A Democratic Policy Divide On Display

From the Morning Memo:

The primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders exposed policy fault lines within the party on issues ranging from the minimum wage, to free trade and hydrofracking. For supporters of Sanders, it’s a push to making Clinton lean further to the left.

“There are several places where we feel Hillary Clinton’s positions are inadequate,” said Joshn Fox, a Sanders supporter and a documentary filmmaker.

Fox says Democrats should focus more on what the base of the party wants: Opposition to hydrofracking and more skepticism of free-trade agreements, like the Trans Pacific Partnership.

“It makes no sense for Democrats to be pro-tracking,” Fox said. “Fracking is the number one issue on the climate change front. So you can’t be a climate change person and support tracking.”

Clinton supporters like Washington County Democratic Chair Sheila Comar argue negotiation and compromise is needed on these complex issues. Clinton herself has said she plans to stick to Democratic values, but also work to get things done.

“Things aren’t set in stone,” said Washington County Democratic Chairwoman Sheila Comar. “A lot of times, things aren’t black and white. There’s a little gray area and I think it’s time to look at things and maybe negotiate.”

New York Democratic Committee Executive Director Basil Smikle says Clinton and Sanders are already having a conversation finding ways to develop a policy platform that adhere’s to party’s principles, noting that’s something Republicans failed to do last week in Cleveland.

“Both Bernie and Hillary have had a conversation about policy that has been incredibly substantive. It’s something that we haven’t seen the Republicans promote at all,” Smikle said.

“If you look at the Democratic platform, there’s a real pathway to economic and social justice that’s really lacking in the Republican platform.”

One concession Sanders supporters want in New York is more open elections, including ending the practice of so-called closed primaries in which only party members can vote in that party’s primary.

“We have to look at everything under these conditions,” said Queens Democratic Sen. James Sanders, an endorser of the Vermont lawmaker and delegate. “If a system can be rigged, it means people won’t participate in our system after a while.”

But already the Sanders campaign has scored the victory of the Democratic Party officially backing a $15 minimum wage, a measure Clinton had been hesitant to embrace on the campaign trail.

SD-6: RWDSU Endorses Cronin

From the Morning Memo:

Democratic state Senate hopeful Ryan Cronin has been endorsed by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, his campaign announced in a statement being released on Tuesday.

In a statement, Cronin said he was “proud to receive the support” of the labor group.

“People are tired of the same failed leadership since the 1970’s that has brought nothing to Long Island but higher taxes, less jobs and crumbling schools,” Cronin said. “With strong support like this we will go to Albany with a fresh voice and ideas to pass real ethics reforms, spur economic growth on Long Island and fight for the best interests of working families.”

Cronin is running against Republican Sen. Kemp Hannon, a Nassau County lawmaker, in what Democrats hope to be a crucial swing-district race for control of the Senate this fall.

“Working people on Long Island need a strong candidate to take back the 6th State Senate District,” said RWDSU President Stuart Applebaum.

“Ryan Cronin is that candidate. A life-long Democrat, he is committed to standing with working people and has stood with workers as they collectively bargained for better wages and working conditions. We are pleased to support him.”

Here And Now — Day 2 In Philly

Good morning from Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where things are already off to an interesting start. It’s going to get even more busy for the New York delegation this morning as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio plan a series of events to be held around the city throughout the day ahead of the convention festivities themselves at the Wells Fargo Arena.

Your schedule:

Both Cuomo and de Blasio are holding a full plate of events in Philadelphia today.

At 10 a.m., Cuomo will deliver remarks at the New York delegation breakfast, Loews Hotel, Regency Ballroom, Floor 2M, 1200 Mark Street, Philadelphia.

Also at 10 a.m., Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will deliver remarks at the topping off ceremony for the Albany Capital Center
Intersection of Howard and Wendell Streets, Albany.

At noon, de Blasio will participate in a panel discussion at the National League of Cities, Philadelphia City Hall, 1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.

