Liz Benjamin

This user hasn't shared any biographical information

Homepage: http://nystateofpolitics.com


Posts by Liz Benjamin

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and will again be doing a round of TV and radio appearances regarding the Chelsea bombing.

At 7:45 a.m., Cuomo appears on Fox 5’s “Good Day New York”: at 8 a.m., he appears on CNN’s “New Day”; at 8:10 a.m., he appears on NY1; at 8:20 a.m., he calls in to 1010 WINS; at 8:30 a.m., he calls in to WCBS 880.

At 8:30 a.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. attends “Dads Take Your Child to School Day,” P.S. 109, 1771 Popham Ave., the Bronx.

At 9 a.m., the NYS Association of Counties Fall Seminar opens with a keynote address from Mark Aesch of TransPro Consulting, The Conference & Event Center, 101 Old Falls St., Niagara Falls.

At 9:30 a.m., there will be a rally against the Rent Stabilization Association, which has filed a lawsuit against the Rent Guidelines Board seeking to annual a recent rent freeze, hosted by the Rent Justice Coalition, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 9:30 a.m., Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas will unveil his proposed 2017 Budget at the Board of Estimate and Contract meeting, Mayor’s Conference Room, Mount Vernon City Hall.

At 11 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will host a roundtable with tenants from Visions at Selis Manor to discuss the Chelsea bombing, 135 West 23rd St., #93, Manhattan.

At noon, de Blasio will meet with residents from the Chelsea area, Malibu Diner, 163 West 23rd St., Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., LG Kathy Hochul addresses the Spain-U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Economic Forum, Thomson Reuters, 3 Times Sq., Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., state Senate candidate Marisol Alcantara, state Sen. Jeff Klein and other members of the Independent Democratic Conference hold a reception honoring the IDC, The Water Club, 500 E. 30th St., Manhattan.

At 6:45 p.m., Hochul delivers remarks at the Feminist Power Awards Gala, Edison Ballroom, 240 West 47th St., Manhattan.

At 7:30 p.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray will deliver remarks at the second anniversary of the United Nations’ HeForShe Initiative, which is led by Emma Watson; The Daily Show Host Trevor Noah will serve as emcee, Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd St., Manhattan.

Also at 7:30 p.m., NY-3 Democratic candidate Tom Suozzi hosts an economy, jobs and tax policy town hall, Temple Beth-El of Great Neck, 5 Old Mill Rd., Great Neck.

Headlines…

Ahmad Khan Rahami, the 28-year-old suspect in the Manhattan and Seaside Park bombings this weekend, lived in New Jersey with his family above their chicken restaurant that was a flashpoint for neighbors and had a “domestic incident” in his background.

In recent years, some friends noticed a marked change in Rahami’s personality and religious devotion after what they believed was a trip to Afghanistan, where he and his relatives are from.

Aided by technology, tips and luck, officers tracked down Rahami yesterday morning.

He was sleeping in the dank doorway of a neighborhood bar and taken into custody after being wounded in a gun battle with officers.

For what is believed to be the first time, the nation’s Wireless Emergency Alerts system was deployed as an electronic wanted poster, identifying Rahami as the man sought in connection with the bombings on both sides of the Hudson River.

President Obama praised law enforcement for moving “smartly” to root out the people behind the bombing, and reaffirmed his commitment to destroying terrorist groups like the self-described Islamic State.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there “may well be” a “link” between an international terror organization and the bombs placed in New York and New Jersey over the weekend.

Investigators have so far found no solid links between Rahami and international terrorism or any domestic terror cells, but were searching through his activity in social media looking for possible co-conspirators.

The NY Post praises Cuomo for having the most “rational reaction” by a political leader to the bombing when he said it was “obviously” an act of terror.

Prosecutors in Union County, New Jersey, charged Rahami with multiple counts of attempted murder of a police officer and unlawful possession of a weapon. His bail was set at $5.2 million, and he is scheduled for his first court appearance Sept. 28.

It took James O’Neill more than three decades as a cop to ascend to the top of the nation’s largest police department, but only a little more than a day to get his first real test. The Chelsea bombing offered the nation its first, up-close look at his no-nonsense, just-the-facts management style.

In the aftermath of the bombings in New York and New Jersey, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump battled back and forth over policy and fitness to lead after the series of weekend bombings in the New York City area.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the eldest child of Robert F. Kennedy, said in a Facebook post that the elder President George Bush told her that he planned to vote for Clinton. The former president, however, is not talking.

