Liz Benjamin

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Posts by Liz Benjamin

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

At 10 a.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli will address the Teamsters Conference, the Fort William Henry Resort and Conference Center, 48 Canada St., Lake George.

Also at 10 a.m., GOP gubernatorial candidate and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino will attend the Chautauqua County Fair with candidate for sheriff Rusa Payne, 1089 Central Ave., Dunkirk.

At 1 p.m., the first meeting about the broadband availability enhancement component of the Smart Schools Initiative will be held, Blue Room, second floor, state Capitol.

At 2 p.m., Astorino will attend a Cattaraugus County meet and greet, Cutco Theatre at JCC, 250 North Union St., Olean.

From 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., a tourism workshop on “Becoming China Ready” takes place in Empire State Plaza’s Meeting Rooms 4 and 5, concourse, Albany.

At 6 p.m., Astorino will attend the Chautauqua GOP Annual Dinner, Lakewood Rod & Gun Club, 433 E. Terrace Ave., Lakewood.

Headlines…

Cuomo’s campaign operatives are being accused of dirty tricks for allegedly sponsoring a biased “push poll” to convince voters that the governor’s GOP opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, holds politically unacceptable views.

The death of Eric Garner while in NYPD custody reveals the tensions between two of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s priorities: mending relations between the police and minority residents while fighting serious crime by focusing on petty offenses.

Eric Garner’s son, Eric Snipes, said he wants to see Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the plainclothes cop seen in a viral video putting Garner in a chokehold and refusing to let up even when the father of six repeatedly yelled he couldn’t breathe, behind bars.

Although officially banned by the NYPD, the chokehold can often be effective in subduing a person resisting arrest and has been tough to eliminate its use by officers.

Four emergency responders have been placed on desk duty as prosecutors investigate the Garner case. The two paramedics and two emergency medical technicians, employed by Richmond University Medical Center, can’t respond to 911 medical calls until the investigation is complete.

The head of the NYC police union asked the public and elected officials to give officers involved in the incident that led to Garner’s death “the benefit of the doubt.”

De Blasio and his family kicked off an eight-day summer vacation on Sunday standing with Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino on a balcony overlooking the Roman Forum, the city’s birthplace. The family is scheduled to spend less than 48 hours in Rome before heading to Capri, once an island vacation hideaway of Roman emperors and now a favorite hangout for the glitterati.

Italian journalists referred to de Blasio as “the cool mayor,” and were impressed by his willingness to handle his own baggage.

The NYT gives the de Blasio vacation its stamp of approval: “You can’t blame Mr. de Blasio for leaving town. He is the city’s chief executive, but he is also a husband and dad, and surely has an acute sense of the fleeting preciousness of time with family.”

A spokesman for Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice called sexist and racially insensitive tweets by her congressional campaign staffer “stupid…attempts at sarcasm and parody,” and said the staffer has been disciplined.

State lawmakers spent $300,000 over the past six months from their campaign accounts to cover legal fees stemming from multiple scandals — bringing the total to $7.5 million since 2004

The Democrat & Chronicle says its difficulty in getting information on a Cuomo TV ad campaign “reflects a culture of secrecy that continues to permeate Albany nearly four years into an administration that promised to be ‘the most transparent and accountable in history.’”

Florida’s treasurer is accusing Cuomo of running a misleading ad campaign about START-UP NY that’s aimed at luring business to New York from the Sunshine State, saying: “We know a huckster when we see one.”

More >

The Weekend That Was

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his Vermont counterpart, Peter Shumlin, reportedly tied in the second annual Adirondack Rafting Challenge on the Indian River.

Also participating: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and DSCC Chairman Mike Gianaris.

At a rally in Harlem on Saturday, the Rev. Al Sharpton said the death of Eric Garner as he was being arrested by NYPD officers would test the commitment of the de Blasio administration to police reforms.

The NYPD has taken away the gun and badge of Officer Daniel Pantaleo as the department and prosecutors investigate his use of an apparent chokehold on Garner, of Staten Island. Patrick Lynch, the president of the PBA, said that decision was “absolutely wrong.”

After delaying their departure briefly, the de Blasio family has arrived in Italy with his family for the start of an 8-day summer vacation that includes a mix of meetings with government officials and sightseeing in the mayor’s ancestral homeland.

