Liz Benjamin

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Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and on Long Island to discuss healthcare and storm prep, respectively.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are in NYC for the UN General Assembly.

At 10:30 a.m., Trump gives his first address to the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. He will then participate in an expanded meeting with the secretary general of the UN, followed by a luncheon hosted by the secretary general.

Trump will participate in an expanded meeting with the president of the UN General Assembly, and then head to the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, where he will participate in an expanded meeting with the Amir of Qatar.

In the evening, Trump will participate in a photo opportunity with leaders of the UN member state, and give remarks at a diplomatic reception he’s hosting with First Lady Melania Trump, before returning for the evening to Trump Tower.

This morning Pence will participate in a meeting with High Representative of the European Union Federica Mogherini.

He will then return to Washington, DC to participate in the Senate Republican Policy Lunch. Following the lunch, the VP will fly back to NY to participate in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of Pakistan.

In the evening, Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence will attend the diplomatic reception hosted by the president and first lady.

The state GOP is holding a reorganization meeting in Albany.

A fuller calendar of the day’s events appears at the end of this post.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo became the latest potential 2020 presidential candidate to come out in support of a federal single-payer health care system, saying: “I think that would be a good idea.”

The governor said he supports the concept of a state-level single payer plan, but thinks the issue is “a federal play,” adding: “Our funding system basically relies on Medicaid from the feds. If they turn off that valve or slow that valve, there is no way we’re going to be able to make that up in this state no matter what.”

President Donald Trump, the apostle of America First who has heaped scorn on global institutions, ripped up international agreements and quarreled even with allies, offered a subdued and largely friendly performance on the opening day of his inaugural visit to the United Nations.

Trump said he’s looking into staging a display of American military might in a Fourth of July parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.

President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., has reportedly ditched his Secret Service detail for good.

Special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of prosecutors have been employing aggressive tactics in the four months since taking over the Justice Department’s investigation into Russia’s attempts to disrupt last year’s election.

Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was reportedly under surveillance both before and after the 2016 election and prosecutors have told him he will be indicted.

In the face of Republicans’ last, best chance of toppling Obamacare, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is employing a strategy that is partly an appeal to GOP conscience and partly about running out the clock.

Cuomo’s administration proposed a new rule that would require credit reporting agencies to register with the state, subjecting them to strict cybersecurity standards in the wake of the recent Equifax hack.

This comes as federal authorities have opened a criminal probe into stock sales by three Equifax Inc executives before the company disclosed the massive data breach, news that has weighed heavily on the stock price.

The governor reversed his position on NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s re-election bid, and endorsed his fellow Democrat – but not with much enthusiasm.

“The mayor won the Democratic primary, I am a Democrat, I support Democrats,” Cuomo said. “And I’ll support Mayor de Blasio in the general.” Pressed, the governor added: “I think in this contest, he is the better person to serve the City of New York as mayor. Period.”

Hillary Clinton opened the door to possibly questioning whether Trump was legitimately elected president, depending on the outcome of investigations into Russia’s role in the 2016 campaign.

In an interview with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross about her new memoir, What Happened, Clinton acknowledges that such a challenge would be unprecedented and that “I just don’t think we have a mechanism” for it.

These are the books Clinton said helped her recover from – and forget about – her big loss.

Kate McKinnon’s portrayal of Clinton on “Saturday Night Live” won her an Emmy Award Sunday night and a shoutout in the former Democratic nominee’s new book.

Former President Barack Obama is coming to Wall Street less than a year after leaving the White House, following a path that’s well trod and well paid.

Cuomo and de Blasio were facing criticism for taking part in a rally supporting striking cable workers, with some saying the politicians are ignoring customer complaints.

De Blasio joined the mayors of Paris, Melbourne, Durban and other international cities in pledging to uphold the clean energy standards outlined in the Paris climate accord, which Trump pulled back from earlier this year.

NYC jails have grown more dangerous every year under de Blasio, according to figures released yesterday.

Republican NYC mayoral contender Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis says she’ll be a better manager than de Blasio — but she was fuzzy on the details of the minimum wage and police-involved shooting investigations, both of which were issues decided in Albany.