As Clinton and Trump vie to represent U.S. interests around the world, they had a series of dry runs yesterday with foreign leaders who were in Manhattan for the United Nations General Assembly.

A suspicious package found yesterday in a Niagara Falls city parking lot was not an explosive police determined after a remote controlled robot was used to probe the unattended backpack.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is not coming to the University at Albany today as previously scheduled, though the Green Party plans to hold an event there anyway.

An Albany County state supreme court justice has ruled against plaintiffs from eight “small city school districts” who contended that the state has failed to adequately fund them in light of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit that almost a decade ago found that New York City schools had been systemically shortchanged when it came to state aid.

Soil and slag with low levels of radioactive material – a remnant of the steel-making process that once took place at RiverBend in South Buffalo – would be buried underneath a foot of clean soil at two locations on the property where workers are finishing the SolarCity solar panel factory.

More >

Extras

Ahmad Khan Rahami, earlier named as a “person of interest” in the weekend explosions in New York City and New Jersey, was taken into custody and hospitalized this morning after a shootout with police in Linden, New Jersey, the Union County acting prosecutor said.

Hillary Clinton warned an electorate rattled by the explosions that Donald Trump’s national security plans would exacerbate the threat from Islamic State, and said she is the only candidate in the presidential race equipped with a workable plan to intensify the fight against terrorism.

In two separate cases, thieves snatching bags from city streets and train stations inadvertently helped law enforcement get the upper hand in an ongoing bomb spree that’s hurt dozens of people and spans both sides of the Hudson River.

In his first public address since the bombing, President Obama said there is no evidence as yet of a connection between the attacks in New York and New Jersey and a stabbing spree the Islamic State has taken credit for in St. Cloud, Minnesota

Trump on the Chelsea bombing: “I heard I was criticized for calling it correctly, but I was actually correct. I should be a newscaster because I called it before the news.”

Ivanka Trump now has her own Secret Service protection, sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News. Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump still do not have their own protection, as of the latest information.

A judge ruled that New York has met its “constitutional obligation” to provide enough aid to eight small-city schools, a key victory for the state in its fight with education groups over school funding.

Four days after officially taking over as head of the nation’s largest municipal police department, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill was sworn in today at a ceremony at police headquarters in Manhattan.

Federal prosecutors said two alleged co-conspirators in the 2013 George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal “bragged” to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie while the closures were occurring about the traffic havoc they had created and their refusal to respond to requests for help from local officials.

Congressional leaders have a tentative deal that would resolve a fight over Zika funding that’s bogged down a short-term government spending bill — but a handful of other provisions in the stopgap measure remain far from resolved.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. will visit Buffalo Oct. 20 in an invitation-only event at Shea’s Performing Arts Center.

Local Republican leaders brokered a deal last night that assured Tom Dadey keeps his seat as party chairman. Onondaga County Legislator Dave Knapp, who was to challenge Dadey, instead will become his second-in-command.

Caroline Suozzi recorded a video in support of the NY-3 run being made by her father, former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand appeared in a video with NY-19 Democratic candidate Zephyr Teachout, explaining why she believes the Fordham Law professor should be elected to the House.

Marisol Alcantara, who is poised to become the sixth member of the IDC after winning a Democratic primary for outgoing Sen. Adriando Espaillat’s seat, said she plans to push several pieces of legislation in Albany that affect Latino and black New Yorkers.

Rye City Councilwoman Julie Killian released her second TV ad of the campaign for the 37th state Senate District.

Sandra Lee attended the Emmys (or at least one of the after parties).

Media titan and former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg has donated $300 million to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, to fund a public health agenda in line with causes he has long supported: fighting drug addiction, obesity, gun violence, and environmental threats, and promoting adolescent health.

New York drivers are “less likely to have an insurance claim involving a collision with a deer this year than they were the previous year,” according to State Farm Insurance.

The 2016 Syracuse University football team is on pace to draw the lowest attendance figure in Carrier Dome history.

Cuomo: De Blasio and I In ‘Lockstep’ On Bombing Response

Despite the fact that they have held separate press conferences and were on different pages regarding whether this weekend’s Chelsea bombing was actually a terrorist act, Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted earlier today that he and his political nemesis, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, are in fact “in lockstep” in their response to this incident.

Cuomo, (who, by the way, was appearing without the mayor at Penn Station at at event where he was ostensibly thanking first responders for their work since the blast), said he and de Blasio “agree on all the facts, all the circumstances, all the actions.”

