Liz Benjamin

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Posts by Liz Benjamin

Extras

Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. doesn’t like Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins’ low-key leadership style, and won’t say if he’ll support her for majority leader – if it comes to that.

Days after announcing the promotion of Philip Banks III, the chief of department for the NYPD, Commissioner Bill Bratton was forced to explain his sudden resignation.

NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray had wanted Banks to be named police commissioner instead of Bratton.

A Maine judge rejected the state’s attempt to quarantine Kaci Hickox, the nurse who recently returned home from Ebola-wracked West Africa.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s chief of staff, Laura Santucci, will take a leave of absence next month to lead the city’s push for the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Five congressional milestones to watch for next Tuesday, (including the fact that Elise Stefanik could be the youngest woman elected to the House).

A federal appeals court panel has denied a request by police unions to continue challenging New York City’s stop and frisk ruling.

The governor said the NY-24 race is “very, very close” and will be decided by turnout. He plugged Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei during a rally in Syracuse.

Maffei’s GOP opponent, John Katko, released a new TV ad, calling the congressman “a pretty huge disappointment.”

Campaigning in Binghamton, GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino said Cuomo feels this race “slipping away.”

Astorino’s approach to the job of Westchester County executive “might best be described as genially rigid.”

As New York grapples with important environmental and energy issues, it is uncertain who the lawmakers chairing key legislative committees pertaining to these areas will be come 2015.

The Brady Campaign gun control organization is backing independent candidate Mark Grisanti, a Republican who voted “yes” on the SAFE Act.

Chris Quinn explains the motivation behind the Women’s Equality Party (as she sees it): ““When you don’t win, you respond…They can’t say, ‘Boo,’ and you run away in fear. This party is about demonstrating that.”

The Journal News, John Cahill’s hometown paper, endorsed Schneiderman’s re-election.

The question is, will Cuomo be Colonel Mustard?”

State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher is reassigning William Howard, the system’s general counsel she hired in 2011.

Decisions coming after the Election Day: Where four casinos will be located, whether fracking is allowed, how large Tappan Zee tolls will be, and how much money regional development councils will get.

Check Your Calendars

Democrats are having a laugh at the expense of the conservative, anti-abortion Chiaroscuro PAC, which sent out a mailer attacking Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk that featured some erroneous information – including the wrong date for the upcoming election.

The mailer, which appears below, urges recipients to vote “no” on November 6th to the senator’s “radical position on expanding late term abortion,” also refers to Tkaczyk as “he.”

The election, of course, is on Nov. 4, and Tkaczyk is undoubtedly a woman.

“Let these special people go vote on Nov. 6th against Cece – there will be no waiting at the polls,” one Democrat laughed.

The Chiaroscuro PAC is active in three battleground upstate Senate districts this cycle, including the race that pits Tkaczyk, a freshman Democrat, against the Republican she defeated by just 18 votes in 2012, former Assemblyman George Amedore.

The PAC is also involved in the fight between Democratic Sen. Terry Gipson and Republican Dutchess County Legislator Sue Serino in the Hudson Valley, and the battle in Rochester between Democratic Sen. Ted O’Brien and his GOP opponent, former broadcaster Rich Funke.

Over the summer the PAC launched a radio ad that ran in all three districts and featuring the “voice” on an unborn fetus.

They Can’t Give It Away

Sales of Cuomo’s new memoir are not going particularly well – a fact the governor has attributed to all the time he needs to spend campaigning, which is preventing him from doing a full-scale book promotion tour.

“All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics and Life,” sold 945 copies in the week after its Oct. 15 release.

In its second week on the shelves, however, sales reportedly dropped by more than 43 percent to just 535 books sold. Some stores – like the famous Strand in NYC – have resorted to, let us say, creative tactics, in hopes of getting readers to buy Cuomo’s tome.

That may be a fruitless effort, because it appears New Yorkers just aren’t interested in finding out what the governor has to say – even if they can get his book for free.

A CapTon fan pointed out in an email yesterday that the Brooklyn Public Library has 12 copies of Cuomo’s memoir available for borrowing and just one on hold so far.

That’s unusual for a new book, he noted, adding: “I believe there were even more copies available last week, but they must have cut back on the order once they realized the low demand.”

Sen. Krueger: Cuomo WEP Push ‘Disturbing’

Sen. Liz Krueger, an outspoken Manhattan Democrat, is stepping up her criticism of Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Party push, calling an email sent by the governor urging voters to support him on the new party’s line in next week’s election “disturbing.”

Cuomo’s email landed in the in-boxes of his fellow Democrats (and a few reporters) yesterday morning.

“It’s time for a party whose singular goal is equality for women, a party that knows women work as hard as men do and is committed to getting them equal pay,” the governor wrote.

