Liz Benjamin

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Homepage: http://nystateofpolitics.com


Posts by Liz Benjamin

Extras

“Inside City Hall” host Errol Louis warned Ebola-cautious NYC residents: “If you come across some strange mucous or feces ouor something out there…you know, don’t eat it; don’t touch it.”

The agency managing the hospital at the center of New York City’s Ebola emergency is straining under the weight of rising pension and health-care expenses and the costs of treating poor, undocumented immigrants.

New York City authorities began decontaminating the apartment of Craig Spencer, the doctor who tested positive for Ebola.

Another physician who treated dying Ebola patients in Liberia flew in to JFK on Thursday night - and stayed at an airport hotel. He’s asymptomatic, and is being allowed to fly home to the west coast.

Hours after she was declared Ebola-free, Texas nurse Nina Pham was at the White House getting a hug from President Obama.

The man who attacked four NYPD officers with a hatchet, injuring two, appeared to be acting alone and motivated by a hate for government and authority.

The Poughkeepsie Journal endorsed Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney for re-election, saying his bipartisan approach has ”accomplished an astonishing amount in his first two years in office.”

The Rothenberg Report has changed NY-21 from ”Leans Republican to Favored Republican,” and NY-19 from “Leans Republican to Favored Republican.”

Asked on CNN’s New Day whether an ax-wielding man who attacked four NYPD officers had any ties to terrorism, Cuomo pivoted to poking fun at his brother, Chris, who co-hosts the show.

Republican NY-24 candidate John Katko “thrives on chaos and competition with a dose of comedy.”

The Nation’s Michelle Goldberg: “Cuomo’s attempt to hijack feminism for his own petty ends is such a craven move it could have been dreamed up by the scriptwriters at VEEP.”

The New York Times takes a closer look at the lingering anger over the SAFE Act.

Nassau County DA and NY-4 candidate Kathleen Rice withdrew from an official speaking engagement at the Islamic Center of Long Island after reports that a controversial Imam with ties to a convicted terrorist was also to appear.

The Hudson Valley is being inundated with political ads in the final weeks of the 2014 campaign.

No doubt striking fear into the hearts of fellow Democrats, Assemblyman-in-waiting Charles Barron pledges “it’s not going to be ‘go along to get along’” when he gets to Albany.

Kevin Stocker, the surprise Republican nominee for a pivotal state Senate seat in Buffalo, says he’s running because he’s afraid of dying without leaving an impression.

Michael Bloomberg is jumping into Berkeley’s battle over a proposed soda tax by funding a baseball-themed TV ad that will run throughout the Bay Area during this weekend’s World Series games.

Bloomberg will inject $1.7 million into Connecticut’s tight governor’s race with an advertisement that draws attention to the issue of gun control in a race that has otherwise focused largely on the economy.

Veteran Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s GOP challenger held a press conference with a supporter in a panda suit to demonstrate the seriousness of his campaign.

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. and others sent a letter of opposition to the Seneca County gaming facility in Tyre to the Resort Gaming Facility Location Board.

The DEC has named Keith D. Goertz to lead the agency’s Region 4 office in Rotterdam.

Assemblymember Didi Barrett and advocates made a video urging Cuomo to sign legislation that would expand treatment options for those with Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses.

Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind co-sponsored a jobs fair that charged unemployed workers a $20 entrance fee.

Ebola Becomes A Political Football In NY-4

Less than 24 hours after the first Ebola case in New York City was confirmed, the disease has become an issue in the NY-4 race on Long Island.

The campaign of the Democratic candidate, Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, issued a statement blasting her Republican opponent, former Nassau County Legislator Bruce Blakeman, for using Ebola as a fundraising tool.

This morning, Blakeman’s campaign sent out an email with the subject line “scary” that mentioned Dr. Craig Spencer, who fell ill after “nobly participating in Doctors without Borders,” and also solicited cash to keep the candidate’s attack TV ad portraying Rice as a rubber stamp for President Obama’s “failed policies” on the air.

“Patients are dying and people across the nation are terrified, and Bruce Blakeman sees it all as an opportunity to help his political campaign,” said Rice Campaign spokesperson Eric Phillips. “He’s politicized Ebola from the start, but this is beyond shameful.”

A Siena poll released earlier this week showed Blakeman gaining on Rice, thanks to the support of independent voters. But he’s still trailing her by 10 percentage points, which might be too much of a gap to close before Nov. 4. As with a lot of races this cycle, it all really depends on turnout.

