Nick Reisman

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Hochul: For Now, No Plans To Debate Wu

Former Rep. Kathy Hochul, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s preferred candidate for lieutenant governor, said on Friday that there are no current plans for her to debate her primary opponent, Columbia professor Tim Wu.

“At this present time there are no plans for the debate, but I’ve enjoyed so much of this opportunity to be Andrew Cuomo’s running mate,” Hochul said, citing her low-key visits introducing herself local officials around the state.

“I find this enormously effective – to go person to person,” she said.

Asked if she would consider a debate with Wu some time before the Sept. 9 primary, Hochul sidestepped the question.

“Everything’s open for conversation,” she said.

Time Warner Cable News and NY1 have extended invitations to both Cuomo and his primary opponent, Zephyr Teachout, to participate in a debate on Sept. 2, with a separate televised debate for the lieutenant governor candidates on Sept. 3.

Teachout said in a radio interview this morning that Cuomo has a “moral obligation” to participate in the debate.

Cuomo has said he’s leaving the decision as to whether he’d debate up to his campaign.

Mark David Chapman Denied Parole

Mark David Chapman, imprisoned for the shooting death of John Lennon, has once again been denied parole by state officials.

The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision announced Friday that the 59-year-old Chapman was denied once again for parole following his eighth appearance before the state parole board.

He will be eligible for parole again in August 2016.

Chapman, currently an inmate at Wende Correctional Facility, was interview by the state Board of Parole on Wednesday.

The board found that there is “reasonable probability” Chapman’s release would result in him breaking the law again.

“This victim had displayed kindness to you earlier in the day and your actions have devastated a family and who those who loved the victim,” the parole board ruled.

Mark David Chapman Denied Parole_August 2014 by Nick Reisman

Citizens Union Prefers Sampson And Smith Opponents

The good-government group Citizens Union on Friday unveiled a slate of candidate preferences, including the Democratic primary opponents to two under-indictment Senate Democrats, Malcolm Smith of Queens and Brooklyn’s John Sampson.

Citizens Union announced it prefers both Dale Smiterman, a former labor official, who is challenging Sampson, as well as Leroy Comrie, who is Smith’s opponent.

Sampson faces embezzlement charges, while Smith is accused of attempting to bribe his way onto the Republican mayoral ballot.

“With the unfortunate rise in corruption in New York and the resulting withering public trust in our political process, it is so important that we educate voters on where candidates stand on good government issues,” said Dick Dadey, Executive Director of Citizens Union. “Through an avid and prudent process, we evaluate candidates, placing our preferences with great care and thoughtfulness with the intention of supporting the election of those candidates best possible to serve their communities and the state in an honest and principled manner and who are reform-minded with a plan.”

The group also backed Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein, who faces a primary challenge from former city Councilman Oliver Koppell, and IDC Sen. Tony Avella, who is fending off a challenge from John Liu, the former city comptroller, for the Democratic ballot line.

Meanwhile, Citizens Union announced it prefers former city Councilman Robert Jackson over incumbent Democratic Sen. Adriano Espaillat.

“As co-Leader of the Senate, Senator Klein has been an effective senate leader in a challenging power-sharing dynamic who is also an outspoken champion of campaign finance reform and strong supporter of the constitutional redistricting amendment,” Dadey said in a statement. “Though we have supported John Liu in the past for elected office and are open to it again in the future, we decided to stick with incumbent Senator Avella, given his proven track record in the four years he has been in Albany.”

The full preferences list is after the jump. More >

Teachout Says Cuomo Has An ‘Ethical Obligation’ To Debate

A Democratic primary opponent of Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday he has a “moral obligation” to participate in a debate.

“He had the audacity to say that on the question of debate, he said it was up to his campaign, not him,” Teachout told Fred Dicker on his Talk-1300 radio show. “I think he has this upside down: It’s the Moreland Commission you are not supposed to meddle in. You are supposed to meddle in your own campaign.”

Time Warner Cable News and NY1 have invited Cuomo and Teachout, along with their running mates, former Rep. Kathy Hochul and Tim Wu, to participate in televised debates next month.

Both Teachout and Wu have accepted the invitations.

Cuomo, at the State Fair in Syracuse on Thursday, said he would “leave it up to the campaigns” as to whether he’d participate in the debate. Cuomo is known as an infamously hands-on governor and political strategist.

The governor’s re-election campaign lost two court challenges to Teachout’s ballot status on the grounds she doesn’t meet the state’s residency requirements and does not plan a third appeal.

Randy Credico, a political activist and comedian, is also on the primary ballot.

Arnold Back In Senate Race

Gia Arnold, the Republican candidate for Senate who dropped her bid after admitting to an extramarital affair earlier this month, announced she is re-starting her campaign.

In a statement Friday, Arnold said she made her previously announcement “thinking more of my current situation, rather than the big picture.”

Arnold is re-entering the race for the western New York seat after receiving an outpouring of support.

“We do need someone in Albany who will represent us all, in making things better, and telling the truth about all aspects of that public service,” Arnold said. “I have realized, after much thought and prayer, that I am still that candidate, despite my shortcomings, and it has been pointed out to me by the hundreds and hundreds of messages I have received.”

Arnold had initially entered the race as a primary challenger to Sen. George Maziarz in the 62nd Senate District.

Maziarz, a longtime Republican lawmaker, announced this summer he would not run for re-election amid a possible probe into his campaign finances.

Republican North Tonawanda Mayor Robert Ortt jumped into the race after Maziarz dropped his re-election bid.

UFT For Espaillat

The United Federation of Teachers annnounced Friday it had given its nod to Sen. Adriano Espaillat’s re-election.

Espaillat, a Manhattan Democrat, is facing a stiff primary challenge from former Councilman Robert Jackson, an ally of Rep. Charlie Rangel.

