Nick Reisman

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NY-3: Martins Campaign Blasts Pidot’s Court Maneuvering

It’s a tale of not only two campaigns, but two legal realities.

In one corner is state Sen. Jack Martins, whose campaign insists he’s the rightful Republican nominee in the third congressional district on Long Island.

In the other is Philip Pidot, who was qualified for the ballot, but not in time to run for the nomination in Tuesday’s federal primary vote.

Martins camp says it’s case closed. Pidot says not so fast.

The ongoing legal maneuverings in the third congressional district, a seat being made vacant by the retirement of Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, spilled over into frustration as Martins’s campaign on Wednesday accused Pidot’s team of “more lies” on the state of the race.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Pidot campaign framed a court ruling from a federal judge as a victory, given the legal battle is not yet over and a new hearing has been scheduled for July 11. At the same time, the state Board of Elections is yet to certify a general election candidate in the district (It should be noted the BOE hasn’t certified any of the federal election ballots).

“I am enormously grateful that Judge Bianco ruled that I demonstrated clear Constitutional merit in my argument before the court, and my co-plaintiff and I are enormously grateful that our case will proceed accordingly,” Pidot said. “The right of Long Island and Queens Republicans to choose between two equally validated congressional candidates in a primary must be safeguarded and exercised. This is a good day for American democracy.”

Too little, too late, argues the Martins campaign, which suggested in a statement the court battle by Pidot has gone beyond quixotic, given Pidot is yet to gain ballot status.

“I am amazed that someone who claims to be a fraud investigator would continue the lies. I was in court. I heard the judge ask, ‘why are we here after the rulings in state court?’ And I also heard the fringe candidate admit his mistake in delaying the legal process saying, ‘you can’t play morning quarterback,” said O’Brien Murray, a top Martins advisor.

“The process was 78 days and the former candidate sat on his hands for 29 days. He was never on the ballot and that continues today,” he added. “When will he learn the rules apply to him?”

Cuomo: ‘Grateful’ After Second Arrests In Gabay Shooting

Calling it an important milestone in getting justice for the death of a former gubernatorial aide, Gov. Andrew Cuomo thanked law enforcement after three more people were arrested on Wednesday in connection to the shooting of Carey Gabay last year.

“I am grateful to the law enforcement officials for their relentless work investigating this case and feel strongly that the perpetrators of this heinous act should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Cuomo said. “Today’s indictments are an important milestone in the quest for justice, and I hope that they bring solace to Carey’s family and loved ones.”

The Brooklyn district attorney’s office announced Wednesday two people — 21-year-old Tyshawn Crawford and 24-year-old Keith Luncheon — will face second-degree murder charges for Gabay’s death. A third, Micah Alleyne, 24, was arrested last month and also charged with murder in the case.

“Carey Gabay was a dedicated public servant whose life was cut short due to reckless gun violence — tragedy that plagues too many of our communities. With Carey’s help, New York passed the nation’s toughest gun safety law, but his murder underscores the fact that our federal gun laws are woefully inadequate,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“While we took a great step forward with our historic legislation, without action from Congress, known criminals will continue to buy guns in other states today and sell them on the black market in New York tomorrow.”

Gabay, 43, was killed in September last year amid festivities leading up to the West Indian Day Parade in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

The incident re-ignited Cuomo’s push for new gun control measures nationally in order to tighten the flow of illegal weapons into New York.

Martins, Faso Named To NRCC’s Young Guns Program

Two New York congressional candidates are among the 11 GOP House hopefuls named on Wednesday to the final tier National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns” program.

Advancing to the final stage of the NRCC’s recruitment program are John Faso, running for the 19th congressional district, and Jack Martins, the third congressional district candidate on Long Island.

“To reach the Young Guns stage of our committee’s recruitment program, candidates must meet our high standards of achievement to ensure a path to victory on Election Day,” said NRCC Chairman Greg Walden.

“As a committee, we are working to help elect Republicans to maintain our record breaking majority in the House of Representatives and further put into action our ideas that will build a more confident America. As the November elections approach, I am confident these candidates will continue to work hard for their communities and put America on a better path.”