The governor, who has been publicly at odds with the mayor for over a year now, noted he and de Blasio tours the explosion site together yesterday, where they also engaged in a quick hug.

As to the question of why he and de Blasio appeared to disagree on whether this was an act of terrorism, the governor said:

“By definition, terrorism is taking an action that endangers human lives that appears to be intended to cause intimidation…I believe you set off a bomb, you set off a second bomb, that’s an effort to intimidate New Yorkers.”

Cuomo yesterday said there did not appear to be an international connection to this blast – no “hint of connection” to a foreign element’s involvement. Today, however, with the release of the name of a person of interest – Ahmad Khan Rahami, a naturalized United States citizen of Afghan descent, who apparently is in custody in New Jersey after engaging in a shoutout with police – he said there “may well turn out to be” a link to foreign organizations.

The governor said the differences of approach in addressing the incident yesterday was a case of “semantics,” adding:

“Some people call it terrorism, some people said it appeared to be terrorism. I believe that’s all semantics. I also believe you had a little politics going on frankly…Hillary clinton called it this. Donald Trump called it that. The media loves politics in the silly season, and we are in the silly season, which is more like the crazy season this season.”

Gibson Stars In Faso Ad

Retiring Rep. Chris Gibson has made a point during his tenure in the House to try to appeal to a wide range of constituents by adopting a pragmatic approach in D.C. – even when his won conference has leaned steadily to the right.

As a result, Gibson is popular in his closely divided district (NY-19). He won an easy re-election there two years ago against his Democratic opponent, political newcomer Sean Eldridge; and also in 2012 against former Ulster County Democratic Chairman Julian Schreibman, despite the fact that redistricting had skewed the district southward, making it more Democrat-dominated.

Gibson declined to take sides in the GOP primary battle for his seat, which he is vacating at the end of the year, but has since endorsed the winner of that fight, former Assembly Minority Leader John Faso.

Now Gibson, who is giving up politics altogether for a life in academic, is trying to transfer some of his popularity to his would-be successor, starring in a new TV ad on his behalf.

The ad was released today, and, according to an accompanying press release, highlights Faso’s “long-standing commitment to his community” – a dig at his Democratic opponent, Fordham Law Prof. Zephyr Teachout, who only recently moved into the district – and his “friendship” with the retiring congressman, who, as it turns out, lives right down the street from Gibson and his family.

Here’s the script for the ad, which will run on cable television and digital outlets throughout the district, as well as broadcast television in the Albany market. No immediate details on the size of the buy were provided.

Gibson: I’m retiring from Congress but I don’t have to go far to find the right person to keep representing us.

John Faso, he’s not only a friend… he’s my neighbor.

He and his wife Mary Frances raised their family in this house down the street from mine.

John pushed for the property tax cap and helped pass the STAR program.

He gets results for taxpayers.

Okay over to you John.

Faso: Thanks Chris. I’m John Faso, and I approve this message.

CapTon’s Reisman Weds!

IMG_0663

Congratulations are in order for Capital Tonight’s own Nick Reisman, who married his “best friend,” Victoria “Vicki” Tokarowski, yesterday evening before 100 guests at the Saratoga Polo Association.

Though the day started with torrential rain, the skies cleared sufficiently in time for the 4 p.m. ceremony, which was conducted by the groom’s longtime friend and UAlbany alum, Ian Pickus, news director at WAMC Public Radio.

The bride was gorgeous in an ivory strapless gown with lace overlay. The dapper groom wore a navy suit and floral tie. (Penny the cat did not attend, but was there in spirit). A number of Nick’s TWC News colleagues and fellow LCAers (including yours truly) were on hand to witness this happy event.

After the outdoor ceremony, dining and dancing took place in a tent on the Polo Association grounds. The groom is taking some much deserved time off to enjoy some post-wedding peace with his new bride.

We wish the new couple much love and joy in the years to come.

Mazel tov!

Sigourney Weaver Joins Adirondack Wildnerness Push

Actress and environmentalist Sigourney Weaver is the narrator of a new video ad campaign urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to protect roughly 30,000 acres of new public land as motor-free wilderness.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to expand Adirondack wilderness to rival the most famous conservation landmarks in the world,” Weaver says in the video, which was shot by renowned Adirondack photographer Carl Heilman II, of Wild Visions.

Smartmeme Studios of Lincoln, WA produced the video, with additional input from SKD Knickerbocker, according to the Adirondack Council, which is sponsoring the video and an accompanying ad campaign on behalf of the BeWildNY Coalition.

