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Posts by Liz Benjamin
Apr 25th - 5:21 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.
At 9 a.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray will deliver remarks on the mental health workforce at the NYU Silver School of Social Work and the Latino Social Workers Organization’s “Sí Se Puede: Social Workers United for Latino Advancement” Conference, NYU Kimmel Center for University Life, 60 Washington Square S., Manhattan.
At 9:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul and Rep. Louise Slaughter deliver remarks at RIT’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship grand opening, 40 Franklin St., Rochester. U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer will also attend.
At 10 a.m., Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr., Assemblyman Marcos Crespo and members of the Ecuadorian community will host a “Day of Solidarity” in the wake of the powerful earthquake that recently devastated Ecuador, Bronx County Building steps, 851 Grand Concourse at East 161st Street, the Bronx.
At 10:30 a.m., Hochul tours Monroe Community College’s Applied Technologies Center, 2485 W. Henrietta Rd., Rochester.
Also at 10:30 a.m., Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jr., Manhattan BP Gale Brewer, Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, NYC Council members Margaret Chin, Rosie Mendez and Vanessa Gibson, and advocates announce second “Clean Slate” warrant forgiveness event, The Manhattan Family Justice Center, 80 Centre St., 5th Floor, Manhattan.
Also at 10:30 a.m., Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown participate in a candle lighting ceremony commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day, Edward A. Rath county office building, 16th floor conference room, 95 Franklin St., Buffalo.
At 11 a.m., in the wake of recently reported cases of Zika virus in both Niagara and Erie Counties, Schumer will appear in Buffalo to call for $1.9 billion in emergency funding to fight the virus, location TBD.
Also at 11 a.m., members of 24 social justice and immigrants’ rights groups, community-based organizations and good government groups call for improved voting systems and a more transparent Board of Elections in light voter roll purges that affected the presidential primary elections, City Hall steps, Manhattan.
At noon, children, parents, educators and elected officials rally at City Hall to stop cuts in the executive budget and make children a priority, Manhattan. (NYC Council members Mathieu Eugene, Rory Lancman, Helen Rosenthal, Rafael Espinal, and Fernando Cabrera and NYC Public Advocate Tish James will attend).
At 1 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will host a press conference to make an announcement on utilities, 103 79th St., Brooklyn.
At 1:15 p.m., Schumer urges the National Park Service to immediately add one of Albany’s statue to the National Historic Registry, 991 Broadway, Albany.
At 4 p.m., Beacon Prison Action hold a commemorative ceremony to mark one year since the death of Samuel Harrell, a bipolar man who died in prison, plaza in front of state office building at 125th and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., Manhattan.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are joining forces in a last-ditch effort to deny Donald Trump the Republican presidential nomination. Within minutes of each other, the pair issued statements saying they will divide their efforts in upcoming contests with Cruz focusing on Indiana and Kasich devoting his efforts to Oregon and New Mexico
Cruz: “So let me make things real simple, even if (Trump) dresses up as Hillary Clinton, he shouldn’t be using the girl’s restroom.”
As Trump tried to re-make his campaign – and himself – to be more presidential, he has to deal with supporters like Carl Paladino, who refuse to conform and live to make trouble and say outrageous things.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said that his level of support for Clinton as the party’s nominee would be “totally dependent” on whether she incorporates a progressive agenda like his into her campaign against the Republican nominee.
“Roger Stone, the political provocateur, visited the bar at the Four Seasons Hotel on primary day last week to reminisce about his long friendship with Donald Trump,” which dates back to 1979, when Stone was a 26-year-old aide in Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign.
After a successful attack on corruption in New York’s state government, the hard-charging federal prosecutor in Manhattan, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, appears to have set his sights on New York City.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has renewed his effort to recruit a challenger to his political nemesis, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, next year as the “smell of blood” from widening corruption probes has left de Blasio more vulnerable than ever, anonymous “top Democrats” tell Fred Dicker.
A hefty 11th-hour campaign contribution from a powerful labor union, the Communications Workers of America, to the Nassau County Democratic Party to help Assemblyman Todd Kainsky’s Senate campaign is raising eyebrows in light of the fund-raising scandal that has engulfed de Blasio.
Laurence Laufer, de Blasio’s longtime election lawyer, lashed out over the leak of a damning government memo alleging criminality in the mayor’s fund-raising efforts for a failed, Democratic bid to seize control of the state Senate in 2014.
Laufer criticized the state Board of Elections for referring a case against the mayor and his political allies for criminal investigation and accused the body of leaking the referral to the media.
The New York Post: “Bill de Blasio’s city is for sale.”
After being told by her Assembly leadership she could not screen the Academy Award-winning film “Spotlight” in a legislative hearing room during a May 4 lobby day on child sex abuse issues, Assemblywoman Margaret Markey has found a new location within the Capitol complex.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer vowed to fight for President Obama’s proposal to spend $1.9 billion to fight the Zika virus.
