Liz Benjamin

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Posts by Liz Benjamin

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public events announced as of yet.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and first lady Chirlane McCray are in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for the Somos Conference.

At 9 a.m., the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree will be cut down at the home of Shirley Figueroa and Lissette Gutierrez in Wallkill.

At 11 a.m., Queens Borough President Melinda Katz hosts her annual Veterans Day observance ceremony, Helen Marshall Cultural Center, Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Blvd., Queens.

Also at 11 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul delivers remarks at the grand opening of the Aurora Village Addiction Treatment Facility for Women, 6298 Inducon Dr., East Sanborn.

At 2 p.m., Hochul announces the expansion of the eWIC Nutrition Program for Women and Children Wegmans, 1955 Empire Blvd., Webster.

Also at 2 p.m., community activist Tony Herbert kicks off his campaign for NYC public advocate, corner of Mother Gaston Boulevard and Sutter Avenue, Brooklyn.

At 3:30 p.m., NYC Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez attends the Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City ceremony to commemorate the expansion of its mentoring program in Washington Heights, P.S. 173 Harbor Heights, 306 Fort Washington Ave., Manhattan.

At 5 p.m., MoveOn holds a protest demanding that the acting US AG, Matthew Whitaker, recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation, Times Square, Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., Assemblyman Dan Quart and New York City Councilman Keith Powers host the panel, “Should we Bail on Bail?”, P.S. 198 The Straus School, 1700 Third Ave., Manhattan.

Also at 6 p.m., de Blasio will deliver remarks at Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s Soros conference Welcome Reception: A Night at the Museum, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, 299 Avenida José de Diego, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Also at 6 p.m., IndivisibleNY19 members plan to hold a protest outside outgoing Republican Rep. John Faso’s office to protest the firing of US AG Jeff Sessions, 721 Broadway, Kingston.

At 7 p.m., Assemblywoman Amy Paulin speaks at the Compassion & Choices NY partners event, “Choices & Conversations at Life’s End,” JCC of Mid-Westchester, 999 Wilmot Road, Scarsdale.

Headlines…

A defiant President Trump vowed to go after Democrats who said they would launch a number of investigations against him after gaining control of the House in the midterm elections, saying “two can play that game.”

At the president’s request, Attorney General Jeff Sessions tendered his long-expected resignation in a letter delivered via Chief of Staff John Kelly.

A day after Democrats recaptured the House, Representative Nancy Pelosi, the longtime party leader, promised to work with Trump and Senate Republicans on issues where they could agree, while vowing the new majority would assert itself when necessary. But the firing of Sessions tested her resolve.

Congressional Democrats warned of a “constitutional crisis” if Trump’s ouster of Sessions in any way affects the Russia probe being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Matthew Whitaker, the acting attorney general, is a GOP insider and former U.S. Attorney from Iowa who made two failed bids for public office and has openly criticized Mueller.

Pelosi declared that she was confident that her newly ascendant colleagues would elect her speaker, as she moved aggressively to hold off a challenge to her leadership that could fracture the party. Oddly, she has Trump’s support, despite what he may have said on the campaign trail.

There were historic firsts across the country on Tuesday night, as voters chose from a set of candidates that was among the most diverse ever to run in the United States. Native American, Muslim and African-American women, and L.G.B.T. candidates, were among those who broke barriers.

Queens Democratic Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever elected to the House at the age of 29, is preparing to enter the establishment, but hopes not to be changed by it.

As many as 11 people – including an officer – were shot late yesterday when a suspect opened fire in a crowded Southern California bar.

The Trump administration accused CNN reporter Jim Acosta of “placing his hands on a young woman” – a White House intern – and yanked his credentials after he refused to turn over the microphone during a testy press conference with the president.

Acosta called the accusation a lie,” and his fellow White House press corps members immediately came to his defense.

Trump refused to answer a follow-up question from Acosta, who persisted in his attempt to ask the president about the Russia investigation into interference in the 2016 presidential election, calling the reporter a “rude, terrible person” after he yanked the mic back from the intern who tried to take it from him.

Singer John Legend ripped Trump for his performance during his first media appearance following the midterms, calling the president a “f—ing embarrassment.”

Twitter users, including many journalists, were quick to challenge White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ claim that Acosta had touched the intern, slamming the White House’s decision to yank the reporter’s press credentials.

Fans are roasting Beyoncé for her 11th-hour endorsement of Senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke on Tuesday, with some even blaming her for the Texas Democrat’s loss to Sen. Ted Cruz.

Longtime members of New York’s congressional delegation are about to cash in on the Democratic takeover of the House.

A day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo won re-election to a third term, he and frequent political foe NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is a lame duck due to term limits, sought to publicly tamp down their tensions.

Cuomo won just six out of 50 counties Upstate: Albany, Erie, Monroe, Onondaga, Tompkins and Ulster, while his Republican opponent, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, carried 44 counties Upstate, plus three Downstate counties: Dutchess, Orange and Putnam.

After years of battling with the Senate Republicans, de Blasio hailed the Democratic takeover of the chamber in Albany as a “whole new ballgame,” specifically mentioning election and campaign finance reforms as well as “finally getting a solution for the MTA.”

Cuomo said he doesn’t expect Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who will become the first woman ever to head a New York state legislative conference, and her fellow Democrats will make the same mistake of forgetting their suburban and upstate members like their predecessors did a decade ago the last time they controlled the chamber.

The governor vowed to move quickly to pass reforms blocked by Republicans: tighter ethics laws, early voting, the Dream Act, gun safety legislation and strengthening the state’s abortion law.

Perhaps most notably, Cuomo said he would close the so-called LLC loophole, which allows almost unlimited amounts of cash to flow to campaigns — including his own — through multiple limited liability companies.

Cuomo also threw down the gauntlet to state lawmakers, saying: “Legislative jobs should be full time…with restrictions on outside income.” (It’s possible this could be linked to the first legislative pay raise since January 1999).

More >

Extras

As Washington came to grips with its new divided reality, President Donald Trump reveled in his party’s Senate victories, mocked members of his own party who lost after not seeking his support and even suggested he may be able to govern more effectively after losing a chamber of Congress.

U.S. AG Jeff Sessions is out, as was widely expected to occur after the election. He resigned at the president’s request.

A significant number of immigrant voters supported the Republican Party yesterday and, in turn, Trump, despite the president’s controversial stances on immigration leading up to the elections.

Trump railed against House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi for months on the campaign trail, warning his supporters of the possibility of her becoming speaker if Democrats won the House. But today, he took a different tack, tweeting that “in all fairness,” Pelosi “deserves” to be chosen by her colleagues as speaker.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump will soon return to the limelight after the midterms, and the battles with the White House are now likely to heat up fast.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned that attempts by Trump or a successor to Sessions to interfere in Mueller’s investigation would spark a “constitutional crisis.”