Jon Bon Jovi and the Toronto-based group interested in buying the Buffalo Bills reportedly want to keep the team in Buffalo.

The tentative contract agreement to avert a shutdown of the LIRR was far from scripted, people close to the tense labor negotiations say. Unions representing the employees were so close to walking off the job that Long Island lawmakers had quietly taken steps to draft federal legislation to forestall or halt a strike.

DeVry Education Group Inc. said AG Eric Schneiderman’s office is investigating whether the for-profit education company’s marketing violates laws against false advertising.

Former Clinton strategist James Carville mocked the new Bill and Hillary-bashing book “Blood Feud,” saying “a Bugs Bunny comic book has more reality to it.”

The reunification between the IDC and the so-called “regular” Senate Democrats does not – at this point – appear to extend to a merging of their campaign cash.

The NYC Medical Examiner’s Office is a mess — plagued with errors, including bodies being lost, mistakenly cremated or wrongly donated to science — while millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on plans and equipment useful only in a mass disaster, the Post reports.

Volunteer firefighters and officials will urge Cuomo to sign a proposed law, which would allow volunteer fire departments to check if prospective members are convicted sex offenders.

Chris Churchill: “If a casino is built on the Rensselaer waterfront, we can thank (or blame) Joe Bruno.”

Astorino called the “New York is Open for Business” TV ad campaign a “swindle of historic proportions” and said Cuomo should halt it ASAP.

Although the locavore movement caught fire about a decade ago, it has gotten a push during the past year in New York, where Cuomo has made it part of his economic policy.

The TU cheers US Attorney Preet Bharara for picking up where Cuomo’s Moreland Commission left off.

A year after then-NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg vowed to “destroy” the yellow-cab industry, his allies and surrogates are pouring energy and cash into ride-sharing ventures fiercely opposed by New York’s hacks and medallion owners.

A day after blaming the Albany political establishment for its decision to yank a $186 million bond financing deal that cost the city nearly $2 million, officials at the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany are now saying it’s the news media’s fault.

The head of the City Council’s powerful Finance Committee, Julissa Ferreras, once ran a taxpayer-funded, not-for-profit that routinely issued checks to her and her parents.

Republican congressional candidate Bruce Blakeman is calling for his opponent, Democratic Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, to fire a campaign staffer who had posted a joke to Twitter about domestic violence.

In a dramatic shift of momentum, none of the key power brokers in Syracuse are publicly pushing today for the Interstate 81 viaduct to be replaced by a new elevated highway that bisects the city.

Bob McCarthy keeps track of the rapidly changing political landscape in WNY.

Prominent members of the Jewish community ripped Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout for hiring an anti-Israel consultant: Robert Akleh, a former field director for the Working Families Party.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer says pet owners could save millions of dollars on prescriptions for their animals if they could buy the drugs at ordinary pharmacies.

Rep. Brian Higgins had more than 25 times as much campaign cash on hand on June 30 as did his Republican rival, former radio personality Kathy Weppner. And while Rep. Chris Collins had $561,973 to spend, the campaign of his Democratic opponent, Orchard Park police officer Jim O’Donnell, is $656 in debt.

According to FEC filings, Elise Stefanik has only $152,103 on hand after spending more than $680,000 on her GOP primary campaign against Matt Doheny. Democrat Aaron Woolf, who did not face a primary opponent, has $757,834 on hand.

Georgina Bloomberg is relieved her father never ran for president.

Extras

Rep. Michael Grimm has a new attorney in his federal indictment case, and a court date Monday.

Rep. Charlie Rangel loaned $100,000 to his re-election campaign one day before the Democratic congressional primary on June 24.

Anyone who dares slander retiring Sen. Greg Ball will be handled with “absolute force.”

Jim Malatras is returning to the Cuomo administration as the new Howard Glaser. Glaser’s deputy Fran Reiter is retiring due to “health reasons.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the “two Rochesters.”

Zephry Teachout, botherer of bulls.

IDC Leader Jeff Klein took a $10,000 campaign donation from a mafia-linked realty company – the same firm he rents his district office space from.

Rep. Tim Bishop’s fellow House Democrats have contributed $121,800 to him either from their own campaign funds or from their leadership PACs.

Contrary to what EPA Administration Judith Enck claims, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens says Onondaga Lake is so clean he’d swim it in himself (if there was a beach).