Martins is vying for the seat held by Rep. Steve Israel, who is retiring from Congress this fall. Democratic former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi won his primary last night.

In the 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley, Faso won his GOP primary against Andrew Heaney on Tuesday, and faces Democrat Zephyr Teachout this November.

Contours Emerge In NY-19

The ink is barely dry on the Tuesday night primary victories of Republican John Faso and Democrat Zephyr Teachout, but both sides are already trying to define the candidates in what will be a marquee congressional race this year.

In the moments after Faso declared victory over Andrew Heaney, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee unloaded its opposition research file in an email to reporters.

D-trip in particular outlined a case against Faso that includes his record on women’s issues (“Faso has aligned himself with the far-right wing of his Republican Party, which has consistently failed women and their families,” the committee wrote in its email), being an “Albany insider” and coming from the “Party of Trump” (In both style and substance, Faso is a far cry from being a Donald Trump Republican).

“John Faso is headed for another loss in this swing district because of his out-of-touch conservative record, scandal-ridden history, and the reality that he is sharing the ticket with Donald Trump,” the DCCC concluded.

That’s not to say Republicans won’t find a way to knock Teachout, a left-leaning Fordham Law School professor who moved to the district to run for the seat being vacated by Rep. Chris Gibson. Republicans are already likening the race to the contest between Gibson and Sean Eldridge in 2014, who moved to the Hudson Valley to unsuccessfully run for the district.

The Republican Congressional Leadership Fund in an email this morning called the race “A déjà vu nightmare for Dems?”

“New Yorkers didn’t fall for Democrats’ first carpetbagger; they won’t fall for the second,” the group wrote.

Still, like Faso is not Trump, Teachout is not like Eldridge: She already has a large and loyal liberal following after he run for governor two years ago and has sought to tap into the enthusiasm generated by Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign.

But at the same time, Teachout is being criticized for muddled answers on the movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel as well as the SAFE Act.

“Zephry Teachout may have flip-flopped her way to victory in a Democrat primary,” said Congressional Leadership Fund spokeswoman Ruth Guerra, “but that will not fly in a general election.”

NY-22: Babinec Camp Says It Has The Reform Line

Lost a bit in the shuffle on primary night is the confirmation that the race for the 22nd congressional district will be a three-way contest.

Businessman Martin Babinec has secured the Reform Party ballot line, his campaign confirmed, setting up a race between Democrat Kim Myers and the victor of the Republican primary, state Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney.

“Thanks to strong grassroots support, Martin Babinec tonight secured a ballot spot in November on the Reform Line defeating Claudia Tenney,” said Babinec campaign spokesman David Catalfamo.

Babinec had previously sought the Independence Party’s ballot line, and had gained the party’s endorsement, but failed to qualify.

The Reform Party line was first organized in 2014 by Republican gubernatorial nominee Rob Astorino, who had initially formed it as the Stop Common Core ballot line. The name change came after the election to reflect a broader range of issues, including term limits for elected officials.

The 22nd congressional district, which covers parts of central New York, the Mohawk Valley and the Southern Tier, is being vacated at the end of the year by Rep. Richard Hanna.

DiNapoli: Pension Fund To Review BDS Ties In Pension Fund

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced Wednesday his office would begin an immediate review of the pension fund’s investment portfolio to determine if there are any firms with ties to the effort to boycott, divest and sanction Israel.

The move from DiNapoli comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state would move to curtail the “BDS” movement through a boycott of companies and other entities that participate in the campaign.

“Attempts to harm Israel’s economy can put our investments there at risk,” DiNapoli said. “Israel remains an attractive place to invest and we look forward to finding new opportunities there. We’re putting companies engaged in BDS activities on notice that there will be consequences if their anti-Israel activities expose our investments to financial harm.”

The pension fund has about $532 million in Israel-related investment opportunities. DiNapoli also visited Israel in November 2015.

Companies that are determined to be involved in BDS activities will be added to a restricted list blocking investment. A firm that is being invested in by the pension fund that’s involved in the BDS movement will be placed under review and could have their relationship ended.

5 Primary Night Takeaways

From the Morning Memo:

New York will once again be a battleground state when it comes to key races for control of the House of Representatives.

