Nick Reisman

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McMurray’s Campaign Says Race Is A Dead Heat

From the Morning Memo:

An internal poll by Democratic congressional candidate Nate McMurray’s campaign found his race against Republican Rep. Chris Collins is in a dead heat.

The poll found both Collins and McMurray receiving 42 percent of the vote, while Larry Piegza, running on the Reform Party line draws 6 percentage points. Ten percent of voters are undecided.

Collins is seeking re-election to the Republican-heavy 27th congressional district next month amid an insider trading indictment. Most voters polled, 90 percent, responded the they have heard or read something about Collins’s legal troubles.

The new attention on the race has also bolstered McMurray’s fundraising ahead of the final stretch, he said.

“This proves what we’ve been seeing on the ground for months: We. Can. Win. Voters are tired of corruption and care about protecting healthcare, fighting for farms and supporting small businesses,” McMurray said in a statement.

“Voters feel taken advantage of by a wealthy man who used his power to enrich himself instead of representing people like us. They are angry that he’s running for re-election because his defense attorneys told him to. They are sick of politics as usual that puts the desires of the powerful above the needs of working people. They know that we are better than this in Western New York, and they’re right.”

Errigo Latest Lawmaker To Face Corruption Charges

Republican Assemblyman Joe Errigo was accused Wednesday by federal prosecutors of accepting thousands of dollars in cash bribes in exchange for introducing a bill at the behest of a lobbyist and an unnamed member of the state Assembly.

Errigo was charged with bribery and wire fraud, making him the latest state lawmaker to face corruption charges in the scandal-plagued New York state government.

Prosecutors outlined an alleged scheme in which an unnamed lawmaker — identified as “member A” in the criminal complaint — and a lobbyist worked to introduce legislation that transferred authority over a Rochester development project to the state Department of Transportation.

It was the lobbyist, also not named in the complaint, who suggested Errigo be used to introduce the legislation to make the bill “untraceable” to the original lawmaker.

The cash bribes, handed over in envelopes during different steps of the bill introduction process. The money used to “grease the skids” which included one payment for the legislation receiving a bill number. All told, some $10,500 in cash bribes changed hands.

Errigo was first elected in 2000 and served until 2010. He was re-elected in 2016 to fill the vacancy created when Assemblyman Bill Nojay died by suicide as he was about to face criminal fraud charges. During the campaign, Errigo made headlines when he suggest in a radio interview that President Obama was telling black to “kill the whites.”

Errigo lost his Republican primary earlier last month to Marjorie Byrnes.

“The allegations against Assemblyman Joe Errigo announced today are disturbing for everyone in state government and for the people of the 133rd Assembly District,” said Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb. “We have just learned about the charges, and more facts will be presented as the legal process runs its course. If a crime has been committed, the guilty parties should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Any time these kinds of accusations are brought against a public official, it severely damages the public trust.”

Republican IE Plans Media Buy In SD-39

A Republican-aligned independent expenditure committee based in Washington, DC is planning a $90,000 media buy in the state Senate race between GOP candidate Tom Basile and Democratic hopeful James Skoufis.

The media buy is the first of the general election campaign by Balance New York, a group that has ties to the DC-based Republican State Leadership Committee.

The group previously spent $20,500 polling the race in the Hudson Valley Senate district that is being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Bill Larkin and is seen as a potential pickup opportunity for Democrats this year.

The spending by the IE is also notable given that it is the first significant amount of spending on a media ad buy of a non-labor union committee. So far, labor union spending in the last month has dominated the state Senate districts that are considered top battleground races.

Suffolk County Police Unions Endorse Marcellino

A coalition that includes five Suffolk County police unions on Wednesday endorsed Republican state Sen. Carl Marcellino.

The coalition includes he Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association, the Suffolk County Detective Investigators Police Benevolent Association, the Suffolk County Superior Officers Association, the Suffolk County Police Conference and the Suffolk County Detectives Association.