Apr 24th - 6:29 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed additional state emergency workers to an upstate brush fire that so far has consumed about 300 acres. First responders were building a perimeter around the blaze that today was moving south within the mountainous Sam’s Point nature preserve near Ellenville in Ulster County.
Charles G. Koch, the billionaire industrialist, suggested he’s open to supporting Hillary Clinton for president and said it was possible she would make a better president than her Republican rivals.
Clinton tweeted that she’s “not interested in endorsements from people who deny climate science and try to make it harder for people to vote.”
If not for Donald Trump, Clinton would be the most unpopular presidential front-runner in recent times, which poses a problem for her if she is indeed the party’s nominee.
Trump and Clinton looked poised to build on their momentum-shifting wins in New York with victories in the Pennsylvania primaries Tuesday, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll shows.
Clinton’s campaign reportedly feels safe enough with their lead to begin organizing their list of potential running mates – a list which includes former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.
Other potential Clinton VP picks under discussion include: Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, former governors from the key state of Virginia; Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who represents both a more liberal wing of the party and a swing state; and Thomas E. Perez, President Obama’s labor secretary and a Hispanic civil rights lawyer. Clinton, as has been previously reported, is also open to a female running mate.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says he has been losing primaries to Clinton because “poor people don’t vote.”
Sanders, who has already come out against a tax on soda, hinted that cigarettes should be made illegal.
Vice President Joe Biden cast his vote in the Delaware Democratic primary, but stayed quiet on which candidate he voted for as his party’s nominee.
During a rally in Rhode Island, Clinton called Trump a “loose canon.”
So, it turns out you don’t have to be nominated to become the Republican presidential nominee. That’s just one of the rules oddities that became clear last week as the 168 members of the Republican National Committee and top party functionaries met in beachside splendor to discuss the GOP’s messy search for a consensus presidential candidate.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has developed a close relationship with New York City’s real estate sector and accepted millions of dollars in donations from the industry’s executives, ties that are coming under scrutiny as investigators probe his fundraising.
Two community activists called on de Blasio to step down , promising more protesters in the coming weeks at City Hall — which has become a “modern day Tammany Hall.”
At the heart of the Manhattan land deal that has triggered official investigations and sent shudders through New York City’s political culture is a little-known municipal agency that has come to wield enormous power: The Department of Citywide Administrative Services.
De Blasio’s office arranged for the Fund for the City of New York to loan $1.36 million to four private pre-K programs too troubled to get city contracts and now wants to use taxpayer money to repay the loans.
State Board of Elections Chief Enforcement Officer Risa Sugarman probed the 2014 fundraising efforts of de Blasio and his team on behalf of state Senate Democrats and found “willful and flagrant” violations that warranted a criminal referral to the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
Michael Goodwin: “Never again can de Blasio wave off questions about the mushrooming investigations of his administration. As revelations pile up day after day, allies will desert him and the Putz will find himself a very lonely man.”
The criminal investigation into fund-raising efforts by de Blasio and his inner circle has Republican lawmakers salivating and wondering just how far the inquiry will go.
The head of the NYPD’s captains union said he was pleased that the chairman of the city’s cop-watchdog panel has resigned — but insisted that the agency’s problems run much deeper and wholesale change is needed.
Famous fringe candidate Jimmy McMillan, founder of the Rent is Too Damn High party, is running for mayor against de Blasio next year. McMillan announced his candidacy with a text message blast.
Onondaga County DA William Fitzpatrick, who has launched an investigation into Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and her political allies, can compel two lawyers from the city law office to testify, according to a copy of the judge’s sealed ruling obtained by Syracuse.com.
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer is ready to take a “sledgehammer” to the city’s voting system following the disappearance of 126,000 Brooklyn Democrats from election rolls that came to light during last week’s primary.
A new state agency – the Design and Construction Corp. – is fueling anxiety about Cuomo’s increasing involvement with the MTA, raising questions over how to run the nation’s largest transit network.
Denise Jewell Gee: “Boozy Sunday brunches may sound trivial, but this is just another example of the absurd situations that develop when inertia allows outdated regulations to sit on the books.”
Deborah Zoland, a Civilian Complaint Review Board member with ties to the NYPD, resigned from the police watchdog group, and a spokesman for the board said he did not know why she had made the decision to depart.
Big money has flowed into some Buffalo School Board races in recent years, and this year’s campaign is off to another strong fundraising start. Contributions of at least $44,000 have been made to candidates running in the May 3 election.
Members of the Elmont community joined Nassau County Legislator Carrié Solages outside of Cuomo’s regional office in Hicksville, Long Island today to protest a proposed 25,000-seat soccer stadium at Belmont.