The coalition consists of nine regional, statewide and national conservation organizations.

This campaign comes as the Cuomo administration’s Adirondack Park Agency is preparing to announce a series of public hearings on wilderness (motor-free) and non-wilderness (with motorized- and mechanized-use options) classification alternatives for property recently acquired by the state.

The coalition is seeking wilderness protection for the most sensitive waters, wildlife habitat and forests, totaling over 30,000 acres – the centerpiece of which is the 20,500-acre Boreas Ponds tract.

The DEC recently released a temporary access plan for the tract, which concerned environmentalists, who worry it will set a precedent for a higher level of us than the one they are seeking.

But during a recent CapTon interview, the Adirondack Council’s Willie Janeway said he and other advocates are are trying to remain optimistic, while continuing to press for their preferred classification in advance of the public hearings.

NY-3 GOP Candidate Martins Releases 2nd TV Ad

On the heels of a court decision last week that canceled an October primary in the 3rd Congressional District on Long Island, the Republican candidate in that race, Sen. Jack Martins, has released his second TV ad, which focuses on his ability to work in a bipartisan fashion to get results.

The ad, entitled “Helping Families,” makes no mentions of Martins’ political affiliation, instead highlighting his efforts to “burdens” in the state Senate for his Long Island constituents.

The ad specifically mentions Martins’ support for an income tax cut on middle class families “to the lowest rates in 70 years,” (an initiative spurred by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which also reinstated the so-called millionaire’s tax, though at a lower level than a straight reauthorization would have), and efforts to work across party lines to pass on-time state budgets.

The spot also mentions Martins’ push to “strip corrupt politicians of taxpayer-funded pensions.”

The senator is facing off against the winner of the recent Democratic primary in NY-3, former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, who is running in hopes of retaining for his party the seat currently held by retiring Rep. Steve Israel.

After an extended legal battle, it appeared Martins was also going to have to compete in an Oct. 6 primary against a fellow Republican, Philip Pidot.

But the Second Court of Appeals last week vacated a lower court order for the primary, supporting the senator’s argument that an October contest would cause voter confusion and create an undue burden for local governments, which are already struggling to cover the costs of multiple elections this year.

Martins had also argued that holding a primary on Oct. 6 would leave less than 45 days between the primary and general elections, which which would violate the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Act, disenfranchising absentee and military voters. The state Board of Elections and Department of Defense had issued waivers to that requirement.

Here and Now

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are both doing a host of radio and TV interviews as the investigation into the Chelsea explosion over the weekend continues.

At approximately 7 a.m., de Blasio appears live on Good Morning America; at approximately 7:30 a.m., he appears live on CNN; at approximately 7:50 a.m., he appears live on 1010 WINS; at approximately 8:10 a.m., de Blasio calls in live to NY1; at approximately 8:25 a.m., he appears live on WCBS 880.

At 7:08 a.m., Cuomo appears on “CBS This Morning” on CBS; at 7:15 a.m., he appears on “New Day” on CNN; at 7:22, he appears on “Fox & Friends” on Fox News; at 7:30 a.m., he appears on “Morning Joe” on MSNBC.

At 8:30 a.m., the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting kicks off in Manhattan, and will last through Wednesday. Day one speakers include Bill and Chelsea Clinton, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Argentinean President Mauricio Macri, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon, Jon Bon Jovi, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and more.

The 71st United Nations General Assembly begins today in Manhattan. President Obama is in town through Wednesday. He will participate in a DSCC roundtable in the morning, and meet with heads of state in the afternoon.

The NYS Republican Party holds an Empire Club event with Republican Rep. Roger Williams, of Texas, Manhattan.

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

Headlines…

Law enforcement officials are on the hunt for whoever is responsible for Saturday night’s explosion in Chelsea, and sources say a “person of interest” appears in surveillance video taken near the location where a second unexploded device was found.

The bomb that detonated in the Chelsea neighborhood, as well as a second that failed to detonate, were made with pressure cookers, flip phones and Christmas lights designed to create maximum chaos and fatalities.

The FBI took five people with possible links to the Chelsea explosion into custody last night in Brooklyn as authorities shut down a busy New Jersey rail station after finding multiple pipe bombs in a garbage can, police and New Jersey officials said.

