Unshackle Upstate, NFIB Mail In Key Senate Districts

From the Morning Memo:

Two business groups have launched a joint, $40,000-mail campaign in two upstate Senate districts on behalf of Republican candidates.

In total, NFIB and Unshackle Upstate are sending out 140,000 pieces of mail to voters in the Hudson Valley and Albany area.

The mailers will be sent to voters who will decide key Senate races. Two mailers are aimed at criticizing Democratic Sens. Terry Gipson and Cecilia Tkaczyk, while the other two pieces are positive, aimed at highlighting Republicans Sue Serino and George Amedore and tout their endorsements from Unshackle and NFIB.

“George Amedore knows what it takes to run a successful business and create jobs,” says the Amedore-related mailer. “That’s why George Amedore has been endorsed by New York’s leading business and taxpayer organizations NFIB and Unshackle Upstate.”

The positive-themed mailer for Serino strikes a similar tone.

The negative mailers both tie Gipson and Tkaczyk to New York City-based interests and knock them for their legislative scorecards as compiled by the two business groups.

“We need a State Senator who will fight for us, not for wealthy special interests from New York City,” the mail pieces say.

The 46th Senate District race in particular is one of the more expense state Senate races this year.

The campaign is a rematch between Amedore, a Republican former assemblyman, and Tkaczyk, who defeated him by only 18 votes in 2012.

Amedore is also receiving help from the Real Estate Board of New York, a group of New York City landlords who are investing in Senate races via Jobs for New York.

On the Democratic side, the super PAC Friends of Democracy announced a $230,000 TV ad campaign on Tkaczyk’s behalf.

Meanwhile, in the 41st Senate District, Gipson is running for re-election after winning two years due to a crowded three-way field.

Republican Sen. Stephen Saland, a GOP lawmaker who backed same-sex marriage, lost in part because of the presence of Conservative Party nominee, Neil DiCarlo, in the general election.

Democrats this year are defending these two seats, plus the district represented by Sen. Ted O’Brien in the Rochester area.

O’Brien, a freshman lawmaker, faces former broadcaster Rich Funke.

Democrats hope to play defense in two Long Island seats, as well as a Hudson Valley district that’s being vacated by Sen. Greg Ball.

View the mailers after the jump. More >

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City.

At 8 a.m., NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell and Council members Helen Rosenthal and Mark Levine hold a rally with parents to call for legislation to protect school children from serious harms of construction projects, P.S. 163 main entrance, 163 W. 97th St., Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan announces a new infrastructure investment, Lincoln Park pool stairs, Albany.

At 9:15 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks at at Urban Land Institute’s General Session: The Changing World, Hall E, the Javits Center, 655 West 34th St., Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul joins female student leaders from upstate universities for a Q-and-A about sexual assault on college campuses, Community Room of the Panasci Family Chapel, Le Moyne College, 1419 Salt Springs Rd., Syracuse.

At 10 a.m., Cuomo address an Ebola education session co-hosted by the GNYHA/1199SEIU Healthcare Education Project and the Partnership for Quality Care, Javits Center North, West 39th Street and 11th Avenue, Manhattan. (De Blasio will also speak).

Also at 10 a.m., timed with the 42nd anniversary of the Clean Water Act, Environment New York and its allies release a new report on how the bedrock environmental law has helped protect the Hudson River and other waters around the country, Ossining Boat & Canoe Club, 1 Westerly Rd., Ossining.

At 10:32 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on “Live from the State Capitol with host Fred Dicker,” Talk 1300 AM.

At 11 a.m., Onondaga County Comptroller and GOP state comptroller candidate Bob Antonacci is interviewed on Gomez at TX99.

Also at 11 a.m., Astorino will unveil the Astorino/Moss Empowerment Plan with Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., in front of Lincoln Hospital, E 149th Street and Morris Avenue, the Bronx.

Also at 11 a.m., the Assembly committees on Children and Families and Oversight, Analysis and Investigation hold a roundtable to examine the practices of the Statewide Central Register for Child Abuse and Maltreatment, Room 711-A, LOB, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., the GOP leadership of the City Council will endorse state Senate candidate Joe Dillon, Cacace Center Footbridge, outside Yonkers City Hall.

Also at 11 a.m., Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins will ask Cuomo why he “tampered” with a fracking study, 2013 E. Genesee St., Syracuse.