And across the state, voters in primaries set up fascinating November match ups in House districts from Long Island to central New York.

Turnout for the June primary, the second of three primaries New York has scheduled this year (the presidential contest in April, the state legislative races in September) as lawmakers in Albany continue to bicker over a unified date.

Still, the results of Tuesday night allowed some clear narratives to emerge as focus turns toward the general election:

1. The year of the upstate woman?

Women were victories in three upstate congressional primaries on Tuesday night, with Democrats Zephyr Teachout (a Brooklyn transplant) and Colleen Deacon winning their races in the 19th and 24th congressional districts. Republican Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney defeated her rivals for the 22nd congressional district nomination to take on Democrat Kim Myers.

With incumbents like Republican Elise Stefanik and Democrat Louise Slaughter running for re-election, upstate New York could be sending a majority of women to Washington this year.

In western New York, Reps. Chris Collins and Brian Higgins have also drawn women opponents, Diana Kastebaum and Shelly Schratz.

On Long Island, Anna Throne-Holst — a favorite of the Democratic establishment — is in a too-close-to-call race with Democrat Dave Calone to take on Rep. Lee Zeldin.

The results come as three of four major upstate cities — Rochester, Syracuse and Albany — elected women to mayor’s offices in 2013.

There are only two women elected to any state or federal office statewide, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.

2. Espaillat poised to make history.

Speaking of milestones, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat’s dream of becoming the first Dominican-born member of Congress is closer to a reality with his apparent victory in the 13th congressional district in a  crowded Democratic primary field.

Espaillat won the “Harlem” seat long held by Rep. Charlie Rangel, but the changing demographics of the district as well as its shake up in a 2012 round of redistricting drew in more Latino voters. Espaillat had sought twice before to tap into shift in voters, losing both times to Rangel.

For Assemblyman Keith Wright, the apparent loss is an especially tough one, given his work to bolster support among the Democratic establishment over the last year, including standing down in the race for Assembly speaker in favor of the Bronx’s Carl Heastie.

Given the Democratic composition of the district, a victory in Tuesday’s race is in essence a ticket punch to Washington.

3. Bernie’s mixed bag.

It was a win one, lose one kind of night for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s endorsed candidates.

Zephyr Teachout, as expected, handily won her primary against Will Yandik in the 19th congressional district. However, Sanders’s pick for the 24th congressional district, Syracuse University professor Eric Kingson, lost a three-way race against Colleen Deacon.

Sanders had campaigned in the final days before the primary for Kingson in the Syracuse-area district as he starts to wind down his own campaign for president.

Still, the Teachout victory will buoy liberals nationally after her long-shot bid for the 2014 Democratic primary nomination against Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Teachout will likely present herself in the general election as a successor to the Sanders movement and as an Elizabeth Warren-style Democrat if elected to Congress.

Sanders lost the Democratic presidential primary in New York to Hillary Clinton, though he remains popular in upstate counties, including swaths of the Hudson Valley’s 19th congressional district.

4. Follow the money.

New York’s home to what will be at least five hotly contested races. But Tuesday’s results also foreshadow what will be a staggering amount of money likely to be spent in key contests. The race between Teachout and Republican John Faso in the 19th district, with its multiple media markets and narrow enrollment, will be an especially costly race.

The Faso-Teachout race will be especially a nasty one. Already, DCCC has released an attack on Faso’s record on women and as a lobbyist, aligning itself with Teachout’s left-leaning platform.

The same likely goes for the NY-3, where Democratic former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi will face Republican state Sen. Jack Martins. Both candidates will be tapping into a donor base eager to see Democrats either hold the seat or lose it in the expensive New York City media market.

5. Gov. Cuomo’s light footprint.

As we noted on the blog on Tuesday, Cuomo largely stayed away from making any major endorsements in the primary races. He’s endorsed Rangel multiple times in the past, even as he has largely stayed out of giving his nods in inter-party contests.

The primaries included several candidates with links to Cuomo, including Teachout (who challenged him for the Democratic nomination in 2014) Jon Kaiman (his Sandy relief coordinator and candidate in the NY-3) and Wright (who he picked to run the state Democratic committee with Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner).

