Liz Benjamin

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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.

Senate GOP Keeps the Heat on Denenberg

Technically speaking, Democrat Dave Denenberg isn’t running anymore for the Long Island state Senate seat once held by former GOP Sen. Chuck Fuschillo. The Nassau County legislator dropped out of the race in late September, after a lawsuit by his former law firm accused him of defrauding a client of more than $2 million by billing for “fictitious” services that he never performed.

But Denenberg’s name remains on the ballot after Nassau County Democrats decided against the only option available to them to remove him from their line – nominating him for a judgeship. Though Denenberg isn’t actively campaigning against his GOP opponent, Nassau County Legislator Michael Venditto, Senate Republicans aren’t taking any chances, launching another attack ad that highlights his legal troubles, both past and present.

The GOP needs to hold all its seats on Long Island, including the 8th SD, which was left vacant by Fuschillo’s abrupt retirement on New Year’s Eve 2013, as part of its strategy for winning back control of the chamber. The Democrats viewed Denenberg as their best chance for a pick-up on the side, but have since transferred their attention to Adrienne Esposito, who is battling Republican Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci for another open seat – the one being vacated by state Sen. Lee Zeldin, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in NY-1.

Another active race on Long Island pits businessman Adam Haber, a Democrat, against Republican Sen. Jack Martins. Denebger’s implosion freed up time and resources for the Senate Republicans to spend on defending Martins.

A Long Island GOP source says there’s a “shadow campaign” pushing Denenberg, who continues to serve in his capacity as county legislator, despite calls – most notably, from former US Senator-turned-lobbyist Al D’Amato – for him to step down.

Here’s the script for the new anti-Denenberg ad, which hits the airwaves today and is similar to a past ad that said the Democratic attorney would “fit right in” with the string of Albany lawmakers busted on corruption charges:

Announcer: “There’s no other way to put it, Dave Denenberg is a criminal. First Denenberg is arrested and convicted for fraud and deceit. Then Denenberg is fired from his law firm for stealing $2 million from his clients, creating fake bills for work he never did. The kicker: Denenberg forges more than one judge’s signature to cover it all up. We already have too many criminals in Albany. Do we really need another one. No, Mr. Denenberg, we don’t.”

Watch Here >>

With Eye Toward 2016, Pataki Pitches ‘More Freedom, Less Gov’t’ (Updated)

Former Gov. George Pataki, who is reportedly toying yet again with a White House run, is hitting the airwaves with a new TV ad that slams Washington and calls for a “new America” with less government, and “more freedom.”

The entire ad, launched through a Super PAC called “Americans for Real Change,” features Pataki in a jacket, but no tie, speaking straight to the camera and saying:

“When America’s economy is struggling, and Washington is booming, it’s time for a new America.”

“Big government benefits the rich and powerful. They can afford to play the game; you can’t. It’s time for a new America, with much smaller federal government. Washington can’t run he economy, and shouldn’t try to run our lives.”

“Less government. More freedom. Log on. Join us.”

The ad was announced in an email that doubles as a fundraising pitch signed by Pataki, who says: “Now is the time for us to take the initiative and present a proactive agenda that addresses, head on, Americans’ perception that the deck is stacked in favor of the rich and powerful.”

According to the email, the ad is airing across the nation. But no information was provided as to exactly where, and for how long.

Pataki says the goal of the ad is to “launch a renaissance in Conservative thought.” But it’s also clearly an effort by the moderate New York Republican to reintroduce himself as a fiscal conservative.

An apparently unrelated 501(c)4 called “Americans for Real Change” was created in 2012 by GOP consultant Jake Menges, an advisor to former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani; and Vincent Balascio, who worked for Pataki.

At the time, the PAC’s focus was trying to to force out Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for his controversial handling of the Vito Lopez sexual harassment case. Supposedly, the PAC was going to raise and spend as much as $1.5 million and make NYC mayoral candidates “take a stand” on whether Silver should still be speaker.

But it doesn’t appear to have done any spending, and, according to a filing with the FEC, was terminated in 2013.

Despite ongoing attempts by various Republican candidates – including GOP gubernatorial hopeful Rob Astorino – to make hay of the Lopez scandal, Silver is still speaker, and does not appear in any imminent danger of losing that post.

UPDATE: A source familiar with the former governor’s effort says this ad is airing in New Hampshire to correspond with Pataki’s visit there – he’s appearing at Politics and Eggs tomorrow, and spent the weekend campaigning with local NH candidates. The ad is also airing nationwide on FOX News.