At 11:30 a.m., GOP AG candidate John Cahill discusses his plan for combatting heroin addiction in New York, outside the Robert Abrams Building for Law and Justice, Albany.

At noon, LG Bob Duffy delivers remarks at Buffalo State College’s inauguration ceremony for President Katherine Conway-Turner, Rockwell Hall, Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo.

At 1 p.m., anti-frackers discuss the letter they sent to 500 of Cuomo’s top campaign donors, calling for a halt to the DOH’s review of the health impacts of drilling, 44 Hawley St., Binghamton.

At 1:30 p.m., Hochul joins a discussion with Brockport College students following a screening of “Brave Miss World”, Center for Select Respect, The College at Brockport, SUNY, 350 New Campus Dr., Brockport.

Also at 1:30 p.m., Cahill, joined by Dutchess County Legislator Rob Rolison, discusses his heroin addiction plan, City Hall, Corner of Civic Center Plaza and Mill Street, Poughkeepsie.

At 2 p.m., Women for Marc Panepinto, NARAL Pro-Choice NY and Planned Parenthood of NY stand with the candidate in support of the Women’s Equality Act, Niagara Square, in front of City Hall, Buffalo.

At 4 p.m., Chemung County Sheriff and LG GOP candidate Chris Moss appears live on the Tom Bauerle Show, WBEN 930 AM, Buffalo.

At 6 p.m., Astorino will host a Countdown to Victory event with special guest former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Marriott Hotel, 670 White Plains Rd., Tarrytown.

Also at 6 p.m., Hawkins makes a campaign top at Muhammad’s Barber Shop, 1207 Park Ave., Utica.

At 6:30 p.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli holds a fundraising reception with special guest de Blasio, The Park Lane Hotel, 36 Central Park S., Manhattan.

Also at 6:30 p.m., Antonacci attends the Clay Committee Meeting, Syracuse.

At 7 p.m., de Blasio delivers remarks at Community Service Society’s Step Up New York Reception, Edison Ballroom, 240 West 47th St., Manhattan.

Also at 7 p.m., Moss delivers remarks at the Seneca County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, Rumseyville Sportsmen’s Club, 32 Ridge St., Seneca Falls.


The New York Times, which made no endorsement in the Democratic primary, has reversed course and backed Gov. Andrew Cuomo for re-election – with caveats. It wants him to devote himself to cleaning up Albany, and passing campaign finance reform, for the next four years.

The paper said GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino “does not have broad experience and, on many issues, is out of step with most New Yorkers and the needs of this state.” It called the candidacy of Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins “unrealistic,” but a useful goad to Cuomo from the left.

Cuomo said the federal government should “seriously consider” banning some flights in response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, reversing his comments from earlier this month. He also said the Port Authority did not have the power to put such a ban in place.

New York City officials are stepping up training and outreach this week to thousands of city employees and emergency workers who would be among those involved, even if only peripherally, in the response to any Ebola cases.

The Cuomo administration has still not released details of its plans to test first responders should a case of Ebola be reported on a New York City subway.

High school students, for the first time, would be able to take a career or arts exam in place of the history test under a long-awaited plan to make the state’s graduation requirements more flexible and more relevant.

Transportation experts welcomed Cuomo’s announcement of a design contest to remake La Guardia and John F. Kennedy International Airport, saying that the Big Apple’s aviation hubs have long languished behind those in the world’s other great cities.

However, some of the most vocal critics of the conditions at the city’s airports wonder what took Cuomo so long to act.

Cuomo’s airport improvement plans include new START-UP NY zones at Newburgh’s Stewart Airport and Long Island’s Republic Airport.

More >

For Cuomo And Astorino, Two Different New Yorks

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his Republican opponent, Rob Astorino see two very different states when it comes to the New York economy.

For Cuomo, it’s a state that’s weathered an economic recession and come out better on the other end. The governor, when promoting his economic record, is in the thrall of statistics, from the lowered unemployment rate, changes made to the state’s tax structure and the improved credit rating.

“Unemployment rate down to 6.2 percent, lowest unemployment rate since 2008 and 511,000 new jobs, which is a very big deal — a half million families who are working,” Cuomo told reporters last week. “So economically, we’re having great news.”

Cuomo points to budgets that have held the line on spending, passed on time and led to upgrades in the state’s credit rating. Last week, Cuomo received an award from the Tax Foundation for changes made to the state’s income tax. Never mind that only two years ago, a top Cuomo aide knocked the organization as a right-wing think tank.

