Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and Onondaga, Monroe, Niagara and Erie counties.

At 8 a.m. Republican gubernatorial candidate and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino attends a fundraising breakfast for Rep. Tom Reed, The Hill Top Inn, 171 Jerusalem Hill Rd., Elmira.

At 9:30 a.m., Astorino and GOP LG candidate and Chemung Country Sheriff Chris Moss hold a get-out-the-vote rally, The Hill Top Inn, 171 Jerusalem Hill Rd., Elmira.

At 11 a.m., Astorino and Moss hold a get-out-the-vote rally, Holiday Inn, 2-8 Hawley St., Binghamton.

At 11:15 a.m., Cuomo’s deputy secretary for the environment, Basil Seggos, delivers remarks at Business Council’s annual environment conference, The Saratoga Hilton, 534 Broadway, Saratoga Springs.

At noon, Cuomo, Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul and local leaders host a pre-election rally, Iron Workers Local 60, 500 W Genesee St., Syracuse.

At 1 p.m., Astorino holds a media availability, Paddock Arcade, 1 Public Square, Watertown.

At 1:30 p.m., US Sen. Chuck Schumer attends get-out-the-vote rally for Democratic Senate candidate Marc Panepinto, in front of Niagara Falls City Hall, 745 Main St., Niagara Falls.

At 2 p.m., former NYC GOP mayoral candidate Joe Lhota will endorse Joe Tirone, Republican-Conservative candidate for the 63rd A.D. Assembly seat, Tirone Headquarters, 1763 Victory Blvd., Staten Island.

At 2:30 p.m., Cuomo and Hochul host another rally, UA Local 13 Plumbers and Pipefitters, 1850 Mt Read Blvd., Rochester.

Also at 2:30 p.m., Astorino holds a media availability, Adirondack Coffee Roasters, 373 Route 3, Plattsburgh.

At 4:30 p.m., Cuomo and Hochul host their third rally of the day, Como Restaurant, 2220 Pine Ave., Niagara Falls.

At 6:30 p.m. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio marches in the Park Slope Halloween Parade, 7th Avenue and 14th Street to Washington Park, Brooklyn.

At 7 p.m., Moss attends the “Tagsylvania” Halloween celebration, 3037 State Route 352, Big Flats.


An accurate assessment of last night’s AG debate: “They ran past their allotted speaking times. They traded accusations. They interrupted one another. And occasionally they erupted into heated bickering.”

Another take: “Trading insults, invective and the occasional idea, the two major-party candidates for New York State attorney general met in their only debate on Thursday night, sharply clashing over ethics and transparency while displaying what seemed to be an unvarnished distaste for each other.”

The two bickered about ties to lobbyists and major interests – Republican John Cahill’s work as an energy lawyer and Democratic incumbent Schneiderman’s use of political consultant (and his ex-wife) Jennifer Cunningham, whose firm represents lobbying clients—and the state’s gun control law.

After the debate, Cahill caught up on BuzzFeed quizzes, which he appeared not to know existed during the lightning round.

Mirroring their rise in federal elections, super PACs are playing a larger role than ever in state races in New York. Outside groups have spent about $13 million this year in key Senate contests, records show, making them major players in races from Long Island to Buffalo that could determine the balance of power in the capital.

Critics are taking Cuomo’s recent political attacks on unionized teachers as the strongest evidence yet he is working toward a Republican-led State Senate, despite of his pledge to help Democrats win the chamber.

Mayor Stephanie Miner said Syracuse leaders will put a proposal before Cuomo by Thanksgiving for a state-funded economic development program on par with the “Buffalo Billion” the governor’s high profile initiative in Western New York.

Appearing at a rally for Cuomo in NYC yesterday, former President Clinton said the governor “has made this a more progressive, more fair, more forward-looking state, and it’s turned out to be good for the economy.” He called Astorino an “ultra conservative.”