At 12:30 p.m., Cuomo will deliver remarks at the DNC LGBT Caucus Meeting, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St., Room 118ABC, Philadelphia.

At 1 p.m. de Blasio will deliver remarks at the Working Families Party opening session, Philadelphia Marriott, Liberty Ballroom A.

At 2 p.m., Rep. Elise Stefanik will hold a results tour event at River Hospital, 4 Fuller St., Alexandria Bay.

At 3:15, de Blasio will attend the congressional Progressive Action Caucus reception, Franklin Institute, 222 North 20th St., Philadelphia.

At 3:45 p.m., Cuomo will deliver remarks at a meeting of AIPAC, Logan Hotel, 1 Logan Square, Philadelphia.

At 4 p.m., Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara will announce a public safety investment, Schenectady Fire Department Station 3, 1200 3rd Avenue, Schenectady.

At 4:15 p.m., de Blasio will deliver remarks at the Patriotic Millionaires and IMPACT Arts and Film Fund Reception, Berger & Montague, 1622 Locust Street.

At 6:15 p.m., Cuomo will deliver remarks at the HELP USA Reception, Loews Hotel, 1200 Market St., Philadelphia.

At 8 p.m., both Cuomo at de Blasio will attend the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia.


The DNC in Philadelphia began with a rough start as party officials continued to deal with the fallout of a series of leaked emails and Debbie Wasserman Schultz was booed by her home delegation.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in his convention remarks urged his supporters to put aside their differences and support his former rival for the nomination, Hillary Clinton.

It seems like Sanders is not really in control of his own supporters, however, as he was booed at a rally earlier in the day when he suggested they vote for Clinton.

Comedian Sarah Silverman further inflamed things at the convention on Monday night when she said Sanders boosters were “being ridiculous.”

A Sanders delegate tells TWC News’s Geoff Bennett: “Our mission is to shift the party.”

Sanders delegates from New York faced a more acute issue on Monday: Finding space at the state delegation hotel in Philadelphia to meet.

Sanders supporters at a demonstration on Monday tore down a flag that included the Confederate flag symbol.

The big question remains over whether Sanders supporters will ultimately stick with the Democratic Party after he lost the nomination amid complaints of a “rigged” system.

Newsday’s Dan Janison argues Clinton is still not ready to ride the tidal wave that is the “political revolution” being sought by Sanders and his supporters.

After his own rocky convention, Donald Trump took some delight in the discord among Democrats in Philadelphia, saying Clinton threw Wasserman Schultz under the bus amid the email scandal.

A Russian diplomat is disputing the allegations the country’s intelligence community played a role in hacking the Democratic National Committee and giving the emails to WikiLeaks.

The FBI is investigating possible ties to Russian intelligence over the leak nevertheless, with Trump declaring the allegations of international involvement to sway the election are “a joke.”

Former President Bill Clinton is set to deliver his 10th convention speech this evening, but he is likely to face a different, and potentially tougher, crowd tonight when he boosts his wife’s nomination for president.

The left-leaning website Salon urges liberals to “stop fretting” about vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine’s personal stance on abortion, comparing his position to Mario Cuomo’s own view of the issue informed by his Catholicism.

Delegates from New York brushed aside the email scandal, saying they were solidifying their support behind Clinton’s nomination.

One of the unifying figures for the Democrats here in Philadelphia is First Lady Michelle Obama, who delivered a rousing speech on Hillary Clinton’s behalf Monday night.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown is settling into his role as the chair of an increasingly diverse state Democratic Committee, saying the big tent draws a sharp contrast with the Republicans.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was in no mood to discuss the role his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, is set to play at the convention this week as he endorses Clinton.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s convention story began with a white-knuckle ride in a turbo-prop plane and ended with running into former Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

Political operative Michael Caputo, who played a role in the Trump campaign, insists the New York businessman has a good shot at winning New York this fall.

Robert Mercer, a top donor to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, is switching his loyalties (and cash flow) to Donald Trump’s campaign.