“We streamlined our code dramatically, which is one of the factors they take into consideration and that’s why we went from 25th to fourth,” Cuomo said. “It’s no doubt, they are a conservative organization. It’s no doubt they bring their philosophy to bare.”

As he campaigns around the state, Astorino sees a different economic picture for the state and a governor who hasn’t done enough. Indeed, Astorino, a Republican who is playing up his economic agenda (and not socially conservative stances on abortion and same-sex marriage) prefers illustrating an economic outlook for New York that is far different from Cuomo’s.

Astorino, who is behind Cuomo by 20 percentage points in the most recent poll, believes the governor seeing things through rose-colored glasses.

While Cuomo sees the macro picture, Astorino is trying to show New Yorkers — including the press, voters and anyone who cares to listen — the individual’s experience in the current economic climate.

Astorino frequently invokes anecdotal experiences on the campaign trail of property owners, business owners and farmers who are not seeing, for whatever reason, a recovery.

But the challenge for Astorino is a stark one.

Cuomo has sought to take the tax-and-spend attack Republicans make, a case he made at the state Democratic convention in May.

“The Democratic Party has a new credibility. Remember how our opponents liked to scare people? They’d say if you elect a Democrat, you know what those Democrats are going to do they’re going to raise your taxes because Democrats love big government,” Cuomo said in his convention speech.

Cuomo pushed for and won a cap on increasing local property taxes.

He engineered a change to the state’s tax code that he has alternatively claimed was a tax hike (satisfying liberals who wanted the so-called “millionaires tax” rates re-approved) and, more recently, played up as an income tax cut (only in Albany does something that generate $1.9 billion in revenue toward paying down a deficit become cutting taxes!).

The moderate, or some might say conservative, approach on taxes and spending has alienated Cuomo from the left and he was forced to put down a spirited primary challenge from a little-known Fordham Law School professor, Zephyr Teachout.

This, in part, is why Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins now hopes to potentially move the third-party’s ballot line position up to potentially Row C, campaigning on a tax-the-wealthy, hike the minimum wage to $15 an hour platform.

The Working Families Party considered running their own candidate before the governor agreed to a series of concessions such as allowing local governments to raise the state’s minimum wage on their own through a state-based formula.

Nevertheless, Cuomo insists throughout his book, “All Things Possible,” that governing from the center is the appropriate and more comfortable place for most voters.

He’s dusting off 90s-era Clintonian third-way Democratic politics. While it’s always annoyed liberals, Cuomo hopes it will give him at least 51 percent of the vote next month.

But it’s an agenda that has earned him support from the business community, including the state Business Council. For two years, Cuomo virtually had his own super PAC, the Committee to Save New York, running ads promoting his economic agenda (The group, composed of wealthy business and private-sector interests, folded up shop before new independent-expenditure disclosure laws came into effect).

With monied traditional allies of Republicans — real estate, hedge-fund types — on Team Cuomo, perhaps that is why Astorino has struggled to make a dent on the issue.

The Westchester County executive has slammed Cuomo on mandated spending and regulatory issues and has pledged to change laws businesses find onerous like the Scaffold Law.

But with Cuomo receiving high marks from the business community, Astorino can come close to sounding like a populist when criticizing Cuomo on the economy.

“There’s a difference between Cuomo’s world and the world of New York that we live in,” Astorino said while visiting a hardware store in Saratoga County on Sunday.

He was campaigning with two Republican candidates for Congress and state Assembly, Elise Stefanik and Steve Stallmer.

As he spoke about the state’s tax climate, Stefanik occasionally chimed in with a “that’s right!” while Stallmer at one point interrupted Astorino to note the out-migration from the state.

Astorino in particular points to Cuomo not making a decision on whether to allow high-volume hydrofracking in the state’s Southern Tier, which continues to lag the rest of the state in job growth.

For Astorino, the argument is the individual New Yorker isn’t seeing the fruits of the economic turnaround.

“The average person is getting pummeled with taxes, cannot afford to live in this state anymore,” Astorino said. “Businesses are closing, people are moving, that’s the reality of New York right now — other than the privileged few, the well-connected that write $50,000 checks to this governor and get a little break in their taxes from him.”

In other words, Astorino’s saying, Cuomo is out of touch on the individual economy, no matter the stats he can throw out there.

