Liz Benjamin

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Posts by Liz Benjamin

Here and Now

It is the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

At 8:30 a.m., Gov. Andrew Cuomo, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and many other elected officials and candidates will attend the commemoration ceremony at 9/11 Memorial Plaza, Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., LG Bob Duffy speaks at the AmCon Design and Contract Manufacturing Trade Show, Rochester Riverside Convention Center, Seminar Room A, 123 East Main St., Rochester.

At 9:30 a.m., Chemung County Sheriff and GOP LG candidate Chris Moss appears live on WNBF 1290 AM’s “Binghamton Now” with Bob Joseph radio show. Available to listen online at www.wnbf.com.

At 10:30 a.m., Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins holds a press conference, outside Rochester Central School District office, 131 West Broad St., Rochester.

At 10:32 a.m., Moss will be a guest on “Live from the State Capitol with Fred Dicker,” Talk 1300 AM.

At 1 p.m., NYC Fire Museum Director Sarah Strickland-Judd, city fire department officials including Chief of Department Edward Kilduff and Commissioner Daniel Nigro and firefighters participate in the museum’s 9/11 memorial service; 278 Spring St., Manhattan.

At 1:30 p.m., Cuomo will participate in the 9/11 Memorial Motorcycle Ride, which begins at Rescue 1 Firehouse, 530 West 43rd St., and ends at the intersection of Washington and Vesey Streets, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey presents an “Interfaith Remembrance Service”; St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, 22 Barclay St., Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., Hawkins holds a press conference, Niagara Square, Buffalo.

At 5 p.m., Hawkins holds a meet-and-greet with supporters, Polish Cadets Hall, 927 Grant St., Buffalo.

At 6:30 p.m., de Blasio speaks at the Staten Island September 11 Postcards Memorial, enter from Richmond Terrace at Richmond County Bank Ballpark, Staten Island.

At 7:30 p.m., GOP AG candidate John Cahill will attend the 11th Annual Warren County GOP Chicken/Clam Bake, The Docksider Restaurant, Glen Lake Road, Lake George.

Also at 7:30 p.m., Hawkins attends the Monroe County Green Party meeting, Press Coffee Company, 480 East Main St., Rochester.

Headlines…

Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not see the primary results as anything resembling a rebuke, saying he’s “fine” having received 60% of the vote against Zephyr Teachout.

“Where I come from and you win with 60 percent, you say, ‘Thank you very much,’” Cuomo said at a victory celebration in Buffalo with his running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul.

“For an incumbent governor to be held under two thirds of a vote in his own party is not a sign of strength, even if nobody turned out to vote, and the fact that nobody turned out to vote makes it clear that his candidacy was uninspiring,” said Ken Sherrill, a political science professor at Hunter College.

“Cuomo’s vote percentage is an indication of what Democrats who know Cuomo best think about him. Apparently, they have major reservations.”

Cuomo has turned his attention to the general election, calling his GOP opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, an “ultraconservative.”

The governor also called the primary “liberating,” saying he had learned that “you can do the right thing by the people of the state, make the responsible judgments in the best interest of the state and incur political retaliation and still win with 60%.”

After he loss, Teachout has returned to the classroom in her role as a Fordham Law School professor, but says she won’t fade away, and will try to use her primary showing to keep alive issues like public campaign financing. She hasn’t decided whether to endorse Cuomo.

The governor refused to debate Teachout, but said he expects to face off against Astorino before the general election.

Teachout’s running mate, Tim Wu, blamed his loss to Hochul largely on the efforts of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The morning after the primary, de Blasio and one of his top aides made a fund-raising pitch on behalf of Democratic state Senate candidates, telling a room of potential donors that he needs a Democratic majority to push through his agenda in Albany.

Eager to introduce Astorino to New Yorkers, his campaign said it would spend more than $1 million this week to run ads on broadcast and cable television.