Rep. Lee Zeldin announced a new proposal that would suspend the sale and marketing of Plum Island to private buyers and require an additional federal study of the sale.
A recent court ruling regarding Garden City, Long Island is a pivotal development in the long struggle to dismantle housing segregation as the federal government, courts and advocacy groups shift the battle beyond cities to white suburban enclaves that have deliberately erected barriers to integration.
MTA officials said they have been unable to significantly reduce the number of homeless people inside Penn Station in recent years, despite temporarily moving more of them out of the LIRR’s Manhattan terminal and into shelters.
New York doled out nearly $137 million in tax breaks to 39 film projects during the fourth quarter of 2015, including $15.5 million for CBS’ The Good Wife and $14 million for Netflix’s Daredevil. Overall, eight of the films and television shows received more than $10 million each from taxpayers between October and December, a report from Empire State Development showed.
Attorney Peter Henner is taking on the Cuomo administration’s plans to spend $500 million over the next three years to upgrade Internet broadband capacity in under-served areas across New York – not battling the idea itself, but rather seeking to carve out a role as a watchdog in the complicated, years-long process.
Constitution Pipeline said in a statement that it is analyzing the DEC decision to deny environmental quality permits for the company’s $750 million natural gas pipeline and may appeal.
Days after the Kinder Morgan pipeline suspension news broke, and as the state has said “no” to the Constitution proposal, activists and a group of lawmakers are ramping up their efforts to halt another project – the Algonquin Incremental Market pipeline – that would bisect the lower Hudson Valley.
Thurman Thomas suffers from uncontrollable mood swings and is unable to keep his focus. The Buffalo Bills’ Hall of Fame running back made those sobering admissions Friday while giving a keynote speech at the International Concussion Summit at the Hilton in Niagara Falls, Ont.
Apr 22nd - 5:35 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in the New York City area with no public schedule. Members of his cabinet continue to deliver regional budget briefings around the state.
Happy Passover to those of you who celebrate. Also, happy Earth Day.
A fuller calendar of the day’s events appears at the end of this post.
Joe Percoco appears to have continued to function as a top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, even though he technically departed the state payroll in January to become vice president at Madison Square Garden Co. – a company whose executive chairman is close with the governor and one that has a variety of business before the state.
A top official at the New York City Board of Elections has been suspended after widespread complaints of voting problems in Brooklyn during Tuesday’s presidential primaries.
The solo suspension of Diane Haslett-Rudiano from her $125,000-a-year post over widespread polling problems is raising eyebrows that extend beyond party lines.
The inquiry into 2014 contributions solicited by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign apparatus and intended to assist the Senate Democrats is based on a state ban on contributions to a party committee if they are given or solicited for a particular candidate, with an intent to evade individual contribution limits.
A key donor to de Blasio’s fund-raising was subpoenaed, as the growing probe zeroes in on whether his campaign broke rules pursuing checks from powerful interests seeking favors from City Hall. The Manhattan U.S. attorney and the Manhattan DA both demanded documents from NYCLASS – an anti-horse carriage group that has steered hundreds of thousands of dollars to de Blasio in its effort to ban buggies from Central Park.
News of the subpoena for the group came hours after de Blasio tried to rewrite history by denying he had ever promised to enforce such a ban immediately upon taking office.
The New York Times isn’t buying Sheldon Silver’s apology, saying the former assemblyman “felon, symbol of all that is rotten in New York State government, is still ducking and weaving, saying much but revealing little, heedless of the shame and opprobrium clinging to him like cat hair on a coat.”
More than three years after superstorm Sandy, the Build it Back program’s costs are projected to be up nearly $400 million even as the number of homes has fallen by two-thirds, documents show.
New York City has agreed to pay $40 million to settle civil rights lawsuits filed by five people who claimed they were wrongfully convicted of murder in the Bronx and who each spent more than 17 years in prison.
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. agreed to pay $500,000 to settle allegations that it overcharged New York consumers and used misleading advertisements, according to state officials.
Republican Party leaders have turned aside an effort to change the rules at the party’s upcoming national convention to make it harder for the GOP to nominate a fresh presidential candidate.
Donald Trump’s newly installed campaign chief sought to assure members of the RNC that the GOP frontrunner recognized the need to reshape his persona and that his campaign would begin working with the political establishment that he has scorned to great effect.
Even as his team pressed Trump’s case, the billionaire raised fresh concern among some conservatives by speaking against North Carolina’s “bathroom law,” which directs transgender people to use the bathroom that matches the sex on their birth certificates.
Trump took steps last month to build out his political operation. Yet his efforts, coming late in the presidential primary season, fall far short of those of his likely general-election opponent, Hillary Clinton, whose extensive operation whipped into action a full year ago.
