Nick Reisman

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People For Bernie Back Biaggi In SD-34

A pro-Bernie Sanders group on Monday announced its backing of Democratic state Senate candidate Alessandra Biaggi, who is running a primary campaign against Sen. Jeff Klein.

Biaggi is being endorsed by People for Bernie in her bid to defeat Klein, the former leader of the now-defunct Independent Democratic Conference.

“I’m thrilled to be supported by The People for Bernie,” Biaggi said. “Not only do we have a shared vision for the future – the organization and our campaign are both built on grassroots ‘people power.’”

The IDC folded in April and its members joined the mainline conference fold. But that has not deterred the previously announced primary challengers to several IDC lawmakers.

The agreement for the IDC to dissolve left Klein as the deputy minority leader in the state Senate. Klein earlier this year was accused of sexual harassment by a former staffer. Klein has denied the allegation and the Joint Commission on Public Ethics is investigating.

“We are enthusiastically endorsing Alessandra,” said Kat Brezler, co-founder of The People for Bernie. “Biaggi has been knocking all the doors in the District where grew up. This is the work it takes to win election – not backroom deals that have been the cornerstone of her opponent’s process.

Klein, meanwhile, over the weekend was endorsed by the Hotel Trades Council, a union endorsement the came after he was backed by RWDSU.

“The Hotel Trades Council proudly stands with Jeff Klein and strongly endorses his reelection to the New York State Senate,” said New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council President Peter Ward. Jeff Klein is a proven leader, who fights tirelessly—and delivers—for labor and all of New York’s working families. We need his continued leadership in Albany.”

Reform Party Backs Bharara For AG

From the Morning Memo:

The Reform Party on Sunday endorsed former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for attorney general — a nod that may leave the party jilted at the alter since the prominent ex-prosecutor and podcast host has not declared whether he’ll actually run.

The party on Sunday also issued certifications of nomination to candidates Chris Garvey, Nancy Regula and Michael Diederich to run for attorney general, said Frank Morano, a Reform Party leader and New York City political activist.

Bharara has risen to prominence in New York for his aggressive pursuit of public corruption cases that led to the convictions of the top former legislative leaders in the Senate and Assembly. Bharara has since become a vocal critic of President Donald Trump following his firing in 2017 as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

He has not closed the door on running for attorney general, a post vacated earlier this month after Eric Schneiderman was accused of domestic violence by four women, though declined to participate in the legislative appointment process.

As of last week, Bharara was not a registered voter in New York, having been purged from the rolls in 2006.

The Reform Party was formed in 2014 by the campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino as a ballot line to highlight opposition to the Common Core education standards. The party was rebranded the Reform Party and later was taken control of by Curtis Sliwa, the found of the Guardian Angels.

The party on Sunday also endorsed Democratic Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and the Republican gubernatorial ticket of Marc Molinaro and Julie Killian.

Killian Named Molinaro’s Running Mate

Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro on Sunday named former Rye City Councilwoman Julie Killian his running mate for lieutenant governor, adding a Westchester County woman who is popular in state GOP circles.

Killian is former two-time state Senate candidate, having recently lost a special election last month in Westchester County to Democrat Shelley Mayer.

“Julie Killian is a champion for people who have no voice, who are left behind, who are in crisis and she will never back down from the challenges that are facing our state,” said Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive. “I’m proud to have Julie as my partner in this campaign to restore New Yorker’s belief in the future of our state.”

Killian is being named Molinaro’s running mate ahead of the state GOP convention, which will convene in New York City on Wednesday.

Molinaro is considered the likely Republican nominee for governor at this point as state Sen. John DeFrancisco last month suspended his campaign.

Her selection came after a search committee backed her. It was led by Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo and John Cahill, a former top aide to Gov. George Pataki.

The selection adds a dose of geographic balance as Killian lives in a key suburban battleground county.

“The easy thing to do would be to shrink from this opportunity and say I have had enough,” Killian said. “But single mom’s who need to get to work will still have to take a broken subway system, parents with children on opioids will still need to fight insurers for treatment and unemployed community college graduates will still need to find a job. I won’t back down against Andrew Cuomo or any opponent of reform, because everyday New Yorkers can’t.”

WFP Backs Placeholder Candidate For AG

The Working Families Party on Saturday backed a placeholder for attorney general, while also insisting its ballot line this fall would be open to either Tish James or Zephyr Teachout to run for the post.