Congressional candidate and state senator Adriano Espaillat was joined on stage with his fellow New York Democrats as he acknowledged his former status as an undocumented immigrant in a convention speech.

In addition to her speaking role at the convention, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will be the headliner of a closed-door event being held at the DNC.

The protests at the DNC have been heated — quite literally — as dozens were hospitalized amid scorching heat and humidity on Monday.

In non-convention news:

A federal investigation is being launched into what role New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio played in the sale of Long Island College Hospital.

A group that is funding challenges to opponents for de Blasio in 2017 does not plan to support Donald Trump, Jr. should he run for mayor.

The 2016 election is a far more low-key affair for the five-member Independent Democratic Conference than the challenges from the left their members faced in 2014.

RIP Mike Kane, a top campaign aide to the state Assembly Democrats, who died at 56.

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo is scrutinized once again over his level of support for Senate Democrats, a spokesman to the governor calls a Bill de Blasio political adviser “a political hack” when returning fire over criticism of recent appointments.

Prosecutors from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office in court papers said disgraced former legislative leaders Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver should be sent to prison and not have their corruption convictions overturned.

New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton does not plan to stay on in his post after 2017, he says in an interview with The Times.

Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy is once again being discussed as a potential successor to state Chairman Ed Cox, with the succession a topic of discussion at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week.

Businessman Gary Greenberg’s PAC supporting the passage of the Child Victims Act has endorsed Democratic Assembly candidate Rachel Barnhart, who is running in a primary against incumbent Harry Bronson.

Democratic state Senate candidate Amber Small is calling attention to waste overflow at western New York parks and landmarks, urging that someone “cut the crap” and clean up the problem.

A Long Island yacht club and banquet facility is being forced by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office to pay $50,000 in back wages after they failed to pay overtime in the last six years.

Gov. Cuomo has approved a new law that will allow hunters to wear pink, a measure that is aimed at drawing more women and girls into the sport.


In Philly, de Blasio Decries ‘State Level’ Paralysis

In a panel discussion on Monday afternoon in Philadelphia, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decried “state level” paralysis that has prevented cities from enacting liberal policies.

In his remarks, de Blasio urged local government officials to not be discouraged when state officials thwart their plans, but instead work together to build support for their issue.

“In the time of federal paralysis, and I can certainly say we’ve seen this at the state level in many, many states, too — state governments that are resistant to their cities and state governments resistant to progressive change; we’re not powerless as a result,” de Blasio said at a panel discussion at the National Museum of American Jewish History on Philadelphia.

“It doesn’t mean go home. It means do things at home and tie them together to what other cities and towns and counties are doing.”

De Blasio, like his predecessors, has seen his own agenda foiled in Albany during the course of his term in office. Most recently, a New York City-backed move to charge a 5-cent fee on plastic bags was delayed amid concerns from state lawmakers.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been feuding with mayor over the last year, has touted a state government during his administration that has enacted the broad strokes of his agenda over the last years as well as enacted on-time budgets.

The mayor has in recent months accused Cuomo of undermining his administration’s agenda in Albany and working too closely with Senate Republicans, who remain hostile to de Blasio.


We’re about to get things underway here at the Wells Fargo Center for Day One of the 2016 Democratic National Convention. It has been a hectic day, especially for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former DNC chair. (More on that below). While we await the day’s activities/festivities, here are some headlines for your perusal…

Addressing a roomful of thousands of military veterans, Hillary Clinton today offered a direct contrast to rival Donald Trump, presenting herself as a steady hand who as president would honor the nation’s commitment to veterans and to allies overseas.

Supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders booed today as the former Democratic presidential contender told them, “We must elect Hillary Clinton.” He was appearing for the first time this week in Philadelphia, where he is set to address the convention tonight.

“What was clear for anyone watching Sanders’s unsuccessful attempts to calm the churning among his supporters is that the revolution he started is no longer one he can totally control. Or maybe even control at all.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched a probe into the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, soon-to-be-former DNC chair, decided against gaveling in to the convention today in the interest of making sure Day One kicks off on a “high note.”