More >

TWC News/Siena College Poll: NY-18 Tightens

The rematch for the 18th congressional district in the Hudson Valley between incumbent Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and Republican former Rep. Nan Hayworth is expected to be a close one.

An exclusive Time Warner Cable News/Siena College poll shows Maloney leading Hayworth by 5 percentage points in the final days before Election Day.

The poll found Maloney with 49 percent of the vote to Hayworth’s 44 percent of the vote.

In September, Maloney had a more comfortable cushion, 50 percent to 42 percent.

Despite Maloney’s endorsements from GOP state lawmakers — including state Sens. Bill Larkin and Greg Ball — Hayworth is gaining in support from Republican voters.

Hayworth receives support from 73 percent of registered Republicans, with 19 percent backing Maloney. Among Democrats, Maloney leads 83 percent to 12 percent. The two are narrowly divided on independent voters, with 46 percent breaking for Maloney with 47 percent supporting Hayworth.

Meanwhile, the race for governor is tightening in the 18th congressional district as well. Governor Andrew Cuomo last month lead Republican Rob Astorino by 5 percentage points. Now, the two are in a virtual dead heat, though Astorino continues to suffer from a high unfavorable rating.

The poll found Cuomo with 44 percent of the vote, compared to 43 percent for Astorino. Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins receives 8 percent of the vote.

The poll of 682 likely voters has a margin of error of three point eight percentage points. It was conducted from Oct. 24 through Oct. 27.

CD181014 Crosstabs by Nick Reisman


The state Democratic Party is writing to registered Democrats telling them that unnamed organizations are monitoring their neighborhood’s election turnout and the party will want an explanation if they don’t cast a ballot.

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins sidestepped questions about whether NYSUT’s battered woman to knock Republicans was inappropriate.

A day after appearing in person with GOP Rep. Michael Grimm, Cuomo endorsed the congressman’s Democratic opponent, former NYC Councilman Domenic Recchia, but has not plans to campaign for him.

GOP LG candidate Chris Moss said Cuomo’s campaign’s criticism of Astorino over a Westchester County housing dispute is the “pot calling the kettle black.”

“I would say to fellow African-Americans…remember it’s Andrew Cuomo who screwed up Carl McCall’s run for governor and who stepped in the way of David Paterson,” Moss said. (Paterson rebuked the sheriff for his comments).

Errol Louis laments the governor’s unwillingness to debate, saying: “Few politicians in recent memory have gone as far as Cuomo to duck a true accounting of his record.”

El Diario endorsed AG Eric Schneiderman.

The Niagara Gazette endorsed Republican AG candidate John Cahill.

The Onondaga County Board of Elections will try out new electronic poll book technology at polling places visited by about 3,000 voters in Syracuse and DeWitt in Tuesday’s election.

The state has added Erie County Medical Center and Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo to the initial list of 10 hospitals designated to care for patients potentially afflicted with Ebola, joining two other upstate facilities.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has announced a plan in accordance with President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge, which calls on addressing persistent opportunity gaps faced by young men of color in order to help them reach their full potential.

Brooklyn Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Sen. Liz Krueger, Brooklyn BP Eric Adams, Brooklyn and Queens Councilman Antonio Reynoso and former Brooklyn Councilman Lew Fidler joined activists in protesting Prop. 1.

Cuomo’s plan to make New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport more passenger-friendly by cutting out most cargo facilities risks backfiring, a shipping-industry group and analysts say.

Ben Smith explains explains why BuzzFeed News is investing so heavily in “putting great, experienced reporters around the world, doubling our foreign desk to more than a dozen correspondents.”

RIP former Boston Mayor Tom Menino, who died from cancer at the age of 71.

Past and current lawmakers – including the president – offered tributes to Menino.

Taylor Swift’s new gig as New York City’s global tourism ambassador is getting a Bronx cheer from locals who questioned her street cred and mocked the videos she made for the city’s tourism agency, NYC & Co.

Paterson, Donohue Knock Astorino, Name-Check Walker

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the public-employee unions haven’t seen eye-to-eye over the last four years.