Astorino also took a swipe at Cuomo for traveling to the Caribbean to appear with officials in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Astorino began his own campaign in the Bronx, which as a county has the highest unemployment in the state.

“While he’s in the presidential palace in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, I was in the south Bronx,” he said.


Monica Lewinsky has joined Twitter, and already has many thousand followers.

Lewinsky broke a decade-long silence to announce her campaign to end cyberbullying and today’s toxic culture of internet shaming.

Flanked by VP Joseph Biden, Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out a plan to revamp New York City’s airports – in part by having Newburgh’s Stewart Airport focus less on passengers and more on freight.

Cuomo was quick to playfully jab at Biden’s comment comparing La Guardia Airport to a third world country.

Cuomo engaged in a little expectation lowering, saying he would consider 51 percent of the vote a satisfactory win on Election Day.

The 2005 party at which AG Eric Schneiderman is alleged to have snorted cocaine was a benefit for Hurricane Katrina victims headlined by Al Franken. Attendees said there were no drugs at the event.

Activist Randy Credico, who made the allegations about Schneiderman’s drug use, now says he was “hoodwinked” by the NY Post, and he’s not happy about it.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the production of a controversial opera about the death of an American Jew at the hands of Palestinian terrorists, while broadly denouncing attacks on Jews throughout the world.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani joined the fight to stop the Metropolitan Opera’s showing of “The Death of Klinghoffer.”

Former Democratic LG candidate Tim Wu will give a speech on political corruption and the First Amendment at Columbia J-School tomorrow.

US Sen. Chuck Schumer: “Mark Warner is the culinary Cousteau for senators hoping to find new hip places in Washington.”

Cuomo brushed off the tidal wave of lousy Amazon reviews of his new memoir, arguing he didn’t have the time to do a proper book tour to make people love the book.

Research from Cornell University shows that a candidate’s physical attractiveness was perceived differently based on political affiliation.

The CBC urged New Yorkers to vote “no” on the Smart Schools Bond Act.

De Blasio rejected a request from JPMorgan Chase for more than a $1 billion in tax incentives from the city and state to keep its headquarters in New York City.

While in his hometown of Chicago, President Obama engaged in a little early voting.

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins is not rich.

Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. is defending his endorsement of GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino.

De Blasio criticized the boyfriend of his top aide, Rachel Noerdlinger, for dropping First Lady Chirlane McCray’s name while fighting parking tickets in court.

New York students will have more ways to earn a high school diploma under a change approved by state education leaders.

Now in his 10th year in the House, Rep. Brian Higgins of Buffalo remains an anomaly: a lawmaker who is every bit as unnoticed in Washington as he is revered back home.

The NRCC had some fun at Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei’s expense with Biden’s visit to NY-24 today.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina will headline a fund-raiser for Astorino in NYC Wednesday morning.

Astorino: Block Planes With Passengers From Ebola-Stricken Nations

Gov. Andrew Cuomo should direct the state Department of Health to shut down gates at JFK International Airport and block planes carrying passengers from west African from disembarking, Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino said in a conference call with reporters.

Astorino, the Westchester County executive, ripped Cuomo’s response to the Ebola outbreak, which so far has infected two nurses.

Astorino in particular knocked Cuomo for at first saying a travel ban from west African nations wouldn’t work and then on Sunday expressed an openness to such a ban.

“We’ve got a governor right now who ridiculed me two weeks for saying this. He said it wouldn’t work,” Astorino said in the call. “Now yesterday he said he’d consider it, and yet I think he sees it as a nuisance during his book tour.”

Any flight ban would be up to the federal government, a move that Cuomo on Sunday said should be “seriously” considered at this point.

While there aren’t any direct flights from west African countries into JFK, Astorino said the governor should block incoming flights with passengers who originate from the region from disembarking.

“We’re going to be dealing with a major public health crisis soon,” Astorino said. “It’s a matter of when, not if.”

Astorino had initially stated passengers from Ebola-stricken countries should be barred from the U.S., but later in the call expanded on that by saying the entire plane’s passengers, including U.S. citizens, should be blocked

“We can’t just keep our heads on the sand,” Astorino said. “We should do everything possible to prevent this from happening.”

Ebola cannot be contracted through the air, water or through casual contact, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Cuomo Plans More Book Promotion

All things are possible, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo says “interruptions” such as governing and running for re-election are interfering with his promoting of his new memoir, released last week.