More >

Cole Ends Short-Lived Challenge to Collins

Erin Cole, a Democrat and U.S. Army veteran who announced a 2018 challenge to Buffalo-area Republican Rep. Chris Collins in July, has already decided to terminate her campaign, announcing the decision in a brief press release late this afternoon that did not provide any specific reasons for her departure from the political arena.

“As a proud American, veteran and public servant, I believe it is time to replace partisan Republican Congressman Chris Collins,” Cole said. “Collins is currently facing an ethics investigation for alleged insider trading and he refuses to meet with us regarding our needs.”

“After exploring this race for the last two months, I have decided to end my campaign. I will support a strong Democratic challenge to Collins while continuing my work promoting economic development and supporting fellow veterans.”

“I have greatly appreciated the support and encouragement of so many wonderful people in WNY and the Finger Lakes. Together, we must elect a representative who puts this district first, not himself.”

Cole, who has worked for both state and federal governments, most recently as the international division leader for Global New York at ESDC, acknowledged during a Capital Tonight interview that her quest to oust Collins from the most Republican-dominated House district in the state was a longshot. But she said she always had a desire to “contribute to the greater good,” citing her military experience as proof that she has long been interested in public service.

In that same interview, Cole said she first considered running for Congress in 2016, but the timing wasn’t right. But a year later, she felt “ready” to take on the congressman, who has become an outspoken defender of, and frequent surrogate for, President Donald Trump.

Ryan Whalen reached out to Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner, who said the party did not receive a heads up from Cole about her decision to drop out of the race, but also did not seem terribly worried about it. Zellner told Ryan he’s currently focused on the November elections, which he expects will set the tone for next year’s congressional midterm contests.

Several months ago, party leaders interviewed 10 candidates who are interested in taking on Collins, and have not yet made any endorsement decisions, the chairman said.

“We were working closely with all the grassroots leaders and the eight other county chairs working together to turn NY-27 blue,” Zellner said. “We always knew that there were other potential candidates out there. Nothing was set in stone. It’s still very early. There’s a lot of energy in that district to unseat Chris Collins and we’re still very excited about our prospects there.”


President Trump used his inaugural address at the United Nations to criticize the world body for not living up to its “potential” because of bureaucracy and urged member nations to reject “business as usual” and take “bold stands.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his leadership team are seriously considering voting on a bill that would scale back the federal government’s role in the health care system and instead provide block grants to states.

A group of angry illegal immigrants disrupted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s press conference today and chanted that Democrats are a “deportation machine” that must help push for legal protections for 11 million people who are now living illegally in the country.

The family of former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn has set up a legal defense fund to defray expenses connected to the investigations into Russian election meddling.

Eric Schneiderman, part of a bipartisan coalition of 37 attorneys general, today urged health insurance companies to examine financial incentives in their payment and coverage policies that contribute to the opioid epidemic.

Six immigrants brought to the U.S. by their parents illegally as children have sued the Trump administration over its decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.

Former White House Communications Director Sean Spicer “donned a disguise,” which might have included fake facial hair, when he left Washington D.C. on Saturday to head west for the Emmys.

J.C. Polanco, the GOP NYC public advocate candidate, released his first TV ad, (running only on the web at the moment), which both focuses on his life story and takes a brief swipe at his opponent, incumbent Democrat Tish James.

Eric Garner’s still-grieving mom met with the city agency that investigates police misconduct and called on local officials to stop taking a backseat to the White House and Department of Justice when it comes to disciplining the officer who used a banned chokehold on her son before his death on a Staten Island sidewalk three years ago.

Xerox is laying off again, with approximately 100 employees in three states losing their jobs effectively immediately – including in the Rochester area.

The ratings for the 2017 Emmys may be the lowest in the award show’s nearly seven decade history. Is this year’s Trump-bashing to blame?

Paul Newell, stinging over losing the Democratic nod for the 26th state Senate special election to Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, said the former occupant of that seat, former Sen. Daniel Squadron, “has brought shame” to his legacy as a reformer.

Three people died and more than a dozen others were injured when a charter bus from a company with a bad history blew through a red light and smashed into the tail of an MTA bus in a Queens intersection this morning, according to officials and video.

The Department of Agriculture and Markets and OGS are now directing all state agencies to submit better reporting of their purchases of New York produced foods, according to an audit released today by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found numerous problems.