Two Can Play That Game (Updated)

Throughout the 2014 campaign, the Senate Democrats have been using women’s issues – particularly abortion rights – as a wedge issue, repeatedly slamming incumbent Senate Republicans and their first-time candidates alike for opposing the governor’s full 10-point Women’s Equality Act.

The Republicans’ refusal to pass the WEA in its entirety has led to the Democrats and their allies accusing the GOP of being anti-woman, and even, in the case of mailers sent out in two hotly contested races in Buffalo and the Hudson Valley, of being unwilling to protect female victims of domestic violence.

Now one GOP candidate is trying to turn the tables on the Democrats.

In a mailer sent out in the 41st SD, where Dutchess County Legislator Sue Serino is facing off against Democratic freshman Sen. Terry Gipson, the GOP maintains Gipson has “turned his back on Hudson Valley women” by voting “yes” in favor of the full 10-point act that included the controversial abortion rights plank, which the Republicans maintain allows non-doctors to perform abortions and threatens women’s health.

The Republicans have passed nine stand alone bills in lieu of the full act, leaving out the abortion piece, leading the Democrats to accuse them of “holding hostage” the other proposals, including pay equity and cracking down on sex trafficking.

UPDATE: A Senate Democratic conference spokesman accused the GOP of lying about Gipson’s record, saying the senator voted “yes” on all nine stand alone bills brought to the floor by the GOP.

Tracey Brooks of Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York flagged the mailer, accusing the Republicans of resorting to “smear tactics” and “baseless attacks” on Gipson as Election Day draws near.

“Senator Gipson has never wavered in his support for the women and families of the Hudson Valley,” Brooks said in a stateent. “Senator Gipson has worked closely with community members and advocates for two years and his actions speak volumes, including his support for women’s equality at work, at home and in her private life.”

“Also, despite Serino’s repeated attempts to falsify the Women’s Equality Act, the legislation is clear. Mirroring state law to existing federal protections does not change practice – New York will continue to follow Roe v. Wade just as we have done since 1973 – when the federal ruling took precedence over our state law written in 1970.”

“Serino is attempting a ‘bait and switch’ to capture voters while distracting them from her extreme, anti-women views which are out of touch with the community. Senator Gipson has the experience, understanding and ability required to represent the 40th New York State Senate District.”

NRCC Counters Clinton’s NY-24 Visit With a New Anti-Maffei Ad

Just in time for former President Clinton’s appearance this afternoon in NY-24 on behalf of Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei, the NRCC has released a new TV ad accusing the congressman of putting Washington interests ahead of the interests of his Central New York constituents.

“After decades in Washington, Dan Maffei has become the ultimate, self-interested politician,” said NRCC spokesman Ian Prior. “Maffei has given Central New York families nothing but Obamacare and higher taxes, then turns around and hands out $200,000 in taxpayer money to give lavish bonuses and gifts to his own staff. Under Dan Maffei Central New York loses while Washington D.C. wins.”

The new ad will air through Election Day in the Syracuse and Rochester broadcast markets. Maffei is facing off against Republican former prosecutor John Katko. The two candidates will be going head to head in a TWC News debate this coming Monday, Oct. 27. The debate will air in Syracuse and Rochester at 7 p.m. Those interested in watching who don’t happen to live in that viewing area can catch it online. I’ll be moderating along with TWC News’ Syracuse reporter Bill Carey and Rochester reporter Seth Voorhees.

Here’s the script for the NRCC’s latest attack on Maffei in NY-24:

Announcer: “For Congressman Dan Maffei, Washington comes first. So when Maffei showered his staff with outrageous bonuses, it wasn’t surprising. DC first, it’s the Dan Maffei way.

He voted to allow first class travel and special health care perks for Congress. But for us, Maffei voted with Pelosi to push job killing taxes and devastating Medicare cuts, jeopardizing care for seniors.

With Dan Maffei’s Washington ways, we lose.”

The National Republican Congressional Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.

Conservative Group Launches 2nd Ad Against Bishop

American Action Network, a conservative 501(c)4 run by former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman that is involved in several of new York’s hotly contested House races, has released its second TV ad of this cycle targeting Long Island Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop, who is in a tight race with his GOP challenger, state Sen. Lee Zeldin.

The ad, called “The Game,” slams the veteran congressman for being under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for a pay-to-play fundraising scheme involving a constituent and also for paying his daughter more than $500,000 worth of campaign cash for fund-raising work since he took office in 2002.