State Republican Party chairman Ed Cox finally got around to endorsing Trump for president — two days after the real estate magnate won the GOP primary in his home state by a landslide.
Clinton accused gunmakers and the gun lobby of using their money and power to coerce members of Congress to do their bidding, as she promised to work for new gun-control measures if elected president.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in a contentious battle with Trump for the GOP nomination, released a new ad that will be broadcast in Pennsylvania ahead of Tuesday’s primary. It calls Trump a rich elite and links him with Clinton.
A Pennsylvania pizzeria has created a clinton-themed pie that features her favorite ingredient: Hot sauce.
A surge of 31,000 Long Islanders registered to vote ahead of Tuesday’s presidential primaries, driven by New York’s competitive presidential primary and the candidacies of Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders.
Apr 21st - 6:09 pm
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said that transgender people should be allowed to use whatever bathroom they feel most comfortable with — including at Trump Tower in New York.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz immediately criticized Trump on the issue, saying his opponent “is no different from politically correct leftist elites.”
Trump also said that it was “pure political correctness” to put Harriet Tubman’s face on the redesigned $20 bill.
The RNC is scaling back its financial commitments to some of the most hotly contested states because of flagging fund-raising, the most concrete evidence yet of how the party’s divisive and protracted presidential race is threatening the entire Republican ticket in November.
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, who is auditing the local Board of Elections after reports of voting issues in Tuesday’s primary election, is also a Democratic delegate for Hillary Clinton. He says he’ll recuse himself if an issue arises from his investigation.
Clinton revealed her husband’s most annoying habit: Falling asleep with the lights on.
A lawyer who charges she was denied a judgeship in New York City as retaliation by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration for her lawsuit against the Civilian Complaint Review Board is seeking to add a former judge of the state Court of Appeals, Carmen Ciparick, to the lawsuit.
Under an agreement with state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office, Walgreen Co., which operates hundreds of Walgreens and Duane Reade stores across New York, will pay the state $500,000 after routinely charging customers different prices at the register than what was listed on shelves and in ads.
Schneiderman said the federal government’s settlement with Volkswagen regarding the automaker’s cheating on diesel emissions tests will have no bearing on the separate track that New York and other states are taking on the affair.
The confirmed list of attendees for President Obama’s final White House Correspondents Association dinner isn’t nearly as star heavy as it was when the association welcomed Obama for the first time in 2009.
The former secretary of state said her biggest political regret is voting to give President Bush authority to go to war in Iraq: “It did not turn out the way I thought it would based on what he had said.”
RIP Prince, dead at the age of 57.
Congress’ in-house music lover, Queens Rep. Joe Crowley, said: “Simply put, Prince was a genius. Whether it was pop, funk, rock, or gospel, the depth of his talent was second to none. The world lost a true legend today.”
Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg: “(E)ven if the court ultimately strikes down certain parts of the plan, the U.S. will meet and probably exceed its commitment to reduce emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025.”
The New York Observer’s list of the 50 most powerful people in NYC politics is out.
State Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney is the early favorite to win the Republican primary to fill the NY-22 seat of retiring Rep. Richard Hanna, according to an internal poll Tenney’s campaign released today.
Nearly two weeks after New Jersey Transit named a new executive director, state officials said that the appointee, William Crosbie, a former Amtrak official, had decided not to take the job.
Ben & Jerry explained why they were willing to get arrested at a D.C. march “demanding the return of political power to the people” by getting big money out of politics.
The media group that coordinated the Panama Papers investigation into offshore companies said it would not participate in a criminal probe by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Madison County is anxiously waiting for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign legislation that would allow them to receive payments as part of their host county status.
Cuomo announced today that his administration will make $150 million in funds available for new renewable energy projects across the state.
Apr 21st - 4:52 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City area with no public schedule, while members of his cabinet deliver regional budget briefings at various locations throughout the state.
LG Kathy Hochul has a busy day with numerous public events scheduled in New York City.
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump and Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton are back in New York City.
A fuller calendar of the day’s events appears at the end of this post.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office is opening an investigation into voting irregularities after receiving over 1,000 complaints from New Yorkers in the wake of Tuesday’s botched presidential primary.
The board’s much-maligned Primary Day performance is also being audited by the office of Scott Stringer, the NYC comptroller, who released an online form for voters to submit information about their experiences.
As New York surveyed the damage, there came calls for state lawmakers to change the state’s “archaic voter registration system” to address potential further disenfranchisement in the democratic process for some citizens.
Even if Democratic Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky is declared the winner of the special election to succeed former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, officials on both sides of the aisle in Albany said little, if anything, would change between now and November, when the full Senate will be in play.
Nassau Republican Party Chairman Joseph Mondello said Kaminsky most likely has won the election, though the Republican candidate, Chris McGrath, has so far not conceded the race, and some 3,000 absentee ballots have yet to be counted.