McCain Makes a Fundraising Plug for Astorino

US Senator and former GOP presidential candidate John McCain is the latest big name Republican to lend his name to a fundraising pitch for gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, touting the Westchester County executive’s tax-cutting record.

In an email sent to potential Astorino donors (and members of the media) today, McCain calls Astorino “a man of honesty and integrity,” and says his record “speaks for itself.”

“As Westchester County executive, he cut or froze the property tax levy each year he has been in office,” McCain writes.

“He also reduced the once-bloated county budget by 5.2 percent over four years by making the commonsense, responsible and tough decisions needed to put the county back on the right track.”

“At a time when many economies were hurting, Westchester saw 30,000 private sector jobs created under the leadership of Rob Astorino. Imagine what he could do at the state level. Rob Astorino is exactly what the Empire State needs, and right now he needs your support.”

The McCain email includes several links to the fundraising page on Astorino’s campaign website.

With this pitch, McCain is following in the footsteps of another ex-GOP presidential contender, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney; as well as a number of potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, both of whom have made in-person appearances in New York on Astorino’s behalf.

Other prominent Republicans backing Astorino include former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and former New Jersey Gov. and ex-EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman.

All these efforts highlight the fact that Republican Governors Association Chairman and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, another possible GOP candidate for the White House in 2016, has declined to support Astorino’s campaign, saying he doesn’t want to invest in a “lost cause.”

Gillibrand Emails For Schneiderman

AG Eric Schneiderman is getting a boost in the final weeks of the general election campaign from New York’s junior US senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, who says a win by the Republicans next month would be “simply unacceptable.”

An email blast going out later this morning focuses on abortion rights – a wedge issue the Democratic candidates from Gov. Andrew Cuomo on down are again using to blast their GOP opponents in this Democrat-dominated state.

Gillibrand calls Schneiderman a “lifelong pro-choice advocate” and “the ONLY (her emphasis) candidate for Attorney General who represents the values of New York women, especially when it comes to reproductive rights.”

“As a public interest lawyer, Eric defended reproductive health clinic workers,” the senator wrote. “As a state senator, he led efforts to pass the Clinic Anti-Violence Act and a law requiring emergency contraception to be made available to victims of sexual assault.”

“As attorney general, he successfully fought to protect and expand buffer zones around health clinics so that families would be safe from intimidation and harassment.”

“And in response to the Supreme Court’s troubling Hobby Lobby ruling this year, Eric proposed the Reproductive Rights Disclosure Act to force employers to disclose to women if they plan to change their contraception coverage.”

“We need an attorney general who unequivocally supports a woman’s right to choose, and Eric is the only candidate in this race who meets that basic standard.”

Schneiderman’s Republican challenger, former Pataki administration official John Cahill, is a practicing Catholic who is personally opposed to abortion and has expressed opposition to the abortion rights plank of Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act.

But Cahill has also pledged to uphold the law regarding abortion if he’s elected attorney general on Nov. 4, as well as any other potentially controversial laws – including same-sex marriage.

Gillibrand’s email does not specifically mention Cahill by name.

NRCC Invests In Hayworth (Updated)

As the closely watched NY-18 race enters its final weeks and continues to tighten, the NRCC is entering the fray on behalf of Republican former Rep. Nan Hayworth, who is trying to win back the seat she lost to Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney two years ago.

The NRCC is out with what I believe its its first TV ad on Hayworth’s behalf. It’s a positive spot (no word yet on how long it will run or the size of the buy), that features a Democrat who crossed party lines to back the former GOP congresswoman.

Democratic Dutchess County Legislator Gwen Johnson, of Poughkeepsie, narrates the ad and is prominently featured in it. She calls Hayworth “loving,” “kind” and “not a typical politician,” making no mention of Maloney.

Maloney has been touting his support from local Republicans in NY-18, including state Sen. Bill Larkin, who appeared in a web video calling the congressman a “decent, honest gentleman” and lauding his work on behalf of the district’s veterans.

A September Siena poll found Maloney leading Hayworth by 8 percentage points.

But an internal poll conducted for the Hayworth campaign earlier this month – the results of which have not been disputed by Team Maloney – showed the race as a statistical dead heat, with just four percentage points separating the two candidates.

The DCCC recently reallocated resources from other races in the state to assist Maloney in an attempt to prevent his ouster next month.