The de Blasio administration today released the Mayor’s Management Report for fiscal year 2017, an analysis of city agencies’ performance from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

Scenic Hudson joined local leaders and business owners at Shadows Marina on the Poughkeepsie waterfront to continue pushing for an expanded cleanup of the river, touting not only the environmental need for the economic importance of the Hudson’s health.

Reinvent Albany tallied up oversight hearing held during the 2016 legislative session and found that the NYC Council held 111 compared to the State Assembly’s 29, and the State Senate’s 15.

The NYCLU released a report that details how far New York police departments go to keep information from the public on the use of force, stops and detentions, complaints about misconduct, racial profiling and the use of surveillance equipment.

While Skaneateles Lake has sustained the worst toxic algae outbreak long-time residents can remember, tests show the algae’s toxins have not reached the city of Syracuse’s drinking water.

The Empire Center: “New York State’s “Indigent Care Pool” doles out more than $1 billion a year in grants to hospitals, ostensibly to reimburse them for providing free care to the poor and uninsured. But most of the time, how much money a hospital receives bears no relation to how much charity care it delivers.”

Michael Isaacson, an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, was placed on administrative leave for tweeting his excitement over the opportunity to teach “future dead cops.”

Weinstein to Succeed Farrell as Ways and Means Chair

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has tapped the first woman to serve as chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, selecting Brooklyn’s Helene Weinstein to succeed retired Assemblyman Harman “Denny” Farrell Jr., of Manhattan, in the post.

“One of the longest-serving members of the Assembly, Helene has made immeasurable contributions to the residents of New York state,” said Heastie in a press release. “Her vast experience in the People’s House and extensive knowledge of the state budget process will guide the Assembly majority as we continue to pursue our Families First agenda.”

With this selection, the chairs of the budget oversight committees of both the Senate and Assembly are now headed by women. The Senate Republicans were the first to break the glass ceiling when they elevated Sen. Cathy Young, of Olean, to chair the Finance Committee in January 2016. Young also heads the political fundraising arm of her conference, the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, or SRCC.

The ranking Senate Democrat on the Finance Committee is Liz Krueger, of Manhattan. She has held that position since 2011, taking over when its former occupant, ex-Sen. Carl Kruger, also of Brooklyn, was indicted on corruption charges.

Weinstein, who was first elected to the Assembly in 1980, was also the first woman to chair the chamber’s Judiciary Committee, a position she has held since 1994. At the time, she was the first woman of any legislative conference to take their party’s top spot on the Finance Committee.

Weinstein said she is “humbled by the historic opportunity to lend new perspective and solutions to the needs facing our families and communities,” adding:

“I have always believed that diversity in leadership is critical to achieving a government that is both inclusive and responsive to today’s challenges. Working together over the years, the Assembly has made tremendous strides in improving the quality of life and economic opportunities for all New Yorkers and I know that we have much more to do.”

“I am proud that I have been chosen to succeed former Assemblyman Denny Farrell, a true legend who guided the Assembly Ways and Means Committee for many years with great skill. I want to thank Speaker Heastie for this honor and I look forward to working with all my Assembly colleagues and partners in government in this new role.”

Weinstein has been a Ways and Means Committee member since 1993, so she has inside knowledge of how it operates. A lot of senior Democrats were interested in this post, since the committee more or less holds the purse strings for everything budget related. Also, the committee has jurisdiction over all legislation introduced in the Assembly that would impact spending or revenues at the State or local level.

Another perk: The Ways and Means Committee chairmanship carries a pretty hefty stipend, known as a lulu in Albany parlance, of $34,000. (That’s just $500 behind what Majority Leader Joe Morelle gets for his leadership post). The job also has a sizable staff – bigger than any other Assembly committee chair.

Heastie joked during my last interview with him that pretty much every member of the conference wanted the job, though Assembly Health Committee Chair Dick Gottfried, the longest-serving member of the Assembly, insisted that he’s perfectly happy where he has been for the past 30 years. Also mentioned, due to his seniority, was Brooklyn Assemblyman Joe Lenthol, who heads the Codes Committee.

