Nick Reisman

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NY-24: Gillibrand Endorses Balter

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Friday endorses Democratic congressional candidate Dana Balter in the 24th congressional district in central New York.

Balter is running for the seat held by two-term Rep. John Katko in what has been historically a battleground seat for the last several election cycles.

“I support Dana Balter for Congress because central and western New York need a representative who will show up, listen, and stand up for health care, women’s rights, and working families,” Gillibrand said in a statement.

“They need a representative who will provide a check on Donald Trump and his administration. Dana has shown her dedication by earning support across the district, and I’m proud to endorse her.” Balter, who won her June primary by 25 points, will take on Congressman John Katko in November. “I’m proud to have the support of Senator Gillibrand,” Balter said. “Her work on behalf of central and western New York – and all the people of our state – is a model for the kind of representative I want to be. Congressman Katko has voted with Donald Trump 90% of time time – I want to join people like Senator Gillibrand in Congress to stand up for the people we are elected to serve, not the Washington insiders.”

Balter defeated Juanita Perez Williams in a Democratic primary last month.

Gillibrand is running for re-election this year, facing Republican Chele Farley.

Eve Agrees To AG Debate

From the Morning Memo:

Democratic attorney general candidate Leecia Eve Thursday agreed to participate in televised debates with her fellow candidates in the primary race.

Eve’s backing of debates comes after Zephyr Teachout also called for a series of televised debates held around the state.

Eve and Teachout, along with Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and New York City Public Advocate Letitia James are vying for the nomination for attorney general in a four-way race.

“Leecia Eve’s experience in New York courtrooms may be unmatched, but that shouldn’t dissuade the other candidates from joining her for a series of broadcast debates,” said Eve campaign spokeswoman Maggie McKeon. “At a time when the values we cherish as New Yorkers are under assault by Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress, voters deserve to know where candidates stand. Leecia looks forward to debating Zephyr Teachout and any other candidates willing to debate the important issues facing New York State.”

Teachout hailed the statement, writing on Twitter that “voters deserve broadcast debates, and soon, to learn about the candidates for such a critical office.”

“Thanks Leecia, and thanks for being clear that you are ready to go on camera everywhere in the state to talk priorities and differences,” she wrote.

The AG’s office became an open race this May after the resignation of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman amid domestic violence allegations.

Barbara Underwood, appointed attorney general by the Legislature, is not running for a full term.

Williams Campaign Assessing Contributions After 3 Donations Appear Over Limit

A trio of donations to the lieutenant governor campaign of Democrat Jumaane Williams made public Thursday show they are above the $5,000 limit for corporate contributions.

Williams’s campaign reported receiving donations of $20,000 from Glenwood Mason Supply, Inc., $15,000 from Glenwood Masonry Products and $15,000 from Ferguson Hauling Corp.

Both masonry companies also appear to be related.

Willaims’s campaign overall reported $183,469 in contributions and spent $137,967. It ended the current reporting period with $45,502 in cash on hand.

Should Williams have to return the money, that would leave his campaign with about $10,000.

For now, the campaign says it is reviewing the contributions.

“We’re in the process of looking into the contributions in question and if any were accepted in error we’ll certainely rectify any mistakes that were made,” the campaign said in a statement.

Williams is challenging Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul in a Democratic primary.

New York has notoriously high donor limits for personal contributions and, through a web of limited liability companies, a single donor can give an unlimited amount of money.

Cuomo Says NY Investigating Trump Foundation

Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed on Thursday that the state is investigating the charity founded President Donald Trump and run by his family.

“The state has an ongoing investigation into the foundation and the tax treatment at the foundation and as a matter of policy we don’t comment on ongoing investigations,” Cuomo said.

On Wednesday, Cuomo’s top legal counsel Alphonso David in a statement said the administration was prepared to grant a criminal referral to Attorney General Barbara Underwood in the matter.

“At Governor Cuomo’s direction, the state stands ready to provide the Attorney General with the appropriate criminal referral on this matter if and when she asks for it,” David said.

The attorney general’s office in New York does not have the authority to pursue criminal case unless the governor grants it.

The case stems from a civil lawsuit filed by Underwood in June that alleges the president and the family had used the charity to promote the presidential campaign. The suit also alleges the foundation was used to settle disputes stemming from the Trump Organization.

Trump’s adult children act as the foundation’s directors.

