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Posts by Nick Reisman
Oct 23rd - 4:19 pm
Balance New York, an independent expenditure group supported by the Washington, D.C.-based Republican Leadership Committee, spent $362,810 on TV and radio ads knocking two Democratic Senate candidates.
Board of Elections records show the group spent $188,385 on radio and television against Sen. Ted O’Brien, a freshman Democrat running for a second term against Republican Rich Funke.
In the Hudson Valley, the group today posted a $174,425 media buy aimed at Democrat Justin Wagner, who is running for an open state Senate held by Republican Greg Ball. Wagner faces Yorktown City Councilman Terrence Murphy.
Meanwhile, on Long Island, the pro-charter schools PAC New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany posted a $168,341 cable and TV media buy to oppose the candidacy of Democratic Senate hopeful Adrienne Esposito, who faces Republican Tom Croci in Suffolk County.
Jobs For New York, a group funded by wealthy landlords in New York City, reported a $25,000 contribution from Josephson LLC.
The group, controlled by the Real Estate Board of New York, has been running independent expenditure campaigns boosting Senate Republicans.
Jobs For New York reported spending an additional $11,949 on mailers for Republican Sen. Jack Martins and $11,469 on mail for Croci.
Oct 23rd - 4:08 pm
Facing competition this Election Day from the Women’s Equality Party ballot, the labor-backed Working Families Party on Thursday released a video featuring prominent Democratic women urging a vote for the WFP.
The message of the video is clear: The WFP stands for everything the WEP stands for, and them some.
The video comes though as the Women’s Equality Party — formed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year as a way to promote his backing of the Women’s Equality Act — could lead to a potential downgrade in their ballot position, currently Row D.
In the video, elected officials such as Public Advocate Letitia James and U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, says a vote for the WFP is a vote for women’s equality, as well as campaign finance reform and the Dream Act.
“Equality means all of this, and more,” says Karen Scharff, the party’s co-chair, in the video.
Cuomo had to fight for the WFP’s endorsement earlier this year, and ultimately won their backing after pledging to support a full Democratic takeover of the state Senate as well as re-affirm his support for a liberal agenda next year.
But the speculation has been Cuomo formed the Women’s Equality Party in part to challenge the supremacy of the WFP as the left-leaning third party ballot line in the state, or at the very least to make party leaders nervous heading in to Election Day.
Still, women who are prominent in liberal-advocacy politics are not totally on board with the idea of the Women’s Equality Party.
Scharff has been critical of the women-centric party, and in an interview on Capital Tonight questioned the need for the ballot line.
Democratic state Sen. Liz Krueger of Manhattan has called the party a “mistake” and said it could lead to a marginalization of female voters.
Oct 23rd - 3:44 pm
After facing questions over his lack of a second term agenda, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign released a 245-page policy book on Thursday that outlines a series of issues he would seek to tackle in the next four years.
There are some new proposals in the book, including plans to hire a “chief risk officer” as well as plans to streamline the state’s licensing and regulatory
A broad swath of the governor lays out in the policy book, “Moving The New New York Forward,” has already been laid down by Cuomo during his re-election campaign, and the release of the book today seemingly acts as a summary of the provisions for term two.
Those proposals include a $500 million investment in broadband Internet access in rural upstate areas, the creation of an infrastructure bank, using $500 million from the state’s surplus to further provide incentives to local governments to consolidate and share services and the Global NY initiative, meant to promote overseas trade of state businesses.
His proposal for upgrading New York City airports JFK and LaGuardia is also detailed as well.
Other areas are ones Cuomo has proposed before, including the 10-point women’s agenda, which he first unveiled in 2013 and is running on as a key campaign issue.
Cuomo also makes a point of noting in the book he continues to back the public financing of political campaigns, a program that liberal advocacy organizations and labor groups have been pushing for over the last four years.
“The governor will continue to fight for the creation of public financing of elections,” the book states.
Election reform proposals include simplifying the state ballots and making it easier to vote. He also dusts off his support for lowered contribution limits for corporations, party transfers and housekeeping or “soft money” accounts.
Cuomo adds he backs the Dream Act, as well as a faster increase in the state’s minimum wage — two promises made to the Working Families Party in May when he received the labor-backed group’s endorsement. Nevertheless, Cuomo’s support for “further proposals” for a minimum wage hike — either on the local level through a state formula or to $10.10 is left vague.
“… the Governor remains deeply committed to pursuing further proposals that would expedite the increase or enhance the minimum wage going forward.”
He plans to replicate the “Buffalo Billion” economic development initiative in other upstate cities through the creation of the Upstate Revitalization Fund.