““Tim Bishop has played Long Islanders for fools with his pay-to-play scandal and family cash ring,” said Emily Davis, spokeswoman for American Action Network. “Long Island families deserve better than a corrupt politician like Tim Bishop who even tried to mislead them about the fact that he’s still under investigation.”

The Republicans used the “daughter on the campaign payroll” attack against Bishop in the 2012 campaign, too. Bishop ended up winning that race handily, defeating his GOP opponent, businessman Randy Altschuler, who came considerably closer to defeating the congressman when he ran for the first time in 2010.

A September Siena poll showed Bishop 10 percentage points ahead of Zeldin, but as Election Day approaches, Democrats are stepping up their efforts to protect the congressman. Yesterday, former President Clinton headlined a rally on Bishop’s behalf, lashing out against “ideological extremism” in Washington, D.C. Zeldin responded to the former president’s appearnce by deriding Bishop as a “rubber stamp for the Obama/Pelosi agenda.”

This ad will run as part of AAN’s existing $1.5 million independent expenditure cable TV, online and mail campaign. The organization’s first ad – “Damn Good Idea” – has aired on cable TV since September 30. The AAN is also up on the air in NY-18 with an ad targeting Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.

Here’s the script for the AAN NY-1 ad:

Announcer: “Politicians get a bad name because of back room dealers like Tim Bishop.”

“He paid his daughter half a million bucks for helping him collect checks. Bishop shook down a constituent for campaign cash. When a Long Islander needed a favor, Tim Bishop delivered but solicited $10,000 in return The Post called it a bribe. He’s under investigation. But that’s how Bishop plays the game. And why we would be better off without him in Congress.”

American Action Network is responsible for the content of this advertising.

Here and Now (Updated)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City, and will do a trio of TV interviews this morning.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is in the city, but has not yet released details of his public schedule.

At 7 a.m., Cuomo will be a guest on the Today Show on NBC.

At 7:15 a.m., Chemung County Sheriff and GOP LG candidate Chris Moss greets voters at the corner of Archer Avenue and Parsons Boulevard near Jamaica Station, Queens.

At 7:20 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on WIBX 950 with host Bill Keeler.

At 7:30 a.m., Cuomo will be a guest on CNN’s New Day, which is co-hosted by his brother, Chris.

At 7:45 a.m., Astorino will be a guset on WENY with host Frank Acomb.

At 8:00 a.m., Astorino will be a guest on WUTQ 100.7FM.

Also at 8 a.m., Cuomo will be a guest on CBS This Morning.

Also at 8 a.m. (and until 3 p.m.), Sen. David Carlucci and Nyack Hospital will be offering free breast cancer screening at the Breast Center at Nyack Hospital for women over the age of 40. The hospital will be offering free clinical breast exams, mammography, pelvis exams and PAP tests, 160 North Midland Ave., Nyack.

At 8:30 a.m., Astorino will be a guest on WACK/WUUF with host Barry Vee.

At 9 a.m., Astorino will attend the 119th Annual NYS Empire Missionary Baptist Convention, Holiday Inn, 439 Electronics Pkwy., Liverpool.

Also at 9 a.m., AG Eric Schneiderman and state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli make the first stop of a three-stop GOTV tour of Long Island and the Hudson Valley, American Legion, 730 Willis Ave., Williston Park, Nassau County.

Also at 9 a.m., Moss appears live on “Talk of the Town” on WUTQ 100.7 FM Utica.

At 9:45 a.m., during a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Sen. Brad Hoylman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Gay Men’s Health Crisis officials, The Mount Sinai Hospital administrators, executives from Walgreens Co. and Duane Reade drugstores and city officials mark the opening of an HIV-specialized Duane Reade pharmacy in GMHC’s David Geffen Center for HIV Prevention and Health Education; 224 W. 29th St., Manhattan.

At 10:20 a.m., Moss appears live on “Live from the State Capitol with Fred Dicker” on Talk 1300 AM, Albany.

At 10:30 a.m., Brooklyn BP Eric Adams will be joined by local elected officials to respond to the report of the first Ebola patient in New York City, corner of Berry Street and N. 14th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

At 11 a.m., Nanette Bourne, chair of the NYLCV’s Westchester Chapter, will join Senate candidate Justin Wagner for a media availability, endorsement event, and policy announcement in Peekskill, Charles Point Pier Park, end of Louisa Street.

At 11:30 a.m., Schneiderman and DiNapoli make stop No. 2 on their GOTV tour, CSEA HQ, 595 West Hartsdale Ave., White Plains.