Cuomo had nothing but praise for the Pegulas, who are buying the Buffalo Bills, but isn’t so sure about a new stadium.

More >

Extras

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’s “happy, happy, happy” with his 60% showing in the primary, and blamed Zephyr Teachout’s unusually strong results on low turnout and people he’ll never please.

Some of the counties that supported Barack Obama the most strongly in 2012 were those that offered Cuomo the most support in yesterday’s primary.

Teachout’s advice for future candidates: Be brave.

The Democratic primary race is shaping up as one of the lowest-turnout statewide contests in recent memory – under 10 percent.

Cuomo eked out a hometown win in New Castle by just 19 votes, winning by 51 percent, to Teachout’s 47 percent.

The leader of Madison County’s Democratic Party has no idea why 743 people voted for Teachout over Cuomo, saying a lot of people he spoke to didn’t know who she was.

Brooklyn Democrats celebrated the victory of Sen. John Sampson, who won his primary race despite facing embezzlement charges.

The day after Sampson survived the primary battle, his political consultant, Melvin Lowe, was found guilty by a federal jury of conspiring with Sampson to defraud the DSCC.

DSCC Chair MIke Gianaris predicted Sampson, Sen. Simcha Felder and Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. will all caucus with their fellow Democrats next year.

The 11-year-old son of Jesse Hamilton, who won the Democratic primary for the seat of former Sen. Eric Adams, wants to interview Cuomo about fracking.

According to Sen. Diane Savino, Jesse Hamilton will be an IDC member. (His campaign says he is keeping his options open).

Assemblywoman Janet Duprey thinks she has defeated challenger Karen Bisso in the GOP primary, but the race remains too close to call.

The NYLCV helped Sen. Tony Avella over the finish line in his tight primary battle with former NYC Councilman John Liu.

Does the New York Times’ endorsement actually carry any weight any more?

US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand slammed the NFL, saying their response to revelations Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice hit his wife made her “furious.”

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is bringing on Goldman Sachs to help the state retirement fund invest in global stocks.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council will face off in a softball game next Wednesday, taking over the Brooklyn Cyclones’ home stadium in Coney Island.

Rep. Dan Maffei says he and Republican challenger John Katko have agreed to face each other in a series of six debates and forums to be held next month in NY-24.

An uncommon respiratory virus that has sent dozens of children to hospitals elsewhere in the country may now be in Buffalo.

Martins’ 1st TV Ad Touts Equal Pay Vote

As further proof that women’s issues are going to dominate the general election debate in key Senate races, Long Island Republican Sen. Jack Martins has released his first TV ad of the 7th SD race, touting his support of an equal pay bill.

Martins has been under attack from his Democratic opponent, Adam Haber, for the Senate GOP’s refusal to allow Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s full 10-point Women’s Equality Act to come to the floor for a vote as a result of opposition to the abortion-rights plank.

In June, the Senate passed three of the act’s 10 bills - including an equal pay measure – and have accused their Democratic colleagues of holding these and other pieces of of the WEA hostage in their all-or-nothing effort to force the abortion issue. Martins said through a spokesman in June that protecting women from discrimination and sexual harassment “have nothing to do with expanding late-term and partial birth abortions and allowing non-doctors to perform abortions, which is why they should not be linked.”

That hasn’t stopped Haber, who has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice NY, from continuing to hammer away at Martins on this issue. And Martins is clearly feeling the pressure, as this ad demonstrates.

The ad features Martins’ wife and his four daughters. It started running on cable stations on Long Island last night, and the buy is “significant,” according to a source familiar with the senator’s campaign, though he did not provide any specifics. Here’s the script:

“I want to be a scientist.”

(Daughter 2): “I want to be a surgeon.”

(Daughter 3): “I want to be a chef.”

(Daughter 4): “I want to be a princess.”

“I’m Jack Martins. As the father of four girls, I understand the challenges facing women in the workplace. That’s why I voted to require businesses in New York to provide equal pay for women. Because they can be anything they want…and earn what they’ve deserve.”