Cuomo would convene a local government summit to discuss “best practices” on reducing taxes.
Cuomo in 2010 got much more down in the weeds.
At the time, he released a series of policy-laden books with different subjects including agriculture, ethics and energy.
Oct 23rd - 2:30 pm
Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will hold joint campaign appearances in Nassau, Westchester and Orange counties on Friday as part of a GOTV effort.
DiNapoli and Schneiderman, Democrats both, have worked closely when it comes to investigating public wrongdoing, most notably on the case of William Rapfogel, the disgraced former head of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, now facing a prison sentence for siphoning funds from the charity.
Both the AG and the comptroller, too, have had a rocky relationship with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Over the last four years, Cuomo at times has sought to extend the reach of the governor’s office into territory formerly held by the attorney general’s office, which he himself occupied from 2007 through 2011.
In a questionnaire from Citizens Union, Cuomo’s campaign would not take a position on whether the AG’s office should be empowered to go after public corruption.
DiNapoli, meanwhile, was not endorsed by Cuomo in 2010 during a particularly difficult re-election campaign.
Since then, DiNapoli has been critical of aspects of the state’s finances, which has led to some interesting blow-ups between his office and the state Division of Budget.
Cuomo, who has not campaigned with the other two Democrats on the statewide ticket this fall, issued endorsements for both Schneiderman and DiNapoli at the state Democratic convention in May.
Both Schneiderman and DiNapoli lead their Republican opponents, John Cahill and Bob Antonacci respectively, by double digits, according to this week’s Siena College poll.
Oct 23rd - 1:26 pm
The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee received a flood of donations on Wednesday from high-profile labor groups that support the conference’s takeover of the state Senate.
Filings with the state Board of Elections show the contributions range include $12,500 from the AFL-CIO and $50,000 from the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union.
The political action committee of the Theatrical Teamsters Local 817 contributed $6,000.
One of the largest contributions came from JSTD Madison LLC, which gave $102,300, records show.
The conference also received a $40,000 contribution from Stephen Silberstein, a California software magnate and Democratic Party booster.
All told, the mainline Democratic conference received more than $408,000 in contributions in a one-day period.
The money comes after a filing earlier this month showed the conference with $1.4 million in cash on hand, compared to the $2.8 million in the bank for the Senate Republican Campaign Committee.
With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, Democrats are trying to defend three seats upstate held by freshman Sens. Cecilia Tkaczyk, Ted O’Brien and Terry Gipson.
The conference is also trying to play some offense, including open seats in Suffolk and Westchester counties as well as trying to knock off GOP incumbent Jack Martins.
Oct 23rd - 1:14 pm
Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino’s gubernatorial campaign received a $5,000 contribution from the NRA Political Victory Fund, 24-hour notices show.
The national NRA has not spent much time investing in New York races, despite the widespread controversy among gun owners over the SAFE Act, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature gun control law from 2013.
Astorino, who is staunchly opposed to the SAFE Act, told reporters in Albany earlier today contributions were coming in following last night’s debate.
“We got a flood of donations after the debate last night online,” Astorino said. “They were very receptive to our message.”
Oct 23rd - 1:10 pm
Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino in Albany on Thursday renewed his call for a one-on-one televised debate, saying last night’s forum didn’t provide for enough airing of key issues such as the SAFE Act.
“I’m going to call for another debate right now,” Astorino said. “Let’s see if the governor has the guts to do that, the courage to do that. He has an obligation to the people to do that, because I think clearly last night what you saw 12 minutes for each in a very tightly formatted debate where there wasn’t a free flow of discussions, where there wasn’t follow up most of the time, and there were a lot of topics that wasn’t discussed at all and I think we need to have that kind of honest debate.”
Cuomo had agreed to the televised Buffalo debate, which also featured Green party candidate Howie Hawkins and Libertarian Michael McDermott.
Both Cuomo and Astorino largely ignored the minor-party candidates and instead traded blows with one another over the federal government’s housing settlement with Westchester County, as well as the Moreland Commission inquiry from the U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
Astorino took particular umbrage at Cuomo blasting his stance against the affordable housing settlement, saying it hurt minorities, with the GOP candidate accusing Cuomo of playing “the race card.”
But Astorino pushed back, saying the governor could be indicted for his office’s interference in the Moreland Commission’s work.
“He very well could have broken laws and many people think he did,” he said.
Cuomo’s campaign — without consulting Astorino’s camp — agreed to the Buffalo debate as well as a one-on-one radio debate in New York City.
Astorino insisted he did not regret turning down the radio debate.
“It needs to be televised and last night was the perfect reason why,” Astorino said.