The move comes after attorney general candidate Zephyr Teachout urged Cuomo to grant the criminal referral.

Flanagan Rips Cuomo’s RHA Support

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan in a statement Thursday blasted Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push for the passage of the Reproductive Health Act, charging that is being brought about by the “singular fear” of Cynthia Nixon’s primary challenge.

The bill has been a flashpoint for Cuomo in the wake of the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy from the U.S. Supreme Court and the pending confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a development that could tip the balance for abortion cases at the high court.

Cuomo has vowed New York would serve as a bulwark if the landmark Roe v. Wade decision is overturned.

“Governor Cuomo’s singular fear is Cynthia Nixon tarnishing his newfound progressive narrative,” Flanagan said in a statement.

“He knows, as the Daily News pointed out in a recent editorial, that Roe is the law of the land in New York. Roe is federal law, no case is currently before the Supreme Court or even anticipated to be decided in the near future. Further, New York’s Attorney General offered a legal opinion in 2016 that Roe stands in this state.”

The RHA would shift language for abortions from the state’s penal code to the public health law, change abortion’s status as an exception to homicide and allow abortions in the third trimester of a pregnancy under certain circumstances.

Cuomo has released ad aimed at individual Republicans in the state Senate who represent potential battleground districts for Democrats, urging them to return to Albany and take up a vote on the bill.

Cuomo’s top aides scoffed at the statement, pointing to a Quinnipiac University poll this morning that found 73 percent of New York back the Roe v. Wade decision.

“What or who are you afraid of?” tweeted Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo’s top aide. “Enough with the obfuscation — PUT THE BILL ON THE FLOOR”

Updated: Flanagan’s comments were criticized by reproductive rights groups.

“Senator John Flanagan chooses to stand with right-wing extremists and ideologues rather than with New York women,” said Robin Chapelle Golston, the president of Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts.

“His comments that women do not need to fear losing their constitutional right to abortion while the president has vowed to overturn Roe v. Wade defy logic. Senator Flanagan tells us to be complacent while the Trump administration is conducting a full-scale assault on our access to health care from destroying Title X, the nation’s oldest family planning program to packing the Court system with anti-choice zealots.”

Morelle Endorsed By Equality New York PAC

Democratic congressional candidate Joe Morelle on Thursday was endorsed by the Equality New York PAC in his bid for the 25th congressional district.

Morelle, the number two Democrat in the state Assembly, is running to replace the late Rep. Louise Slaughter who died earlier this year.

In its endorsement, Morelle was praised for his support of the LGBTQI community in New York.

“Far too many people across this nation are still living their lives in fear of prejudice and discrimination and that is why we need more leaders in Congress like Joe Morelle who will be a fierce champion for equality and a strong ally to the LGBTQI community,” said Chris Sardella of Equality New York PAC. “Joe has spent his career fighting for equality, opportunity, and dignity for all people, regardless of their race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or socioeconomic status. We know that a vote for Joe is a vote to keep advancing lived and legal equality for all.”

In particular, the group cited Morelle’s support for the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, as well as the effort to legalize same-sex marriage in New York.

“I am proud to stand as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community and I’m honored to have the support of Equality New York,” said Morelle. “New York has always been a leader in the fight for equality — but there is still so much work to be done, especially with leaders in Washington who are advancing a disturbing anti-equality agenda. In Congress, I will never stop fighting back against the politics of hate and I will work every day to continue tearing down barriers that stand in the way of equal rights and the promise of equality for all people.”

Cuomo: DOT Analysis Shows Speed Cameras Save Lives

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday called attention to a Department of Transportation analysis touting the safety speed cameras near schools provide.

The report is being released as the speed camera program for New York City is due to lapse at the end of this month on July 25 after the state Senate did not vote on a provision extending it.

Cuomo has called for the state Senate to return and take up an extension bill, which has previously been in approved in the Democratic-controlled Assembly.

“It is beyond the pale that Republicans in the State Senate refuse to support speed cameras in the face of overwhelming evidence that this technology saves lives,” Cuomo said. “The Senate Republicans are putting politics over the lives of children. The Assembly has passed the bill and the Senate Democrats support it—now it’s up to Senate Republicans to decide whether young people live or die.”

The report from the DOT found fatalities in zones around New York City schools decreased from 18 a year on average to 8 a year after cameras installed. At the same time, total crashes were reduced 15 percent, and injuries from crashes were done 17 percent.