But as Rob Astorino, his Republican opponent, makes a play for state workers and teachers, there’s some push back from the Cuomo camp.

And the message was clear: While they may not like Cuomo, Astorino would be worse.

In two separate statements blasting Astorino, the name of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was invoked.

First was Civil Service Employees Association President Danny Donohue — who called the governor earlier this year a “moron” and a “monkey” — knocking Astorino’s kind words for state workers the other day on the radio.

“Working New Yorkers should also remember that Astorino celebrated his candidacy this summer with a fund-raising event featuring the governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker – hardly a way to make friends
and influence working people,” Donohue said in a statement. “Campaigns are the silly season, but no one should be foolish enough to believe political rhetoric without some reality check.”

CSEA has not endorsed in the race for governor, but the union also stayed on the sidelines during Cuomo’s Democratic primary. The Public Employees Federation, a white-collar labor union, backed Cuomo’s opponent, Zephyr Teachout.

Meanwhile, as Cuomo’s war of words escalates with the teachers union, former Gov. David Paterson, now the party chairman, released a letter directed to teachers (not the union).

In the letter, Paterson insists Cuomo remains supportive of public education and it will be a “top priority.” Cuomo this week called public education a “monopoly” he plans to break with support for charter schools.

Paterson, too, name-checked Walker in his letter.

“Rob Astorino brought Scott Walker to New York for an Astorino fundraiser and said Walker has set the model that New York should follow,” Paterson writes. “He believes the public unions are the heart of the state’s problems. So he wants to roll back public employees and teachers’ rights.”

Updated: Astorino campaign spokeswoman Jessica Proud responds.

“We’re glad that Mr. Donohue wants to deal with reality, so here are the facts: As County Executive, Rob was endorsed by 7 of the 8 public employees unions and 39 of the 40 trade unions. As a former school board member who is a product of public schools and whose three children all attend public schools, he has always been a fierce advocate for a strong public education system. It’s unfortunate that Mr. Donohue is now being used as an attack dog for a governor he labeled a monkey and has demonstrated such disdain for public workers.”

Open Letter to Teachers by Nick Reisman

Poll Shows Stefanik Lead Growing

Republican congressional hopeful Elise Stefanik extended her lead from last month over Democratic opponent Aaron Woolf in the 21st congressional district, according to a Harper Polling survey.

The poll, conducted by Harper Polling, found Stefanik leading Woolf 47 percent to 33 percent, with Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello receiving 14 percent of the vote. Funiciello is gaining with registered Democrats, where he receives 14 percent of their support, up from 7 percent last month.

Meanwhile, the poll found Stefanik has a 54 percent favorable rating, compared to a 38 percent unfavorable rating.

A Siena College poll released earlier this week showed Stefanik leading Woolf 50 percent to 33 percent, with Funiciello receiving 11 percent of the overall vote.

The 21st congressional district is currently represented by Democrat Bill Owens, who is retiring at the end of the year.

HP 14 10 NY 21 Memo.pdf by Nick Reisman

New TV Ad Buy Will Target Tkaczyk

The Republican-backed super PAC Balance New York plans to spend $125,000 on a television ad campaign opposing Democratic Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, records filed with the state Board of Elections show.

The group has raised $1.4 million from the Republican Leadership Committee, a Washington-based group that is involved in state level campaigns, as well as from hedge-fund manager Paul Singer.

The TV ad buy in the 46th Senate district comes after Balance New York received a $100,000 cash infusion from the Republican Leadership Committee on Wednesday.

Balance New York is one of several independent expenditure campaigns that have been targeting Democratic incumbents or candidates. The group has been active in Senate races in the Rochester area, Long Island and in the Hudson Valley.

Earlier today, the New York State United Teachers union, which has been supportive of Senate Democrats, filed for a $150,000 TV ad purchase in the 46th Senate district.