The WFP at its convention announced Legal Aid attorney Kenny Schafer would act as a placeholder candidate and vacate the line to the eventual WFP nominee in the general election.

Under the move, the WFP is giving both James and Teachout the authorization to run on the party’s ballot line.

The move is a signal that the party is hoping James, who was first elected to public office with the WFP’s backing, would eventually take its ballot line in the fall should she win the primary contest.

James and Teachout are both seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general in a September primary.

“There are two incredible progressive women in this race, and New Yorkers would be lucky to have either as our next Attorney General,” said New York Working Families Party Director Bill Lipton. “These are two WFP heroes.”

The party this year is facing one its biggest challenges since its inception, endorsing and nominating Cynthia Nixon for governor, the Democratic primary challenger to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The WFP, meanwhile, has faced an internal dispute over the direction of the party, with several labor unions departing over the years. Several more labor groups left the party last month as it endorsed Nixon over Cuomo.

Unlike the governor’s race, the WFP does not need a 50,000-vote threshold to retain ballot status with its attorney general candidate.

But James continues to draw support from WFP members.

The AG’s office became open last week after the resignation of Eric Schneiderman, amid allegations of domestic violence and drug abuse.

The Reform Party on Sunday, meanwhile, is expected to meet and endorse its candidate for attorney general.

State Dems Slam WFP, GOP

The state Democratic Committee on Saturday in a statement criticized both the Working Families Party and likely Republican nominee for governor Marc Molinaro.

The WFP, which has endorsed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s rival for the Democratic nomination Cynthia Nixon, is holding its state convention today in Harlem.

The party could endorse Zephyr Teachout for attorney general or a placeholder as Democratic AG candidate Tish James has indicated she would not take the WFP’s endorsement, spurning a party that helped elect her to office.

“The state of the WFP today stands in stark contrast with the state of the Democratic Party. The union-founded party has no working families left after every union has left their ranks,” said the statement signed by Executive Director Geoff Berman. “Now Party Boss Bill Lipton is trying to muscle their delegates not to back one of their most loyal supporters: Zephyr Teachout.”

Several labor groups did pull out of the Working Families Party, including 32BJ last month. But not all unions have departed the WFP, however, with other labor groups like the UAW remaining in the fold.

“Meanwhile, Cynthia Nixon may not endorse her own former Campaign Treasurer Zephyr Teachout, or her own WFP Lieutenant Governor candidate Jumaane Williams, who has an anti-choice and anti-marriage equality record. That’s some WFP ticket: they don’t even support each other,” Berman added.

Turning his attention to Republicans, Berman knocked Molinaro for being a “Trump mini-me” though Molinaro has said he did not vote for the president, instead writing in Rep. Chris Gibson.

“The Republicans don’t have a comptroller or attorney general candidate yet and the top of the ticket is Trump mini-me, Marc Molinaro. Molinaro is anti choice, anti gun safety, anti LGBTQ, and part of Trump’s property and income tax increase plan that ended State and Local deductibility,” Berman said. “This Trump/Cox/Molinaro extreme conservative agenda is anti-New York.”

It’s not accurate to say the tax law approved last year ended state and local tax deductions. The measure capped those deductions at $10,000.

The state Democrats are due to hold their convention next week on Long Island over the same days Republicans are scheduled to meet in New York City.

“This sideshow distracts from our number one priority: electing more Democrats and combating Donald Trump’s extreme and hateful agenda,” Berman said. “That will be the focus of the state Democratic convention next week, when the serious campaign begins.”

In a tweet, the WFP wrote it was backing two progressive candidates for attorney general and that “Cuomo is losing it.”

TWU Local 100 For James

The Transport Workers Union Local 100 on Friday endorsed Democratic attorney general candidate Tish James, the latest labor endorsement she’s received in her bid for the office that officially began this week.

“I’m humbled by the support of TWU 100. The men and women of labor helped build this country and I am proud to stand with them,” James said. “As Attorney General, I will fight to safeguard the rights of working people and apply my experience, capabilities, and passion to help New Yorkers in every part of our state.”

James, the New York City public advocate, has largely cleared the field, though she could face a primary challenge for the Democratic nomination from Fordham Law School professor Zephyr Teachout. Tim Wu, Teachout’s 2014 running mate, has also signaled an interest in running.