Schultz was heckled at a breakfast of delegates from her home state of Florida, with opponents booing her and shouting “Shame!” A row of police officers stood between the stage and the protesters as the congresswoman, who is up for re-election, finished her speech.

Sanders’ campaign considered demanding a private plane staffed and funded by the DNC as part of negotiations with Clinton heading into this week’s convention, according to a Sanders memo obtained by BuzzFeed News.

According to a DNC official, Sanders will turn over his delegates to Clinton tomorrow during a roll call vote.

Former VP Al Gore, one of eight Tennessee super delegates (though he hasn’t pledged his support to Clinton), is not attending the convention in Philadelphia because he has “obligations” at home, according to a spokeswoman. She did not elaborate.

Trump apparently plans to use VP Joe Biden’s famous jab at the dilapidated state of LaGuardia Airport as part of a lengthy jeremiad against the current administration – even though the federal government has committed to help finance the $4.2 billion demolition and rebuilding of the Queens plane terminal.

Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore said he expectsTrump to be elected president and listed five reasons on his website why the GOP nominee will win in November.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Senate Republicans don’t support the interests of his city.

The Workforce Fairness Institute, which has for years fought union-backed legislation in Washington, is airing advertisements across the Democratic National Convention – targeted to mobile devices in and near the convention’s arena and conference center, delegate hotels and Philadelphia’s airport.

Brooklyn Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, considered a potential challenger to de Blasio next year, revealed in his 2016 financial disclosure report he received $1.65 million in contingency fees last year from a Manhattan personal-injury firm even though he left the firm in December 2012 after his election to the House.

Cuomo’s office says the 800,000 new jobs refers to those added in the private sector since he took office in 2011. PolitifactNY’s Dan Clark says that’s a true statement.

Here’s a list of Clinton’s biggest upstate donors.

Bill Bratton will not remain the commissioner of the NYPD past next year, he said in an interview with The New York Times, his most definitive comments to date on his future at the helm of the nation’s largest police force.

“Democrats are doing what they always do, telling themselves a story, and the story is that Donald Trump can’t win, and that’s just not true,” said veteran New York Democratic political consultant Hank Shein­kopf.

Filmmaker Josh Fox, who has spent a lot of time on the road with Sanders in recent months and is not a fan of Clinton, said the Democratic runner-up has revealed that America is more progressive than anyone previously suspected.

The United States is failing to seriously address lead poisoning in its low-income communities, a severe public health threat touching more than 535,000 children a year, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro said.

The 43North business plan competition is down to 142 semi-finalists for this year’s contest. The $5 million business plan competition released the semifinalists after narrowing its field of entries from a pool of 542 initial entrants.

The MTA plans to shut down the New York City subway L train’s East River tunnel for 18 months for repairs starting in 2019.

Astronauts Mark Kelly and Scott Kelly, former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., actors John Cleese and James Franco and others are part of the lineup at Buffalo’s Distinguished Speakers Series.

Cuomo is reprising and re-iterating his call for energy conservation in light of an expected week of high heat and humidity, especially downstate where temps are expected to hit the 90s.

Average retail gasoline prices in New York have fallen 2.9 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.34 per gallon Sunday.

Only in New York, kids, only in New York.

Senate Dems Bask In Senate GOP’s Trump Support

Senate Democrats feel like they have been handed a gift with the endorsement of Donald Trump by Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan last week.

Democratic lawmakers who have gathered in Philadelphia for the party’s national convention this week either clucked their tongues or rolled their eyes at Flanagan’s endorsement of Trump, which was an enthusiastic one before the state Republican delegation.

“I’m going to make this unequivocally clear,” Flanagan said. “I’m supporting Donald Trump for president. I’m going to do so with grace, with diplomacy, with passion and with fervor and I’m going to do it with New York style.”

But underlying it all is the hope Trump’s campaign — with its calls to temporarily ban Muslim immigration, a tough-on-crime approach and efforts to deport undocumented immigrants — will help Democrats in swing district win crucial races this fall.