“A party where protecting a woman’s right to choose is a priority, not an afterthought. A party that believes women deserve to stand at the front of the line.”

“…If at least 50,000 of us vote on the Women’s Equality Party line on November 4th, together we will ensure that women’s issues are no longer something politicians think they can disregard.

Please pledge to vote for me and Kathy Hochul on the Women’s Equality Party line on November 4th and together we’ll make history.”

Krueger has called Cuomo’s creation of the WEP a “mistake” that could cost the Senate Democrats votes – and perhaps ruin their chances of re-taking the majority – because most of their candidates didn’t qualify to run on the new party line.

“This whole plan will come back to bite women and Democrats in our derrieres,” Krueger wrote in an email sent to her supporters yesterday.

“Running on the WEA issues and pointing out that the R’s are stopping these issues from being passed as laws – absolutely.”

“Urging the creation of a different party for women – beyond unjustified.”

The subject line of Krueger’s email: “Cuomo writes: This is Important. I say, This is Disturbing.”

It was not lost on political insiders that Cuomo’s email mimicked the electronic missives frequently sent out by the Working Families Party, which is frantically reminding its supporters to vote for Cuomo on Row D, even as he ignores – and even seeks to undermine – the minor party.

If the WFP – which just so happens to be one letter away from the WEP – fails to get 50,000 votes for Cuomo on its line next Tuesday, it will lose its official party status, and its clout, for the next four years.

WFP allies insist the party won’t miss the crucial vote threshold, but admit it’s possible another minor party – perhaps even the Greens, whose gubernatorial candidate, Howie Hawkins, is putting in a strong performance this election season – could surpass them in the final tally and bump them from Row D.

Some insiders have even speculated that the Greens could perform so well next Tuesday, thanks in part to Hawkins’ support among disaffected former backers of Cuomo’s primary opponent, Zephyr Teachout, that they could oust the Conservative Party from its new perch on Row C, which it gained four years ago due to the strong showing in Western New York by GOP/Conservative gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino.

Yesterday, Mike Boland, who left the WFP in disgust after it gave Cuomo its endorsement and took a job running Teachout’s campaign, sent out an email urging WFP supporters to join him in voting for Cuomo on Row D.

Debate Deconstruction

If you didn’t catch last night’s TWC News/NY1 debate in Hamburg between the two major party candidates for state attorney general – the only time they’ll face off before next Tuesday’s election – you missed quite the show.

It was a verbal slap-fest between Democratic incumbent Eric Schneiderman and his GOP opponent, former Pataki administration official John Cahill, with the two trading barbs over everything from ethics and campaign contributors to abortion rights and gun control.

As has been widely reported, I had a tough time controlling these two, who were more interested in talking over one another and getting their jabs in than answering questions posed by myself and the members of our panel.

We did, however, manage to learn some key information during our lightning round, such as the fact that Cahill doesn’t appear to know what BuzzFeed is, and has never taken one of the site’s infamous quizzes, whereas Schneiderman has (though he didn’t elaborate, so we’ll never know which Weasley he is).

For the record, Cahill is a quick study. He Tweeted a photo of himself “catching up on BuzzFeed quizzes” at a Buffalo-area bar after the debate.

We also know that when Schneiderman finishes up another stressful day at the AG’s office, he likes to kick his feet up and unwind with a nice historical drama film – preferably about WW II.

Schneiderman revealed the last movie he watched was “Diplomacy,” a Franco-German film that premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival last February. It was directed by Volker Schlöndorff and adapted from the play Diplomatie by Cyril Gely.

Cahill also has a taste for historical dramas. He said the last movie he saw was “Lincoln” – the 2012 film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the nation’s 16th president.

If you want to learn more about the candidates – their likes and dislikes, habits, and even a little on policy – you can catch the full debate here.

Thanks again to both candidates for participating, to our panel members for their insightful (if not always answered) questions, to Hilbert College for hosting and to our live audience members for (mostly) following my instructions to hold their applause until after the debate was over.

Here and Now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Headlines…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More >

Extras

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

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

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

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

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

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

El Diario endorsed AG Eric Schneiderman.

The Niagara Gazette endorsed Republican AG candidate John Cahill.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City.

At 7:20 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on 91.1 WFMU JM in the AM with host Nachum Segal.

At 8:05 a.m., Chemung Country Sheriff and GOP LG candidate Chris Moss appears live on “Good Morning Westchester” on WVOX 1460 AM.

At 9 a.m., Brooklyn elected officials will speak to the media about why Prop. 1, a constitutional amendment revising redistricting, should be rejected by the voters on Nov. 4, Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St., Brooklyn.

At 9:30 a.m., Moss appears live on “Binghamton Today” on WNBF 1290 AM.