At noon, Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul attends the Ibero American Action League annual luncheon, Hyatt Regency Rochester, 125 E Main St., Rochester.

At 1:30 p.m., Astorino will hold a press conference unveiling the Astorino/Moss Empowerment and Opportunity Plan with Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, Highland Bowl Ampitheater, South Avenue, Rochester.

At 3 p.m., stop No. 3 of the Schneiderman/DiNapoli GOTV tour, Teamsters Local 445 Hall, 15 Stone Castle Rd., Rock Tavern.

At 4:30 p.m., former President Clinton will attend a rally on behalf of and endorse Democratic NY-24 Rep. Dan Maffei, Syracuse Landmark Aviation Hangar #113, 13 Tuskegee Rd., Syracuse.

At 6:30 p.m., Astorino will attend the Orleans County GOP Fall Dinner, Hickory Ridge Country Club, 15861 Lynch Rd., Holley.

At 7:30 p.m., Moss attends and delivers remarks at the Lynbrook Republican Gala, Lynbrook VFW Hall, 235 Merrick Rd., Lynbrook.

Headlines…

Craig Spencer, a doctor in New York City who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea became the first person in the city to test positive for the virus, setting off a search for anyone who might have come into contact with him.

City officials said that while they were still investigating, they did not believe Dr. Spencer was symptomatic while he traveled around the city on Wednesday and therefore had not posed a risk to the public.

But Spencer’s case has raised complicated logistical issues of how to trace the possible contacts of an infected patient in a city of more than 8 million people with a sprawling mass transit system and millions of commuters – some even from other states.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio: “There is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed. Ebola is an extremely hard disease to contract. It is transmitted only through contact with an infected person’s blood or other bodily fluids – not through casual contact. New Yorkers who have not been exposed to an infected person’s bodily fluids are not at all at risk.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke to President Obama’s Ebola czar, Ron Klain, who following the discussion directed a CDC team to travel to New York to assist at Bellevue in the event it is needed.

Bellevue officials say staff at the 828-bed complex overlooking the East River in Manhattan has been training for more than 2½ months to handle any suspected case of the disease.

Officials said Spencer has come into close contact with at least four people – his fiancee, two friends and an Uber driver. None of the four is showing symptoms and the driver is not being monitored. One of the others is also at Bellevue.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino criticized Cuomo and Obama for not closing air travel between the US and countries in West Africa hit with an Ebola epidemic, saying the Spencer case was “avoidable.”

Bellevue Hospital, where Spencer is isolated, is one of the eight hospitals statewide that Cuomo specially designated earlier this month to treat Ebola patients as part of the State’s Ebola Preparedness Plan.

Schools are responding to fears of an Ebola outbreak by drafting first-of-a-kind policies that include isolating students, querying parents about travel and requiring documents showing a clean bill of health for new enrollees from West Africa.

A 2-year-old girl in Mali has been diagnosed with Ebola, making her the West African nation’s first confirmed case of the disease. WHO officials said the child was brought to Mali from neighboring Guinea.

Astorino tried to capitalize on his one and only televised debate with Cuomo, and said he had received a “flood of donations” after the event. Meanwhile, Cuomo moved on, and sought to downplay talk of any other debates.

The most unexpected news of the day was the midafternoon release of “Moving the New NY Forward,” a 245-page policy manifesto for Cuomo’s longed-for second term. Half adulatory progress report and half blueprint, the book included numerous previous Cuomo proposals yet to be achieved.

More >

Extras

A Doctors Without Borders physician who treated Ebola patients in Guinea and returned to NYC 10 days ago was rushed in an ambulance with police escorts from his Harlem home to Bellevue Hospital.

Candidates for the 60th SD – Sen. Mark Grisanti, Kevin Stocker and Marc Panepinto -  will be debating at 6:30 p.m. tonight on WBBZ-TV.

Republican NY-24 candidate John Katko accused Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei of attempting to “destroy my character” with a series of critical TV ads. But Maffei stood by the ads.

The Syracuse Post-Standard, which editorialized against state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli in 2010 and is his opponent’s hometown paper, endorsed his re-election this year.

AG Eric Schneiderman’s fourth TV ad includes footage of his former Senate colleague, Shirley Huntley, leaving court after her arrest on corruption charges.

One day after Make the Road New York announced it would protest NYC’s bid to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, the organization cancelled a demonstration and reversed its position.