Education Group Pushes Computerized Assessments

From the Morning Memo:

A group that has been supportive of the Common Core standards is praising the proposed use of computerized assessments as a way to improve student performance and provide teachers with “critical prospectives.”

“Computerized testing is a better, faster, more individualized approach to assessing students and providing real-time feedback that helps teachers do their most important job – helping kids learn and grow,” said Stephen Sigmund, the executive director of High Achievement New York.

“Students, teachers and parents need to understand the specific benefits of this new format and this new sharable graphic will help spread the word.”

HANY is backing the use of computer-based tests in part for its tailoring of ability levels of individual test takers, altering the degree of difficulty based on a student’s answers.

The group is especially excited for computer-based testing given how it provides instant feedback for tests results for teachers and students while eliminating human error.

At the same time, the computerized assessments are easy-to-use platforms for interactive questions.

But computerized tests are controversial, with supporters of the opt-out test movement urging students decline to take field testing for computerized assessments in more than 900 schools this spring.

“State leaders should remember that opt-out organizers have opposed testing improvements at every turn,” Sigmund said.

“They have urged refusal not just of annual state assessments, but of local tests, and now field testing of computer assessments. They have even argued against using Regents’ tests as a high school exit exam, a standard in New York since the 1870s. Refusing tests of every kind is not just a slippery slope, but a cliff for student progress in every community.”

Here And Now

Good morning!

We’re still tracking results from last night’s party primaries for key congressional races, including a pivotal contests on Long Island and in New York City.

But we do have results for races from Long Island to central New York, which come after today’s schedule:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City, with nothing public planned.

At 10 a.m., New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on WNYC.

Also at 10 a.m., the second annual Catskills Challenge kicks off with Ride the Catskills II, with Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Sam Roberts and State Division of Veterans Affairs Director Col. Eric Hesse, Windham Mountain Ski Resort, 19 Resort Dr., Windham.

At 10:30 a.m., Democrat Kim Myers plans to kick off her general election campaign for the 22nd congressional district, Kim Myers for Congress Headquarters, 1901 Vestal Parkway E, Vestal.

At 10:45 a.m., Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and Fire Chief Terry Ahlers will unveil a new fire rescue boat, Newburgh Boat Launch, 2 Washington Street, Newburgh

At 11 a.m., Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson and NYPD Commissioner William Bratton will announce the results of a major investigation, Brooklyn DA’s office, 350 Jay St., Brooklyn, 19th floor.

Also at 11 a.m., the New York State Procurement Council meets, Meeting Room 6, North Concourse Level, Empire State Plaza, Albany.

At 11:30 a.m., de Blasio will deliver remarks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Coney Island Amphitheater, 2113 West 21st St., Brooklyn.

At 11:30 a.m., the Ride the Catskills II motorcycle parade rolls into Woodstock Harley Davidson, 949 Rt. 28, Kingston.

At noon, Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson and New York Yankees Manager Joe Girardi will promote the city’s summer meals program, Mullaly Pool, 164th St. between Jerome & River Avenues, the Bronx.

At 1 p.m., Ride the Catskills II arrives for lunch at Bellearye Mountain, where they will be joined by DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos, 181 Galli Curci Rd., Highmount.

At 2 p.m., Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will receive a briefing on and tour economic development projects in Tarrytown with Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Mayor Drew Fixell, Village Hall, 1 Depot Plaza, Tarrytown.

At 3 p.m., Ride the Catskills Reception is held at the Roscoe NY Beer Co., 145 Rockland Rd., Roscoe.

At 5 p.m., de Blasio will deliver remarks at the Jewish Heritage reception, Gracie Mansion, 88th Street and East End Avenue, New York, NY.

Your headlines:

State Sen. Adriano Espaillat has declared victory in the 13th congressional district, edging out Assemblyman Keith Wright in the race to replace Rep. Charlie Rangel.

Espaillat, who has sought the seat twice before, is poised to become the first Dominican-born member of Congress.

In the 24th congressional district, Democrat Colleen Deacon has won the Democratic nomination to take on Rep. John Katko in a battleground central New York district.

Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney declared victory in the NY-22, defeating two challengers to take on Democrat Kim Myers for an open congressional seat.