A device found in a backpack near a train station in New Jersey exploded early this morning while a bomb squad robot was trying to disarm it, authorities said. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

A Manhattan photographer was the first person to find the second explosive device in Chelsea on Saturday night, and almost didn’t report the contraption to cops because she thought it was a kiddie science project.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo tried to put aside their differences – at least temporarily, and publicly – embracing briefly before touring the blast site, though they differ on whether the incident should be labeled “terrorism.”

“Here is what we know: It was intentional, it was a violent act, it was certainly a criminal act, it was a bombing — that’s what we know,” de Blasio said. “To understand there were any specific motivations, political motivations, any connection to an organization — that’s what we don’t know.”

A Buffalo field office for the general election campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton opens today in Larkinville, officials said.

Clinton is set today to deliver her most targeted general election pitch yet to young voters, seeking to expand her uneven support with a group that helped elevate President Obama in 2008 and 2012 but that has often proved resistant to her overtures.

During the past week, a slew of Clinton supporters have been busy pitching millennial voters across the country on the Democratic nominee’s candidacy.

The Democratic presidential nominee congratulated her popular imposter “Saturday Night Live” star McKinnon for winning her first Emmy last night.

Businesswoman Martha Stewart will be voting for Clinton over her fellow business mogul, Donald Trump.

Doctors weigh in on the medical information Clinton made public last week, trying to determine how healthy she is, exactly.

The Donald J. Trump Foundation gave away $158,250 in 2014 to fight cancer and other diseases, many of which target children, and donated $141,000 to groups that promote conservative social policy he would espouse in his presidential campaign a year later, state and federal records show.

On the heels of endorsing a libertarian candidate over Trump, the Cornell University College Republican Club is fighting its expulsion from its parent organization, the New York Federation of College Republicans.

Proposed state policies intended to control the opioid abuse epidemic over the past decade have faced a $3.7 million roadblock — the amount of money spent by drug companies and related advocacy groups to influence New York lawmakers. To recipients include Senate Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon and Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle.

More >

The Weekend That Was

The investigation continues into a powerful explosion caused by what the authorities believe was a homemade bomb injured at least 29 people on a crowded sidewalk in the bustling Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan on Saturday night. A few hours later, the authorities found and removed what they described as a second explosive device four blocks away.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo toured the blast site this morning, telling reporters: “A bomb exploding in New York is obviously an act of terrorism,” though he said there’s no evidence of an international terrorism link.

“When you see the amount of damage, we were really very luck there were no fatalities,” Cuomo said. “Whoever placed these bombs, we will find them and they will be brought to justice. Period.”

Cuomo directed the State Police and National Guard to deploy an additional 1,000 uniformed officers out of an abundance of caution to high-profile locations across the state.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said the blast was an “intentional act,” but is not believed to be terror related.

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, in his first full day on the job following the departure of long-time Commissioner Bill Bratton, said the exact cause of the explosion has not been determined, but that the area around the site is being treated as a crime scene.

The Chelsea blast was not believed to be connected to a pipe bomb that exploded hours earlier in a Jersey Shore town shortly before thousands of runners were to participate in a 5K charity race to benefit Marines and sailors, authorities said.

Both major party presidential nominees reacted to the NYC explosion. Clinton judged Trump’s rush to blame the incident on a bomb, saying it would have been “wiser to wait” for more information.

Speaking to a predominantly black audience at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation gala in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Clinton tied herself to President Barack Obama’s legacy, saying Trump was unfit to follow in the footsteps of the man she once ran a hard-fought campaign against.

At the same event, Obama himself said he will take it as a “personal insult” if the African-American community fails to turn out for the presidential election and encouraged black voters to support Clinton.

Trump has reaped at least $885 million in tax breaks, grants and other subsidies for luxury apartments, hotels and office buildings in New York, according to city tax, housing and finance records. The subsidies helped him lower his own costs and sell apartments at higher prices because of their reduced taxes.

After Ivanka Trump abruptly cut off an interview with Cosmopolitan Magazine because she faced tough questions, her father complained about its coverage and said his daughter was “attacked by this rather non-intelligent reporter” who was “really rude.”

For the second time in the presidential campaign, Trump again raised the specter of violence against Clinton​, this time joking about disarming her Secret Service agents.

It’s official: Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein won’t be joining Clinton and Trump on the debate stage at Hofstra on Sept. 26.

Explosive court papers containing embarrassing details about Ivana Trump’s divorce from Donald have been abruptly concealed after a Daily News inquiry — all without a judge’s order.

State AG Eric Schneiderman asked the EPA to postpone the formal completion of General Electric Co.’s $1.6 billion cleanup of the upper Hudson River, saying the agency has yet to prove whether dredging the river is working.

NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito pressured the Housing Authority to remove the black manager of a Bronx housing development and replace her with a “Spanish manager,” former and current NYCHA workers told the Daily News.

Steve Cassidy, the longtime president of the FDNY union, is stepping down. The United Firefighters Association boss will take a newly created job as executive director of the Fire Pension Fund.

David Sweat, the surviving prisoner in the escape and subsequent manhunt from the Clinton Correctional Facility last year, recounted in great detail to State Police the journey that he and Richard Matt, who was eventually shot and killed, took as they fled.

Jerry Boone, the commissioner of the state Department of Taxation & Finance, announced Friday he was retiring immediately for “personal reasons.”

New York State is being sued for withholding millions of dollars in funding for nine of its lowest-performing schools, refusing to provide funding even after the schools were removed from the “receivership” list.

State Sen. Tim Kennedy is proposing legislation to help ease the destructive path of the emerald ash border. The two-part proposal would help property owners stuck with costly tree-removal costs – providing a 50 percent tax credit capped at $300 per tree.

Solar developers have been contacting farmers across the state in an aggressive bid to line up unshaded acreage that can be turned into solar farms.

Democratic candidate John De Vito won a three-way primary last week in the 3rd State Senate District, but his one and only mailing to 4,800 votes was missing in action in the final days of the campaign.

Babylon Republicans have circulated petitions to get an opportunity to ballot for a write-in campaign for the Reform Party line in the 11th AD. But GOP and Democratic officials say Suffolk Democratic chairman Richard Schaffer has engineered a way for Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre to win the ballot line, which normally goes to GOP candidates.

NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced that she found her missing Honda Civic –and it wasn’t actor Paul Giamatti’s fault that it disappeared, as she initially suggested.

No bids were submitted to buy and develop part of the Gov. W. Averell Harriman State Office Campus by this week’s deadline, a significant setback that hampers efforts to increase Albany’s property tax base.

The New York State Appellate Court has ruled on Putnam County’s refusal to give The Journal News the names and addresses of people with gun permits back in 2012, directing the county to release the records – a victory for the paper.

Alan Chartock says it makes his day to be “dissed” on Twitter by his former student-turned-Cuomo-spokeman, Rich Azzopardi.

Democratic NY-24 congressional candidate Colleen Deacon said she’s not going to favor or oppose any option for replacing Interstate 81 in Syracuse as state officials near a decision on the project.

Syracuse University is the No. 1 college in America for school spirit, according to the most recent rankings from the Princeton Review.

Congrats to Stephanie Valle, chief of staff to GOP Rep. Chris Gibson, who married Daniel Hubbell, an associate at the Albany law firm Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna, this weekend.

McGuire Bows Out of 133rd AD Race

Conservative and GOP leaders scrambling to replace the late Assemblyman Bill Nojay’s name on the general election ballot after he won the Republican primary just days after committing suicide ended up tapping different candidates, setting up a potentially disastrous vote-splitting situation in November.

But today, the Conservative Party’s pick, the Rev. Jason McGuire, a vocal pro-life/pro-family advocate and executive director of the New Yorkers Family Research Foundation and its affiliate, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, issued a statement announcing that after meeting with the Republican contender, former Assemblyman Joe Errigo, after funeral services held for Nojay in Rochester, he is no longer interested in running.

“If I were to remain on the ballot, it greatly increases the likelihood that a candidate who does not represent the values of either the Conservative or Republican Parties would be elected,” McGuire said.

“It would also mean that an inter-party squabble would be handing this seat to a candidate whose residency and roots are not in Livingston County. New York is a difficult enough blue state without missing easy layups in key election years.”

“For these reasons, I have notified state Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long that I am asking that my name be withdrawn from consideration for the 133rd Assembly District. I am asking that in my stead the state Conservative Party support Assemblyman Joe Errigo’s bid for state Assembly. I am grateful for the confidence that so many have placed in my brief candidacy, but for now this is in the best interests of the constituents of the 133rd Assembly District.”

Nojay “defeated” Honeoye Falls Mayor Rick Milne in the GOP primary this past Tuesday by 16 percentage points, according to the unofficial results. Milne subsequently told party leaders charged with selecting a replacement candidate that he did not want to be considered.

Nojay had also been endorsed by the Reform and Independence parties, which also now must seek a replacement candidate, and it would not be at all surprising at this point if they, too, went with Errigo. The Democrats are running Barbara Baer.