The state Senate Democratic Campaign Committee took in $408,300 in donations yesterday – a major infusion of cash for the Democrats less than two weeks before the Nov. 4 election.

What you need to know about the latest round of rebate checks, which is costing the state $400 million.

John Cassidy’s take on the gubernatorial debate: ”this most tightly wound of fellows” vs. “an overage member of the Little Rascals.”

CNBC reporter John Harwood says the poor sales of Cuomo’s book is a reflection of the fact that the governor is “not an especially likable person…in terms of his public demeanor.”

GOP NY-4 candidate Bruce Blakeman’s new TV ad casts his Democratic opponent, Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, as a rubber stamp for President Obama.

Diana Walker, the photographer who took the photo of Hillary Clinton wearing sunglasses while checking her phone on a military flight, has a book out.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is asking his health policy team to formulate a plan for how the administration can better reach immigrant communities and connect them to health care.

GOP Rep. Michael Grimm thinks it will be “very difficult” for the Republicans to beat Clinton – if she runs – in 2016.

Two more de Blasio staffers have taken leaves to work on Democratic campaigns – one is assisting Grimm’s opponent, Domenic Recchia, the other is working for state Senate candidate Justin Wagner.

Clinton heaped praise on Cuomo’s “Women’s Equality Agenda,” the centerpiece of the governor’s effort to appeal to female voters.

Cuomo said he hopes Clinton does “something really, really, really big” in the future.

US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand did not attend the Clinton-Cuomo “women’s equality” rally, instead headling the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee annual luncheon a few doors down.

The former secretary of state will stump for NY-18 Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, (who worked in the White House for her husband), in Somers on Monday.

The CBC says the MTA’s capital plan is full of “misplaced priorities” that should be adjusted before it is approved by a review board.

Republican Rep. Peter King thinks the doctors are wrong on Ebola, suggesting the deadly virus might have mutated and gone airborne.

Barnes & Noble is not leaving the Bronx after all – at least not right now.

Poloncarz Denounces NYSUT’s Anti-Grisanti Mailer

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz deemed a domestic violence-themed mailer sent out by NYSUT’s political arm in opposition to GOP Sen. Mark Grisanti “disgusting” and said he has urged Grisanti’s Democratic opponent, Marc Panepinto, to disavow it.

Poloncarz said the mailer, which depicts a battered woman and proclaims that Grisanti “won’t protect her from her abuser,” is “inappropriate” and “disgusting.”

“I was texting back and forth with Marc today, he agrees,” the county executive told me during a CapTon interview that will air in full at 8 p.m. “He has a debate tonight, and I think he said he would disavow it. I called on him to disavow it. I disavowed it.”

“I think it’s a horrible piece of, of…it’s disgusting to say that a candidate doesn’t want to care about the protection of battered women. Mr. Grisanti may not agree with the entire Women’s Equality platform. I do. But, I know Mark Grisanti is not out there saying he doesn’t care about battered women, and that piece of mail, it bothered me.”

In fact, it bothered Poloncarz so much that he took to Twitter to publicly call out NYSUT’s political action committee, VOTE/COPE, for sending the mailer, saying the organization should be “embarrassed.”

A near replica of the mailer also popped up in the 40th SD race, targeting Republican Yorktown Councilman Terrence Murphy, who is running against Democrat Justin Wagner for the seat being vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Greg Ball. Murphy, like Grisanti, has said he supports nine of the 10 planks in the governor’s Women’s Equality Act, expressing opposition only to the abortion rights proposal.

Because Republicans have refused to pass the Women’s Equality Act in its entirety, instead approving the other nine plans individually, Democrats have accused them of holding the act hostage and being opposed to everything from pay equity to cracking down on domestic violence and sex trafficking.

Poloncarz said he supports Panepinto in the four-way 60th SD race in which Grisanti is running on the Indpendence Party line after losing the September GOP primary to attorney Kevin Stocker. He also said he’s not concerned that his chastisement of NYSUT will cost him politically down the road, saying he believes his support among Erie County teachers is firm.

Watch Here >>

Gibson Releases 5th Ad of NY-19 Race, ‘Clear Choice’ (Updated)

Rep. Chris Gibson released his fifth TV ad of his re-election battle in NY-19 with his opponent, Sean Eldridge – a spot that seeks to highlight the main differences between the incumbent Republican congressman and the Democratic newcomer.

The ad, “Clear Choice,” is a sort of amalgamation of arguments Gibson has made throughout the campaign. It touts the congressman’s record in public office and paints him as a dedicated local family man, while also swiping at Eldridge, depicting him as an inexperienced carpbetbagger who has run a negative campaign fueled largely by the wealth of his husband, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes.