“Our members know that Tish James has always been a fearless advocate for our rights,” said Local 100 President Tony Utano. “She has stood with us at every turn and we are confident she will continue to stand with us as our next Attorney General. We are proud to endorse Tish James, a true champion for working people, and we look forward to electing her as our New York State Attorney General.”

Cahill Makes Calls Gauging Potential AG Run

John Cahill has been calling Republican county chairs and donors in recent days to gauge support for a potential run for attorney general, a source with knowledge of the talks on Friday said.

Cahill is a former official in the administration of Gov. George Pataki, having served as the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation and secretary to the governor.

Cahill was the party’s 2014 nominee for attorney general.

Republicans hope in part that a crowded general election field that could include multiple candidates could give the party an edge in winning the office for the first time since 1994.

The AG’s race has been scrambled in the last two weeks after the resignation of two-term Democrat Eric Schneiderman following allegations of domestic violence and drug abuse by four women.

On the Republican side, Manny Alicandro, a first-time candidate and New York City lawyer, launched his bid last month.

Other potential Republican candidates have reportedly included former state Sen. Ray Meier and lawyer Keith Wofford.

Republicans meet next week at their state party convention to potentially pick a preferred candidate for the post.

NY-19: Republican-Aligned Super PAC Opens Office

A Republican-aligned super PAC has opened a field office in the 19th congressional district, considered one of the top battleground House races in the country.

The Congressional Leadership Fund this week announced the field office in the district, along with House seats in Michigan and Minnesota.

“To be successful in November CLF is focused on doing things differently and on building our hyper-targeted, data-driven national field program to help members win in November,” said Corry Bliss, CLF Executive Director.

“Since February 2017, CLF staff and volunteers have been talking to voters across the country on issues that matter most to them, and informing them on how their member of Congress is delivering results for the community. Having conversations with key voters across the country, the focus of our national field program, is going to be a major factor in maintaining the Republican majority this fall.”

Republic Rep. John Faso is running for a second term this year.

One of the Democrats vying for the party’s nomination, Gareth Rhodes, took notice of the field office in a fundraising pitch to supporters.

“This week, Paul Ryan is opening a campaign field office right in our own backyard,” the fundraising email states. “John Faso might refuse to hold town halls or talk to his constituents, but this seat is vulnerable, and this is Step 1 of their plan to keep it. Paul Ryan sees the grassroots support that we’re building in all 163 towns in this district where Gareth was born and raised, worked on a farm, as a water well driller, and as a volunteer firefighter. And they won’t go down without a fight.”

In Letter, Cuomo Urges Feds To ‘DO SOMETHING’ After Latest School Shooting

In the wake of a high school shooting in Texas on Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an “open letter” to President Trump and members of Congress, writing in all-capital letters to “DO SOMETHING” about gun violence.

“When is enough enough? How many more innocent people have to die before you act?” Cuomo wrote in the letter. “You were elected to lead – do something. Your first responsibility is to the people of this country, not the NRA – do something. My heart breaks for the families who have to grieve from this needless violence – DO SOMETHING.”

Cuomo signed the letter as “father of Cara, Mariah and Michaela” and taxpayer, with “governor of New York” listed his third. He also made note of his “F” rating from the National Rifle Association.

Cuomo has over the years pushed Congress repeatedly to take up gun control legislation after New York approved a sweeping package of measures in 2013 known as the SAFE Act, which remains controversial with gun owners, especially in upstate New York.

The state Legislature passed and Cuomo approved this March its first piece of gun control legislation since the SAFE Act was approved, a measure that tightens restrictions on gun ownership for those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence.

WFP To Pick Its AG Candidate On Saturday

The Working Families Party is scheduled to hold its convention on Saturday in Harlem, with plans to pick an attorney general candidate.

But who the candidate will ultimately wind up being remains up in the air as the party could select a placeholder for the post after New York City Public Advocate Tish James confirmed she would not seek the party’s line in her bid for AG.

The endorsement could also go to James’s likely Democratic rival for the party’s nomination, Zepyhr Teachout, a Fordham Law School professor who ran for governor in 2014 and a Hudson Valley House seat in 2016.

For now, party officials are not committing to either Teachout’s candidacy or the placeholder who could be swapped out for the eventual winner of the Democratic primary.

Teachout has been an ally of gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon and is serving as her campaign treasurer.

Nixon’s bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination against incumbent Andrew Cuomo has been buoyed last month by the WFP’s endorsement.