“Adriano Espaillat has been a dedicated advocate for New York City kids and schools, and we are proud to support his reelection,” said UFT President Mike Mulgrew in a statement. “Adriano was a passionate voice in the fight for universal pre-kindergarten funding this year, and worked hard to secure the $300 million investment in our children’s future. He is dedicated to closing the achievement gap in low-income neighborhoods, and is helping ensure all students have the opportunities they deserve to succeed.”

The endorsement is noteworthy, since Jackson was the chairman of the council’s Education Committee and part of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity’s lawsuit.

Espaillat was endorsed several weeks by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has strong ties to the UFT’s leadership.

Malpass To Fundraise For Astorino

Republican economist and one-time candidate for U.S. Senate David Malpass is helping to organize a Sept. 9 breakfast fundraiser for GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino.

Tickets to the event, to be held at the investment firm Van Eck Global, range from $1,000 to $2,500.

In an email sent to supporters and signed by Malpass and his wife Adele, Astorino is pitched as a candidate with a “proven track record on job growth” as the county executive in Westchester.

The email also touts Astorino’s ability to win in a heavily Democratic county and his fluency in Spanish.

“He handily won re-election in 2013, running on his record as an effective executive in a heavily Democratic county that is home to Bill and Hillary Clinton and Governor Cuomo,” the Malpasses wrote. “He sacrificed an important political party ballot line in his reelection because he refused to hand out patronage jobs to unqualified party leaders. Rob speaks Spanish and has gained broad support in minority communities. Westchester has the highest credit rating among New York counties and created almost 30,000 private sector jobs during Rob’s tenure.”

(Democrats have pointed out the county’s bond rating was recently downgraded).

Malpass attended and helped organize a “Republicans For Cuomo” event in February which featured the incumbent Democrat making his pitch to a group of wealthy business types.

But the breakfast event for Astorino comes as Astorino seeks to line up GOP fundraisers like Carly Fiorina and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in order to compete with Cuomo’s $35 million war chest.

The group was organized by Home Depot founder Ken Langone, who is also an ally of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Coincidentally, the event is being held the same day as Cuomo faces a Democratic primary from Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout and comedian-activist Randy Credico.

Dewey Malpass Van Eck 9 9 14 by Nick Reisman

Skelos Talks Of ‘Regional Balance’

Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos in a radio interview Thursday made his pitch for Republican control in the chamber as one of “regional balance.”

“Do you want an all New York City controlled government or do you want regional balance the Senate Republicans have brought, working with the governor?” he said on the Capitol Pressroom with Susan Arbetter.

That’s the nub of the Senate Republican argument this election season as it has been in election cycles in recent years.

But this year, the Senate GOP, lacking the interest of a billionaire New York City mayor to donate to their soft-money account, have taken his successor, Bill de Blasio, and turned him into something of a liberal, downstate boogeyman.

“He is the one that is raising the money for the Senate Democrats,” Skelos, a Long Island lawmaker, said.

Whether this strategy works remains to be seen.

De Blasio has made no secret of his desire to flip the Senate so that more of his agenda can be approved at the Capitol, but he still remains largely unknown to upstate voters about eight months into his administration.

Skelos says that even the Democrats who weren’t part of the old leadership structure during the mainline conference’s stint in the majority still have some responsibility.

“There is a predisposition on the Working Families Party Democrats to raise taxes and fees,” Skelos said in the interview. “They all sold their souls to the Working Families Party and the Working Families Party is a party of raising taxes and fees and spending. That is difference between the Democrat Party and the Republican Party in the Senate.”

Skelos did not single out Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the discussion, a Democrat who his conference has worked well with over the last four years.

Cuomo in May received the Working Families Party endorsement and vowed to help Democrats regain control of the Senate.

Cuomo, along with de Blasio, helped broker an end to the coalition of Republicans and independent Democrats in the Senate with the goal of a new Democratic majority to be formed after Election Day.

Cuomo: ‘Overwhelming Support’ From Unions

As the state’s major public workers unions either decline to endorse or back his rival in next month’s Democratic primary, Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted on Thursday he has the backing from the majority of the state’s labor organizations.

The New York State United Teachers union declined to issue an endorsement in the race for governor, as has the umbrella group, the AFL-CIO. The Civil Service Employees Association, the state’s largest public workers union, is yet to weigh, but is unlikely to endorse Cuomo.

The Public Employees Federation, meanwhile, has endorsed Zephyr Teachout’s primary candidacy over Cuomo.

Cuomo, in Syracuse today, noted that the lack of endorsements stem from his long-standing policy disagreements with the unions, ranging from controlling the cost of state spending to implementing a teacher evaluation law.

“Besides the teachers and CSEA, I have the overwhelming support from the union movement in this state and I’m very proud of it,” Cuomo said. “Teachers and CSEA with have a legitimate difference of opinion. We did for the last four years and my guess is we will for the next four years. I’m not going to say what they want me to say to get their endorsement.”

Cuomo does have the backing of key labor organizations such as 1199/SEIU that are among the state’s most politically active, and bring a crucial voter turnout operation.

Cuomo gained the endorsement of the union-backed Working Families Party after a challenge from Teachout in May after promising to help Democrats gain full control of the state Senate.

All NY-21 Candidates Agree To TV Debates

The trio of candidates running in the 21st congressional district to replace Democratic Rep. Bill Owens have agreed to televised debates.

Demcorat Aaron Woolf, Republican Elise Stefanik and the Green Party’s Matt Funiciello have all agreed to a series of forums, including one with Time Warner Cable News.

The debates are due to take place in October.

The sprawling 21st congressional district compromises most of what’s considered the state’s North Country, including the Adirondack Park.