Weinstein’s elevation means the Judiciary Committee job is open, and that sparks a process known as “churn,” in which various lower ranked Assembly chairs jockey for position and move up the leadership ladder.

Fellow Assembly Dems Help Brindisi Raise Congressional Cash

They may be sorry to see him go, assuming he’s able to defeat incumbent Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney next year, but Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi’s Democratic colleagues are lining up to help raise cash for what’s expected to be an expensive and divisive race.

Assemblyman John McDonald, a Cohoes Democrat, forwarded his supporters an invitation to a Sept. 26 event being hosted for Brindisi by a number of upstaters – including Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, who is fresh off a Democratic primary victory that all but assures her a second four-year term in November.

“I rarely send this type of email, however I am doing so today because of the respect I have for my colleague Anthony Brindisi who is running for Congress in an area adjacent to ours,” McDonald wrote.

“He is smart, young and hard working. He is a true advocate for both education and the hard-working middle class. Please consider supporting Anthony. He will be a great asset to the New York delegation in Washington.”

The event, which will take place at the Albany Center Gallery on Broadway, costs between $35 (for young professionals) to $2,700 (the maximum contribution) to attend. Members of the host committee, which is still in formation, include a number of other Assembly Democrats from both upstate and NYC.

The invitation describes Brindisi as a “top pick-up opportunity for the Democrats in NY-22.”

Though the race only recently got underway, it’s already taken a negative turn, which Brindisi and Tenney, who also used to be a member of the Assembly, trading barbs on everything from Brindisi’s father’s legal representation of mobsters to a town hall the congressman is scheduled to hold this coming Tuesday.

Tenney is already seeking to use Brindisi’s ties to fellow Democrats – including Gov. Andrew Cuomo – against him, calling him a “slick politician” who “pretends to be a moderate.”

Though Brindisi has insisted that he will shy away form “name calling,” his allies and outside interests seeking to assist him in ousting Tenney, will no doubt spend considerable time – and cash – playing up her steadfast support for President Donald Trump.

They will surely seek to paint her as too right wing for a district that was previously represented by a moderate Republican, Richard Hanna, who refused to endorse Tenney in the 2016 election cycle after she tried unsuccessfully to beat him in the 2014 GOP primary.

Andrea Catsimatidis Poised to Chair Manhattan GOP

Andrea Catsimatidis, daughter of supermarket, real estate and gas station mogul and longtime political donor/player John Catsimatidis, is poised to take the healm of the Manhattan Republican Party tonight.

Party members are scheduled to gather at the Metropolitan Club from 6 to 7 p.m. for a vote. Andrea Catsimatidis is running unopposed after John Burnett, a Republican commentator and onetime NYC comptroller candidate, decided not to seek the post.

Andrea Catsimatidis would be replacing outgoing Chair Adele Malpass, who is stepping down to move to Washington, with her husband David Malpass, a onetime U.S. Senate candidate, (he lost a 2010 primary to face off against Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand), and the newly confirmed undersecretary for international affairs in President Donald Trump’s Treasury Department.

Andrea Catsimatidis has never held elected office, but she grew up around politics, thanks to her father, a Democrat-turned-Republican who regularly contributes to elected officials on both sides of the aisle, and has unsuccessfully run himself for mayor of NYC.

In a recent interview with Crain’s, John Catsimatidis called his daughter “very qualified” to run the Manhattan GOP.

The party doesn’t hold much sway in Democrat-dominated NYC, and hasn’t managed to elect anyone to a city or state post for decades, but it is nevertheless prominent in Republican circles, since the city is a must-stop for candidates from all over the nation who are trying to raise campaign cash.

Andrea Catsimatidis’ expected election comes the day before Republicans from all over the state will gather in Albany for a reorganizational meeting at which state GOP Chair Ed Cox is expected to be re-elected to a fifth term. (Unlike in years past, he has no opposition).

Andrea Catsimatidis was once married to Cox’s son, Christopher Nixon Cox. The couple split in 2014.

NYPIRG Reviews 2017 Session

NYPIRG has released its annual review of the state legislative session in Albany, finding this year was among the sessions that saw the least number of legislative agreements as evidenced by identical bills passing on the floor of both houses, otherwise known as “same-as” measures.