Rocker Jon Bon Jovi is part of a Toronto group that has retained a banking firm and submitted paperwork expressing interest in buying the Buffalo Bills.

NYC First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris said the administration would support a ban or fee on plastic shopping bags, which the City Council has been eying to pass.

“It’s not like the mayor sits in my office all day, although he does sometimes come in to eat my M&M’s.”

One of the START-UP NY ads features footage of workers as businesses unlikely to qualify for START-UP NY.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand OpEds in favor of the Summer Meals Act.

The governor’s office announced that 68 after-school programs across New York will share nearly $11 million in state and federal grants.

The mother of 9-year-old Anna Conte who fought to legalize medical marijuana in New York to help treat the girl’s seizures said on her Facebook page that her daughter died.

While touring Iowa as Republican Governors Association chair, NJ Gov. Chris Christie gave glimmers of what a possible Christie presidential bid in 2016 could look and feel like.

Christie’s chief economist is resigning after a hectic three-and-a-half years in Trenton.

The “I Love New York” program, which promotes New York businesses and tourism, is expanding into China.

Another round of layoffs at the New York Daily News.

Here and Now

It’s Opening Day at the racetrack in Saratoga Springs.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is in the city with no public schedule. He and his family depart for a vacation in Italy this evening.

At 8:45 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on 98.1FM/1590 WAUB Finger Lakes Morning News with host Joe Salzone.

At 9:45 a.m., Astorino will attend and deliver remarks at the American Legion Convention, Desmond Hotel, 660 Albany Shaker Rd., Albany.

At 10:30 a.m., NYC Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr., former Mayor David Dinkins, the principal of K. 455 Boys and Girls High School, Bernard Gassaway, state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery and Assemblywoman Annette Robinson speak during a ceremony to mark the observance of “Nelson Mandela International Day,” between Atlantic Avenue and Fulton Street and Lewis Street and Utica Avenue, Brooklyn.

At 11:15 a.m., Astorino will be a guest on the Laura Ingraham Show.

At 11:30 a.m., LG Bob Duffy attends a groundbreaking ceremony the or Central New York Hub for Emerging Nano Industries, 24 Aspen Park Blvd., East Syracuse.

At noon, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli will rally supporters of his re-election campaign at a “major event” in Buffalo. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown will formally endorse DiNapoli, UAW Region 9 Headquarters, 35 George Karl Blvd., Suite 100.

At 12:15 p.m., Astorino will attend and deliver remarks at the Associated General Contractors Conference, The Sagamore, 110 Sagamore Rd., Bolton Landing.

At 12:45 p.m., NY-21 GOP candidate Elise Stefanik will tour ReEnergy Black River on Fort Drum.

At 3:30 p.m., Astorino will be a guest on 92.1FM/1040AM WYSL The Credibility Report with host Peter Haidt.

At 3:45 p.m., Astorino will attend Saratoga Racetrack Opening Day with Sen. Kathy Marchione, Saratoga Racetrack, Union Ave., Saratoga Springs.

At 6 p.m., Stefanik will tour the Watertown Rams stadium to tour and throw out the first pitch at their game.

At 6:30 p.m., Chemung County Sheriff and GOP LG candidate Chris Moss marches in the Seneca County Parade and attends the Seneca County Fair, Waterloo.

At 7 p.m., Rep. Chris Gibson attends an Oneonta Outlaws game, where he will throw out the ceremonial first pitch, Damaschke Field.

Headlines…

Federal prosecutors investigating Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s shutdown of the Moreland Commission have subpoenaed the assistant to its former executive director to testify before a grand jury. The subpoena asked for documents and correspondence – including any communications with Cuomo and his senior aides.

Prodded by Cuomo, LIRR union leaders and MTA negotiators reached a tentative deal in the four-year-long contract battle that averts a strike and for the first time requires all workers to pay for health care.

Cuomo finalized the deal over a seafood lunch at the Midtown restaurant Docks Oyster Bar downstairs from his office. He had fish.

Getting involved at the 11th hour in labor disputes and then taking credit for closing the deal has become a “signature move” for Cuomo, Ken Lovett notes.

The state has proposed shutting down the Indian Point nuclear plant for up to three months a year to protect fish in the Hudson River.

New York has spent $161 million on ads promoting tourism and its business climate since Cuomo took office in 2011, according to records released late yesterday. The largest chunk – $28 million – went toward START-UP NY ads.