A Siena College poll released this week showed Cuomo leading Astorino by 21 percentage points, but the governor’s favorability rating is slipping to its lowest level.
Astorino hasn’t gained much ground on Cuomo, but he insisted the tide is turning in his favor.
“We’re coming down the homestretch now and feel good about where we’re going,” Astorino said. “Momentum is clearly on our side.”
Oct 23rd - 12:29 pm
Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos railed against Democrats on Thursday for supporting the Dream Act, a long-sought measure for liberal state lawmakers that would provide tuition assistance to undocumented immigrants.
Skelos, in an interview on The Capitol Pressroom, said the Democratic support for the measure was a sign the conference was in the pocket of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has emerged as a boogeyman invoked by GOP candidates this fall, especially upstate.
“They all support giving illegals — people that are here illegally — free college tuition while 76 percent of the kids who are here get no free college tuition,” Skelos said in the interview. “They get student loans. That’s the difference what Republicans are saying. We’re talking about middle income families and these Democrats are taking the Bill de Blasio New York City talk that is giving people here illegally free college education.”
It’s no secret that de Blasio wants a friendlier state Senate and is backing an effort to give the party full control next year.
And Senate Republicans, too, are getting help from New York City-based interests, including former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Real Estate Board of New York.
But Skelos says there’s a distinction between liberal New York City support and Republican New York City support.
“The difference is we saw what happened when the Democrats were in the majority in 2009 and ’10,” he said. “They increased taxes by $10 billion, they imposed the GEA — gap elimination.”
Skelos is also bullish on the chances of Republicans running in key Senate races across upstate and Long Island, including Mark Grisanti, a Republican who lost his primary last month, but retains the Independence Party ballot line next month.
Grisanti is also getting some help from Bloomberg as well as allies of Cuomo, who have contributed to the New York League of Conservation Voters, which is backing his re-election.
In the interview, Skelos knocked Grisanti’s Democratic opponent, Marc Panepinto, for an election-law conviction.
“I think he’s going to win that race,” Skelos said. “He’s running against the Democrat who certainly has a tarnished background. We’re seeing it in the polls that he’s crashing and I think Mark is going to be very successful.”
Oct 23rd - 10:33 am
Is Gov. Andrew Cuomo becoming pre-occupied by his own mortality?
It certainly seems that way whenever he is asked about whether he’ll serve out a second, four-year term.
Behind the question posed by reporters is obvious: Cuomo is believed to be a potential presidential contender or could be plucked for a high-profile cabinet post in a Democratic administration come 2017.
Each time Cuomo has been asked about serving out a full term, he makes a joke about having a “heart attack” or dying in the middle of the term — seemingly an effort to throw the reporter asking the question off balance.
This has happened at least three times.
The governor at the Business Council’s annual meeting in September was asked about serving out his full term if re-elected by Gannett’s Jon Campbell.
Here’s the exchange:
Campbell: Governor if you’re re-elected in November, will you serve a full, four-year term.
Cuomo: What if I die?
Campbell: It’s a possibility, but do you plan on serving a full, four-year term?
Cuomo: Do I plan on it? Yes. But now you just lost the question when you put ‘planning on it.’
And it was posed to the governor in an interview last week with The Wall Street Journal’s Erica Orden. Again, the mortality issue was raised:
WSJ: Are you going to stay here for four years?
Cuomo: That’s what I hope to do. Unless I drop dead with a heart attack or take a plane to Italy and decide not to come back.
Finally, in last night’s debate, the full term question was asked by panelist Bob McCarthy of The Buffalo News. Guess how Cuomo responded?
“If I drop dead of a heart attack how does that count? Does that violate the pledge?”
After a beat, Cuomo said, “yes.”
Oct 23rd - 8:14 am
From the Morning Memo:
Following his appearance in the only scheduled debate in the race for governor, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins is hitting the airwaves.
The ad, called “A Real Choice” will air in the major upstate TV markets on Time Warner Cable News and MSNBC.
The 30-second commercial calls attention to his support for a ban on hydrofracking, a $15 minimum wage and single-payer health care.
“You have a choice on Nov. 4,” the ad reminds viewers.
And there’s a swipe at Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Rob Astorino as well.
“A man who is not part of a political dynasty or funded by corporations or the 1 percent,” the ad’s narrator says.
The spot comes as a Siena College poll released this week found Hawkins polling at 9 percent, potentially cutting in to Cuomo’s final vote total next month.
Hawkins four years ago was able to achieve the 50,000-vote plus benchmark for automatic ballot status for the party.
This time, the Greens hope to tap into liberal discontent with Cuomo, as well as the sizable protest vote that Zephyr Teachout garnered in her September primary.