Women’s Equality Party TV Ad: Let’s Get To 50K Votes

A television ad from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign is pushing voters to back his re-election on the Women’s Equality Party ballot line in order to give it automatic ballot status in the next election cycle.

The ad will air starting Friday through Election Day.

The ad comes as the Working Families Party is making a concerted effort to get voters to back Gov. Andrew Cuomo on their ballot line, even as the labor-backed party is feuding with the governor over his recent public education comments that were critical of the state teachers union.

“It won’t take much — just 50,000 of us to be precise,” the ad’s female narrator says. “50,000 to vote the Women’s Equality Party Nov. 4. Your candidates on our party. 50,000 votes. One voice. Real change.”

The 30-second spot doesn’t dwell on Cuomo much and briefly shows his image, along with Kathy Hochul, his running mate.

WFP leaders are pushing voters to back Cuomo as a way to send him a message about liberal dissatisfaction with his first term, leading to speculation the party could lose its ballot position or overall ballot status next week.

Cuomo created the women’s-centric ballot line over the summer as a way to promote the 10-point Women’s Equality Act, which has stalled in Albany over a provision aimed at codifying Roe v. Wade.

But party is expected to compete with the WFP for votes next week. Its formation also came after Cuomo had to make an effort to secure the WFP endorsement over Zephyr Teachout, who went on to challenge him in a Democratic primary.

Teachout’s Campaign Mananger: Vote For Cuomo On WFP Line

Zephyr Teachout’s former campaign manager is urging liberals to send a message to Gov. Andrew Cuomo by vote for him on the Working Families Party line.

The eyebrow-raising push came this afternoon in the form of an email from the Working Families Party, which spurned Teachout in May in favor of giving Cuomo the labor-backed party’s ballot line this fall.

“I didn’t agree with the decision by the Working Families Party to nominate Andrew Cuomo for governor this summer,” writes Mike BOland in the email. “Like many progressives, I disagreed strongly with the Governor’s economic policies over the last four years. That’s a big reason why I left the WFP after 15 years to be Zephyr Teachout’s campaign manager. I’m proud of what we accomplished on that campaign. I believe we helped change the conversation in New York politics.”

Cuomo, at the time of receiving the party’s endorsement, pledged to support a full Democratic takeover of the state Senate and measures like public financing, the Dream Act and a $10.10 minimum wage.

At the time, the reasoning for the WFP was that if the party didn’t nominate Cuomo as its standard bearer and went along with a stand-alone candidate for the first time in its history, it’s ballot status could be jeopardized.

But ironically, keeping the WFP’s ballot status, much less its spot at Row E, appears to be increasingly a concern for party leaders and activists as the governor pushes for voters to back him on the Women’s Equality Party line, which is increasingly being seen as a rival for liberals’ votes and potential siphon away support from the WFP.

Teachout, as a Democratic primary opponent of the governor’s, ultimately received 35 percent of the vote, marshaling liberal dissatisfaction with Cuomo’s economic record over the last foue years.

Boland writes in the email that supporting Cuomo on the WFP ballot line would hold him accountable.

“On November 5th, it seems to me that progressives will wake up to one of two worlds: one with a strong WFP holding the governor accountable day in and day out, or one with a weak WFP where corporations and billionaires have even more power in Albany than they do now. For me, the choice between those two scenarios is clear,” he writes.

That being said, he also raises the possibility of the party not receiving 50,000 votes in order to maintain permanent ballot status for the next election cycle.

“In order to stay on the ballot, the Working Families Party needs to win 50,000 votes for Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday. The more votes progressives cast for Gov. Cuomo on the WFP line, the stronger position WFP will be in come November 5th,” he says. “And that is when the real work begins — when we all need to come together to fight for higher wages for workers, campaign finance reform to change Albany, full funding of our schools, and so much more.”

The email comes after Teachout has said she will not endorse in the race for governor.

Earlier today, Cuomo released his WFP-like email calling on supporters to vote for him and his running mate Kathy Hochul on the Women’s Equality Party ballot line.