At 10 a.m., Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins and his running mate, Brian Jones, will conduct a conference call with with reporters, discussing their disgust with Cuomo’s latest attack on public teachers and public education.

Also at 10 a.m., P.S. 203Q, Queens Councilman Mark Weprin and other elected officials welcome a delegation of mayors, superintendents, principals, school administrators and municipal assistants from the Republic of Chile, 53-11 Springfield Blvd., Queens.

Also at 10 a.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, Assemblyman Victor Pichardo and others celebrate affordable housing groundbreaking, 2247 Walton Ave., the Bronx.

At 10:05 a.m., Moss appears live on “Live from the State Capital with Fred Dicker” on Talk 1300 AM Albany.

At 10:40 a.m., Astorino will be a guest on WOR radio with host Mark Simone.

At 11 a.m., Astorino will host a meeting with African American and Hispanic clergy members, Royal Coach Diner, 3260 Boston Rd., the Bronx.

Also at 11 a.m., 49th SD GOP candidate Terrence Murphy addresses allegations that NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is funneling cash into key state Senate races, Yorktown Courthouse, 2295 Crompond Rd., Yorktown Heights.

At 11:30 a.m., de Blasio will join New York Road Runners at a press conference in the Javits Center to kick off the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon, 2nd Floor, 11th Avenue and West 35th Street, Manhattan.

Also at 11:30 a.m., Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver attends news conference announcing technology initiative, Westinghouse, 20th Floor, 150 Broadway, Manhattan.

At noon, Cornell University environmental science professor Toby Ault delivers the keynote address at Business Council’s annual environment conference, The Saratoga Hilton, 534 Broadway, Saratoga Springs.

At 12:30 p.m., Astorino will be a guest on WYSL/Rochester & WKAL/Utica with host Shannon Joy.

At 1 p.m., Astorino will hold a press conference to “criticize the disdain Cuomo repeatedly shows state employees and pledge to treat employees with respect as the next governor,” Tweed Courthouse, north side, 52 Chambers St., Manhattan.

At 2:15 p.m., US Kirsten Gillibrand will tour the Oneonta Job Corps Center and meet with students there, 21 Homer Folks Ave., Oneonta.

At 5 p.m., Astorino will be a guest on WBEN with host Tom Bauerle.

At 5:30 p.m., former President Clinton appears at a rally with Cuomo and Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul, 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, 310 W 43rd St., Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., LG Bob Duffy delivers remarks at the 43North Finalists Awards Ceremony, Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St., Buffalo.

At 6:30 p.m., Astorino will be a guest on the Kris La Grange Show, 94.3 The Shark.

At 7 p.m., Democratic AG Eric Schneiderman and his GOP opponent, John Cahill, face off in their first and only televised debate, hosted by TWC News, Hilbert College, 5200 S Park Ave., Hamburg.

Also at 7 p.m., Astorino will attend a Nassau GOP Rally, Levittown Hall, Levittown Parkway, Hicksville.

At 7:30 p.m., Hochul speaks at a New Castle Democratic Committee rally, Mount Kisco Country Club, 10 Taylor Rd., Mount Kisco.

At 8 p.m., Moss appears live on “Political Party Night” on WSKG TV and Radio Binghamton.

Headlines…

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s first use of the Moreland Act to investigate failures of electric companies in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy foretold the fate of the short-lived corruption-busting panel he created, meddled with, and the abruptly shut down.

The US health care apparatus is so unprepared and short on resources to deal with the deadly Ebola virus that even small clusters of cases could overwhelm parts of the system, according to an AP review of readiness at hospitals and other components of the emergency medical network.

As Bellevue Hospital Center goes into its eighth day of treating Dr. Craig Spencer, who had worked with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea, some of its employees are feeling stigmatized — a harsh consequence of being at the first hospital in the city to deal with an outbreak that has killed about 5,000 people in West Africa.

Facing increasing pressure to publicly outline specific for their mandatory Ebola quarantine policy, New Jersey officials were moving quickly to finalize a detailed set of protocols for handling people returning to the US from Ebola-stricken nations.

With less than a week before the general election, Cuomo stressed his “special relationship” with the Orthodox Jewish community during a visit to Borough Park, Brooklyn last night.

If Syracuse wants a billion-dollar taxpayer-financed economic development package like its Buffalo neighbor, then local officials, academics and business officials need to put together a large-scale job creation proposal with committed private investment, Cuomo said.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli penned an OpEd against Prop. 1, saying it would “maintain the worst aspects of the system we have now and prevent the strong action necessary to create a more fair and transparent redistricting process.”

The Staten Island Advance endorsed embattled GOP Rep. Michael Grimm, though it lamented “the choice we have in making an endorsement in a race that could not be much uglier.”