(Daughter 2): “Does this mean you’re raising our allowance…?”

Venditto: Denenberg Will ‘Fit Right In’ With Corrupt Albany Pols (Updated)

Now that the primary is officialy in the books, general election contests are heating up all over the state – including on Long Island, where Republican Michael Venditto is poised to release a hard-hitting ad that slams his Democratic opponent and fellow Nassau County legislator, Dave Denenberg, for his 2005 conviction on petition fraud charges and says he’ll “fit right in” with the string of Albany lawmakers busted on corruption charges.

Denenberg and Venditto are battling for the seat vacated by former Sen. Chuck Fuschillo. Venditto, an attorney and the son of Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, was unanimously nominated by local Republicans back in March over veteran Assemblyman Joseph Saladino.

The Republicans need to retain this seat if they are to have a shot at their goal of taking back the majority in November. But the Democrats are feeling very bullish about Denenberg, who they believe might be able to pull off an upset victory. In his past local races, Denenberg, who has been in office since 1999, has carried as much as 73 percent of the electorate in a district that was almost 47 percent Republican. (The dsitrict has since been redrawn, but remains heavily Republican).

The 8th Senatorial District had 82,385 active Democrats, 75,445 Repulicans and 48,050 blanks as of this past April, according to the state Board of Elections.

If this ad is any indication, the GOP is prepared to go all-out on this race. I believe this is Venditto’s second ad of the campaign, but the first wasn’t an attack spot. This new ad will be running on cable stations on Long Island.

UPDATE: Deneberg’s campaign manager Jeff Friedman sent the following response (the day after I posted this item):

“This is a desperate attempt by the Venditto campaign to distract voters from the real issues of property taxes, fee increases and the budget deficits that he and the Republicans supported and created. Venditto’s record of repeatedly raising fees and creating budget deficits by mismanaging money and his anti-women positions are unacceptable to residents of Nassau and Suffolk, and this ad only proves that he knows it. Dave Denenberg is the only candidate in this race who will fight for lower taxes, women’s equality and a real minimum wage increase, and nobody will fight harder than Dave Denenberg.”

Here’s the script for Venditto’s ad:

“Who will ever forget this picture? Dave Denenberg was accused of fraud and deceit. And his law license was suspended in New York and New Jersey after he pled guilty. Dave Deneberg believes this qualifies him to be state senator. There are already too many criminals in ALbany. We don’t need another. Tell Dave Denenberg ‘no,’ because Deneberg won’t change Albany, he’ll just fit right in.’”

Watch Here >>

SD60 Blame Game

The finger pointing is well underway over who is most to blame for Sen. Mark Grisati’s upset loss to his GOP opponent, attorney Kevin Stocker, in yesterday’s primary – a defeat that could have significant implications in the November battle for control of the Senate.

Heading into the primary, the Senate GOP didn’t seem terribly worried about Grisanti’s ability to win, especially since Stocker had challenged him in 2012 – when the fallout from the senator’s 2011 “yes” vote on same-sex marriage was still fresh – and failed to get very far, winning just 40 percent of the vote.

But Stocker got a very early start on this year’s campaign; he has been door knocking for well over a year now. And he also got some unexpected assistance from NYSUT’s political arm, which spent close to $300,000 on anti-Grisanti mailers and ads leading up to the primary, and Democrat Marc Panepinto, who ran TV ads suggesting Grisanti wasn’t sufficiently conservative to represent the 60th Senatorial District.

The convention wisdom is that the Democrats and their allies believed it would be easier to defeat Stocker than Grisanti in the general election, and so weighed in try to manipulate the GOP primary and get the candidate they preferred.

The unorthodox approach worked, and now there’s effectively a four-way race in the 60th with Grisanti on the Independence Party line and attorney Timothy Gallagher on the Conservative line, though he was believed to be a placeholder tapped by party leaders who wanted to wait to see how the GOP primary played out.