Newsday: “Don’t let the paper chase in the 9th District fool you, Todd Kaminsky is on his way to the State Senate.”
Disgraced ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver should serve far more than 10 years for corruption — and more than any other state legislator convicted of similar crimes, federal prosecutors argued in new court papers.
Silver offered an emotional apology to the judge who will sentence him next month, saying in a letter that he had “failed the people of New York,” adding: What I have done has hurt the Assembly, and New York, and my constituents terribly, and I regret that more than I can possibly express.”
Donald Trump’s Cessna, which records show has been used to shuttle the candidate to dozens of campaign events in recent months, has been flying with an expired registration since Feb. 1, has been grounded by the FAA until it has been re-registered.
Might Trump be interested in seeing Suffolk County GOP Chairman John Jay LaValle replace Ed Cox as state GOP chairman?
Brooklyn native Bernie Sanders lost the borough of Brooklyn big to Clinton, and couldn’t even carry the block where he grew up in his old Midwood neighborhood.
Though Sanders lost to Clinton statewide, he ran even with her in Erie County and outpolled her in Niagara County. Trump, meanwhile, did better in Erie and Niagara than in the rest of the Empire State.
As the primary calendar turns to Connecticut, the Clinton campaign has enlisted a powerful new surrogate who has cut both a 30-second and 60-second ad for the campaign: a daughter of Dawn Hochsprung, the principal killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Clinton and Trump ran strongly on Long Island, beating their statewide margins amid high voter turnout.
First Lady Michelle Obama called Clinton an “impressive” and a “phenomenal woman” in response to a 14-year-old’s question at a White House event, saying the former secretary of state like “many” of the other candidates, has devoted her life to public service.
Reflecting on Clinton’s double-digit victory in New York, an anonymous senior aide to Clinton told Politico: “We kicked ass tonight,” adding: “I hope this convinces Bernie to tone it down. If not, f@#k him.”
Sanders spent $9 for every vote he received in New York’s Democratic primary, while billionaire Trump shelled out just 13 cents per vote in the Republican contest, media tracking data showed.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who won no delegates in New York’s primary, was back on the campaign trail and back to slamming the Empire State in a bid to pick up votes in Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary.
How did a man who prides himself on his New York attitude, a man who starred in an ad for a pizza called “The Big Yorker” lose in New York, New York?
Coordinated federal and state investigations into NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fundraising operations are examining efforts by a politically connected group to ban horse carriages in New York City.
NYC is withholding $35,000 in taxpayer funding from the group Borough Park Shomrim patrol following the arrest of one of its leaders in a nearly $1 million bribery scheme involving NYPD pistol permits.
The number of inmates held in solitary confinement on New York City’s Rikers Island has fallen sharply, in what city officials say is a sign of a gradual turnaround at a jail complex marred by allegations of violence and abuse.
Apr 20th - 5:14 pm
The U.S. Treasury Department had decided that abolitionist Harriet Tubman will replace former President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, while Alexander Hamilton, one of the U.S. founding fathers, will remain on the front of the $10 bill.
Historians and Auburn residents heralded the decision to put Tubman’s portrait on currency saying honoring the former slave who guided others to freedom is long overdue.
A spokesman for Sen. Simcha Felder, the Brooklyn Democrat, said that the senator “plans on continuing to caucus with the Republicans,” so the GOP retains control of the Senate chamber, despite Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky’s apparent win on Long Island.
Adam Haber, who unsuccessfully attempted to unseat Republican Sen. Jack Martins in 2014 and is running again for the seat Martins is vacating to run for Congress, views the 9th SD race as a turning point for Long Island.
Fresh off his big New York win, Donald Trump reunited with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for a series of private political meetings in Indiana.
Carl Paladino appeared on NPR this morning and described supporters of Trump as people frustrated with government who “want the raccoons out of the basement.”
Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani is going to campaign on Trump’s behalf soon.
Sen. Bill Perkins, who endorsed Bernie Sanders, thought NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio missed an opportunity to polish his progressive bona fides by backing Clinton over the Vermont senator.
The “real winner” last night: Populism.
Some advice for Clinton and Trump from a group of New York political consultants.
Thousands of New Yorkers voted for Ben Carson even though he suspended his campaign last month. He even beat Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in one district.
Roughly 2.65 million votes were cast in yesterday’s presidential primaries, according to unofficial results from the state Board of Elections.
…in terms of turnout, the GOP hit a high water mark for this century, while the Democrats are on pace to finish somewhat near the 1,891,143 voters who cast ballots in 2008.
After months of deliberations and negotiations, the NYC Council voted to pass de Blasio’s plan to rezone East New York.