In that email, Cuomo said he wanted the newly created ballot line to achieve the 50,000-vote threshold next week in order to remain on the ballot next year.

The Cuomo-WFP contretemps were renewed this week after Cuomo called public schools a “monopoly” and escalated a war of words with the statewide teachers union NYSUT.

Peter Kauffmann, a spokesman for the state Democratic Committee, called the back and forth with the WFP “political blather.”

WFP Co-Chairwoman Karen Scharff in a statement earlier today knocked that statement, saying the dispute is rooted in clear policy disagreements over education.

Hillary Clinton Robocalls For Wagner, Gipson

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has recorded robocalls for two state Senate Democratic candidates running in hotly contested races.

The campaigns of Sen. Terry Gipson, a freshman lawmaker who represents the Poughkeepsie area, and candidate Justin Wagner, who is running for an open seat, announced the robocalls simultaneously on Thursday.

Clinton has been active in a variety of races, mostly at the federal level, around the country as she considers a run for president in 2016. Last week, she rallied with Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul.

But the push for Senate this year is taking on added resonance for liberals, who are frustrated with a chamber that has majority Democratic lawmakers, but is controlled by a coalition of breakaway Democrats and Republicans.

Clinton’s push for Gipson and Wagner come as a coalition of liberal organizations, labor groups and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio push for Democrats to have full control of the state Senate next year.

Cuomo has endorsed Democrats in swing districts (save for Buffalo’s 60th Senate district) but has kept his appearances on the campaign trail with Democratic candidates to a minimum was he runs for re-election. Cuomo today will appear at a campaign rally at 1199 SEIU’s headquarters with former President Bill Clinton.

Gipson faces Republican Dutchess County Legislator Sue Serino, while Wagner is running against Yorktown Councilman Terrence Murphy for the seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Greg Ball.

“Justin’s a Democrat who shares many of the values that are important to me and my family,” Clinton says in the Wagner call. “He believes everyone deserves a fair shot at the American dream, and he’ll work to protect the environment, create more good jobs, and grow the middle class again.”

She gets more specific in her call for Gipson, praising his support for Lyme disease research, raising the state’s minimum wage and fighting against the “rising tide of outside money in politics.”

“Two years ago Terry promised to deliver results and he has done just that,” Clinton says. “He has fought against the rising tide of outside money in politics. He has reach across the aisle to secure funding for Lyme disease research and treatment. And now he is fighting to raise the minimum wage and make sure homeowners get property tax relief.”

NYSUT Makes New, Last-Minute Push In Key Senate Districts

The New York State United Teachers is making a renewed media push in key Senate districts across the state, filings with the Board of Elections show.

Filings show the latest round of media and mail spending will reach $276,007.

The statewide teachers union’s VOTE-COPE continued to look to Long Island’s third Senate district, where Republican Tom Croci faces Democrat Adrienne Esposito for an open seat being vacated by GOP lawmaker Lee Zeldin.

NYSUT is spending $46,338 on mailers in the district to oppose Croci, the Islip town supervisor. At the same time, NYSUT is spending an additional $29,669 backing Esposito in mail pieces.

In Buffalo’s 60th Senate district, NYSUT is spending $50,000 on radio ads supporting Democrat Marc Panepinto, who hopes to unseat Republican Sen. Mark Grisanti, who lost his GOP primary to Kevin Stocker last month, but retains the Independence Party ballot line.

The biggest chunk of spending will be in the 46th Senate district, which stretches from the Mohawk to Hudson valleys around Albany. The union is spending $150,000 on TV ads blasting Republican former Assemblyman George Amedore, who is running a rematch race against Democratic Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk.

NYSUT’s independent expenditure campaign has come under fire in recent days for mailers opposing Republican candidates that feature the image of a battered woman.

Nevertheless, the mainline Democratic conference’s leadership — including Sens. Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Mike Gianaris — are not rebuking those mailers.