Grisanti hasn’t yet said whether he will continue campaigning on the Independence Party line in the general election, nor have the Senate Republicans issued any formal statement about the race. But the odds are that the risk-averse GOP, which has plenty of other races to worry about an invest in, is not going to waste much time on a candidate who lost the primary and is now in a four-way race that seems – on its face, at least – to be a losing proposition.

A Republican source familiar with Grisanti’s campaign insists his loss was not the fault of the Senate GOP, which did not run the senator’s campaign. Instead, Grisanti used his own campaign team, which included veteran GOP consultant Jack Cookfair. This source griped that Team Grisanti ran his campaign in a vacuum, refusing to take direction or share polling data with the powers-that-be in Albany. The senator did accept a last-minute offer of assistance about 48 hours prior to the primary, the source said, but by that time, the damage was already done.

The SRCC did see success in a primary campaign it ran for Terrence Murphy, the chiropractor and Yorktown councilman who was the conference’s preferred candidate to run for retiring Sen. Greg Ball’s seat in the Hudson Valley. Murphy easily defeated his primary opponent, Assemblyman Bob Castelli, winning 69 percent of the vote.

Blakeman Video Slams Rice: ‘What’s Wrong With Her?’

Republican NY-4 candidate Bruce Blakeman is keeping the heat on his Democratic opponent, Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, release a new web video that accuses her of being anti-woman.

The video, which the campaign says will eventually air as a full-fledged ad on cable TV, resurrects a 2006 storyline in which Rice, then a newly-minted district attorney, told the dozen lawyers in her office who had been working part time – mostly to care for their children – that they had a choice: Come back to work full-time, or don’t come back at all.

Rice told Newsday that the county “deserves victims’ advocates that are full time,” and also noted that her predecessor (the man she had defeated at the polls in 2005, 31-year incumbent Denis Dillon) had done away with the part-time policy in 2004, but grandfathered in the dozen attorneys in question. She also said she needed all hands on deck in order to overhaul the DA’s office, and was hampered by the fact that the county legislature has imposed a statutory limit on the size of her staff.

The New York Times was unsympathetic to Rice’s arguments, and editorialized against her policy.

Rice and Blakeman are battling to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy in the Long Island district. Rice, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for state attorney general in 2010, has the support of numerous women’s groups. When she was elected in 2005, Rice became the first woman ever to hold the Nassau County DA post. She has since been re-elected twice – in 2009 and 2013.

Blakeman’s ad also dings Rice for refusing to fire a campaign staffer for making sexist and racially insensitive comments on Twitter. Rice’s campaign said it had been unaware of the Tweets, which a spokesman called “stupid, insensitive attempts at sarcasm and parody,” and responded by disciplining the staffer, Zach Tierney, but kept him on the payroll.

Here’s the script for Blakeman’s video:

Voiceover: “Upon becoming District Attorney, without conscience or warning, Kathleen Rice eliminated the positions of twelve working mothers who worked flexible shifts to care for their children.”

Neighbor: “What’s wrong with her?”

Voiceover: “And Kathleen Rice refused to fire her campaign aide when he mocked the physical abuse of women…and considers women a man’s property.”

Neighbor: “And Rice is OK with that? What’s wrong with her?”

Bruce Blakeman: “I’m Bruce Blakeman and I approve this message.”

Fulani Congratulates Teachout

Lenora Fulani, the controversial Independence Party activist who challenged former Gov. Mario Cuomo for the Demoratic nomination in 1994 – the same year he lost the governor’s office – issued a statement congratulating his son’s challenger, Zephyr Teachout, on her performance in yesterday’s primary.

Fulani also took the opportunity to make the case for one of her long-sought policy proposals: Making New York primaries nonpartisan. If the state did not insist on closed contests in which only registered party members can participate, she said, Teachout may well have bested Gov. Andrew Cuomo altogether.