“Voters want a representative in Washington who they can trust. Chris’s lifetime of honorable service to his country and constituents in New York is a record we can be proud of,” said Gubson’s campaign manager Kevin Crumb. “Unfortunately, Sean Eldridge has shown that he’ll do anything to be elected to Congress – including district-shopping and spending millions of his personal fortune to misrepresent Chris’s record.”

Gibson has used this line of attack many times – including in the NY-19 debate that TWC News hosted yesterday and aired last night. (In case you missed it, you can find it here).

UPDATE: Eldridge’s campaign released a point-by-point rebuttal of Gibson’s ad, which spokeswoman Sophie Friedman, said proves the congressman is willing to “lie to his friends and neighbors” and continues his practice of “false, personal attacks against Sean.”

Team Eldridge notes that Gibson is a member of the “least productive Congress in history,” and therefore cannot honestly claim to be working hard on behalf of his constituents. It also points out that the congressman supports fracking and has received a 33 percent lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters.

What’s more, according to Eldridge’s campaign, Gibson has “refused to lead by example and speak out against the more than $5 million that has been spent by outside groups on his three bids for Congress.”

Here’s the script for Gibson’s new ad:

Female Narrator: “The story of Chris Gibson’s life of service starts here.

Male Narrator: But Sean Eldridge just moved here, filing to run for office before registering to vote.

Female Narrator: While Chris worked hard for us…

Male Narrator: Eldridge was deceiving you about Chris’ position on fracking, distorting Chris’s record of protecting our environment.

Female Narrator: Chris proposed to limit spending in this election.

Male Narrator: But billionaire Eldridge said no, supporting tax dollars paying for politicians’ negative ads.

Female Narrator: This election comes down to trust. The clear choice? Chris Gibson.

Chris Gibson: I’m Chris Gibson and I approve this message.

Balboni for Schneiderman (Again)

Former GOP Sen. Mike Balboni and his wife will host a fund-raiser for Democratic state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman next Monday at their Long Island home, according to an invitation sent out by the Nassau County Democratic Party.

The event, which costs between $1,000 (for individuals) and $10,000 (for hosts) to attend, will provide Schneiderman will a last-minute infusion of cash as he heads into the final days of the race with his GOP challenger, former Pataki administration official John Cahill.

Balboni and Schneiderman were once Senate colleagues, and the former senator – who refers to himself as a “lifelong Republican” – crossed party lines to endorse Schneiderman the first time he ran for AG in 2010 against GOP Staten Island DA Dan Donovan.

Balboni’s efforts on behalf of the Democratic AG could be viewed as a snub to Cahill. But the ex-lawmaker’s dalliances with Democrats date back a long way.

Balboni angered his fellow Republicans when he departed the Senate in December 2006 to accept a job offer from Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer, serving as the administration’s homeland security czar.

Balboni has long held his Long Island seat largely by force of personality (and incumbancy). Fueled by camapign cash that Spitzer, who was very interested in wresting control of the Senate from the GOP, the Democrats won the seat in a 2007 special election, elevating Democratic Nassau County Legislator Craig Johnson to the state legislative post.

Johnson won a full two-year term in the 2008 elections, but lost his seat in a very tight race 2010 to Republican Mineola Mayor Jack Martins, who is now in a hotly contested race with Democratic businessman Adam Haber.

Balboni remained in his post following Spitzer’s resignation due to a prostitution scandal, but tendered his resignation to Spitzer’s successor, former Gov. David Paterson, in January 2010, to take a job in the private sector. In 2012, he founded a consulting/lobbying firm – RedLand Strategies - that focuses on public safety, government relations, media management and business development.

The former senator has been mentioned from time to time as mulling a potential return to political life, but has so far restricted his efforts to raising campaign cash for other candidates. He

Earlier this year, Balboni, who has some clients who do business with the state, co-hosted a “Republicans for Cuomo” event at The Pierre Hotel in Manhattan, – an event for which tickets went for as much as $50,000 a head.

Balboni is not alone among Nassau County Republicans in his support of Cuomo. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano crossed party lines to not only endorse, but appear in a TV ad on behalf of, the Democratic governor this campaign season.

Meanwhile, Nassau County GOP Chairman Joe Mondello will be hosting a luncheon fund-raiser for Cuomo’s opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, on Monday – the same day as the Balboni event.