Disgraced former Texas Rep. Steve Stockman will serve 10 years in federal prison for conspiring to bilk at least $775,000 from conservative foundations that intended the donations for charities and voter education.

The shift in power in Washington positions several of New York’s long-serving Congress Members in place to take over the leadership of powerful House Committees.

Nyack College plans to close its Rockland campus and shift all programs to its Manhattan campus as of the fall of 2019, school officials confirmed.

Four Erie County citizens have won their unusual court case, which orders Sheriff Timothy B. Howard to accurately report serious jail incidents, as a state agency requires.

Chemung County Sheriff Christopher Moss, who ran unsuccessfully for LG on the GOP line in 2014, will soon have a new title — county executive.

Amazon is eyeing a sprawling, family-owned waterfront site surrounding the Anable Basin in Long Island City for its potential move to New York.

Here’s a winners-and-losers takeaway from Crain’s, vis-à-vis yesterday’s elections.

…and here’s another, more nationally focused, view through a Jewish lens.

New York state saw the highest turnout in a non-presidential year going back to 1994, the earliest year with data available on the state’s Board of Elections website.

After 62 days of overseeing more than 2.82 million calls to voters across the country, the Siena poll’s Don Levy is already looking forward to the 2020 elections.

Pornhub, an international pornography company, is launching a free leaf removal promotion. And, of all places, it has chosen Dutchess County as the area to debut the service.

Ulster County really likes Democrat Antonio Delgado. The congressman-elect for NY-19, who unseated GOP freshman John Faso, won 60 percent of the vote in the liberal enclave, as he went on to collect 50.2 percent of the Election Day vote.

In the hotly contested race for the 116th Assembly district, Republican challenger Mark Walczyk, a Watertown City Council member, is the unofficial winner over incumbent Democrat Addie Jenne.

A former finance director at the Olympic Regional Development Authority has filed a lawsuit accusing the authority and the state Inspector General’s office of prosecuting him to cover for ORDA’s extravagant spending on entertainment and alcohol.

Here and Now, Post-Election Edition

It was a big election night for New York Democrats, who swept every statewide election, realized their long-held goal of re-taking the state Senate majority and saw a few upset victories in competitive congressional contests.

Fighting against an anti-Trump backlash in the president’s Democrat-dominated home state, Republicans have lost their last toehold of power with their loss of the Senate majority. And it’s not even a closely divided chamber anymore, with 39 seats in the blue column – and counting.

At the national level, the expected “blue wave” of Democratic victories didn’t occur, though the party did was expected to gain about 33 seats in the House, well over the 23 needed to gain control of the chamber for the first time since 2010.

That was thanks in part to a number of apparent successes in New York, including Max Rose’s early evening upset over Staten Island Republican Rep. Dan Donovan in NY-11, Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi’s success over Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney in NY-22 and newcomer Antonio Delgado’s big defeat of Republican Rep. John Faso in NY-19.

(I say “apparent” because Tenney, though she delivered a concession speech, seems to have rescinded her concession, believing the race is too close to call, and now is awaiting the results of a recount).

Several Republicans managed to hold onto their seats despite spirited challenges from Democrats, though they’re now headed back to a very different House where they will be in the minority.

The returning Republicans include: Rep. Tom Reed (vs. Tracy Mitrano in NY-23), Rep. John Katko (vs. dana Walter in NY-24), Rep. Pete King (vs. Liuba Grechen Shirley in NY-2), Rep. Elise Stefanik (vs. Tedra Cobb and Lynn Kahn in NY-21), and Rep. Lee Zeldin (vs. Perry Gershon in NY-1).

Also, in the closely-watched NY-27 race, Republican Rep. Chris Collins seems to have managed to hold onto his seat in the state’s most GOP-dominated district, despite the fact that he is fighting federal charges of insider trading and lying to the FBI.

Collins spent more of his campaign largely avoiding the media and relying on his ground game and TV ads to help him defeat his Democratic challenger, Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray, after he refused to relinquish the GOP line, angering local Republican leaders.

Collins just barely managed to eke out a victory, defeating McMurray by just one percentage point, but seemed unbothered by the result, telling The Buffalo News: “When you win, you win. It doesn’t matter if you win by one or 50,000.”

McMurray, who doesn’t live in the district and therefore couldn’t even vote for himself, conceded the race shortly after 11 p.m., but also later tweeted that he wanted on recount.

As expected, Democratic Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle won the NY-25 seat in the Rochester area left vacant by the death of veteran Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter.

The Republicans did manage to gain ground in the U.S. Senate, however, where the GOP was poised to add to its razor-thin 51-49 majority, even though here in New York, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand easily defeated her Republican challenger, Chele Farley.

Gillibrand, who is often mentioned as a potential 2020 Democratic candidte, was the heavy favorite against Farley, a finance-industry veteran who waged an underdog, underfunded campaign in her first run for elected office. She won 68 percent of the vote with 86 percent of precincts reporting.

Democrats also lost the nationally watched U.S. Senate race in Texas and the Florida and Georgia races for governor.

President Donald Trump seemed to be in a good mood, despite this party’s House defeat, which imperils his agenda., tweeting: “Tremendous success tonight! Thank you to all,” shortly after 11 p.m. He even called Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to offer congratulations.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who handily defeated his Republican challenger, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, to win a third four-year term, focused in his victory speech on Trump, continuing a trend that started months ago and intensified on the campaign trail.

Cuomo, who is also considered to be a potential White House contender, didn’t even mention Molinaro during his speech, instead pledging to continue to keep up the fight against Trump and what the governor considers his anti-progressive policies.

“The President said he would make America great again, but he doesn’t understand what made America great in the first place,” Cuomo said. “Mr. President, you have underestimated the strength of America’s better angels,” Cuomo said. “What binds us together is stronger than what divides us because at the end of the day, love is stronger than hate.”

Cuomo’s anti-Trump rhetoric and relentless effort to tie Molinaro to the popular president resonated with New York voters, who gave him a third term in a state with twice as many Democrats as Republicans.

The governor also spent some $31 million on his campaign, about 40 times more than Molinaro was able to muster, which included a win against a liberal Democratic primary challenger, actress Cynthia Nixon, in September.

With 80 percent of districts across New York reporting, Cuomo led Molinaro 58 percent to 38 percent. As a result of this victory, the governor has matched the three terms won by his father, the late Mario Cuomo, governor of New York from 1983-94.

Syracuse’s Howie Hawkins, who has never actually won elected office despite running for various posts more than 20 times, again succeeded in his attempt to keep the Green Party’s status as an official party in New York. With 83 percent of the vote counted, he had won 79,640 votes.

That was less than 2 percent of the vote against Cuomo and Molinaro and the other third party candidates, Libertarian Larry Sharpe and former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who ran on a new party called the Serve America Movement.

Sharpe has also won enough votes to give the Libertarian Party a line for the next four years. Miner, whoever, was behind in her effort to win a ballot line for the SAM party, but appears to have just eked out the 50,000 votes necessary to establish a ballot line, with 51,323.

The Women’s Equality Party and Reform Party failed to make the 50,000-vote cut, and therefore will lose ballot status. The Working Families Party, though its candidate, Nixon, lost in the primary and it settled for Cuomo in the general election, will keep its ballot line after the governor won 105,980 votes on that line. The Independence and Conservative parties also survived, running Cuomo and Molinaro, respectively.

In the other statewide elections, LG Kathy Hochul, running with Cuomo on the Democratic ballot, defeated Molinaro’s running mate, Julie Killian; and Democratic state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli pounded his little-known, Democrat-turned-Republican challenger, Jonathan Trichter, to win a third full four-year term.

DiNapoli had more than 3.2 million votes, or about 64.9 percent, to Trichter’s roughly 1.5 million, or about 30 percent, with about 88 percent of election districts reporting, according to unofficial results from the state Board of Elections.

New York City Public Advocate Letitia “Tish” James, the Democratic state attorney general candidate, defeated Republican corporate lawyer Keith Wofford to take over the post left empty when former Democratic AG Eric Schneiderman was forced to resign in the wake of sexual harassment and abuse challenges.

James made history as the first woman and first African American to be elected to the AG’s office, as well as the first black women to hold statewide public office.

In her victory speech in Brooklyn, James vowed to continue the office’s scrutiny of the president, saying: “He should know that we here in New York — and I, in particular — we are not scared of you.”

James will replace the current AG, Barbara Underwood, who was appointed by the Legislature to fill out the remainder of Schendierman’s term, though she has said she intends to ask Underwood, who is widely seen as capable and experienced, to work for her in the AG’s office.

In the state Senate, the Democrats out-performed even their most optimistic projections, knocking off five Republican incumbents and picking up eight seats, which leaves them with a decisive majority of 40 to 23 members.

Current Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, who won re-election to his own Long Island seat, issued a concession statement shortly after 11 p.m., saying:

“While tonight’s results are disappointing, the Senate Republican Conference will continue to be a strong and important voice in Albany — standing up for hardworking taxpayers, advancing policies that help businesses create new jobs and new opportunities, and working every day to keep our families secure and safe.”

“When we need to push back, we will push back,” Flanagan continued. “And where we can find common ground, we will always seek it. This election is over, but our mission is not. Senate Republicans will never stop advocating for the principles we believe in or the agenda that New Yorkers and their families deserve.”

Republican state senators fell all over the state — including one of the longest-serving members of the GOP conference, Health Committee Chair Kemp Hannon on Long Island, who was first elected in 1989. He was unexpectedly defeated by Democrat Kevin Thomas, a Levittown attorney.

Democrat James Gaughran toppled GOP incumbent Carl Marcellino — in office since 1995 — in the 5th District, which straddles Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

In Suffolk’s vacant 3rd District, a longtime GOP stronghold, Suffolk County Legislator Monica Martinez, a Democrat, defeated Republican Assemblyman Dean Murray for the seat vacated by GOP Sen. Tom Croci, who resigned earlier this year to return to active duty in the U.S. Navy.

In Nassau’s 7th District, Democrat Anna Kaplan, a member of the North Hempstead Town Board, bested freshman GOP Sen. Elaine Phillips, who was facing her first re-election bid. Democrats have an edge of more than 20,000 voters over enrolled Republicans in the district.

Democrat Andrew Gounardes appeared to beat veteran Brooklyn Sen. Marty Golden 49.8 to 47.8 percent, by just over 1,000 votes. But Golden said he wasn’t ready to concede because about 3,000 outstanding paper ballots remain to be counted.

Democrats also appeared poised to pick up two open seats in the Hudson Valley.

Assemblyman James Skoufis won a district vacated by longtime GOP Sen. Bill Larkin, defeating his GOP challenger, Tom Basile; and Democratic Rosendale Councilwoman Jen Metzger also had a lead of 2,700 votes over Republican Orange County Clerk Annie Rabbitt with 90 percent of precincts reporting in a district now held by retiring GOP Sen. John Bonacic.

Peter Harckham, a former Westchester County legislator, had a 3,500-vote lead over incumbent Sen. Terrence Murphy, a Yorktown Republican, with 75 percent of precincts reporting. He declared victory around 11:40 p.m.

In the Rochester area, the race between incumbent GOP Sen. Rich Funke and his Democratic challenger, Jen Lunsford, was too close to call early in the evening, but it looks like the senator managed to hold onto his seat in the end.

In the 50th Senate district in central New York, Republican Bob Antonacci has fended off a challenge from Democrat John Mannion to claim the seat being vacated by GOP Sen. John DeFrancisco, though Mannion is awaiting final word on absentee ballots.

In the Capital Region, Republican Daphne Jordan provided a bright spot for the otherwise beleaguered GOP, defeating Democrat Aaron Gladd, a veteran and former Cuomo aide, by the unofficial count of 63,540 to 53,902 for New York’s 43rd Senate District seat.

Jordan will replace retiring Republican Sen. Kathy Marchione, for whom she worked as a legislative director.

Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins won an unopposed re-election bid in her Yonkers district, and is likely to become the Senate’s first female majority leader.

“I am confident our majority will grow even larger after all results are counted, and we will finally give New Yorkers the progressive leadership they have been demanding,” Stewart-Cousins said in a statement.

Turnout in New York and across the nation was high, but voting in the Empire State was marred due to multiple complications – particularly downstate – with long lines and malfunctioning scanners, causing at least one elected official – NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson – to call for the resignation of the head of the much-maligned NYC Board of Elections.

Extras

Polls across the state are open for just under another four hours. While we await results, which could take quite a while, here are some headlines to consider….

Voters across NYC reported problems with broken ballot scanners today. Wet weather appeared to be contributing to the scanner difficulties, which were forcing long lines at polling sites throughout the boroughs.

The NYC Board of Elections deployed officials to various polling sties to investigate reported problems, which included a higher number of scanner jams due to the double-sided ballot.

NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson called for the resignation of Michael Ryan, the director of the city Board of Elections, amid pandemonium at the polls, as the official blamed the slew of broken machines on the soggy weather.

Ryan said that the long lines at some polling places were “the sign of a healthy and robust democracy,” adding: “(W)e’re seeing an excitement factor and instead of us looking at that as a negative, we should look at that, ‘Wow, look at all the people that are coming out to vote!'”

The president, who traveled to eight states in the past week to hold 11 campaign rallies, planned to spend today making phone calls, monitoring races across the country and meeting with his political team for updates, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

A string of East Coast races could be early indicators on which party will win the battle for control of the U.S. House, while the fight for the U.S. Senate runs through a slate of tossup states that are in later time zones.

Taking no chance of losing the only Republican congressional seat in his hometown, Trump delivered an 11th hour taped message to 55,000 households on Staten Island and southern Brooklyn, urging them to vote for Rep. Dan Donovan, who’s facing an unexpectedly spirited challenge from Democrat Max Rose.

Fox News released a statement regarding Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro campaigning with Trump last night: “Fox News does not condone any talent participating in campaign events… This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed.” The statement also praises Fox’s “extraordinary team of journalists.”

Hannity followed up with his own statement saying that Trump’s invitation to come on stage at a Missouri rally was spontaneous, but he also expressed no regret about accepting.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressed optimism that Amazon will build a portion of its second headquarters in New York, saying he will “do whatever I need to do to make it a reality.”

“I’ve said to them personally I will do whatever I need to do to make it a reality,” Cuomo continued. “I will personally get involved in facilitating their construction and their approval process.”

Local residents and community activists are not as enthusiastic as the governor, citing fears of over development and gentrification.

Long Islanders hoping for an “I Voted” sticker after casting their ballots will be mostly disappointed, with officials from the election boards in Nassau and Suffolk counties saying they did not purchase stickers this year, citing budget constraints.

Actor and comedian Ben Stiller spent the Monday before Election Day campaigning for a southern Brooklyn Democrat – state Senate candidate Andrew Gounardes, a longtime community activist who hopes to unseat the 22nd District’s longtime Republican incumbent state Sen. Marty Golden.

Stormy Daniels wants a judge to strip down the $341,559.50 in legal fees demanded by Trump over her recently dismissed defamation claim, alleging the jaw-dropping sum is “exaggerated and wasteful” and reflects an overall “inflated approach to billing.”

A Manhattan federal jury has found a Brooklyn man guilty of detonating a pipe bomb in a crowded Port Authority tunnel in the name of ISIS — setting him up for life in prison.

The office of former Sen. George Maziarz did such a poor job tracking spending from his campaign account that it’s impossible to know exactly what became of up to $350,000, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said in explaining why he isn’t pressing charges against anyone who handled the money.

The number of measles cases in the United States so far this year has surpassed 2017 with the potential for about a quarter of the highly contagious respiratory infections to be occurring in Rockland County where a high number of religious residents aren’t in favor of vaccines.

Here and Now

It’s finally here! Election Day! Polls across the state open at 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m.

Voters will cast ballots in statewide races for governor, attorney general and comptroller, and also in local congressional and legislative contests.

Control of the state Senate as well as the House and U.S. Senate are in play today, and interest across the nation in these midterm elections is higher than usual, with early voting indicating the sort of voter participation that rivals a presidential year.

New York doesn’t have early voting, but local elections officials say both enrollment and absentee ballot requests are up.

One thing that could have a negative impact on turnout today: The weather. Rain and wind is in the forecast.

Candidates and their supporters have pretty much done all they can do at this point, and the focus for today will be getting out the vote. Various different candidates will casting ballots at their local polling places – presumably voting for themselves – before retreating to their respective corners this evening to await results.

Some of those results could well be a long time in coming, as a number of these races are very close. We’ve seen legislative contests go into overtime as the two sides battle it out in court, sometimes for weeks – or even months. No doubt the election lawyers are armed and ready with requests to impound the voting machines and seek recounts if necessary.

You can find your polling place, if you don’t already know it, here.

The state AG’s office is urging voters experiencing problems or issues at the polls to call the office hotline at 800-771-7755 or email civil.rights@ag.ny.gov at any time between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Additional information can be found here, here and here.

Here’s some Election Day misinformation to look out for.

Cuomo will be casting his ballot at 605 Millwood Rd, Mt. Kisco at 10 a.m., and then will be in New York City with no public events yet announced. Democrats will be gathering this evening at the Sheraton Times Square for an event hosted by the state party.

Molinaro will vote at 7:45 a.m. at the Red Hook Town Hall, 7340 S. Broadway, and will be awaiting the returns in Poughkeepsie, though the rest of the Republicans will be in NYC.

At 7:30 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on NY1’s Mornings on 1, and then on Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning at 7:55 a.m.

The mayor and First Lady Chirlane McCray will vote at 9:15 a.m. at the Park Slope Library in Brooklyn, (431 6th Ave.), and then hold a media availability.

Headlines…

Americans will finally cast their ballots in record-breaking numbers today in an election that is widely viewed as a referendum on President Trump’s divisive personality, leadership style and policy ideas, following a historically hostile campaign season.

Trump’s fiery, invective-filled campaigning produced what may be the most polarized midterm contest in modern times as he played to tribal rifts in American society in a way that no president has done since before the civil rights era.

Pollsters predict Democrats should easily capture the 23 seats they need to regain control of the House. But an upbeat Trump predicted victory in the U.S. Senate, where the GOP has a good chance to maintain or widen its majority — and even the House.

Trump defended an anti-immigrant ad that critics called racist after several television networks said they would not run it, calling it “effective” and telling reporters their questions were “offensive.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Republican challenger Marc Molinaro closed out their campaigns yesterday in New York City, with the governor continuing to bash Trump and Molinaro appearing with George Pataki, the state’s last GOP governor and the man who beat Cuomo’s father in 1994.

Molinaro took the subway – something Cuomo rarely does – but wasn’t recognized by a lot of his fellow riders. The governor, meanwhile, campaigned with Democratic state Senate candidate Andrew Gounardes, who is trying to unseat GOP Sen. Marty Golden in Brooklyn.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed he’ll be voting for his fellow Democrat, and frequent frenemy, Cuomo, on the Working Families Party line.

Political contributions from the 10 law firms that gave the most to New York candidates this election cycle have flowed overwhelmingly to incumbents, with Cuomo drawing the lion’s share.

A federal trial began in New York City over challenges to the federal government’s decision to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census. The first witness, Duke University professor D. Sunshine Hillygus, said there was considerable evidence that adding the question will depress participation by non-citizens.

Saudi Arabia did not know how to use U.S.-supplied weapons when it bombed a school bus in Yemen over the summer, Trump said in a new interview.

The U.S. Olympic Committee took steps to decertify USA Gymnastics as the governing body for the sport at the Olympic level, choosing to pursue the nuclear option for an organization that botched its own rebuilding attempt in the wake of a sex-abuse scandal involving former team doctor Larry Nassar.

Trump said that a meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia expected to take place this weekend in Paris would be delayed, possibly until later in the month when both are planning to attend an international summit meeting in Buenos Aires.

Trump’s decision to deploy US active duty troops and earlier deployment of National Guard forces to the southern border could cost between $200 million and $300 million, according to an independent analysis and Department of Defense figures on guard deployments.

In the wake of the anti-Semitic attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue that left 11 people dead, a philanthropic organization – the Paul E. Singer Foundation – is making a significant contribution toward bolstering the security of Jewish institutions around New York.

After almost a year of suspense, Amazon has reportedly decided to build new headquarters in not one, but two cities — and New York may be one of them.

“I’ll change my name to Amazon Cuomo if that’s what it takes,” the governor told reporters, referring to his determination to land Amazon’s second headquarters.

Amazon is nearing a deal to name Long Island City, a fast-growing neighborhood on the western edge of Queens, as one of two locations that would together house as many as 50,000 employees in its ever-expanding work force, according to two people briefed on the negotiations.

The second of two remaining sexual assault accusers in Harvey Weinstein’s criminal case contacted him after she said she was attacked — potentially weakening an already faltering case, the former movie mogul’s lawyers revealed.

Democratic NY-11 candidate Max Rose boasts he was instrumental in running a multimillion-dollar New York health care business. But he says he knew nothing about the company offering cop-killer Judith Clark a job, and the firm’s CEO is backing him up on that claim.

Three women got busted early yesterday for attaching a banner reading “Vote” to the Manhattan Bridge, police said.

More >

Extras

If a presidential election were to take place today, President Donald Trump would likely lose against every high-profile woman floated as a potential 2020 candidate for the Democrats—including former first ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, an Axios poll shows.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball is projecting that Democrats will comfortably win control of the House during tomorrow’s midterm elections, while Republicans will slightly expand their majority in the U.S. Senate.

A new poll released on the eve of the midterm elections shows Democrats with their smallest lead so far in generic congressional races.

Following CNN’s lead, Fox News, Fox Business and NBC said they will stop airing a campaign ad for Trump that was widely condemned as racist after NBC ran it during an NFL Sunday Night Football game.

Also not airing the ad: Facebook.

Trump’s response to the ad, which he claimed not to know about: “A lot of things are offensive. Your questions are offensive.”

Trump said he would nominate a new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations by the end of the week to replace Nikki Haley, who announced last month she was stepping down.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo suggested that he is planning an overhaul of the beleaguered MTA — including in its management structure.

The NYC Board of Elections has taken down a video that showed voters how to cast a ballot — by marking a spot for Cuomo — after The NY Post posted a story about the spot.

For an eighth consecutive year, Cuomo has missed the statutory deadline for producing a Mid-Year Financial Plan Update.

Albany got a little love on “Saturday Night Live.” The Saturday, November 3 episode, featuring guest star Jonah Hill, included a skit from a made-up newscast set in Albany.

NYC Public Advocate Tish James, the Democratic state AG candidate, has finally consumed a garbage plate.

Eight candidates in four state Senate districts have been spending lavishly this year, with their campaigns funneling more than $6.3 million combined into the races.

Amazon.com Inc. plans to split its second headquarters evenly between two locations rather than picking one city for HQ2, according to a person familiar with the matter, a surprise decision that will spread the impact of a massive new office across two communities.

The man who shot and killed two women at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida, on Friday before killing himself was a far-right extremist and self-proclaimed misogynist who railed against women, black people, and immigrants in a series of online videos and songs.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage said that he plans to move to Florida for tax reasons and teach at a university there regardless of who Mainers elect to succeed him.

Trump tweeted his support of Republican NY-22 Rep. Claudia Tenney’s re-election effort.

For really die-hard political junkies, here’s a cheat sheet for everything that matters up for grabs across the country tomorrow.

Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone, who has been under pressure to resign over his handling of an ongoing clergy sexual abuse scandal, said that a “tsunami” of clergy abuse victims have filed claims for compensation from the diocese.

Welch Allyn President Alton Shader is resigning to become CEO of a company in the healthcare industry.

After attending Sunday Mass, parishioners of two Syracuse-area Roman Catholic churches found flyers on their car windows urging them to not vote for Democratic state Senate candidate John Mannion because of his position on abortion.

The state DMV has begun the process of revoking a vanity license plate that contains an anti-Semitic acronym.

Akayed Ullah was charged with detonating a bomb in the New York City subway. Evidence at his trial showed how security cameras recorded his every movement.

The season’s first real lake effect snowfall is likely to arrive this weekend upstate.

Here and Now

It’s the day before Election Day, and candidates traditionally make closing arguments to voters as they wrap up their campaigns.

Updated: Gov. Andrew Cuomo will make an appearance at a GOTV rally in Brooklyn.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro, meanwhile, has a full slate of downstate events and radio interviews scheduled throughout the day, starting with a GOTV effort at the ferry terminal on Bay Street in Staten Island at 6 a.m., and ending with a rally in Nassau County at 8 p.m.

LG Kathy Hochul, Cuomo’s running mate, who is also on the ballot tomorrow, will be making three public appearances upstate throughout the day.

President Donald Trump

At 8 a.m., immigrant New Yorkers and advocates will hold a press conference and rally immediately prior to the opening of a major federal trial against the Trump administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, outside the Federal courthouse in the Southern District of New York, 40 Centre St., Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., the state Board of Regents meets, Regents Room, 89 Washington Ave., Albany.

At 10 a.m., U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand headlines a GOTV rally in WNY for NYC Public Advocate Tish James, the Democratic state AG candidate; and NY-27 candidate Nate McMurray, along with Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner, Amherst Democratic Committee Headquarters, 3364 Sheridan Dr., Buffalo. (Hochul will be among the attendees).

Also at 10 a.m., Republican state attorney general candidate Keith Wofford will make his last campaign stop in his hometown of Buffalo, Erie County Republican Headquarters, 715 Main St., #102.

At 11 a.m., “The Capitol Pressroom” features Assemblyman David DiPietro and others, WCNY.

At 11:15 a.m., Cuomo will rally with Democrats Stars and Stripes Democratic Club, 7321 15th Avenue, Brooklyn.

At 11:40 a.m., “The Brian Lehrer Show” features NYC Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal, WNYC.

At noon, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will deliver remarks at the Goddard Riverside Senior Center, 593 Columbus Ave., Manhattan.

Also at noon, James, Gillibrand and Hochul attend a Black Student Union Rock the Vote GOTV rally with Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, Monroe Community College, Downtown Campus, 321 State St., Rochester.

Also at noon, Rodney Leon, architect of the African Burial Ground Monument in Lower Manhattan, will be joined by a coalition of elected and community leaders to respond to the racist act of vandalism at the site this past Thursday, 290 Broadway, Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., Hochul, Giilibrand and James campaign at the Monroe County Democratic Committee GOTV phone bank with congressional candidate and Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, Workers United, 750 East Ave., Rochester.

At 1 p.m., state Sen. David Carlucci will be sitting in on conversation about eating disorders, which will be hosted by Jewish Family Services of Rockland County at Rockland Community College, RCC, 145 College Rd., Suffern.

At 3 p.m., Democratic Leader Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins headlines a GOTV rally with fellow Democratic elected officials from Westchester County, Market Square, 1 Spring St., Ossining.

At 7 p.m., de Blasio will appear live on NY1’s “Inside City Hall.”

At 8 p.m., Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle will campaign for NY-22 Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney at an election eve rally, the Beeches in Rome, 7900 Turin Rd., Rome.

Headlines…

Heading into the critical midterm elections, Democrats retain their advantage in the battle for the House, but Republicans could be buoyed by increasingly positive assessments of the economy and by Trump’s harsh focus on the issues of immigration and border security, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News national poll.

President Trump’s campaign stop yesterday in Georgia as the midterm elections loomed in the distance featured outlandish claims about Democratic candidates, media icon Oprah Winfrey and lengthy discussions about the size of his campaign crowds.

Offering no evidence or independently verifiable details, the office of Georgia’s secretary of state, Brian Kemp, who is also the Republican nominee for governor, said that the authorities had opened an inquiry into the Democratic Party of Georgia after “a failed attempt to hack the state’s voter registration system.”

Michael Bloomberg, a possible 2020 presidential candidate and the former mayor of New York City, is spending $5 million to air an ad in which he urges voters to support Democratic candidates ahead of this week’s midterms, he announced.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued that the new Iran sanctions – going into effect one day before the U.S. midterm elections – are tough enough to keep the Islamic Republic from pursuing a nuclear weapon.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway attacked former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, calling her “the queen of abortion” during an appearance on Fox News.

It’s a question some Democrats are pondering as the 2020 presidential election inches closer: Can their party represent change when three of its top candidates are not only familiar faces, but people in their retirement years?

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, a Democrat, said he quickly ended a call with Trump shortly after the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue because Trump started complaining about death penalty laws.

Pop star Rihanna indicated that she will challenge the Trump campaign for playing her music at his “Make America Great Again” rallies.

Longtime political operative Roger Stone denied that he was a conduit between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, the shadowy whistleblower group that published Clinton’s hacked emails during the 2016 presidential race, claiming he’s being persecuted for playing basic politics.

Republicans on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee late Saturday released a 414-page report in which the panel members say they found no supporting evidence for any of the allegations of sexual misconduct made against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh ahead of his confirmation.

Here’s your nuts-and-bolts guide to what you need to know about tomorrow’s elections – from polling hours and locations to voting booth do’s and don’ts.

The Catholic Church for the first time is saying it is open to looking at some type of provision that would allow child sex abuse victims who under current state law cannot seek justice to be able to do so.

A paid staff member of Democratic NY-23 candidate Tracy Mitrano’s campaign team resigned Saturday after Republican Rep. Tom Reed’s campaign disclosed a vulgar posting on her Instagram account.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his Republican opponent, Marc Molinaro, spent the weekend making their final case to voters before Tuesday’s election.
Molinaro visited 16 upstate cities over two days while Cuomo attended a rally in Buffalo on Saturday and ones on Long Island and Westchester County on Sunday.

The race for governor has tightened considerably though Cuomo still maintains a healthy lead over Molinaro two days before Election Day, a new Siena poll shows.

Cuomo’s lead has shrunk from 22 percentage points to 13.

Expect quick pushes on abortion rights and voting reform and the same fiscal moderation if Cuomo is elected to a third term, his advisers say. And expect him to keep speaking up about Trump.

The NY-19 race between Republican Rep. John Faso and Democratic newcomer Antonio Delgado features similar fault lines buffeting the midterms across the country. (Effectively, this race is the tale of two tapes, and which one resonates more with voters remains to be seen).

Delgado is up just one percentage point over Faso heading into tomorrow’s election, according to a new Siena poll.

The NY Post: “Cuomo’s excuse for staying off the campaign trail, even skipping the League of Women Voters debate in Albany last week, is that he’s too busy doing state business. Too busy making the state government do his business is more like it.”

The Daily News: “For 11 years, Tom DiNapoli has served as the state’s top pension steward and fiscal watchdog. He’s been, to put it charitably, meh.”

The DN’s Ken Lovett lists seven things to watch for in tomorrow’s elections.

The Gotham Gazette’s list is a little longer.

More >

The Weekend That Was

The tumultuous 2018 midterm campaign, shaped by conflicts over race and identity and punctuated by tragedy, barreled through its final weekend as voters prepared to deliver a verdict on the first half of President Trump’s term, with the GOP bracing for losses in the House, but expecting to hold the U.S. Senate.

If Congress is split among the two major parties, voters should expected a prolonged period of political division and gridlock, experts predicted.

Trump crisscrossed the country Saturday in the frantic final days before pivotal midterm elections that will set the course for the next two years of his first term, appearing at campaign rallies in Montana, then Florida.

Trump alleged Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the African-American Democrat bidding to become the first black governor of Florida, is “not equipped” for the job at a boisterous rally – a comment that came after he deemed another black candidate, Democrat Stacey Abrams, “not qualified” to become governor of Georgia.

Gillum suspended his campaign indefinitely after a male gunman shot and killed two people and injured five more before killing himself at a Florida yoga studio Friday evening.

As Republicans scramble ahead of Tuesday’s election to try to save their majorities in the House and Senate, many party officials and candidates have concluded that their best shot at victory is embracing the Trump political playbook of demonization, making overt, frontal attacks on prominent liberals, minorities and immigrants.

In this year’s hotly contested midterm elections, New York is one of only 13 states that forbids early-voting measures that could boost turnout and ease Election Day headaches, which could negatively impact turnout.

While midterm elections typically attract lower voter turnout, absentee ballots counts at county Boards of Elections across the state are greatly outpacing 2014 numbers, with some are on par with presidential election-year figures.

New York Republicans have not won a statewide race since 2002 — and the streak is not likely to end on Tuesday, as the Democratic candidates are expected to cruise to victory.

The state Republican Party released a last-minute ad accusing Democratic attorney general candidate Letitia James of repeatedly misleading voters.

While Republican-leaning voters traditionally see their share of the electorate increase when the presidential race isn’t on the ballot, the writing on the wall indicates Democratic candidates in the Capital Region and across the state will benefit from unusually high levels of enthusiasm from their supporters.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro stumped Saturday in Niagara Falls, and called his opponent, the Democratic incumbent governor, Andrew Cuomo, a “bully.”

Cuomo was also in Western New York Saturday, headlining a GOTV rally in Buffalo.

As goes Cheektowaga

Molinaro is working hard to keep Trump at arm’s length as he runs in the president’s Democrat-dominated home state.

In a move that appears to evoke an infamous pay-to-play deal cut by one of his predecessors, Cuomo is quietly working to earmark money to boost wages and benefits for members of SEIU 1199, a powerful health care union that endorsed him earlier this year, according to a memo circulated among industry insiders.

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Larry Sharpe held a campaign rally in Binghamton, and predicted people would be “shocked” by his performance Tuesday.

The Glens Falls Post-Star: “An active and ethical attorney general can act as a deterrent to a governor’s abuse of executive power, and we believe (Republican) Keith Wofford is the best candidate to fulfill that role.”

As three separate migrant caravans slowly made their way north through Mexico on Saturday, newly arrived U.S. troops worked to lay a barbed-wire fence along the Texas side of the Rio Grande.

The killings of nine parishioners in 2015 at a black church in Charleston and 11 congregants last week at a Pittsburgh synagogue have united the two communities.

Across the corporate landscape, the Trump administration has presided over a sharp decline in financial penalties against banks and big companies accused of malfeasance.

The close and contentious NY-22 race, where first-term Republican Congresswoman Claudia Tenney is trying to fend off a challenge from Democratic state Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, is receiving an unprecedented amount of attention from outside the district.

Democrat Liuba Grechen Shirley, 37, is giving veteran Long Island incumbent Republican Rep. Pete King the toughest race of his career by repeatedly reminding voters how hard it is to be a working mother.

Long-shot Democrat O’Rourke, who hopes to beat the odds and unseat Sen. Ted Cruz in the deep-red Lone Star State, has been helped by phone banks in the heart of hipster-heavy Brooklyn and fund-raisers hosted in swanky Lower East Side gin mills in the months leading up to Tuesday’s midterm election.

This year’s race between U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand – a possible Democratic presidential candidate – and Republican Chele Farley looks, on the surface, like a mismatch. But don’t tell that to Farley, who’s running a spirited but underfunded challenge to one of the Democratic Party’s rising stars.

The NY-27 race includes two candidates with foreign ties – a Democrat who spent much of his adult life in Asia, as well as a Republican businessman who owns a company that markets products made in Asia and who was indicted in connection with his involvement in a company based in Australia.

The Adirondack Daily Enterprise endorsed Democratic NY-21 challenger, Tedra Cobb, against Republican incumbent Rep. Elise Stefanik, but also said Green Party candidate Lynn Kahn would be an “excellent choice” for those who can’t bring themselves to vote for a major party contender.

Two months before their bodies would wash up dead on the rocky banks of the Hudson River, becoming known throughout the world, two sisters from Saudi Arabia anonymously traveled from Virginia to Manhattan – perhaps to seek asylum. They may have committed suicide.

A political event featuring the comedian Ilana Glazer at the Union Temple of Brooklyn in Prospect Heights was called off after hateful messages, including “Die Jew Rats,” were discovered on the temple’s walls.

James Polite, the suspect charged with scrawling anti-Semitic graffiti inside a Brooklyn synagogue, has Jewish foster parents, and was an intern for former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn — for whom he worked on initiatives to combat hate crime.

A vandal scrawled a racist message at a landmark African burial ground in Lower Manhattan this week, cops said.

First son Donald Trump Jr. took a swipe at Alec Baldwin over allegations that the actor punched a man in a Friday dustup over a parking space.

The hapless driver allegedly knocked around by Baldwin is an avid runner who survived the Boston Marathon bombing, and had no clue who the hot-headed actor was when he sucker-punched him over a parking spot.

A car belonging to Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams, who has said he intends to run for public advocate, has been issued a staggering 18 violations for being caught on a camera speeding in a school zone since March of 2016, according to public records.

NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray took a taxpayer-funded trip to Iowa this week for what was supposed to be meetings on mental health, and then spent one of her two days stumping for local Democratic candidates.

Former Brooklyn State Sen. John Sampson pleaded guilty to two counts of embezzlement Friday, but a federal court judge did not immediately accept his plea.

The Buffalo Diocese is now relying on a former FBI agent to investigate complaints of clergy sex abuse instead of assigning the task to a high-ranking church official.

The current pastor and the immediate former pastor of a large parish in Clarence both have been suspended from ministry after the Diocese of Buffalo received complaints of abuse against them.

Aurora Supervisor James Bach, a Republican, has withdrawn his support for incumbent David J. DiPietro in an increasingly bitter campaign for the 147th Assembly District.

New York’s Chief Judge Janet DiFiore accused court officers’ unions of anti-Italian stereotyping in a letter she issued last week, prompting a back-and-forth between union leaders and the judge.

The state Comptroller’s Office’s annual review of the city of Troy’s budget proposed found that Mayor Patrick Madden’s $73.5 million spending plan was reasonable but that the city should find new ways to pay for buying new equipment instead of borrowing.

The Lackawanna City Council may fill the seat vacated by 3rd Ward Councilman William R. Leonard, who resigned after pleading guilty to official misconduct for violating the city residency requirement, tomorrow during the next council session.

If questions the public posed to incoming Syracuse police chief Kenton Buckner at a Saturday forum are any indication, the new top cop has a lot on his plate.

The Hornell Police Department in Steuben County has debunked rampant rumors on social media that candy laced with LSD, a hallucinogenic drug, had been given out to trick-or-treaters on Halloween.

Extras

President Donald Trump said he was preparing an executive order to end birthright citizenship in the United States, his latest attention-grabbing maneuver days before midterm congressional elections, during which he has sought to activate his base by vowing to clamp down on immigrants and immigration.

House Speaker Paul Ryan broke with Trump and contested his claims that he could circumvent a constitutional guarantee of citizenship by issuing an executive order to deny the right to babies born in the U.S. to noncitizen parents.

Special counsel Robert Mueller last week asked the FBI to investigate a possible scam in which a woman would make false claims that he had sexually assaulted her, after several political reporters were contacted about doing a story on the alleged assault.

Vice President Mike Pence rejected any link between Trump’s rhetoric and recent hate crimes and political violence, saying “it’s important that we don’t connect those acts to the public debate.”

Just one day after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, Queens state Senate hopeful John Liu posted a bizarre video noshing on a pastrami sandwich while urging Americans not to “point fingers” in the wake of the tragedy.

Ben & Jerry’s is launching a new ice cream flavor, Pecan Resist, to fight the “Trump administration’s regressive and discriminatory policies.”

Barbra Streisand has a new album, one that is the musical embodiment of her singular dislike of Trump, and the rare instance of her political views entering her music.

With just a week until Election Day, billionaire Democrat George Soros is leaving the door open to making another major investment in the midterm campaign.

Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, who’s facing one of the country’s toughest re-election races, raised eyebrows when she distanced herself from leading members of her own party, including two possible presidential hopefuls, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, in a Fox News interview about “crazy Democrats.”

U.S. colleges and universities have received more than $350 million from the Saudi government this decade, yet some are rethinking their arrangements in the wake of the killing of a journalist that has ignited a global uproar against the oil-rich nation.

Two groups typically allied with state Senate Democrats are calling for Aaron Gladd – a Democratic state Senate candidate from Brunswick – to return a recent $11,000 campaign donation from Daniel Loeb, a hedge-fund billionaire whose racially charged comments about Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins sparked a firestorm last year.

Well in excess of $10 million has been spent in an effort to influence the outcome of key state Senate races since the beginning of October. It’s coming from billionaire hedge fund executives and real estate developers, but also from teachers, health care workers downstate and construction trades people from all over.

The NY-22 Democratic candidate, Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, released his final TV ad of the campaign.

A class difference between Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his Republican opponent, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, appears to rankle the GOP lawmaker, who said: “I’ve always had that feeling that I’m on the outside. I just have…when I’m in a room with exceptionally wealthy people, I feel like I’m the poor kid.”

Molinaro praised the press, quoted a Kennedy and called for love and unity in an Association for Better New York speech, differentiating himself from Trump without ever saying his name.

A record $2 million spent so far in the race for retiring Sen. John DeFrancisco’s 50th district seat is making the Senate campaign one of the costliest in the state.

Siobhan O’Connor, the former Buffalo Diocese employee who leaked clergy sex abuse documents to a local television station in August, more recently turned over to the FBI some of those documents.

State legislators Ellen Jaffee and Liz Krueger are urging state regulators to impose maximum allowable amounts of PFOA, PFOS and 1,4-dioxane in drinking water.

Brian Donnelly, a top aide to Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, has been named deputy county executive by Ryan McMahon, who will take over Friday as county executive.

The state is offering cultural centers, religious institutions and nonpublic schools throughout New York grants of up to $50,000 to protect themselves from potential threats, officials said. This is the second time New York has offered such a grant.

One sure-fire way to draw the anger of Buffalo Twitter: Come to Buffalo to eat boneless chicken wings from Applebee’s (as opposed to somewhere local). That’s what ESPN’s Monday Night Football crew did when they attempted to insert “true Buffalo flavor” with a pre-game wing-related segment.

Snow-plowing robots are under consideration in Syracuse.

Congrats to Zephyr Teachout and her husband on the birth of their baby boy.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are traveling to Pittsburgh, PA to express the support of the American people and to grieve with the Squirrel Hill community that was the site of a deadly synagogue shooting. They’ll return to Washington, D.C. this evening.

Vice President Mike Pence this morning participates in POLITICO’s Playbook live interview with Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman, and then departs D.C., headed for Birmingham, AL, where he will participate in a NRSC event before returning to Washington.

At 8:30 a.m., the Association for a Better New York is hosting a Power Breakfast with the Republican candidate for governor, Marc Molinaro, The Mezzanine, 55 Broadway, Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul discusses state government on C-SPAN’s 50 Capitals Tour with Peter Slen.

At 10 a.m., Taste NY will kick-off the Capital Region Food and Farms Business Expo, The Desmond Hotel, 660 Albany Shaker Rd., Albany

At 11 a.m., Hochul delivers remarks at the opening of MAGIC Spell Studios, Rochester Institute of Technology, MAGIC Center, Rochester.

At 5 p.m., Hochul addresses the congregation at a communal shiva for the victims of the Tree of Life shooting, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, 130 W. 30th St., Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will host a tele-town hall on the Charter Revision Commission ballot proposals.

Also at 7 p.m., the state AG candidates – Democratic NYC Public Advocate Tish James and Republican Keith Wofford – face off in a televised debate hosted by NY1 Spectrum News, moderated by Errol Louis and me, Liz Benjamin.

At 8 p.m., Cuomo delivers remarks at an interfaith vigil, Central Synagogue, 652 Lexington Ave., Manhattan. (Hochul also attends).

Headlines…

A question-and-answer session with reporters to announce the president’s trip to Pittsburgh appeared aimed as much at absolving him of blame for his divisive messaging and at lashing out at news organizations as it was at expressing outrage and grief over the synagogue shooting that claimed the lives of 11 congregants.

The mayor of Pittsburgh suggested that President Trump choose a different time to visit the city rather than the day of the first of 11 funerals for the victims of the synagogue shooting.

Trump said “you should go about your life” when asked whether he would tone down his rhetoric in the wake of a violent week that included pipe bombs mailed to Democrats and a mass shooting at a synagogue.

Potential presidential contender and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg accused Trump of “inciting” violence and hate instead of “unifying” the nation as a president should.

The man accused of the Pittsburgh shooting, Robert Bowers, sat before a federal judge in a downtown courtroom yesterday after having arrived in a wheelchair. He declined to have the judge read the full criminal complaint against him, or the penalties should he be found guilty, and was ordered held without bail.

Two Tree of Life synagogue congregants stared down Bowers in the courtroom, and came away underwhelmed.

The repercussions of the social media companies’ inability to handle disinformation and hate speech have manifested themselves abundantly in recent days.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Rabbi Angela Buchdahl and other faith leaders will gather for a vigil at a Manhattan synagogue tonight to call for civility following the mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Reports of a suspicious package at The New York Times Midtown building caused a scare last night.

More than 5,000 active-duty military troops will deploy to the southern border by the end of this week, Defense Department officials said – an escalation of a midterm election show of force against a caravan of Central American migrants that Trump has characterized as an “invasion of our country.”

Trump said he will “probably” respond to “some” questions for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.

A number of New York House members are poised to chair powerful committees – and be a thorn in Trump’s side – should the Democrats succeed in re-taking the majority.

Trump has said a “red wave” is building ahead of the midterms. But behind the scenes, his administration is tacitly admitting that the GOP may lose the House.

Most polling suggests that Democrats should flip the House of Representatives in the midterm elections — but some analysts warned that nothing is certain a week before the pivotal contests.

A new lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan accuses Trump, his company and three of his children of using the Trump name to entice vulnerable people to invest in sham business opportunities.

The lawsuit alleges the Trump family “conned” vulnerable people to sink their hard-earned cash into sketchy multilevel marketing schemes while the president was pocketing millions in “secret payments” for his endorsement.

The case against disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein appears to be fraying, which does not bode well for Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr.

Top defense lawyer Ben Brafman and Vance — who are facing off in the contentious Weinstein case — were seated at the same table at a Police Athletic League lunch with NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill.

It took 24 years, but a woman who was raped in a Brooklyn park and then maligned by police officials and a columnist who doubted her story has received what she wanted: a formal apology from the New York City police commissioner.

John Mannion and four other Democratic candidates in competitive state Senate races are receiving fundraising help from a prominent activist and former gubernatorial hopeful: Cynthia Nixon.

More >