Between January and July of this year, 998 bills were passed in the Democrat-controlled state Assembly, while the GOP-led Senate approved 1,896. Only 606 same-as bills were passed in both houses, while 15,406 bills were introduced overall so far in this two-year session.

That’s compared to 1,041 Assembly bills, 1,752 Senate bills, and 618 same-as bills passed in 2016, while the number of overall bills introduced was 16,649.

The decline in the number of bills that passed in the 2017 session tracks the overall historical trend, NYPIRG said. Since 1995, the five years that saw the fewest bills pass both houses are 2009, 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017.

When the average passage of two-house bills during the tenures of various governors is compared, Cuomo has so far seen the lowest number – 643 – while the highest – 1,356 – was during the time former Gov. Nelson Rockefeller spent in office.

Although Cuomo has been criticized for relying on messages of necessity to push controversial measures through the Legislature, most notably the gun control bill known as the SAFE Act, his use of his power to expedite the legislative process by circumventing the three-day bill “aging” period has actually declined compared to his predecessors.

There has been little change since last year in the number of bills approved by Cuomo, though his use of his veto pen has increased.

NYPIRG’s full assessment of the most recent session as compared to other sessions appears below. The organization has also updated its legislative profiles for 2017, which can be found here.

NYPIRG's 2017 session review. by liz_benjamin6490 on Scribd

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City.

President Donald Trump is in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly. Not surprisingly, security is very tight due to his presence.

This morning Trump will depart Trump Tower for the UN, where he will participate in the Reforming the United Nations: Management, Security, and Development meeting.

Trump will then head to the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, where he will meet separately in the afternoon with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and President Emmanuel Macron of France.

In the evening, the president will attend a working dinner with Latin American leaders, still at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, and then return to Trump Tower, where he’ll apparently be spending the night.

In the afternoon, Vice President Mike Pence, joined by Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, will host Honor Flight veterans from Lafayette, Indiana at the White House.

Pence will then travel to New York to join Trump for a working dinner with Latin American leaders.

At 8 a.m., GOP Nassau County executive candidate Jack Martins hosts a “Mayors for Martins” roundtable to discuss community revitalization and economic development, Mineola Portuguese Center, 306 Jericho Turnpike, Mineola, Long Island. (A media availability will follow at 10 a.m.)

Also at 8 a.m., members of the New Kings Democrats plan to protest outside the Brooklyn Democratic Party’s annual post-primary breakfast in opposition to the selection process of a candidate to run in the 26th state Senate District special election, Junior’s Restaurant, 386 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn.

At 9:15 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio wil deliver remarks at the Brooklyn Democratic Party’s post-primary breakfast. (See above).

At 10 a.m., former Democratic Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder will endorse Republican Councilman Eric Ulrich for reelection and announce he will serve as chairman of “Democrats for Ulrich,” Kalish Pharmacy, 93-20 Liberty Ave., Ozone Park, Queens.

At 11 a.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony for Concourse Village West. 707 Concourse Village West, the Bronx.

At 11:30 a.m., Rep. Nita Lowey joins DACA recipients, immigration advocates and legal experts for a roundtable discussion on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, Preston Hall’s Tudor Room, 78 N. Broadway, White Plains.

At 11:50 a.m., de Blasio will deliver the keynote address at the C40 Talks to kick off climate week, the New York Times Building Conference Center, 620 8th Ave., Manhattan.

At noon, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams announces winner of his $1M Smart Gun Design Competition, in which teams created proposals that will prevent gun violence, Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St., Brooklyn.

At 2 p.m., de Blasio hosts elected officials and other leaders for the first Global Mayors Summit on migration and refugee policy, Grand Hyatt New York, ballroom, lobby level, 109 E. 42nd St., Manhattan.

Also at 2 p.m., Rep. Joe Crowley holds a seminar to discuss the fight in Congress to protect health care, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and the critical role of research institutions, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Lubin Dining Hall, 1300 Morris Park Ave., the Bronx.

At 3 p.m., Cuomo and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka join union members to support IBEW Local 3 against Charter Communications/Spectrum in their fight for a fair contract, Cadman Plaza Park, (near the Brooklyn Bridge walkway entrance), Brooklyn.