Speed is also a factor: When a pedestrian is hit at 40 mph, there is an 85 percent chance of death. The chance of a fatality drops to 5 percent when a person is hit at 20 mph.

There are 144 communities in the country that have speed camera programs.

Klein Picks Up Labor, Diaz Nods

Sen. Jeff Klein this week continued to rack up a series of endorsements from establishment figures and entities, including Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., and key labor unions.

“I am proud to receive the endorsement of my long-time colleague Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. Borough President Diaz and I have worked together for many years to improve the quality of life for Bronx residents, transform our infrastructure, create economic development and jobs, and enhance services and tourism for all who visit, work and live in our borough,” Klein said Thursday in a statement.

“Our partnership is built on our shared commitment to serve our hometown and our neighbors through progressive, effective public policy and investment, and I am honored to have his support.”

Klein on Wednesday was endorsed by District Council 37, the largest public workers labor organization in New York City.

“DC 37 stands with Senator Jeff Klein because he has fought for our member’s rights and benefits, he shares DC37’s progressive values and, time and again, he has demonstrated his commitment to ensuring economic and social justice for all,” the union said.

“Senator Klein has worked to pass landmark legislation for working families, including the $15 Minimum Wage, Paid Family Leave, Universal Pre-K, and the SAFE ACT. During these difficult times, when there is so much hostility to working families in Washington DC, we need strong progressive leadership in Albany and that is why DC37 is proud to endorse and support Senator Klein.”

And Klein on Tuesday was endorsed by the New York City Uniformed Firefighters Association.

Klein is the former leader of the Independent Democratic Conference, which folded in April and its members re-joined the mainline Democratic conference in the state Senate under a push backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Under the arrangement, Klein became the deputy minority leader in the chamber.

Multiple former IDC members face primary challenges this September.

Klein is being challenged in the Sept. 13 vote by Alessandra Biaggi.

Earlier this year, Klein was accused by a former staffer of forcibly kissing her in a 2015 incident. Klein has denied the allegation and has sought an investigation by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics.

Ocasio-Cortez Fundraises For Teachout

Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released a fundraising email on Thursday for attorney general candidate Zephyr Teachout.

The emails seeks $3 donations from supporters.

“I’m incredibly proud to endorse Zephyr’s candidacy for New York Attorney General. The checks on corporate donations are completely broken — and it’s up to us to fix them,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in the email. “But first, we need to counteract the influence of corporate-backed politicians by electing candidates that refuse all corporate money.”

Teachout is one of four Democrats seeking the attorney general nod in a Sept. 13 primary.

Ocasio-Cortez upset Rep. Joe Crowley in a Democratic congressional primary last month, become a touchstone for progressive candidates who are running anti-establishment races this year.

Teachout has excelled at raising small-dollar contributions in her previous races.

In the email, the lower dollar amounts were cast as an effort to rid the system of large-dollar contributions.

“Dark money plagues our democracy,” the email states. “It corrupts the democratic power of working-class voters and protects an economic system that undermines our interests. With incredibly large, and often anonymous donations, large corporations drown out the voices of the constituents our representatives are supposed to protect.”

Make The Road Action Endorses Grechen Shirley

The progressive advocacy organization Make the Road Action on Thursday endorsed Democratic congressional candidate Liuba Grechen Shirley in her bid to unseat Republican Rep. Peter King on Long Island.

“Well before Liuba was even thinking about running for office, she was standing with members of our community to hold Peter King accountable and demand that he listen to us,” said Nicole Nunez, one of the group’s members and a registered voter in the 2nd congressional district.

“Now that he has continued to fail to take us into account and stand up to the racist Trump agenda, there’s no better person to replace him. After recently becoming a citizen, I’ll be proud in November to cast my first vote for Congress for Liuba Grechen Shirley, who I know is going to stand up for common-sense immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship, health care for all, and economic opportunity for everyone in our district.”

Grechen Shirley successfully beat an establishment-backed candidate in the June congressional primary, DuWayne Gregory, to win the party’s nomination.

“I’m honored to receive Make the Road Action’s endorsement. MRA is a critical voice here on Long Island and across the state for the rights of marginalized people,” she said.

“Their advocacy is integral in protecting immigrants and working-class communities of color. I’ve been proud to stand with MRA at rallies and events as a community member, and I look forward to working with them as a member of Congress to fight for all residents of New York’s Second Congressional District.”