It took the Cuomo administration a long time to fill FOIL requests for its ad spending information. Gannett waited a year.

Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul headlined a rally on the Upper West Side to announce she and Cuomo plan to run on a new Women’s Equality ballot line.

Critics called the new ballot line a cynical ploy by Cuomo to boost turnout among women voters.

Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial hopeful Rob Astorino continues to call for eight regional debates between himself and Cuomo.

Former Queens Councilman Daniel Halloran testified at his federal trial that an envelope of cash he took from someone who turned out to be a government informant wasn’t a bribe but a personal loan.

Mayor Stephanie Miner wrote to President Barack Obama today to urge federal officials to establish a site in Syracuse to house immigrant children awaiting deportation.

Republican attorney general candidate John Cahill’s $1 million-plus campaign haul included $20,000 from conservative hedge fund manager Sean Fieler, known for his controversial statements about homosexuality and his activism against abortion.

A group of Capital Region lobbyists for hopeful cannabis growers and dispensary owners started a business alliance.

More >

Extras

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has the largest lead in the polls among states with governor’s races this year, according to FiveThirtyEight.

When it comes to fundraising, however, Cuomo has been eclipsed by Texan Greg Abbott, a Republican running for governor against Democrat Wendy Davis in the race to replace Rick Perry.

Speaking of Texas, speculation that Sen. Greg Ball is relocating there continues, thanks to recent campaign contribution he made.

LG candidate Kathy Hochul refused to admit she has “evolved” on immigration, preferring to say her position on the matter was misunderstood and has been clarified.

Hochul filed paperwork to create a campaign committee for her LG run.

Former Gov. David Paterson recently joined the advisory board of a company named in an indictment unsealed by Brooklyn federal prosecutors whose stock was manipulated.

The Obama administration needs to act quickly to phase-out the older railroad tank cars carrying millions of gallons of Bakken crude through New York, US Sen. Chuck Schumer said.

The Tr-State Transportation Committee finally received its FOIL request for the new Tappan Zee Bridge financial plan. (Don’t expect too much here).

The three counties around Syracuse lost more jobs in the past year than any other region in the state, according to new state Labor Department numbers.

When he took the stand in his trial on corruption charges, ex-NYC Councilman Dan Halloran repeatedly mentioned his surgery to remove a benign brain tumor.

The state’s overall unemployment rate dropped, but it remains higher than the national average.

GOP NY-21 candidate Elise Stefanik reiterated her pledge to fight against cuts to Fort Drum if she’s elected to Congress.

Although her poll numbers are pretty low, Zephyr Teachout is proving to be popular with downtown Democratic clubs in NYC.

So far, only one person has reviewed Teachout’s petitions – longtime general election attorney Josh Ehrlich. No challenges have been filed yet.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has a new buildings commissioner – the last major post in his administration to be filled.

While in Italy, de Blasio hopes to find eggplant parm that’s better than his mom’s.

The mayor won’t rule out possibly taking another vacation later this year.

Alan Chartock: “Really, why would anyone really want to be lieutenant governor of New York?”

RIP, Elaine Stritch.

Gibson: ‘Common Sense, Not Common Core’

Rep. Chris Gibson may have taken a pass on running on the “Stop Common Core” ballot line being created by GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, but he’s doubling down on his opposition to the controversial curriculum with a new web video that touts a “common sense” approach to education reform.

The video, which the Republican congressman released earlier today, is light on details. It features Jennifer Pelesz, a parent from Valatie, who touts the fact that the congressman lives locally and understands her concerns about Common Core, and Gibson’s wife, Mary Jo, who says that testing kids as a means to evaluate teachers’ performance is “not an effective way to really evaluate.”

“As a parent of three children attending our local public school, I understand firsthand the necessity of ensuring local teachers and parents have input in our education system,” Congressman Gibson said in a statement. “Washington mandates, excessive standardized testing and New York State’s implementation of Common Core have significantly hurt the education of our students. I am proud to lead efforts in the United States Congress to reduce unnecessary standardized testing and will continue to fight to increase the influence local administrators, teachers, and parents have on their child’s education.”

Common Core has been largely a state-level issue, but Gibson has been voicing opposition to the standards – and to what he believes is over-testing of public school students – for some time.