“I think it’s appalling,” said Sen. Brad Hoylman. “I think any Republican endorsing Donald Trump from New York should really have their head examined.”

Flanagan’s endorsement of Trump was not a surprise, considering he had pledged to back the Republican nominee. At the same time, the New York delegation had enthusiastically backed Trump at the convention, leading a chorus of boos and jeers for Sen. Ted Cruz when he refused to endorse Trump at the convention.

Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat, called the situation sad, given the GOP’s history in New York.

“This is a man that believes in conspiracy theories that are so whacky that we can’t have someone like that in the White House,” he said. “I think it’s shameful for Senate Republicans who have tried to be a moderate force in New York politics to lurch to the right.”

Others were more outwardly gleeful, including Queens Sen. James Sanders, a supporting of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention.

Trump’s insurgent campaign and takeover of the Republican Party in some ways acted on the same populist impulses that has shaken the Democrats, right up to this week.

“I think they are being driven by winds they don’t control,” Sanders said. “I think they’re more concerned about the right wing of their own party. I think we’re seeing a party in meltdown, whether it be national or at the state.”

The Working Families Party, too, is wasting little time making an issue out of the Trump endorsement, releasing a fundraising email off Flanagan’s comments.

Updated: Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif responds.

“It’s time for the Senate Democrats to get some new ideas and to start focusing on the things that really matter to the people of New York,” Reif said.

“We are going to grow our majority because New Yorkers like what we stand for and what we have done – – including passage of a $4.2 billion middle-class tax cut, record funding for education and elimination of the GEA, and new laws to combat the state’s heroin epidemic.”

Astorino ‘Absolutely’ Cooperating With Bharara Subpoena

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino in a radio interview on Monday said his office was “absolutely” cooperating with a subpoena issued by the U.S. attorney’s office in a widening corruption investigation that began with Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office.

“Absolutely, yes,” Astorino said in an interview on WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom. “We were subpoenaed and they wanted informational stuff.”

The subpoena is part of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s broader review of the business ties of two donors to de Blasio, Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, according to The New York Post.

Both men have linked to pay-to-play scandals in New York City and federal investigators recently questioned the businessmen’s ties to Astorino when questioning Fernando Mateo of the New York Federation of Taxi Drivers.

During the 2014 campaign for governor, Astorino had blisteringly criticized Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo for Bharara’s investigation into the closure of the Moreland Commission.

Bharara’s office has since ended the inquiry into the commission’s closure, but is investigating economic development projects backed by the Cuomo administration.

Astorino, a Republican who is considering a second run for governor in 2018, reiterated the subpoena is “informational” and that it’s being turned over in a “timely way.”

“We’ve turned that all over and they’re going to look at that and I have no concern,” he said. “But we’re obviously cooperating.”

At Breakfast, NY Dems Assess A Divided Party

They mingled among urns of coffee and plates of pastries, wearing “I’m With Her” t-shirts or sky-blue “Bernie” buttons.

New York Democrats decamped to Philadelphia on Monday morning for a coffee meet-and-greet, with backers of Hillary Clinton stressing party unity and Bernie Sanders delegates reiterating how their darkest suspicious were confirmed by the contents of an email at the Democratic National Committee.

“I don’t think anybody was surprised at all,” said Allen Roskoff, the leader of the Jim Owles Democratic Club. “We knew this was rigged from the very beginning.”

And even as elected officials backing Clinton who were attendance for morning breakfast held at a downtown Philadelphia hotel stressed the party nationally and in New York was holding together, Sanders supporters visibly stood toward the back of the room, with the line of demarcation being the coffee creamers.

“I think we need to stress all the commonality that we have,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “We’re on the same page.”

That glue is Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, whose plans to place a temporary ban on Muslim immigration from certain countries and build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border are deeply opposed by both factions in the party.

“What we saw last week was assaults on black and brown people, was assaults on women, assaults on immigrants, assaults on Muslims,” Sheehan said. “This is a great, diverse country and we need a president who is going to represent all of us.”