“Congratulations to Zephyr Teachout on her primary run against Cuomo the Younger,” Fulani said. “Twenty years ago my primary campaign against Cuomo the Elder showed real anger within the Democratic Party at the status quo.”

“The status quo has gotten a lot worse since then, and I hope the Teachout movement connects with progressive independents to change the primary system. If we’d had a nonpartisan primary on Tuesday where independents could vote, Teachout could have done more than teach. She could have won.”

Fulani, who, like Teachout and her running mate, Tim Wu, was vastly out-spent by Mario Cuomo, received just over 20 percent of the primary vote in 1994.

With her 34 percent of the vote, Teachout posted the strongest challenge to an incumbent governor since primaries for the office were established in New York in 1970.

There have been only two other major-party primaries against governors seeking re-election since then: Fulani’s challenge to Mario Como, and LG Mary Anne Krupsak’s 1978 challenge to her previous partner, Gov. Hugh Carey, in which she received 33.7 percent of the vote.

(Incidentally, Krupsak was the last female Democratic LG. In his victory statement last night, Andrew Cuomo congratulated his running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul, on her win over Wu, saying it put her one step closer to becoming the first woman in the LG’s office for 35 years).

Fulani was one a prominent figure in New York politics, but she las largely fallen off the radar screen since 2006, when then-AG Eliot Spitzer made clear he would not accept the state Independence Party line in the governor’s race unless she and her supporters were excommunicated from the party leadership due to statements critics called anti-Semitic that Fulani made in the 1980s. (Spitzer took some heat for this, since he was more than willing to run on the Independence line when he won the AG’s race in 2002, even though Fulani was still a force within the party).

Six years earlier, former First Lady Hillary Clinton had declined to seek the Independence Party line in her first US Senate run in New York due to Fulani’s presence in the party. Clinton sought – and received – the party’s nod for her re-election bid in 2006 after the party’s chairman, Frank MacKay, pushed Fulani and her backers from power.

Fulani also played a role in the initia election of Mike Bloomberg (then a Republican) to the New York City’s mayor’s office in 2001. She not only endorsed the billionaire businessman, but also organized Independence Party members to work on his behalf. The 59,000 votes that Bloomberg received on the Independence Party ballot line that year exceeded his margin of victory over the Democratic (and Working Families Party) candidate Mark Green.

In 2003, Fulani endorsed Bloomberg’s proposed amendment to the New York City Charter to establish non-partisan elections. Bloomberg spent $7 million of his own money on the campaign, but voters still rejected the idea.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be in New York City and Erie County. No announcement yet as to his public schedule, but he’s expected to make a post-primary victory appearance with his running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will thank Department of Education staff for their work during the first week of school at the Tweed Courthouse. This event will be closed press.

At 9 a.m., Manhattan BP Gale Brewer participates in a DEMOS and NYC Central Labor Council racial justice roundtable on hiring practices, 275 Seventh Ave., Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial hopeful Rob Astorino attends meeting with the Staten Island Board of Realtors Legislative Committee, 1535 Richmond Avenue, Staten Island.

At 10 a.m., Councilman Donovan Richards and climate advocates rally for resolution on United Nations Climate Summit and address climate change, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 10:45 a.m. Astorino visits seniors, Mount Loretto Friendship Club, 6450 Hylan Blvd., Staten Island.

At 11 a.m., Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins holds a press conference as part of statewide tour, Perseverance Park, corner of Washington and South Salina Streets, Syracuse.

Also at 11 a.m., NYC Public Advocate Letitia James holds a press conference to release a report aimed at improving outcomes for 1,000 youth that age out of foster care annually, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., LG Bob Duffy attends the funeral service for Rochester Police Officer Daryl Pierson, Blue Cross Arena, 100 Exchange Blvd., Rochester.