Gibson is facing a challenge from Democratic political newcomer Sean Eldridge. In the most recent fundraising quarter, Gibson out-raised his opponent, who is relying heavily on his personal wealth to fuel his campaign.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule. (Multiple sources confirm he will be announcing an independent “Women’s Equality Party” at noon on the Upper West Side of Manhattan).

President Obama arrives in NYC at around 4 p.m. today to attend a private Democratic National Committee event, which closed to news coverage. He’ll be arriving and departing aboard Air Force One from John F. Kennedy International Airport.

At 9 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks at the Community Schools advisory board meeting, Puck Building NYU Wagner – 2nd Floor, 295 Lafayette St., Manhattan.

Also at 9 a.m., REBNY President Steven Spinola testifies before MTA’s Reinvention Commission about how extension of number 7 subway line to NJ is critically important to future growth of NYC; 347 Madison Ave., 5th Floor boardroom, Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., the trial continues in U.S. v. Daniel J. Halloran – the defendant is charged with bribery schemes in an attempt to affect the New York City mayoral election and obtain New York City Council discretionary funding – before Judge Karas, Courtroom 521, White Plains. (Halloran is expected to testify).

Also at 9:30 a.m., Borough President Eric Adams and NYC Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Committee of Transportation, will hold a press conference outside of LIRR Atlantic Terminal station entrance to call for a compromise in negotiations between the MTA and unions that are preparing to strike this weekend, corner of Flatbush and 4th avenues, Fort Greene.

At 11 a.m., LG Bob Duffy delivers remarks at the New York State Police 201st Session graduation ceremony, Convention Center, Empire State Plaza, Albany. (GOP LG candidate and Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss will also attend).

Also at 11 a.m., de Blasio makes an announcement on Hurricane Sandy recovery, 1148 East 102nd St., Brooklyn.

At noon, GOP AG candidate John Cahill is interviewed on This ‘N’ That with Denise Ward, AM 1460 WVOX.

At 1:45 p.m., de Blasio makes an announcement, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., AG Eric Schneiderman makes an announcement, Westchester County Courthouse Plaza, 111 Martin Luther King Blvd., White Plains.

Also at 2 p.m., the NYC and NYS Health Departments and NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation announce a new initiative intended to increase access to contraception; Bellevue Hospital Center Atrium, 462 First Ave., near 27th Street, Manhattan.

Also at 2 p.m., Sen. Tony Avella and the interim president of CUNY’s Queens College, Evangelos J. Gizis, hold a news conference to discuss $2 million in funding for renovations to the college’s science research and teaching laboratories; Remsen Hall, proceed to the public safety booth and ask for directions to parking lot 2, 65-33 Kissena Blvd., Queens.

At 4 p.m., Schneiderman meets Dutchess And Ulster County student award winners at a reception, Marist College, 3399 North Rd., Poughkeepsie.

At 5 p.m., Reps. Nita Lowey and Eliot Engel and Assemblyman David Buchwald host a gathering of Westchester elected officials to support Israel, steps of White Plains City Hall, 225 Main St., White Plains.

At 6 p.m., Moss attends and delivers remarks at the Steuben County Republican Committee Dinner, Three Birds Restaurant, 73 E. Market St., Corning.

Also at 6 p.m., Schneiderman joins senior staff members and local elected officials for his office’s Poughkeepsie community forum, Marist College, 3399 North Rd.

Also at 6 p.m., Cahill attends the Westchester GOP BBQ, Cortlandt Colonial Restaurant, 714 Old Albany Post Rd., Cortlandt Manor.

At 7 p.m. Moss attends and delivers remarks at the New York State Sheriffs’ Association Summer Conference Dinner, Harbor Hotel, 16 N. Franklin St., Watkins Glen.

Headlines…

While he was AG, now-Gov. Andrew Cuomo brought in his good friend and ex-HUD aide Howard Glaser to advise him on mortgage industry investigations – a move that has gone undisclosed until now. At the time, Glaser just so happened to be a consultant and lobbyist for the very industry Cuomo was investigating.

In anticipation of this story, Glaser has been attacking Pro Publica on Twitter.

Glaser and Cuomo have been working together a very long time.

In NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” the faux conservative host jokingly mocked de Blasio as a “socialist” and “communist” and lampooned his plans to skip town with an LIRR strike looming.

De Blasio is gambling that NYC residents will be sympathetic to his need for time off and that no major crisis will occur during his absence.