But simply opposing Trump isn’t enough for some Democrats, who have sought to turn the party leftward with the Sanders platform. Not engaging the Sanders supporters, especially given their youth, is a mistake, said Josh Fox, a documentary filmmaker and environmentalist activist.

“That’s the future of the Democratic Party,” Fox said. “To not satisfy us now in this moment is going to have long range implications and we don’t want to see that happen.”

Complicating things for New York Democratic supporters of Sanders has been the prominent role being played by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who will speak at the convention this week and is the delegation chairman.

“He’s a very divisive figure inside in the Democratic Party,” said Sanders supporter Lawrence Wittner, a professor at the University at Albany. “I don’t think he’s the face of New York Democrats.”

Cuomo was not in Philadelphia for the first day of the convention and has grappled with the left-leaning politics first hand after he faced a stronger-than-expeted primary challenge in 2014 from Zephyr Teachout, who is now a candidate for Congress in the 19th congressional district.

Cuomo has sought over the last year to bolster his ties to the left flank of the party, pushing successfully for another minimum wage increase, which is due to hit $15 in the next several years in New York City and the suburban counties.

At the same time, Cuomo’s administration moved to ban hydrofracking in the weeks after his re-election.

And the governor has reiterated his push for stronger gun control laws nationally in the wake of a series of mass shootings.

But skepticism among liberals for Cuomo abounds, especially issues like taxing and spending.
Asked about the problems Sanders people might have with Cuomo, Albany’s Sheehan smiled and said, “We have a big tent.”

1199’s Gresham Takes Real Politik Approach On NY Senate

George Gresham, the president of the politically influential 1199/SEIU labor group, would not rule out backing Republicans retain control of the state Senate, he said in an interview on Monday in Philadelphia.

But at the same time, Gresham insisted it was vital to put “Democrats into office” given they align on key issues facing the middle class.

The comments come after the Times Union reported last week the powerful union, which helped lead the effort to boost the state’s minimum wage to $15 earlier this year, would back Senate Republicans for continued control of the chamber.

Republicans have a narrow advantage in the chamber due to the conference’s alliance with Simcha Felder, a Democrat from Brooklyn.

“Let me put it this way: 1199’s motto has always been, we didn’t create it, but we live by it, and that is we don’t have permanent friends and we don’t have permanent enemies, we have permanent interests,” Gresham said.

Gresham is attending the Democratic National Convention this week in Philadelphia as part of the New York delegation. The union has been a prominent supporter for causes backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, including the minimum wage push this year.

In the end, all Senate Republicans backed the increased, which included a lower target of $12.50 for counties north of New York City, with plans to gradually increase the floor to $15 after 2022.

The stance isn’t all that dissimilar from where the union has been before, Gresham said.

“That’s the way we’re going to make our decisions,” Gresham said. “That’s the way we’ve always made our decisions. That’s why the members elected me to do that, no matter what the position is.”

Still, electing Democrats remains important for “working people,” he added.

“As far as the Democratic ticket is concerned, in this election, there is nothing more important than putting the Democrats into office, because they are the party that puts the working people first,” Gresham said.

NY-13: Espaillat To Address DNC

Congressional candidate Adriano Espaillat is the latest New Yorker to be added to the list of Democratic National Convention this evening, according to his campaign.

Espaillat, who is in line to become the first Dominican-American to serve in either house of Congress, is also set to publicly acknowledge his former status as an undocumented immigrant.

“Senator Espaillat’s story offers a stark contrast with the anti-immigrant vision presented by Donald Trump, and the intolerant platform approved by delegates at the Republican National Convention,” his campaign said.

The remarks are scheduled to be given at 6 p.m. tonight.

A state senator who represents upper Manhattan, Espaillat was victorious in a crowded Democratic primary field last month to replace Rep. Charlie Rangel in Congress.

Given the overwhelming Democratic enrollment in the district, which includes parts of the Bronx, Espaillat is expected to win the seat in November.