Also at 11 a.m., Jimmy McMillan gubernatorial candidate and the “Rent is Too Damn High” Party hold a press conference criticizing Cuomo’s housing policies, New York City Housing Court, 111 Center St., Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., Chemung County Sheriff and GOP LG candidate Chris Moss attends the New York State Sheriffs Association Supervisors Conference closing ceremonies, Gideon Putnam Hotel & Conference Center, 24 Gideon Putnam Rd., Saratoga Springs.

Also at 11 a.m., GOP AG candidate John Cahill attends a breakfast with Sen. Marty Golden, Bridgeview Diner, 3rd Ave., Brooklyn.

At noon, Nassau County police unions endorse GOP Sen. Jack Martins, Nassau County PBA Headquarters, 89 East Jericho Turnpike, Mineola.

At 12:45 p.m., Cahill visits Amico Senior Center, 1562 86th St., Brooklyn.

At 7 p.m. Moss hosts a discussion forum, Paladin Center, 39 Seminary Hill Rd., Carmel.

Headlines…

In a politically humbling message sent by some urban, rural and suburban Democrats, Gov. Andrew Cuomo saw his little-known opponent, Zephyr Teachout, capture more than a third of the state’s primary vote. This despite the governor benefitting from an outsized campaign bank account and the power of party and union organizing.

Though she ran her campaign on a shoestring and with scarcely any organizational support, Teachout was on pace to record the strongest challenge to an incumbent governor since primaries for the office were established in New York in 1970.

Cuomo ran especially strong in Erie County, where he has put a focus the past four years after losing the region in 2010 to Carl Paladino. But he lost to Teachout in a number of upstate rural counties and locations in the Hudson Valley – including the Albany area.

According to unofficial returns, Cuomo won about 62 percent of the vote to Teachout’s 34 percent. Cuomo’s running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul, received close to 60 percent of the vote, while her opponent, Tim Wu, got 40 percent. Randy Credico, an activist/comedian candidate for governor, drew less than 4 percent.

Hochul passed her first significant political test since losing her House race to GOP Rep. Chris Collins in 2012. Wu said he believed he and Teachout, despite being unknown and vastly outspent, “put on a pretty damn good show.”

Some upstate Democrats who worked for Teachout in this race said they did so to send a message of displeasure to Cuomo, and still plan to vote for him in November.

Cuomo made no appearances after voting yesterday morning in Mt. Kisco. Instead, he issued a written statement (while Teachout was delivering her election night speech) saying his victory “is a testament to the progress we have made together over the last four years.”

Kenneth Sherrill, a political-science professor emeritus at Hunter College, summed up Teachout voters’ attitude toward Cuomo thusly: “They don’t like him. As much as they may agree or disagree with him on the issues, there is a distaste for his personality.”

Hochul, who cast herself as the underdog in the LG primary, appeared without the governor last night at a victory party in Buffalo and said that the “election starts tomorrow.”

Now it’s on to the general election in which Cuomo’s GOP challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, shares several of Teachout’s disadvantages, including a vast gap in campaign cash and low name recognition, and none of her advantages, such as appealing to women. He also faces the huge disadvantage in party registration.

There were 18 major-party primaries yesterday for seats in the Senate, where Democrats and Republicans are closely matched and a few races could determine which one is in the majority.

Sen. Jeff Klein declared victory in his re-election bid against his primary challenger, former NYC Councilman Oliver Koppell, and offered a spirited defense of the legacy and future of the Independent Democratic Conference he leads in Albany.

In a stunning upset, Republican challenger Kevin Stocker trounced incumbent Sen. Mark Grisanti in the 60th District race. Stocker, making his second attempt at ousting the senator, received 57 percent of the vote to Grisanti’s 43 percent, with all votes tallied.

Grisanti will appear on the November ballot on the Independence Party line. Democrat Marc Panepinto won his primary battle in the 60th SD with former Sen. Al Coppola.

Panepinto was backed by NYSUT’s political arm, which spent nearly $300,000 on a pre-primary effort against Grisanti.