“I am pleased to advise that the Coalition of Suffolk County Police Unions has endorsed your candidate for the office of State Senator, 5th Senatorial District, After carefully reviewing your credentials, the coalition members unanimously decided that you were the best candidate for this office. We wish you success in November and look forward to working with you in the years to come,” wrote John P. Cowie, President of the Suffolk County Superior Officers Association on behalf of the Coalition of Suffolk County Police Unions.

Marcellino’s Long Island district is considered a top target this year for Democrats who are pushing to gain control of the chamber. He faces Democratic challenger Jim Gaughran next month.

“I’m proud to receive the endorsement of the Coalition of Suffolk County Police Unions. The men and women of Suffolk law enforcement put their lives on the line every day to keep Long Islanders safe,” Marcellino said. “I always keep in mind their sacrifices, their dedication to community, and their bravery and while I am in Albany I will do everything I can to help them in their mission to keep the public safe.”

Farley Wants More Federal Oversight Of Limo Industry

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chele Farley in a statement on Wednesday called for greater federal oversight of the limousine industry in the wake of a crash last Saturday that killed 20 people in Schoharie.

The crash is considered the worst transportation disaster in the U.S. since 2009.

“The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration oversees the regulation of the limousine industry and it is crystal clear much work needs to be done,” said Farley, who is challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand next month.

“As the NTSB investigation moves forward, it is critical that we understand the factors that contributed to this tragedy, but we already know there are glaring loopholes in the federal safety regulations governing stretch limousines that must be addressed.”

The limousine involved in the crash, an altered Ford Explorer, had failed inspections only a month ago and its driver lacked the proper license to operate the vehicle.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters in New York City its unclear if a new law or regulation could have prevented the crash.

“I don’t know if this a situation where we can find a new law or a new regulation,” Cuomo said. “Sometimes the issue is the law worked fine and the regulation worked fine. They were just broken.”

NYSUT’s Super PAC Begins Ad Blitz In Central NY, LI Senate Districts

The independent expenditure committee backed by the New York State United Teachers union is starting a $653,000 ad blitz in two key state Senate races in central New York and on Long Island, according filings Wednesday at the state Board of Elections.

The union’s Fighting For Our Future committee is spending $210,000 on a TV ad in the district of Sen. Carl Marcellino, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee. At the same time, the union is spending $47,466 on a mailer in the Long Island district.

Marcellino this year faces a rematch against Democrat Jim Gaughran.

In the Syracuse area, the committee $270,000 on a TV ad in support of Democrat John Mannion, a former president of the local teachers union, as well as a $50,000 purchase for a digital ad. The group is also spending an additional $75,000 on mailers in the district.

Mannion is running for the seat held by retiring Sen. John DeFrancisco, a Republican. Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci is seeking to hold the seat for the GOP.

NYSUT’s heavy spending on key Senate races comes after the GOP conference this year did not pass legislation that would have decoupled teacher evaluations from the results of standardized tests. The bill had been pushed by NYSUT in the final months of the legislative session and the failure to gain a vote had upset the union.

SD-43: Bruno Endorses Jordan

Republican former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno on Wednesday endorsed Daphne Jordan for the district he once represented in Albany.

Bruno in a statement pointed to the need for Republican control of the chamber and balance in state government where Democrats otherwise dominate.

Jordan is running for the seat held by retiring Sen. Kathy Marchione.

“As true Upstate New Yorkers, we understand the need for checks and balances in state government,” Bruno said.

“One party control works for no one, especially Upstate. During my years as Senator and Majority Leader, I’ve met and worked with Democrats, Independents, Conservatives and Republicans who made this area such a great community. Daphne Jordan is someone I proudly call a friend, and with her leadership skills as a small business owner and her true advocacy to helping people, she is the best candidate to lead the 43rd Senate District. Daphne is a worthy successor to not only myself, but to retiring Sen. Kathy Marchione. Stand with me and alongside many Upstate residents and proudly support Daphne Jordan.”

The endorsement comes a day after former Sen. Roy McDonald, Bruno’s immediate successor in the Senate, endorsed Democratic candidate Aaron Gladd over the Republican Jordan.

McDonald was defeated by Marchione in a 2012 Republican primary following his vote in favor of the legalization of same-sex marriage a year earlier. Jordan is Marchione’s legislative director.