UPDATE: The NRCC makes clear that this isn’t an independent expenditure, but rather coordinated funds (of about $93,000, and usually coming in the form of TV ads) that has been made available to a variety of GOP House candidates, including: John Katko (NY-24), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Chris Gibson (NY-19) and Sen. Lee Zeldin (NY-1).

Here’s the NRCC ad script:

Johnson: “Nan is not a typical politician. She is loving. She is kind. She is supportive. Nan is a public servant. She’s always responsive; she’s only a phone call away.

Nan is a genuine person, and she actually really does care for our seniors, the working families. She’s always here. That’s why I’m supporting her.

I’m a Democrat, I’m supporting Nan Hayworth because we have to cross party lines for the best person.

Hayworth: I’m Nan Hayworth, and I approve this message.”

NYLCV Hits Airwaves For Grisanti, Announces Statewide Slate

With just two weeks remaining until Election Day, the New York League of Conservation Voters is poised to announce its third and final top priority candidate: Sen. Mark Grisanti.

The League is launching a new TV ad on behalf of the Western New York Republican, which highlights the fact that he is no longer running on the GOP line after losing his own party’s primary to attorney Kevin Stocker, and instead will appear solely on the Independence Party line.

Grisanti joins two other candidates – Democratic freshman Sen. Ted O’Brien, of Rochester, facing off against Republican Richard Funke; and Andrienne Esposito, a Democratic environmental activist who running against GOP Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci for the Long Island seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Lee Zeldin – as the NYLCV’s top priority candidates this season.

The League also went all in for Queens Sen. Tony Avella, a member of the IDC, in his successful campaign against his Democratic primary opponent, former NYC Comptroller John Liu.

The NYLCV is on track to spend $700,000 worth of independent expenditures to assist candidates on both sides of the aisle this year – more than double the $300,000 it spent in 2012.

That cash goes to cover mailers, TV ads, GOTV campaigns and door-to-door canvasses for its priority candidates.

The NYLCV has two ads out for O’Brien – a negative spot that slams Funke; and a positive spot that focuses on O’Brien’s support for the Child Safe Products Act, which made it out of the Senate Environmental Committee and had enough sponsors to pass, but never got to the floor for a full house vote.

The League’s main goal is to defend allies who advance its agenda in the Senate’s Environmental Conservation Committee, which Grisanti chairs. O’Brien is the committee’s ranking member.

The NYLCV is also announcing its support of the re-election campaigns of two statewide Democrats – Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

When it comes to the state attorney general’s race, however, the League is splitting the baby, taking the unusual step of endorsing both candidates: Incumbent Democrat Eric Schneiderman and Republican John Cahill.

Here’s the Grisanti ad:

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City.

At 9 a.m., to publicize the start of registrations for Internet addresses in the “.nyc” top-level domain, Manhattan BP Gale Brewer rings the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange; enter at security checkpoint, NYSE, Exchange Place and Broad Street, Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., GOP LG candidate and Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss joins GOP Rep. Tom Reed for a conference call with the news media covering NY-23.

Also at 9:30 a.m., tipped and low-wage workers and advocates will rally outside a Domino’s Pizza in Harlem before marching to the second public hearing of Cuomo’s Wage Board, 409 W. 125th St., Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., Sen. Ted O’Brien will receive the endorsement New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and former Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard, O’Brien campaign HQ, 1150 University Ave., Building 5, Rochester.

Also at 10 a.m., multiple local law enforcement organizations and the National Association of Police Organizations endorse Republican NY-24 candidate John Katko, Forman Park, ​​East Genesee Street, Syracuse.

At 10:30 a.m., Cuomo’s Wage Board holds its second public hearing, art gallery, second floor, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building, 163 W. 125th St., Manhattan.

Also at 10:30 a.m., GOP AG candidate John Cahill is a guest on “Live from the state Capitol with Fred Dicker,” Talk 1300 AM.

At 11 a.m., Cuomo and VP Joe Biden discuss infrastructure modernization, Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology, William Decota Hangar, 8601 23rd Ave., Flushing, Queens.

Also at 11 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio makes an announcement related to Hurricane Sandy recovery, 12-06 Cross Bay Blvd., Queens.

Also at 11 a.m., Cahill, joined by GOP state Senate candidate Joe Dillon, discusses his plan to combat heroin addiction, 44 South Broadway, White Plains.

At noon, LG Bob Duffy delivers remarks at the RTS Transit Center ribbon cutting ceremony, RTS Transit Center, 60 St. Paul St., Rochester.

Also at noon, Grannies For Peace and Women Against War will join Assemblyman Phil Steck for a conference on the “Ground the Drones” initiative, Legislative Office Building, LCA Press Room, Albany.

Also at noon, Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul tours the Three Brothers Winery with local business owners, 623 Lerch Rd., Geneva, Seneca County.

At 12:50 p.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on Long Island News Radio with host John Gomez.

At 1 p.m., Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and state Education Commissioner John King will address the media on the Board of Regents decision on multiple pathways to graduation, Room 146, state Education Building, 89 Washington Ave., Albany.

At 1:45 p.m., Hochul visits The Athenaeum with local officials, 150 East Genesee St., Skaneateles, Onondaga County.

At 2 p.m., Biden will attend a rally for Democratic NY-24 Rep. Dan Maffei at the Landmark Aviation Hangar, Syracuse.

At 2:30 p.m., Onondaga County Comptroller and GOP state comptroller candidate Bob Antonacci interviews with the Rochester Business Alliance and Unshackle Upstate, Rochester.

At 3 p.m., Hochul, joined by state Sen. David Valesky, tours The Cottages at Garden Grove, 5460 Meltzer Court, Cicero, Onondaga County.

At 4 p.m., Moss meets with the editorial board of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Rochester.

Also at 4 p.m., de Blasio holds a hearing on Int. 466-A (in relation to the speed limit reduction) and Int. 295-A (related to transportation benefits), Blue Room, City Hall.

Also at 4 p.m., Steve Meyer, 146th AD candidate; Elaine Altman, 61st SD candidate; and NARAL Pro-Choice NY President Andrea Miller hold a press conference, Meyer campaign HQ, 3356 Sheridan Dr., Amherst.

At 5 p.m., the Women4Serino Committee will join County Legislator and 41st state Senate District candidate Sue Serino for an Equality for Women Now rally, Cosimo’s Restaurant, 120 Delafield St., Poughkeepsie.

At 6:30 p.m., Moss attends and delivers remarks at the Corning Republican Dinner, Union Hall, 100 Nasser Civic Center Plaza, Corning.

Also at 6:30 p.m., Astorino will host a Staten Island Town Hall, Cespino Russo American Legion Post, 200 McLean Ave., Staten Island.

At 8:30 p.m., Astorino will attend the Pleasant Plains, Prince’s Bay, Richmond Valley Civic Association Meet the Candidates Night, CYO Community Center at Mount Loretto, 6450 Hylan Blvd., Staten Island.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo may have violated state criminal and ethics laws by using his public position and employees to promote his newly published autobiography, a sworn complaint filed by Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin with JCOPE charges.

Donald Trump, whose casinos crapped out in Atlantic City, predicted New York’s new upstate casinos will generate excitement in the short term, but ultimately “go down the tubes” because the Northeast gaming market is saturated.

“Is he a son of a bitch at times? Yeah,” one of the governor’s Albany allies says. “He is a mechanic; he works on cars as a hobby, fixes engines. And in politics he moves the process forward. You don’t love Andrew Cuomo. But there hasn’t been a better governor, not in the last 50 years.”

Two top deputies of Mayor de Blasio, who campaigned on creating a new era of government openness, commonly use their personal Gmail accounts to discuss city-related issues. First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris and director of intergovernmental affairs Emma Wolfe routinely communicate via their private email addresses.

New York students would be able to use an exam in culinary arts, welding, accounting and other trades to meet one of their graduation requirements under a plan expected to be approved today by the state Board of Regents.

NYC officials and leaders from the Municipal Labor Committee — a group that represents more than 300,000 public employees — will meet today to discuss the city’s plan for battling Ebola.

A Manhattan woman who last week admitted to committing fraud when she helped two Republican candidates get on a new anti-Common Core ballot line may have done the same thing in at least two other races.

More >

The Weekend That Was

President Obama’s selection to lead the administration’s Ebola response drew both praise and criticism from guests on the Sunday morning political shows.

A Dallas hospital lab worker who spent much of a cruise holiday in isolation after possible exposure to Ebola, has tested negative for the disease, Carnival Cruise Lines said.

Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Syracuse tomorrow for a campaign rally with Democratic NY-24 Rep. Dan Maffei will be open to the public with no tickets required. Biden will also appear with Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York City for an event to discuss infrastructure modernization.

The Poughkeepsie Journal endorsed Democratic freshman Sen. Terry Gipson.

US Sen. Chuck Schumer’s “relentless” lobbying helped keep the Bills in Buffalo. Had the team departed, “it would have been a dagger to the heart and the soul of the city,” he said.

A newly created database of New Yorkers deemed too mentally unstable to carry firearms has grown to roughly 34,500 names, a previously undisclosed figure that has raised concerns among some mental health advocates that too many people have been categorized as dangerous.

Former NYC Health Commissioner Thomas Farley argues a travel ban from Ebola-stricken African countries could put Americans at even greater risk.

…Rep. Pete King disagrees, but the president agrees.

Welcome back on camera Bill Carey!

While underdog Republican Rob Astorino criss-crosses the state in a desperate hunt for votes, Cuomo is running out the clock until Election Day — a Rose Garden strategy on steroids.

In a state with twice as many Democrats as Republicans, Cuomo and his party have attempted to use social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage against his GOP opponent in advance of Election Day, Nov. 4 — and public-opinion polls suggest the strategy may be working.

Hollywood moguls love Cuomo.

Sen. Tim Kennedy explained the wisdom behind his very successful primary strategy of courting African American voters who rejected him two years ago.

Republicans are questioning the timing and movement of more than $600,000 in funds they are characterizing as legally excessive contributions to Kathy Hochul’s Democratic primary campaign for lieutenant governor.

The NY Post’s Bob McManus calls Cuomo and de Blasio “two childlike chief executives — elected to look after the best interests of millions of New Yorkers, yet unable to keep their own tempers, their own promises or even their own schedules.”

Fracktivists rallied this weekend in Buffalo.

The DN pans Democratic NY-11 candidate Domenic Recchia, calling him “not the swiftest gazelle on the savanna.”

Astorino reached out to Hispanic voters at a campaign stop in Glen Cove Saturday. Switching back and forth between English and Spanish, he said: “I am a ciudadano de Nassau – a citizen of Nassau – because I’m spending so much time here.”

Cuomo’s relationship with some Latino leaders took a turn for the worse this year, when the state Legislature didn’t pass the Dream Act.

All told, Maffei has received 83 percent of his $2.3 million in contributions from political action committees and individuals living outside NY-24.

Phil Reisman was not terribly impressed by Cuomo’s new memoir.

A Greek Orthodox church crushed on 9/11 is finally being resurrected. More here.

Sen. Lee Zeldin, who’s challenging Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in NY-1, delivered the Republican response to Obama’s weekly address this weekend.

While much of the attention in this year’s legislative races has focused on the closely divided state Senate, the Assembly has its own dramas — albeit in a limited number of competitive contests.

De Blasio will headline a fund-raiser for state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli this Tuesday.

RIP Ned Regan, a Buffalo Republican who knew little about high finance when he became the New York State comptroller, but soundly managed billions in public pension funds and monitored hundreds of municipalities and state agencies for 14 years. He died at the age of 84.

Second Time’s a Charm; In 2014, Cuomo for Gipson

You probably saw this one coming, given today’s Hudson Valley Women’s Equality tour, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s earlier endorsement of one of the region’s top Democratic state Senate candidates, Justin Wagner.

The governor and his running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul, just announced their support for freshman Sen. Terry Gipson, who is fighting hard to fend off a challenge from Republican Dutchess County Legislator Sue Serino.

“As Senator, Terry Gipson has demonstrated a clear commitment to economic development, women’s equality and affordable housing,” Cuomo said in a statement released by his campaign.

“We need Senator Gipson back in office this November in order to look out for the needs of the Hudson Valley.”

This is a particularly interesting turn of events, since Cuomo didn’t support Gipson in 2012. Instead, the governor backed then-GOP Sen. Steve Saland as a “thank you” for the senator’s “yes” vote on same-sex marriage.

Saland ended up losing the election, thanks to the presence on the ballot of a Conservative candidate, Neil DiCarlo, with whom the now-former senator split the vote on the right.

A Siena poll released earlier this month showed Serino leading Gipson by 12 percentage points in the 41st SD. He won the three-way race in 2012 with just 44 percent of the vote.

Like Wagner, Gipson’s effort to petition his way onto the governor’s Women’s Equality Party line was unsuccessful. In fact, just two Democrats – IDC Leader Jeff Klein and Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins – will join the statewide ticket on the WEP line next month.

UPDATE: I’m reminded by the regular Senate Democrats that businessman Adam Haber, who is running against GOP Sen. Jack Martins on Long Island, also qualified for the WEP.