At 3:50 p.m., de Blasio greets Local 3 workers (see above) at Chambers and Centre streets, Manhattan.

At 4 p.m., de Blasio delivers remarks, Foley Square, 111 Worth St., Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., Rep. Joe Crowley hosts a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration with distinguished guest Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Mamajuana Café, 33-15 56th St., Queens.

Also at 6 p.m., Diaz Jr. gives the keynote address at Manhattan College’s Hispanic Heritage Month opening dinner, Manhattan College, Smith Auditorium, 4513 Manhattan College Parkway, the Bronx.

At 6:30 p.m., state Republican Committee Chairman Ed Cox hosts a reception for Republican New York City mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis, Union League Club, 38 E. 37th St., Manhattan.

At 7:45 p.m., Martins hosts his 8th town hall with comptroller candidate Steve Labriola and Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell, Marcus Christ Community Center, 1420 Jericho Turnpike, New Hyde Park, Long Island.


President Trump’s legal team is wrestling with how much to cooperate with the special counsel looking into Russian election interference, an internal debate that led to an angry confrontation last week between two White House lawyers and that could shape the course of the investigation.

Trump could stay in the Paris climate accord if certain “conditions” are met, according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen will testify tomorrow before a U.S. Senate panel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

U.S. Senate Republican leaders seem increasingly focused on reviving their effort to undo the Affordable Care Act before the end of the month, asking Congress’s nonpartisan budget analysts to fast-track consideration of a plan that would devolve federal health-care spending to the states.

Following a series of deadly accidents, Arizona Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam war veteran from a military family, renewed his calls to address what he described as a U.S. failure during the past eight years to ensure that the military is prepared, equipped and trained.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, responding to the massive security breach at Equifax, will propose regulations today that subject credit reporting agencies to the same rules as banks and insurances companies in order to protect consumers.

Cuomo called for an immediate investigation after a Con Edison substation failure in Brooklyn led to outages across the borough and snagged the subway system.

The governor, who has had a close relationship with indicted Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, is set to headline an Oct. 5 fundraiser for Nassau County Legislator Lauren Curran, the Democrat seeking to replace him.

Cuomo warned congressional Democrats to “exercise extreme caution” in negotiating a deal with Trump aimed at restoring an Obama-era program that has shielded thousands of immigrant students and young adults in the U.S. without documentation from deportation.

Despite the low turnout in last week’s mayoral primary, supporters of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio were quick to note that he received nearly as many votes in the city alone than Cuomo received statewide in his Democratic gubernatorial primary in 2014, fueling speculation of a de Blasio-Cuomo primary in 2018.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer promised to use his political influence to push a bill that would help Long Island receive a portion of $100 million proposed to be spent to combat toxic algae bloom outbreaks.

Hurricane José may not directly hit the metro area, but it’s still set to pack a wallop in the region. The Category 1 storm will whip up large waves and life-threatening rip currents off Long Island and New Jersey from Tuesday into Wednesday, while pummeling the city with rain and fierce winds, the National Weather Service predicted.

High winds, dangerous rip currents and potential coastal flooding could turn parts of Long Island into a soggy and treacherous mess as the area braces for a glancing but powerful blow from Hurricane Jose — one of two strong tropical storms on the National Hurricane Center’s watch list.

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says he’s not putting anything off limits for discussion in his new podcast, a promotional trailer of which is debuting this week.

Former White House Communications Director Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci rejected a BuzzFeed report that he’s seriously considering a run for office – NYC mayor, governor or perhaps even president – though he says a few friends have asked him to “entertain” the idea.

More >

Kavanagh Wins Manhattan Dems, Cuomo Support

The following is from NY1’s Zack Fink. For a more detailed look at the ins and outs of the vote, click here to see his tweets from yesterday.

Democratic Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh is expected to fill the Lower Manhattan state Senate seat vacated by ex-Sen. Daniel Squadron in a yet-to-be-called special election, though he did not secure the lion’s share of the vote when members of the Manhattan Democratic Committee gathered to select a candidate.

District Leader Paul Newell, who ran an unsuccessful primary challenge to then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in 2008 and also lost a bid for Silver’s old Assembly seat in 2016, received more votes.

But Kavanagh is expected to have the support of Brooklyn Democratic Party leaders, and that should be enough to secure him the nomination.