In the final month leading up to Election Day, Grimm’s Democratic opponent, former NYC Councilman Domenic Recchia, has been all but invisible to reporters on the campaign trail, rarely sending out official campaign releases or holding press events.

The Journal News endorsed Democrat Justin Wagner in the 40th SD, saying he “demonstrates a dedication to (the district) and its residents, and a willingness to work for them and not for party alliances.”

More >

Extras

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’s asking the state’s hospitals to recommend incentives that the state could offer doctors, nurses and other health professionals who go to Ebola-stricken regions.

Kaci Hickox, the Maine nurse who traveled to West Africa to care for Ebola patients, said that she won’t self-quarantine for 21 days, setting up a possible legal battle with the state.

The WFP turned on Cuomo, its endorsed candidate for governor, for his comments comparing the state’s public school system to a “public monopoly.”

Democratic activist Bill Samuels says it will be Cuomo’s fault if the Senate Democrats don’t succeed in taking back the majority.

Cuomo called criticism of his handling of the Moreland Commission “a lot of political baloney,” and took a swipe at US Attorney Preet Bharara.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino is putting off a visit to a Pennsylvania drilling site designed to highlight the benefits of fracking until after the election.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani is appearing in a TV ad for GOP NY-24 candidate and fellow former prosecutor John Katko.

Cuomo appeared today with GOP Rep. Michael Grimm, and insisted he’s supporting Grimm’s Democratic challenger, Domenic Recchia, but wouldn’t commit to campaigning for him.

NRCC Chairman Greg Walden and his deputy will appear at a GOTV rally for GOP NY-18 candidate Nan Hayworth tomorrow.

GOP NY-26 candidate Kathy Weppner says she carries a gun every day. (But not when she visits a school).

As she tries to unseat the only openly gay member of Congress from New York, Republican former Rep. Nan Hayworth has a new TV ad featuring an emotional testimonial from her gay son.

Rep. Nita Lowey is among the House Democratic conference’s senior members who are tens of thousands of dollars short on their DCCC dues.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio won’t be voting on the Women’s Equality Line.

David Denenberg and his criminal defense attorney insisted he still is not campaigning despite a press release that said the community “supports Dave Denenberg for New York State Senate.”

The New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation has rleased its 2014 general election voter guide.

Sales of Cuomo’s memoir fell by more than 43 percent to 535 copies in its second week on shelves.

WNY Assemblyman Dave DiPietro is having a Second Amendment/Sportsmans fund-raiser with lots of guns as door prizes.

The Rothenberg Report changed the ratings for four New York House races in the GOP’s favor – NY-1, NY-11, NY-18 and NY-24.

Cuomo announced New York State has been honored with the title of “Wine Region of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast magazine.

Citizens Union released a white paper that shows the deepening effects of partisan gerrymandering in this year’s election cycle.

Long Island Assembly candidate Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat, has his great-uncle Mel Brooks robo-calling on his behalf.

A coalition of business groups that support the Common Core says it would cost the state $280 million to repeal the learning standards, as Astorino has promised to do.

The lawsuit over public school funding in eight small upstate cities has a new trial date – Jan. 21, 2015 – and a new judge, state Supreme Court Justice Kimberly A. O’Connor. (No link).

Maffei Ad Defends Family Against ‘Personal Attacks’

On the heels of a poll that shows he has lost the lead in his re-election bid, Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei has released a new TV ad featuring his wife and newborn daughter that slams his Republican opponent, John Katko, for making “personal attacks on my family.”

“Rep. Dan Maffei grew up in Central New York, on the East Side of Syracuse, and is committed to making the middle class in Central New York stronger,” said the congressman’s campaign manager Kane Miller, campaign manager. “He couldn’t be more proud of his wife Abby, her career, and their daughter Maya. He will continue to stand up for his family and middle class families across Central New York, and will never allow personal attacks from John Katko or anyone else about his family.”

The decision by Maffei and his wife to purchase a $700,000 home in the D.C. suburbs this past spring, coupled with the fact that Abby Maffei split her time between Syracuse and D.C. for her job at CARE, an international humanitarian group that fight global poverty, and that the couple’s daughter was born in a D.C. hospital have all become fodder throughout the campaign for Katko, who has questioned the congressman’s dedication to the district.

Maffei took issue with this line of attack during a TWC News debate in Syracuse this week, saying his wife and daughter should be ”out of bounds” - even though he has included them in his campaign literature and ads (like this one, for example). The congressman said the birth of his daughter in D.C. enabled him to “make every single vote for this congressional district while I was being a good  father.”

He said the baby is now in New York, where he is spending all of his time campaigning to keep the seat he first won in 2008, lost in 2010 (to former Republican Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle) and then won back (from Buerkle) in 2012.

Here’s the transcript of Maffei’s new ad, which starts airing this week on stations across NY-24: