Bernadette Hogan

Video Producer for Capital Tonight. Email: Bernadette.hogan@charter.com Twitter: @bern_hogan


Posts by Bernadette Hogan

Skoufis Adds Endorsements by PEF, RWDSU

From the Morning Memo:

State Senate candidate James Skoufis has picked up additional union support as he seeks to flip retiring Republican Sen. Bill Larkin’s seat into Democratic hands in November.

The assemblyman has been endorsed by the Public Employees Federation, New York’s second-largest state workers union; as well as the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

“The Public Employees Federation is proud to endorse Assemblyman James Skoufis in his election bid to the New York State Senate,” PEF President Wayne Spence said.

“Assemblyman Skoufis has dedicated his entire public service career to helping working families, ensuring our children receive a quality education, and fighting for better wages and improved healthcare for all New Yorkers. At a time when anti-union forces are ramping up efforts to tear us down, we know Assemblyman Skoufis will have our backs in the New York State Senate.”

As we saw in last week’s Democratic primaries, organized labor remains a force to be reckoned with in New York, despite the decline of unions elsewhere in the country.

Labor helped turn out the vote for Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his race against actress-turned-activist Cynthia Nixon, having repaired the rather rocky relationship it has had with him since he took office; and also assisted a number of insurgent state Senate candidates defeat incumbent former IDC members.

Larkin’s Hudson Valley seat is one of five opening up this fall due to retirements by GOP incumbents. It is one the Democrats are counting on to change hands as they push to regain control of the chamber.

Skoufis has similarly received the backing several powerful state unions such as AFL-CIO, NYSUT and CSEA. He faces Stony Point councilman, Republican Tom Basile, in this November’s general election.

Cuomo TV Ad Blasts Molinaro as ‘Trump Mini-Me’

From the Morning Memo:

It’s no secret that President Trump is the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s favorite punching bag and scapegoat for any and all problems plaguing New York.

Since winning the Democratic primary last week, Cuomo has continued to focus mainly on Trump, and also is stepping up his effort to link his general election opponent, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, to the president, who is deeply unpopular here in his home state.

In a new ad released yesterday by Team Cuomo, Molinaro is branded as Trump’s “mini-me” – a moniker the governor’s campaign has been employing for some time now.

The ad brands Molinaro as opposed to abortion rights, an assault weapons ban, affordable healthcare, and marriage equality. It also says he voted against equal pay while serving in the state Assembly and supported the federal government’s 2017 Tax and Jobs Act.

The tagline:

“A Trump mini me for governor? No way, no how.”

Molinaro has sought to explicitly run as a Trump opposite in both temperament and personality. Molinaro has noted repeatedly he did not vote for Trump in 2016, writing in Rep. Chris Gibson that year instead.

Prior to his significant win against his primary opponent, actree-turned-activist Cynthia Nixon, Cuomo and his campaign paid little attention to Molinaro, who is vastly underfund compared to the governor, and also is running an uphill battle in a Democrat-dominated, largely anti-Trump state.

Molinaro, meanwhile, is trying to capitalize on free media and has launched a so-called “Cuomo Corruption Tour.” He continues to hammer away at Cuomo’s alleged ties to Albany corruption – particularly the conviction on federal corruption charges of former top Cuomo aide Joe Percoco, who is scheduled to be sentenced today.

It remains to be seen whether this line of argument holds weight with voters, as a June Siena poll showed Cuomo has a nearly 20 percentage point lead over Molinaro.

“Andrew Cuomo’s corruption is eroding all public trust in government, and that cannot stand,” Molinaro said. “His administration acts like a corrupt enterprise operating beyond all bounds of normalcy and under strict and willful secrecy. Even his so-called ethics commission, JCOPE, appears to be inside the Cuomo cabal. We must find a way to get at the truth, and this bill will do it.”

In a statement released yesterday, referencing gun control comments Molinaro made at a campaign stop in Utica, Cuomo campaign spokeswoman Abbey Collins said:

“We knew that Trump mini-me Marc Molinaro is an NRA puppet, we just didn’t think he’d be so brazen about it. After a long career opposing common sense gun safety reform, ‘A’ rated Molinaro has made rolling back the toughest and smartest gun legislation in the nation – the SAFE Act – part of his campaign platform, threatening just yesterday to dismantle it piece by piece.”

“At a time when people of all ages across this country are crying out for increased gun safety measures, this latest move proves Trump mini-me Molinaro is in the iron grip of the gun lobby. His position is disturbing and dangerous, and the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers will remember Molinaro in their thoughts and prayers when he loses this election by a landslide.”

Molinaro has reiterated on multiple occasions that he did not cast a ballot for Trump in the 2016 election, instead writing in the name of former Rep. Chris Gibson from NY-19.

Also while in Utica, Molinaro picked up the endorsement of Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, a fellow Republican, who in the past crossed party lines to endorse Cuomo for re-election.

Basile Endorsed by Orange County Legislator

From the Morning Memo:

Orange County Legislator John Vero endorsed Republican Tom Basile in his bid for retiring GOP Sen. Bill Larkin’s seat in the 39th District – a key battleground in the ongoing fight for the majority.

Vero, a Republican, represents County District 10, which includes the town and village of Chester as well as parts of Warwick.

“Tom Basile has a plan that will encourage our local governments to be pro-active in ensuring that development takes place in a sustainable manner,” Vero said.

“His foresight and willingness to put forward substantive proposals that assist our communities with important issues is why I’m proud to support Tom to be our senator.”

The seat is one Democrats hope to flip this November, and also is one of five positions that are opening due to GOP retirements. Democratic voter enrollment in the district leans Republicans, and a sizable portion of so-called “blanks” – voters unaffiliated with any political party – exists as well.

Basile is a Stony Point councilman and former state GOP executive director, who also worked in former President George W. Bush’s administration. He faces a challenge from three-term Democratic Assemblyman James Skoufis.

WFP Releases Endorsement Ad

From the Morning Memo:

One day before voters head to the polls to cast ballots in various primaries, the Working Families Party released a Facebook ad that simultaneously touts their candidate endorsements and encourages turnout.

The WFP’s preferred gubernatorial ticket- actress Cynthia Nixon for governor and Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams for LG – dominate the ad, with Nixon noting her experience as a staunch education advocate, and Williams, often depicted on stage, lambasting the political status quo and highlighting his activism.

Nixon secured the WFP line in April – a slight to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has run previously with the labor-backed party’s support, though that relationship grew increasingly fraught one the years.

It was a dangerous move for the WFP, one that could cost it its ballot line should Nixon lose tomorrow, as the polls predict.

If Nixon declines to remain on the ballot line in the November general election, and Cuomo rejects the line, too, then it’s unclear how the party will receive the 50,000 votes it needs in the governor’s race to maintain its official status.

Several state Senate candidates and IDC challengers make appearances in the WFP ad, too: Jasmine Robinson seeks Sen. Diane Savino’s seat in SD-23, Zellnor Myrie is going up against Jesse Hamiliton in SD-20, former NYC Councilman Robert Jackson is challenging Sen. Marisol Alcantara in SD-31, Jessica Ramos competing for Sen. Jose Peralta’s seat in SD-13, and Alessandra Biaggi takes on Senate Deputy Minority leader Jeff Klein, the former head of the IDC, in SD-34.

“It’s about the values that the WFP represents,” Ramoas says of her insurgent candidacy. “Making sure that we’re fighting for workers, we’re fighting for immigrants, we’re fighting for a fair economy, we’re fighting racism, we’re putting forth to community organizing work to get real wins for families here in New York.”

Espinal Welcomes Endorsements by Koo, Niou, Meng

Assemblywoman Ari Espinal welcomed endorsements in her re-election campaign for the seat in District 39 by City Councilman Peter Koo and Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou. In a press release, her campaign also noted the endorsement of Rep. Grace Meng.

Espinal assumed her current role in a 2017 special election, following the resignation of former Assemblyman turn City Councilman Francisco Moya.

“I am thrilled to have the support of Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, Councilman Peter Koo, and Congresswoman Grace Meng. They are fierce advocates for our values and have delivered real results to support our students, advocate for our small businesses, and protect our rights. I am eager to continue working together to make New York City a great place to live for all New Yorkers,” said Assemblywoman Ari Espinal.

The Queens incumbent faces attorney and DREAMer Catalina Cruz in next week’s Democratic primary election on Sept. 13.

Cruz has previously been endorsed by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, as well as several progressive groups such as Citizen Action of New York.

What You Need To Know About The AG’s Race

New York State voters find themselves within the throes of an election season, as a number of national and statewide races populate the political fabric on all fronts.

While there are many important races to keep an eye on, one in particular should not get overlooked: the race for state attorney general.

Before getting into the candidates, let’s answer the question, ‘What does the attorney general do?’
 
Simply put, the attorney general is the official lawyer for the citizens of New York state, also fondly referred to as the ‘People’s Lawyer.’

A de facto definition on the office’s website says the attorney general “serves as the guardian of the legal rights of the citizens of New York, its organizations and its natural resources.”

As defender and protector of the rights and interests of the state, the attorney general is similarly no stranger to taking on the federal government. The attorney general also serves as a counsel to the governor, and may be tasked with investigations, and or asked to take on cases at the executive branch’s bequest.
 
Certain office holders have elevated the role’s profile in years past, and in doing so, simultaneously bolstered their political careers. Eliot Spitzer took on Wall Street corruption, fighting against fraudulent financial schemes, significantly expanding the expectations of what can be expected of the office. Gov. Andrew Cuomo was also the state’s top legal officer, a role that would eventually propel him into the Executive Mansion.
 
The post’s most recent occupant, Eric Schneiderman, abruptly resigned in May 2017 amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Schneiderman used his position to take on the Trump administration, taking action against policies like the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, arguing that the SALT cap would deliver a devastating blow to New Yorkers.
 
The job is currently held by Barbara Underwood, the former state solicitor general who assumed the role following Schneiderman’s resignation after being appointed by the Legislature. Underwood declined to run for the post, promising to step down once a candidate is elected.

So who is running?

On the Democratic side, the four contenders include: New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, Hudson Valley Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, Fordham Law Professor Zephyr Teachout and ex-Cuomo economic development aide Leecia Eve.

James has been endorsed by Cuomo and much of the state’s Democratic Party establishment. During May’s State Democratic Convention, her candidacy was embraced with open arms. She’s since raked in a number of notable endorsements from unions and progressive groups. Results from a July Siena poll showed her leading the other candidates, but a caveat remains: she’s virtually unknown to upstate voters and has little campaign cash.

Maloney represents New York’s 18th District. He’s a former Clinton staffer and the first openly gay member of Congress to represent New York. This is his second bid for attorney general; he ran unsuccessfully in 2006, losing the nomination to Cuomo. Maloney boasts an impressive campaign finance arsenal, reportedly raising $500,000 within the first week of officially announcing his candidacy. Maloney simultaneously finds himself running for re-election for his current job in the 18th.

Teachout — the Fordham Law School Professor who bested Cuomo in majority of the Capital Region counties in her unsuccessful primary bid for Governor in 2014 — is touting her commitment to being independent from the Governor, her refusal to take corporate donations and her intention to hold the Trump administration accountable. Teachout garnered an endorsement from the New York Times editorial board, and has been embraced by members several newer members of the progressive left, such as Democratic congressional candidate in New York’s 14th District, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Eve, a former vice president for government affairs at Verizon, is no stranger to the political realm. The Buffalo native worked with the Senators Hilary Clinton and Joe Biden, and formerly worked under Cuomo. But Eve has been strangely absent from the campaign trail, making few public appearances and saying little to reporters.

One aspect dogging the candidates is that of independence from the Governor, a challenge built in to the nature of the office, as per the aforementioned inextricable ties to the executive branch. Nonetheless, all four of Democrats have insisted their commitment to acting independently.

The victor of the Sept. 13 primary election will faceoff with the only Republican in the race, Keith Wofford. Wofford is a partner at New York City based firm Ropes & Gray, although he is currently taking a leaving of absence due to the campaign. The contest is his first bid for elected office.

The general election is Nov. 6.

Delgado Launches New Healthcare Ad ‘Worth It’

The Democratic congressional candidate in New York’s 19th District Antonio Delgado released a new TV campaign ad targeting the healthcare record of his opponent, Republican Rep. John Faso.

In the new ad entitled, “Worth It” Delgado appears with Hillary and her daughter Esmé of Rensselaer County. Hillary is a healthcare advocate, propelled by her medically-fragile daughter who experiences developmental delays. She spent a considerable amount of time seeking appointment with Faso prior to the passage of the Republican-sponsored American Health Care Act on the House floor. It’s legislation the freshman congressman voted in favor of, and repealed aspects of the Obama-era Affordable Care Act.

Hillary wrote an open letter to the Congressman, and secured a meeting regarding her concerns over what these repeals would mean for families like hers.

“With your vote you stated your priorities. You prioritized the wealthiest people in this country over the health, safety, and well-being of my child and children like her. And you did it surreptitiously. You did it despite the calls from your constituents begging you not to. You did it without waiting for information from the Congressional Office on Budget Priorities. You did it despite the clear majority of Americans who opposed the bill. You’ve made it clear who you stand with. Who matters most to you. And it is absolutely not my child.”

In the video, Delgado makes a pledge to stand by healthcare advocates like Hillary, and take on the Trump administration’s changes to pre-existing healthcare policies.

“Growing up here, I learned the values of honesty and responsibility. Congressman John Faso told his constituents, like Hillary and her daughter Esmé, that he’d protect their health care but then voted to cut it,” Delgado said.

Delgado won the Democratic nomination to run for Congress in New York’s 19th District earlier this summer.

It’s his first bid for elected office, and he has received several endorsements, including former President Barack Obama. Delgado faces freshman Congressman John Faso, who seeks re-election to his post in the general election this November.

Harlem Politicos Endorse Hochul

From the Morning Memo:

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul added several endorsements by Harlem politicos on Wednesday.

Notable figures include NAACP New York President Dr. Hazel Dukes and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, along with former Congressman Charlie Rangel, State Senator Brian Benjamin, Assemblywoman Inez Dickens, Assemblyman Al Taylor, and Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez.

Among New York focused issues like $15 minimum wage, paid family leave and the Excelsior Scholarship Program, the politicians made note of Hochul’s support of the SAFE Act, noting, “She has stood up to the NRA which has resisted even the most common-sense reforms.”

As a member of Congress and Erie County clerk, Hochul had received an “A” rating from the NRA.

With New Yorkers rights at stake from the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress, Kathy is proud that New York is fighting back. New York has stood up to Donald Trump to denounce the influence of white nationalists, defend voting rights from Trump’s justice department, and protect immigrant families from Trump’s inhumane family separation policy and out-of-control deportation force.

Hochul has successfully garnered national endorsements from the likes of former presidential candidate Hilary Clinton and former vice president of the United States Joe Biden, as well as key green lights from the state Democratic Party and women’s groups, i.e. Emily’s List and Planned Parenthood.

However, the race for the lieutenant governor nomination remains up in the air.

Hochul is currently embroiled in a battle over finances with her opponent, Brooklyn New York City Councilman Jumanne Williams, who recently cross endorsed with actress turn gubernatorial candidate, Cynthia Nixon. For the past several weeks, Hochul’s campaign has railed against Williams, first for his failure to submit campaign finance disclosure report to the Board of Elections on time—owed to a technical issue—then taking issue with several campaign contributions over the BOE limit, which the Williams campaign insisted would be returned.

Hochul has even gone as far as to release an attack ad on her opponent, highlighting the City Councilman’s debt and foreclosure of a former business venture. The video ad prompted a Williams-Nixon response, dubbing Hochul’s effort in line with “racial dog whistling and poor shaming.”

In September, Hochul faces Williams in a Democratic primary. As of July’s BOE filings, her campaign war chest boasts over $1.2 million dollars to assist in her re-election bid.

Orange County Sheriffs PBA Endorses Basile

Republican state Senate candidate Tom Basile landed the backing of the Orange County Sheriffs PBA in his bid for the 39th District seat.

Running on the Republican, Independence and Conservative party lines, Basile is trying to replace retiring Republican veteran Sen. Bill Larkin, who has held the position since 1990.

Larkin endorsed Basile as his successor earlier this spring when he formally announced his intention not to seek re-election this fall. Basile had been putting the pieces in place for a campaign prior to the senator’s decision, but insisted all along that he would not run against Larkin.

“It is with great pleasure that the Orange County Deputy Sheriffs Police Benevolent Association offers its enthusiastic endorsement of Tom Basile to be our next State Senator for the 39th Senate District,” PBA Vice President Jeremy Yela said in a statement.

“Mr. Basile has shown that he is a person of honesty, integrity and of sound judgement who will be a tireless advocate for law enforcement…We know that with his experience, knowledge and record of public service he is the right candidate for this important position. Tom Basile is a dedicated civic leader in our community and we know that he will move the 39th District forward in the hopes of getting New York State back on track.”

Basile, a Stony Point councilman, has had his eye on the seat for quite some time – at least since the fall of 2017. He faces a challenge from three-term Democratic Assemblyman James Skoufis.

Despite Larkin’s long tenure, Democrats have high hopes for flipping his seat, which could propel the conference into the majority come next session. The district has 65,669 active registered Democrats, compared to 51,595 Republicans and 38,262 “blanks” who aren’t affiliated with any political party.

Skoufis has received multiple endorsements from labor unions and progressive groups such as Citizen Action of New York.

Latimer, Stewart-Cousins Endorse James; Abinanti Goes for Teachout

A coalition of Westchester elected officials endorsed NYC Public Advocate Letitia “Tish” James for state attorney general at a press conference in White Plains today.

Among others, Westchester County Executive George Latimer and state Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins added their names to a growing list of Democratic elected officials who are following the governor’s leader in supporting James to fill the vacancy left by the abrupt resignation of ex-AG Eric Schneiderman following sexual harassment and abuse allegations lodged against him.

@TishJames

“Tish James has spent her career fighting for progress on issues that matter to me and matter to people in Yonkers, throughout Westchester, and across New York State,” Stewart-Cousins said. “She has been instrumental in uplifting working families, has lead the charge on securing women’s rights, has fought for accessible and affordable healthcare, and has defended our most basic rights. I know that as Attorney General, Tish James will continue to build on this record. I look forward to working with Attorney General Tish James and a Democratic majority in the Senate to pass progressive legislation that improves the lives of New Yorkers.”

Stewart-Cousins’ decision to back James is particularly noteworthy, given the fact that a number of insurgent primary challengers to former IDC members have cross-endorsed one of the public advocate’s opponents, Fordham Law Prof. Zephyr Teachout.

James faces a four way Democratic primary in September. Also in the running are Hudson Valley Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, and former Hillary Clinton aide Leecia Eve. A Siena poll out this week showed James with a modest lead over her opponents, but pollster Steve Greenberg characterized the race as wide open and competitive this far out from the election.

Since James received the governor’s support at the party convention back in May, Teachout has been highlighting her independence from Cuomo, whom she unsuccessfully challenged in the 2014 gubernatorial primary. Today, Teachout received the endorsement of another Westchester elected official, Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, who said:

“Zephyr Teachout sees the big picture. She is an independent corruption fighter who is not beholden to big money or the political establishment – free to use her legal expertise to take on Washington and Albany. She gets it that those who the Attorney General may investigate should not finance the Attorney General’s campaign.”

Abinanti is the second member of the Assembly to endorse Teachout. The first was Capital Region Democrat Phil Steck, who also cited the candidate’s independence as the main driver behind his decision to back her.