The 26h Senate District seat straddles both New York and Kings’ counties. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC Comptroller Scott stringer and NYC Public Advocate Letitia James have endorsed Kavanagh for the seat, which is safely Democratic, and won’t be a factor in the upcoming rematch over control of the Senate chamber.

There were other contenders for Squadron’s seat, but they bowed out, creating a two-man contest between Newell and Kavanagh. Over the weekend, the assemblyman received the support from the Brooklyn Democratic Party, though the reform New Kings Democrats members are supporting Newell.

Squadron’s abrupt retirement last month took Democrats by surprise, though he had made no secret of his desire to depart Albany, and ran unsuccessfully for NYC public advocate in 2013.

His departure left a vacancy that likely will be filled by a special election called by the governor, who has not yet selected a date, but is expected to announce the contest will run concurrent with the upcoming general election in November.

After yesterday’s vote, Kavanagh’s campaign released a statement announcing that the assemblyman had secured the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his Senate bid.

“We need leaders in the state Senate who will fight for a more progressive future for New York, and I’m proud to endorse Brian Kavanagh for the 26th state Senate district,” Cuomo wrote.

“In the Assembly, Brian has been a relentless advocate for all New Yorkers, working diligently to get illegal guns off our streets, protect our environment, and preserve affordable housing.”

“Now, as the next state Senator for Manhattan and Brooklyn, I know Brian will work with me to continue New York’s proud tradition as the progressive capital of our country. Brian has my full support.”

Cuomo has come under fire from the left wing of the Democratic Party and its allies in the Working Families Party who do not believe he has done enough to assist the so-called regular Democrats in reuniting with the breakaway, eight-member IDC faction to help them re-take the majority in the Senate.

Pressure on Cuomo to help assure a Democratic majority in the Senate has grown as speculation mounts that the is considering a potential White House run in 2020.

There is likely to be a sizable Democratic field interested in taking on President Donald Trump, and if Cuomo gets into a Democratic primary situation, he’ll face the sort of true believing voters who are informed about things like Senate control and the governor’s history of endorsing – or failing to endorse – fellow Democrats in his home state.

Yuh-Line Niou, Brooklyn Dems Back Kavanagh for Senate

Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, who was mentioned as a potential candidate to fill former Sen. Daniel Squadron’s seat, today announced she is throwing her support to her Assembly colleague, Brian Kavanagh, though she pledged to work to reform the special election process to give voters more of a choice in candidate selection.

“I plan to work on legislation in the Assembly to bring real democracy to the forefront of special elections and fix this broken system,” the assemblywoman wrote in a statement released this afternoon.

“…while the current rules are far from ideal, lower Manhattan needs experienced, honest, and thoughtful leaders to represent us at all levels. That’s why it is critical that we elect my friend and Assembly colleague, Brian Kavanagh, to the State Senate.”

Niou cited Kavanagh’s “vast amount of state government experience,” including his efforts as part of a group spearheaded by former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg to push for gun control.

She also said she believes Kavanagh will be a “bulwark against Trump’s extremist agenda, standing with me on the frontlines to protect our progressive values and combat Trump’s divisive policies.”

It appears that Democratic Party leaders are coalescing behind Kavanagh in advance of today’s vote by party leaders to select a candidate to run in the yet to be called special election.

He has landed the support of Brooklyn Democratic Chairman Frank Seddio, though the reformist New Kings Democrats are backing Paul Newell, a district leader who unsuccessfully challenged then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in a 2007 primary. Newell also has the support of the Downtown Independent Democrats, of which he is a member.

Kavanagh is one of five Democrats who have announced their intention to seek the seat Squadron abruptly gave up early last month.

Also running are: former NYC Council member Alan Gerson; Diego Segalini, a Lower East Side resident who’s executive vice president of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; and former Brooklyn prosecutor Eileen Naples.

Niou won a six-way race in September 2016 for the Democratic nomination for the seat Silver was forced to relinquish in 2015 due to his federal corruption conviction.

Among those she defeated were Newell and former Assemblywoman Alice Cancel, whom the disgraced speaker helped install to represent his district via an April special election in which Niou ran unsuccessfully on the Working Families Party line.