Bruno in a radio interview with Fred Dicker on “Focus On The State Capitol” said he was “surprised” by McDonald’s decision to cross party lines and give Gladd the endorsement

Lieberman Endorses Hikind Successor

Former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman this weeke endorsed Simcha Eichenstein in the state Assembly for the district being vacated by retiring Assemblyman Dov Hikind.

“I’m delighted to be able to endorse Simcha Eichenstein for the New York Assembly in this year’s election,” said Lieberman, the 2004 vice presidential nominee.

“I haven’t gotten involved in many campaigns since I left the United States Senate, but this is an unusual one—first, because I know Simcha. I met him more than 15 years ago when I was in the United States Senate, and he came to talk to me to ask me to help him and others preserve cemeteries in Europe, where some of our family members were buried and had been overlooked and not cared for. It was a real mitzvah because, as we know, those who benefitted — those who were buried there—their neshamos were in Olam haboh—were not here to say thank you to Simcha. So he’s a very good person.”

Lieberman also recorded a video to tout the endorsement.

Hikind had previously endorsed Eichenstein for his Brooklyn Assembly district.

Gaughran Happy To Get F Rating From Rifle And Pistol Association

From the Morning Memo:

Democratic state Senate candidate Jim Gaughran this week touted his “F” rating from the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association — a designation he says highlights his support for gun control legislation.

Gaughran is challenging Republican Sen. Carl Marcellino on Long Island, where backing of gun control is considered especially strong.

“Before today, I was never proud to receive an ‘F’ grade; but I am going to wear this score as a badge of honor,” Gaughran said. “I haven’t been shy to tell the gun lobby what I think about firearm safety and the need to protect Long Island from weapons of war. While Senator Carl Marcellino has helped block gun safety bills for decades, I am going to fight and help pass this legislation when I get to the State Senate next year.”

The “F” rating from the group also earned Gaughran praise from the organization Moms Demand Action in Nassau County.

“Jim Gaughran is an advocate for common sense gun reform,” said the group’s Nassau County Lead Tracey Bacher. “It is outrageous that the NRA leadership’s dangerous agenda put our families in danger and blocks all legislation meant at reducing the tragedies we keep witnessing. Jim Gaughran will fight for common sense measures to keep our communities safe.”

Updated: Republican spokeswoman Candice Giove responds.

“Leave it to Jim Gaughran to lie about Senator Marcellino’s common sense record on gun safety,” she said.

“Not only did Senator Marcellino vote to enact the SAFE Act, but he also voted to take away guns from those convicted of domestic violence this year. Senator Marcellino’s track record has proved that while he has always supported the 2nd Amendment, he has consistently done so with common sense gun control protections.”

Planned Parenthood, NOW Endorse Mannion

From the Morning Memo:

Democratic state Senate candidate John Mannion this week was endorsed by Planned Parenthood Empire State Votes, Central NY Now and New Feminists for Justice in his bid for an open seat in central New York.

“Women’s rights are under attack nationally and we need to step up in New York and fight back,” John Mannion said.

“With an ultra-conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, we need our state to take action and protect women’s rights. It is outrageous that in 2018, we still need to fight for women to have basic rights over their bodies and choices. The decision in this campaign is clear: my opponent is anti-choice, and I will also stand up and fight for women’s rights and health care.”

The endorsements come for Mannion amid what is expected to be a heightened debate next year over abortion in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo this month vowed a Democratic takeover of the state Senate would lead to the passage of the Reproductive Health Act within 30 days of the new legislative session.

The push comes after a bruising Supreme Court confirmation process for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual misconduct while high school and college.

Mannion is running for the district being vacated by Republican Sen. John DeFrancisco in the Syracuse area. He faces Republican Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci next month.

“For far too long New York State politicians have sidestepped their obligation to protect our health care and rights,” said Robin Chappelle Goldston of Planned Parenthood Empire State Votes.

“Now as the federal government threatens our very ability to control our own bodies, John Mannion knows what is at stake. When elected to our state senate, John Mannion will be the fighter we all need. It’s time to stop playing politics with women’s health care and send John Mannion to Albany.”