In the 19th congressional district, Democrat Zephyr Teachout handily defeated Will Yandik for the nomination in the Hudson Valley seat.

Ditto for John Faso on the GOP side in the NY-19, setting up what will be a closely watched campaign to replace Rep. Chris Gibson.

Former Rob Astorino aide Phil Oliva has won the Republican nomination in the 18th congressional district to take on Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.

Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney both defeated their Democratic primary challengers in New York City.

On Long Island’s NY-3, former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi won the Democratic nomination in the campaign to succeed Rep. Steve Israel.

However, in the 1st CD on the eastern end of Long Island, the primary between Democrats Anna Throne-Holst and Dave Calone was too close to call.

Tuesday’s results in primary races were a mixed bag for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s endorsed candidates.

In non-primary news:

A Brooklyn woman has been questioned by the FBI in the ongoing investigation of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fundraising activities.

In Petersburgh, residents are questioning state officials over the response to a PFOA contamination in their community’s drinking water.

A lawsuit has been filed against several correction officers accusing them of beating inmates in the wake of last year’s escape of two convicted killers from Clinton Correctional.

A meeting of a commission to determine whether state lawmakers, judges and gubernatorial appointees should get pay raises erupted in partisan bickering.

Gov. Cuomo’s second annual Catskills Challenge will kick off on Thursday, highlighting summer activities in the region.

Among the highlights of the legislative session for Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor was the first passage of a constitutional amendment for pension forfeiture (the low lights include an expansion of Hollywood tax credits for film production).

A report from a housing advocacy group claims more than half of the Airbnb rentals in New York City last year were illegal.

After failing to stop the passage of a bill designed to crack down on Airbnb rentals, the company’s next fight is in San Francisco.

New York will use eminent domain to knock down three buildings and obtain easements on 20 additional properties near Interstate 690 as part of a $74 million bridge replacement project, according to state transportation officials.

The New York City PBA has declared an impasse in contract talks and is now turning its focus to mediation.

Contract agreements for City University of New York employees has been reached, avoiding a threatened faculty and staff walk out in the fall.

Tappan Zee Constructors will seek to limit liability in three lawsuits after its tugboat crashed in March in the Hudson River.

Roads in the Hudson Valley are set to receive a $4.7 million injection in state funds for needed repairs.

The state’s efforts at enhancing breast cancer screenings a welcome change for upstate women.

After Gov. Cuomo’s executive action to curtail the “BDS” movement against Israel, New Jersey has also approved legislation to stop the boycott, divest and sanction campaign.

A hot, dry spring has been an alarming development for upstate farmers over the last several weeks.

Lake Placid is considering a dissolution of its village court, a proposal that has been around for the last eight years.

NY-19: Heaney Campaign Wants Investigation Over Columbia County Ballots

The congressional campaign of Republican Andrew Heaney on Tuesday cried foul after ballots in Columbia County included the name of a third candidate who dropped out of the race nearly two months ago.

The ballots incorrectly included the name of Robert Bishop, who exited the race seven weeks ago and endorsed Heaney rival John Faso, a former Assembly minority leader.

For Heaney’s campaign, the problem is this: Voting for Bishop could have been an alternative to voting for Faso rather than picking Heaney, a businessman and first-time candidate.

“It’s a disgrace that with only one race on the entire ballot, the Columbia County Board of Elections has so grossly failed the voters,” Heaney said in a statement. “Every vote matters.”

His campaign is calling for the state Board of Elections to investigate the Columbia County board to determine whether the inclusion of Bishop’s name was either “gross incompetence or systematic fraud.”

For Faso’s part, his campaign released a by-the-numbers statement describing what will happen to the ballots featuring Bishop’s name in Columbia County.

Because they could not be counted by the optical scanning machines, Republican voters in the primary are being instructed to place their ballots in a separate slot on the machine for provisional ballots.

Replacement ballots were expected to be delivered to Columbia County polling locations by 4 p.m.

“We encourage all Republican voters to go to the polls and cast their ballots in the GOP primary,” said Dain Pascocello, a spokesman for the Faso campaign. “Polls are open until 9 PM.”