Despite his indictment on charges he lied to the FBI about helping his son get a job with a politically connected law firm, Sen. Tom Libous, the GOP conference’s No. 2 member, easily defeated his primary challenger, Denver Jones.

Another senator indicted on corruption charges, Queens Democrat Malcolm Smith, lost in a landslide to his Democratic primary opponent, former NYC Councilman Leroy Comrie. But Sen. John Sampson, a Brooklyn Democrat who faces embezzlement charges, held onto his seat.

More >

Extras (Updated)

UPDATE: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s counsel, Mylan Denerstein, one of his longest-serving senior aides, will leave her post with the administration Friday.

This is an actual ballot that was cast in Binghamton.

Kathy Hochul said she didn’t know when she agreed to be Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s running mate that she would be running independently of him in the primary.

The Buffalo Bills officially announced plans to sell the team to the Pegula family, saying: “This is a very important day in the history of the Buffalo Bills franchise.”

Cuomo and US Sen. Chuck Schumer heaped praise on the Pegulas for buying the Bills.

A new feature, the ”Pegula” panini- basically a grilled ham sandwich – sold out at Sue’s Deli in the Buffalo City Hall basement today.

Bronx Councilman Fernando Cabrera demanded an immediate investigation into his local polling site after two pages of voter information were missing when he showed up to cast his ballot.

Hillary Clinton will headline a high-dollar fundraiser for the DCCC later this month - the second event she is holding for the group as it heads into the final stretch of the midterms.

Former Gov. David Paterson refused to fault Cuomo for refusing to debate Teachout, saying he probably wouldn’t have debated her, either.

Moments after casting his primary ballot this morning, Cuomo said he will not make an “emotional decision” on fracking.

Trying to cast a vote for himself this morning, Queens Sen. Tony Avella had a first-hand experience with polling machine glitches.

Hedge funder Robert Mercer has given $500,000 to Rescue New York PAC, an outside group backing Republican Rob Astorino’s candidacy against Cuomo.

More than a dozen protesters, mostly student volunteers for Rep. Tim Bishop, demonstrated at the kickoff rally of his GOP opponent, state Sen. Lee Zeldin, that was attended by former U.S. Rep. Allen West.

Former First Lady Laura Bush is the most high-profile promoter of the George W. Bush legacy - a burden she carries lightly and with a smile.

The Teachout campaign apparently was not aware that the polls in Binghamton didn’t open until noon.

After a year of sluggish sales in 2013, the grandstand at the New York State Fair stormed back this summer with strong ticket sales and one record-breaking concert.

Behold the million-dollar parking spot.

The e-commerce site Etsy will no longer allow the Washington Redskins name or logo to be used in its marketplace.

A report from state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office shows how infrastructure spending has declined in recent years, in part due to the phase-out of post-crash stimulus funds.

DCCC Enters Air War In NY-1

Now both the NRCC and the DCCC are on the air in the Long Island district of NY-1, hoping to assist their respective candidates – Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop and Republican state Sen. Lee Zeldin – as the November general election draws near.

The NRCC this morning released a spot that highlights the fact that Bishop is under investigation for helping a constituent secure a fireworks permit for a Bar Mitzvah and then demanding a campaign contribution in return. That’s actually the national committee’s second ad on the subject; the first aired in February.

Now the DCCC has followed suit with its first ad of this race, which accuses Zeldin of wanting to “privatize” Social Security and features a testimonial from a Long Island senior citizen named “Walter.” The ad started running on cable stations in the district today. Here’s the script:

Walter: I worked for over forty-three years before I retired. When the market crashed, all of our plans, our future, could have been gone. The only sure thing was having Social Security to fall back on.

Narrator: Lee Zeldin said he’d privatize Social Security…gambling our retirement on Wall Street with the same banks that crashed our economy.

Walter: Let’s face it. The stock market is a gamble. If you want to gamble, go to a casino. Don’t gamble with Social Security. This is money we earned. Lee Zeldin would break Social Security’s promise.

Narrator: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.”