The executive director of the NYC Board of Elections insisted no one was disenfranchised in yesterday’s primaries, insisting that people who were not supposed to be voting had protested by trying to vote.
Kelly Ripa is reportedly feeling “hurt and betrayed” by the abrupt departure of her co-host, Michael Strahan.
PEF’s executive board voted overwhelmingly in favor of sending a one year tentative contract agreement, including a 2 percent retroactive salary increase, to its members for a ratification vote.
The criminal-justice system is cracking down on alleged sellers of fake “Hamilton” tickets.
Some more bad economic news for upstate.
Apr 20th - 7:20 am
Well, it’s over, and we survived.
The first presidential primary in years in which New York actually mattered is in the books. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won big in their home state, with the former out-performing many public polls, and the latter performing about as well as predicted, if not better.
Clinton and Trump were the night’s most obvious winners, while their respective opponents – Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side; Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on the GOP side – were the clear losers.
But, as with any election, there were some not-so-obvious winners and losers, too. A few thoughts on that…
– Gov. Andrew Cuomo had a very good night.
Though he had to set aside his own widely-speculated White House aspirations to clear the way for fellow New Yorker Clinton, he campaigned hard on her behalf, and won the coveted just-before-the-candidate speaking role at last night’s victory party. He used his time in the national spotlight to tout his accomplishments as governor just as much, if not more, than touting Clinton and her big win.
– It was also a good night for Cuomo’s 2010 Republican nemesis Carl Paladino. The Buffalo businessman jumped the shark in that election cycle with his mad-as-hell demeanor and willingness to pretty much say whatever came to mind.
In other words, he was Trump before Trump was Trump.
And, not surprisingly, Paladino is a big Trump supporter, leading the charge for his fellow real estate developer leading up to New York’s primary. Paladino landed a coveted spot on stage just behind the candidate at his Trump Tower victory speech, and could be seen on national TV, smiling broadly for the cameras just over Trump’s shoulder. Paladino now says he’s considering another run for governor in 2018. But he says a lot of things. Only time will tell.
– Not such a great night for NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was late to get on the Clinton campaign bandwagon, though he did serve as an active surrogate for her in the final days before yesterday’s primary. De Blasio spoke at Clinton’s victory party just before Cuomo, with whom the mayor has been at odds for some time.
And shortly before midnight, the New York Times reported that a federal inquiry into the mayor’s fundraising has broadened to include his efforts to support the state Senate Democrats’ failed effort to re-take the majority in 2014. That was a crusade de Blasio took up to fill a void left by Cuomo, who pledged to help his fellow Dems in order to land the WFP nod for his own re-election bid (a deal the mayor helped broker) and then didn’t follow through.
– The WFP itself had a mixed night. The labor-backed party bucked the Democratic establishment to endorse Sanders over Clinton, even though it had supported her U.S. Senate runs in New York. The WFP worked hard on Sanders’ behalf, even though its members were barred from voting for him due to the closed Democratic primary rules.
Sanders fell short, though he did carry upstate, much like Zephyr Teachout (a WFP creation who did not end up running with WFP support) did against Cuomo in the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary.
The WFP saw its candidate in the special election for ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s seat, Yuh-Line Niou, lose to the Democrat, Alice Cancel, who had been selected by Silver allies. But getting Democrats to cross over and vote WFP on the same day as a hotly contested Democratic presidential primary was a long-shot to begin with.
It looks like the WFP fared better on Long Island, where it backed Democratic Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky against Republican Chris McGrath in the race for ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ seat. Just 780 votes separate the two candidates, and McGrath has refused to concede, though Kaminsky has already declared victory.
A Kaminsky win would be very bad for the Senate GOP, tipping the numeric balance of power in the Democrats’ favor, though their ability to actually take control of the chamber hinges on the willingness – or lack thereof – of the breakaway, five-member IDC to return to the fold.
– State GOP Chair Ed Cox and the New York Republican “establishment” did not fare well last night. Cox was not present at Trump’s victory party. And though he insisted he was neutral in the GOP presidential primary, he was widely believed to be part of the anti-Trump set. Now comes a skirmish between the two Cox and Trump/Paladino people over the selection of convention delegates, which should be fun to watch.
Trump’s success also no doubt makes many “traditional” Republicans who are running this fall nervous, especially those who didn’t endorse him. If Trump succeeds in landing the GOP nod at the party’s convention, he could cause a drag on down-ballot candidates. Polls have shown Clinton defeating him handily in New York in the general election.
Apr 20th - 6:24 am
The historic New York presidential primary, in which the state mattered for the first time in years, is in the books, and it was a big night for the two candidates who call the Empire State home: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Now the political circus moves on to others states – Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island (April 26), Indiana (May 3), California (June 7), just to name a few – where residents haven’t had the opportunity to weigh in, and we New Yorkers get to go back to what qualifies for business as usual, whatever that may be.