In a carefully worded statement, Cuomo said a LIRR strike would be a “terrible, terrible inconvenience,” and he urged both sides back to the negotiating table.

Union and LIRR officials heeded Cuomo’s call and agreed to talk informally through the night last night.

New York businesses are preparing for a sudden change in fortunes if LIRR workers go on strike Sunday. While many hotels and restaurants expect a big boost in business, others fret that the lack of commuters will deprive them of some of their best customers.

Riders already have a love-hate relationship with the LIRR.

Sources tell the New York Post Cuomo’s new Women’s Equality Party will be announced today at a noon press conference next to the Eleanor Roosevelt statue at 72nd Street and Riverside Drive.

The DN confirms the event, and says it will be attended by LG candidate Kathy Hochul, former state Democratic Party Chairwoman Judith Hope and an array of women leaders.

PEF has filed a grievance over the Cuomo administration’s use of surveillance cameras to gather evidence in cases of employees allegedly taking time off from work improperly, saying the DEC’s practice violates its contract.

Cuomo told the Democrat & Chronicle’s editorial board he was unaware that Empire State Development hasn’t made details public about the “Open for Business” ad campaign to promote the state and will “look into it.”

More >

Extras

Sen. George Maziarz is leaving office with $1.1 million in his campaign account.

Republican comptroller hopeful Bob Antonacci wonders why it took Democratic incumbent Tom DiNapoli this long to audit the “Open For Business” campaign.

Zephyr Teachout made her first visit to Staten Island last night.

Teachout’s biggest donors: Brad Burnham, a New York City-based venture capitalist, and Scott Faber, a San Francisco start-up investor whose latest venture deals with small-order clothing production.

Former NYC Councilman Robert Jackson beat out Sen. Adriano Espaillat in fund-raising by $22,000, but spent more than five  times as much as the incumbent.

Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo’s income was boosted with gambling winnings.

The state plans to spend millions turning empty industrial space in Greece into what it hopes will become a hub of research into and manufacture of high-tech materials to be used in semiconductors.

Talks resumed in the LIRR labor dispute.

More water main breaks in Syracuse.

NY-21 congressional hopeful Aaron Woolf loaned his campaign $200,000.

Matt Doheny, who lost his primary in the NY-21 to Republican Elise Stefanik but retains the Independence Party ballot line, continues to weigh his options.

Paul Gibson Jr., a lawyer and airline executive who in 1974 became New York City’s first black deputy mayor, died on Friday at his home in Jamaica, Queens. He was 86.

Scandal-scarred Sens. John Sampson and Malcolm Smith have less than $16,000 between them for re-election fights against contenders with far more cash and institutional support.

Buffalo Republican Sen. Mark Grisanti trails his Democratic opponent in fundraising.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams failed to include rental income on his financial disclosure form.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is heading to Iowa.

Senate Dems All In With Party-Switching Marcellino Opponent

Emboldened by the recent setbacks experienced by the Senate Republicans, the Senate Democrats are expanding their reach to support challengers to veteran incumbents previously believed to be nearly impossible to dislodge – including Long Island Sen. Carl Marcellino.

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and DSCC Chairman Mike Gianaris will be on hand tomorrow afternoon when Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy – a Republican who only recently joined up with the Democrats – formally kicks off his campaign against the 71-year-old Marcellino, who has held his seat since 1995.

Kennedy had been slated to challenge Democratic Assemblyman Charles Lavine – as a life-long member of the Republican Party. He was officially nominated by the Nassau County GOP (run by former state GOP Chairman Joe Mondello), and everything.

But the local Republicans pulled their support of the mayor after the Conservative Party objected to the fact that Kennedy had, in his mayoral capacity, officiated over two same-sex marriages and refused to repudiate the 2011 Marriage Equality Act (passed with the assistance of four “yes” votes from Republican senators) that made gay marriage legal in New York.

Kennedy was upset that Marcellino failed to speak out on his behalf, or even attempt to intercede with party leaders after they yanked their support for the mayor’s Assembly campaign. “I was abandoned by the party,” Kennedy told the North Word News. “Why would I want to be a part of a party that deems me unfit for obeying the law?”

Kennedy also said that his values “as they relate to human rights do not reflect views of the Nassau County Republican leadership,” and he believes elected more Democrats to the Senate would be good for Long Island residents because they “tend to be more in touch with the middle class.”

