckless gun violence — tragedy that plagues too many of our communities. With Carey’s help, New York passed the nation’s toughest gun safety law, but his murder underscores the fact that our federal gun laws are woefully inadequate,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“While we took a great step forward with our historic legislation, without action from Congress, known criminals will continue to buy guns in other states today and sell them on the black market in New York tomorrow.”

Gabay, 43, was killed in September last year amid festivities leading up to the West Indian Day Parade in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

The incident re-ignited Cuomo’s push for new gun control measures nationally in order to tighten the flow of illegal weapons into New York.

Martins, Faso Named To NRCC’s Young Guns Program

Two New York congressional candidates are among the 11 GOP House hopefuls named on Wednesday to the final tier National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns” program.

Advancing to the final stage of the NRCC’s recruitment program are John Faso, running for the 19th congressional district, and Jack Martins, the third congressional district candidate on Long Island.

“To reach the Young Guns stage of our committee’s recruitment program, candidates must meet our high standards of achievement to ensure a path to victory on Election Day,” said NRCC Chairman Greg Walden.

“As a committee, we are working to help elect Republicans to maintain our record breaking majority in the House of Representatives and further put into action our ideas that will build a more confident America. As the November elections approach, I am confident these candidates will continue to work hard for their communities and put America on a better path.”

Martins is vying for the seat held by Rep. Steve Israel, who is retiring from Congress this fall. Democratic former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi won his primary last night.

In the 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley, Faso won his GOP primary against Andrew Heaney on Tuesday, and faces Democrat Zephyr Teachout this November.