Cuomo, in New York City earlier today to discuss airport upgrades with Vice President Joe Biden, dismissed questions about the poor reviews the book have received on Amazon (which, to be fair, were likely generated by an army of Internet-based Cuomo haters).

Speaking with reporters, Cuomo said the promotion of the book will be done “over a period of time” and not in one multiple week burst.

“It’s just started, right? I’m introducing the book, but it’s not like I can do it like you normally introduce a book,” Cuomo said. “You normally introduce a book and that’s all you do for weeks is sell the book. I’ve had a couple of interruptions that have happened in the mean time here. I have an election, I’m the governor, I have a day job, I’ve just been to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. I’m going to do this over a period of time as opposed to a sprint.”

Cuomo’s Republican opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, has knocked the governor’s book promotion tour as a way of capturing publicity in the final weeks of the campaign season.

In a brief interview on Capital Tonight, Cuomo said the book’s timing was not related to the election, but meant to allow him to discuss personal issues that had been on his mind.

Molinaro Defends Serino On Energy Tax Vote

Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro is calling on Democratic state Sen. Terry Gipson’s campaign to take down a TV ad that knocks Sue Serino for backing a repeal of a residential sales-tax exemption.

“Terry Gipson’s latest ad stating state Senate candidate and County Legislator Sue Serino voted for the repeal of the exemption of sales tax on residential energy is inaccurate,” Molinaro said in a statement. “Sue voted NO on the resolution to repeal the sales tax exemption on residential energy sources and that’s a matter of fact and record (county resolution 2013341). The ad should stop running immediately.”

Serino, a county legislator, voted against a resolution to repeal the exemption, but Democrats have seized on her vote for the county budget writ large, which included built-in revenue from the sales tax.

In his statement, Molinaro says the vote for the budget, but against the tax is beside the point.

“To say or imply that Serino supported the sales tax on energy is not true,” Molinaro said. “Her opposition is and was well known even though she did vote for the county’s 2014 budget.”

The race between Gipson and Serino is considered one of the key battles for state Senate control this year.

Tkaczyk To Receive Schumer’s Nod

Democratic state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk on Tuesday will receive a re-election nod from U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer at an endorsement rally in Rotterdam.

The 1:30 event is scheduled to be held at the Rotterdam Public Library.

Schumer has traveled around the state to endorse Democrats running in key districts this month as the party seeks to gain full control of the state Senate.

Tkaczyk is one of about three Democratic incumbents who face tough re-election battles this fall.

She faces a rematch from Republican former Assemblyman George Amedore, who she defeated in the 46th Senate district two years ago by only 18 votes.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, along with his running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul, endorsed Tkaczyk, along with Sen. Terry Gipson and Democratic candidate Justin Wagner, over the weekend.

Schumer has been an especially active participant on the hustings for Senate Democrats. He doesn’t face re-election this year, but has attended a Working Families Party rally for the Democratic conference.

He also endorsed Buffalo Democrat Marc Panepinto, a district where Cuomo has not ruled out backing Republican Sen. Mark Grisanti, the last sitting Republican incumbent to back same-sex marriage in 2011.

Last Night and What’s Ahead

Governor Cuomo chooses a replacement for the State Court of Appeals, and also makes a trip outside the country. Meanwhile, the candidates for Lt. Gov. are still campaigning back in New York. Plus, we take a look at the latest campaign mailers and discuss the week’s events with our Reporter Roundtable. Here’s highlights from Friday night and a look ahead to tonight.



Full Show – 10.17.14

State of Politics LIVE – 10.20.14

Judging the Judge: Assemblywoman Deborah Glick Interview

Public Financing Problems: NYPIRG’s Bill Mahoney Interview

Postal Politics

Reporter Roundtable

Rice’s Third Ad: ‘Real Problems’

The third ad of Democratic congressional hopeful Kathleen Rice’s campaign released on Monday highlights her work as the Nassau County district attorney.

In the 30-second TV ad, Rice pledges to work with Republicans if elected and to be a “problem solver” in Washington.

“When it comes to problems facing Nassau County families, I’ve never played politics. I’ve convicted corrupt officials in both parties and took on DWI because it was the right thing to do,” she says.

Rice faces Republican County Legislator Bruce Blakeman next month for the seat being vacated by Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, who is retiring.