Democrats have a slight enrollment edge in the 5th SD, with 78,515 enrolled members to the GOP’s 74,250 as of April 1, according to the state Board of Elections. There are also 3,133 enrolled Conservatives, 9,917 members of the Independence Party, 731 Working Families Party members and 58,088 “blanks” who are not affiliated with any political party.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and Monroe County.

At 8 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will attend a Chemung County meet-and-greet hosted by LG candidate Sheriff Chris Moss, Wellsburg Diner, 3683 Front St., Wellsburg.

At 8:30 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks with volunteers at a Paid Sick Leave Day of Action, Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center Subway entrance, in front of Barclays Center Stadium, Brooklyn.

At 9 a.m., Astorino will attend and deliver remarks at the Sheriffs Association Conference, Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, 16 N. Franklin St., Watkins Glen.

At 10 a.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, SUNY CNSE Rochester Facility, 115 Canal Landing Blvd., Rochester. (While in the city, he’ll also be meeting with the Democrat & Chronicle’s editorial board).

Also at 10 a.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli addresses the New York State Allied Printing Trades Council, Long Island Educational Center, 3800 Duck Pond Rd., Cutchogue.

At 10:15 a.m., Astorino will be a guest on “Live from the State Capitol” with host Fred Dicker.

At 10:30 a.m., the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision holds a memorial ceremony honoring parole officers who have died in the line of duty, Parole Officers Memorial, Empire State Plaza’s Swan Street courtyard, behind the Legislative Office Building, Albany.

Also at 10:30 a.m., the Assembly Education Committee holds a public hearing on career and technical education diplomas, Conference Rooms A and B, State Office Building, 207 Genesee St., Utica.

At 11 a.m., Astorino and Moss will hold a press conference calling for regional debates with Cuomo in front of the Elmira City Courthouse, 317 E. Church St., Elmira.

At 12:30 p.m., Astorino and Moss will hold a press conference calling for regional debates with Cuomo in front of the Binghamton City Courthouse, 38 Hawley St., Binghamton.

At 2 p.m., the Public Authorities Control Board meets, and will consider the $511 million loan from the Environmental Facilities Corp. to the Thruway Authority for Tappan Zee Bridge-related projects, Room 131, state Capitol, Albany.

At 6 p.m., Moss will attend the Seismic Regional Prayer Gathering, Freeport Bible Church, 50 N. Main St., Freeport.

At 7 p.m., Astorino will attend and deliver remarks at the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York Conference, Peek n’ Peak Resort, 1405 Old Rd., Clymer.

At 7:45 a.m., de Blasio tapes an appearance on “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central, which will air tonight at 11:30 p.m.

Headlines…

A scheduled vote today by the Public Authorities Control Board on a controversial plan to move $511 million in clean water funds to the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project is being closely watched by federal regulators and lawmakers across the state.

Sen. Bill Perkins, one of the board’s non-voting members, sent a letter to Cuomo yesterday afternoon asking him to withdraw his proposal for the loan, arguing that it violates state and federal law.

The campaign for Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino has raised $3.4 million in the past six months, but that’s significantly less than the $8.5 million taken in during that time by Democratic incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo started out the year with $33 million on hand, and spent about $6.8 million, leaving him $35 million to spend. Astorino has $2.4 million on hand.

Tom Precious: Notably missing from Astorino’s donor list were numerous special interest groups that can often drive the agenda at the Capitol, raising speculation whether such donors do not believe he can win and don’t want to risk alienating Cuomo if he is re-elected.

The Cuomo campaign spent huge sums on ads, polls, consultants and places to host fundraisers, such as $12,500 to the Hyatt Regency Buffalo for a January event.

Since January, Cuomo has raised substantial sums outside New York, with a number of big contributions coming from California and the movie/entertainment industry.

Cuomo got $60,800 from Stanley Druckenmiller, a charter school backer and former hedge manager, on March 4 – the same day the governor spoke at a pro-charter rally in Albany. A Cuomo spokesman denied any connection between the two.

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins reported raising over $50,000 in the last six months. Zephyr Teachout, who is running a Democratic primary campaign against the governor, has not filed her disclosure report.

Campaign for One New York, a lobbying organization set up by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign strategists, spent close to $1.7 million to advance his agenda during his first six months in office and got donations from unions, developers and people like Google’s Eric Schmidt.

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