There were also special elections yesterday to fill two state legislative seats left vacant by the federal corruption convictions of their former occupants – ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (lower Manhattan) and ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (Nassau County, Long Island).
The results in those elections were decidedly mixed.
The Democratic establishment candidate with ties to Silver, Alice Cancel, won his old seat and defeating Yuh-Line Niou, who ran on the Working Families Party ballot.
On Long Island, the Democratic candidate, Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, declared victory in the race for Skelos’ old district, though his Republican opponent, attorney Chris McGrath, refused to concede, saying the race is too close to call until all the ballots have been counted.
Just 780 votes separate the two candidates, and more than 2,700 absentee ballots are still outstanding, though slightly more of those were given to Democrats than Republicans.
Technically speaking, a Kaminsky win would return control of the chamber to the Democrats, but only if the breakaway, five-member IDC agrees to return to the fold, and does not renegotiate its old power-sharing deal with the Republicans.
It was a good night for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who campaigned hard on Clinton’s behalf, though he had to put his own White House dreams aside to clear the way for her to run. He got to introduce the candidate at her victory party in midtown Manhattan last night, and did so in a speech that focused as much (if not more) on his own accomplishments as governor as it did on her big win.
It was not a good night for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who saw a late-night report by the New York Times that the federal investigation into his fundraising has widened to include the cash he raised to help the state Senate Democrats in their (failed) bid to re-take the majority in the 2014 election cycle.
It was also not a good night for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and his supporters, some of whom complained bitterly about being unable to vote for their preferred candidate due to the state’s closed primary system, (though the rules have been as they are for some time, and not at all a secret), and saw a last-minute legal challenge in hopes of opening up the Democratic primary rejected by a judge.
The Vermont senator did very well upstate, winning more or less everything outside of the Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse urban centers, along with the New York City suburbs, which Clinton carried. He also did well among white men and people under 45, while Clinton drew deep support from women and African-American voters.
On the Republican side, Trump was far and away the winner in New York City, receiving 64 percent of the vote, with Ohio Gov. John Kasich coming in a distant second at 22 percent and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 13 percent.
Trump encountered one of his few speed bumps in the Syracuse area’s NY-24, where the Republican front-runner had his worst performance upstate. (This perhaps doesn’t bode well for freshman GOP Rep. John Katko’s re-election bid).
Apr 19th - 4:24 pm
The end of this crazy, whirlwind New York presidential primary is near! Polls will be open for another few hours. If you haven’t already gone out to vote – and if you are indeed eligible to do so – please make sure you make it to your polling site before 9 p.m.
While we await the results, a few headlines for your reading pleasure…I’ll be co-hosting primary night coverage with my colleague, Errol Louis, host of NY1’s “Inside City Hall,” and that will be airing all across the state on TWC News and in NYC, too.
Looking forward to a really interesting night – especially on the Democratic side of things – though we’re expecting the GOP race to be called fairly early.
Donald Trump insists he’s a “unifier,” though he admits he has said some things during this campaign that were “a little bit too tough.”
Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who decided against running for president, said it doesn’t matter who wins the White House because the federal government “does next to nothing.”
Bloomberg also thinks Trump and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are part of the same “phenomenon,” adding: “People are not happy with their government. It has failed them. It hasn’t addressed their needs.”
Rep. Peter King, a Long Island Republican and dean of the New York GOP delegation, facetiously threatened suicide if arch-conservative Texas Sen. Ted Cruz snares the party’s nomination for president.
Trump’s campaign paid Breitbart News national security editor Sebastian Gorka $8,000 for “policy consulting” last year, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
Amid widespread reporters of voter disenfranchisement and poll site problems, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer announced he will audit the operations and management of the NYC Board oF Elections.
Also, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has ordered the Board of Elections to investigate why more than 63,000 registered Democrats were dropped from the voting rolls since last fall.
“I’m Rudy Giuliani, I mean a lot in New York politics, I endorse Donald Trump, but I’m not a part of the campaign.”
If Trump is close to having 1,237 delegates at the end of the primary fight, the RNC should change party rules and give him the nomination, Giuliani said.
In the final hours before today’s primary, more people were searching Sanders on Google than Clinton.
How, exactly, has Sanders raised all that campaign cash? BuzzFeed takes a closer look at the senator’s money operation.
Attention Pat Kiernan, (I’m sure he already knows), Michael Strahan is trading one morning show for another: He’s leaving ABC’s “Live: Kelly and Michael” for “Good Morning America.”
The registration on Trump’s private jet has lapsed as of Jan. 31.
Three months after the death of 421a, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he wants no part of a subsidy program that doesn’t support union labor.
The MTA will begin testing LIRR engineers for a sleep disorder that may have factored into a deadly 2013 Metro-North derailment in the Bronx, Cuomo and Sen. Chuck Schumer announced.
Ben Carson is on the primary ballot today. But if you’re casting a vote for the now former Republican presidential candidate, your vote now really doesn’t matter.
Melissa Harris-Perry, who parted ways with MSNBC in February after a dispute with the network over what she could cover on her show, is Elle.com’s new editor-at-large.
Trump questioned Clinton’s love of hot sauce, accusing her of pandering to black people, though she has been talking about it for years.
Clinton joked about her “private” ballot after voting with her husband near their Westchester County home.
The state is expected to weigh in by month’s end on one of the biggest environmental actions Cuomo has faced since his fracking ban with a long-delayed decision on the Constitution natural gas pipeline. Insiders have said the decision could go either way, and will set the stage for other pipeline projects to come.
According to a Pew Charitable Trusts report, most states, including New York, have seen some modest gains in personal income since the recession and over the past year, but the Empire State since 2007 has lagged behind the nation as a whole.
In a Syracuse Post-Standard OpEd, Rep. John Katko talked up his Parental Savings Account proposal as a better paid family leave option for workers and small businesses.
Former NYPD officer Peter Liang was sentenced to probation by a Brooklyn judge for shooting an unarmed black man in a public housing project stairwell in 2014 in a ruling expected to set off denunciations from police critics.
Embattled taxi fleet owner Evgeny Freidman has agreed to pay more than $250,000 in fines to the state and restitution to drivers who Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says Freidman bilked, though he’s neither admitting nor denying guilt.
A Syracuse-area school superintendent who recently agreed to retire after he was arrested for DWI will not receive a buyout, according to his retirement agreement with the district.
State environmental officials are investigating a whistleblower’s report that large drums were discovered at Bethpage Community Park decades ago during excavation work and subsequently reburied.
Apr 18th - 5:55 pm
The latest NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll shows Donald Trump still has a commanding lead over his GOP rivals in New York, with 54 percent among likely primary voters, compared to Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s 25 percent and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s 16 percent.
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said at a Hillary Clinton rally: “A woman voting for Ted Cruz is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders.”
Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan will introduce Trump at tonight’s First Niagara Center rally, but says that should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Kasich and Cruz are hoping to pick up support from Orthodox Jewish voters in NYC.
Trump and his national campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, have been accused in a lawsuit by a political strategist of inciting a “virtual mob” to bully her after she questioned the real estate magnate’s fitness for office.
Decades before New York’s Republican primary, Trump engaged similar tactics in a different type of battle in his home state: A dispute over rent-controlled apartments on Central Park South.
Brooklyn’s Jumaane Williams this afternoon became the second member of the NYC Council to endorse Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, saying he sees the value in a “political revolutionary moonshot.”
Clinton revealed her favorite New York restaurants. DeFazio’s Pizza in Troy and Gianelli Sausage in North Syracuse made the cut, along with Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Charlie the Butcher in Buffalo.
Trump calls Clinton “crooked,” and she returns the favor by deeming him the “donkey of the decade.”
Clinton carries hot sauce in her bag, (swag).
…and in case you were wondering, her preferred hot sauce brand is Ninja Squirrel, a Sriracha from the in-house brand of Texas-based Whole Foods Market.
Clinton tried bubble tea for the first time while campaigning in NYC.
Once the New York primary is behind her, Clinton will campaign in Connecticut, which holds its primary on Tuesday, April 26.
The Sanders campaign released an online video of the senator walking through his old Brooklyn neighborhood with actor Mark Ruffalo.
The Vermont senator weighed in on two issues close to the heart of New York environmentalists: the under-development Constitution natural gas pipeline that would run from the Pennsylvania border in Broome County to the Capital Region.
The Schenectady Gazette endorsed Kasich, calling him a candidate who could “actually do the job” of president.
Karenna Gore penned a NYT OpEd denouncing the Constitution Pipeline project, and calls on the DEC to reject it.
Three members of the NYPD License Division have been moved out of their positions as part of an ongoing corruption probe into the department, the NYPD and federal officials announced.
In one of her first acts as Regents chancellor, Betty Rosa announced the creation of a research workgroup, marking a new era of healing as the board seeks conciliation.
The Long Island Jewish World endorsed Republican Chris McGrath in the race for former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ seat.
Syracuse was dethroned yet again from its perch as the snowiest big city in America.
Big increases in leisure travel, including summer beach outings, helped the LIRR carry more customers in 2015 than any time in 66 years, according to a new report.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s big pick-up line: “What’s your IQ?”
Rapper Slick Rick was sworn in at a U.S. citizenship oath ceremony in New York on Friday, ending a 23-year legal battle. And it’s all thanks to a pardon from former Gov. David Paterson.