2014

Astorino And Hochul Blame Washington For Lack Of Immigration Reform

When it comes to immigration policy, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino an Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul agree that it’s Washington’s fault for pushing forward on any reform.

Hochul and Astorino on Sunday were both in Buffalo to participate in the Pulaski Day parade.

Hochul, a former Democratic congresswoman from western New York who took a hard line as Erie County clerk when it came to providing driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, said she supports an effort by Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner to invite migrant children at the border to stay in her city.

“I support what the mayor is doing,” she said. “Certainly she’s got the capability to embrace those young people.”

She added her former colleagues in Washington failed to tackle the issue, which is causing the current problems at the border.

“It is a disgrace at the federal level that they have not lived up to the responsibility they have,” she said.

Astorino, too, knocked Washington’s inability to reach any new agreement on overhauling the nation’s immigration laws.

He criticized Hochul for shifting her positions on immigration, though added he remains opposed to providing IDs to undocumented immigrants.

“There’s a complete break down,” Astorino said. “You can’t have 50 separate policies in 50 different states and then even policy changes within that. That’s chaos.”

Hochul: Not Up For Me To Say If Cuomo Should Debate (Updated)

Former Rep. Kathy Hochul on Sunday in Buffalo declined to weigh in when asked whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo should debate his Republican challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

“That’s certainly their call to make,” she said.

Asked again by reporters at the Pulaski Day Parade whether Astorino should be given at least one hour to debate the governor, Hochul again demurred.

“That’s for them to decide,” she said.

Asked a third time, Hochul said she was focused on traveling around the state, noting that she met with voters on Staten Island to discuss recovery from Hurricane Sandy.

“I’m not involved at that level I’m very preoccupied with meeting people around the state,” she said while adding, “I’m not going to get involved in those political questions.”

Astorino, who also participated in the parade, reiterated his call for debates with the incumbent.

Astornio has called for at least eight regional debates with the governor.

If anything, debating Cuomo would help Astorino, who trails 37 percentage points behind Cuomo in a Siena College poll released today as well as fundraising.

“I think it’s important Andrew Cuomo go mano-a-mano unless he’s a coward,” he said. “I’m not.”

And he remains opposed to having third-party candidates sharing the stage in a debate, saying Cuomo could potentially hide behind them.

“I think it’s important just Andrew Cuomo and me,” he said. “We’re the only two people who are going to win this election.”

Update: Cuomo campaign spokesman Peter Kauffmann responded to Astorino’s criticism.

“Rob Astorino has taken so many sides of various issues, he could hold 8 debates just with himself. Which Rob is going to show up — the candidate who promised to cut property taxes by 20 percent or the county executive of the highest taxed county in the nation?”

Astorino Knocks Cuomo For Ad Spending

After the Empire State Economic Development Corp. — finally — released the cost of an ad campaign touting New York’s business climate and tourism industry, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Rob Astorino is seizing on the price tag.

“This is a swindle of historic proportions,” Astorino said in a statement. “Andrew Cuomo has taken more than a quarter billion dollars of taxpayer money and put it into television advertising for his own political gain. People have been locked in jail for far less than that.”

The ad campaign, which Freedom of Information Law requests from Gannett and Capital New York revealed cost $161 million out of a $237.5 million pot, does not feature any images of the governor or his voice.

But Republicans have been highly critical of the ads, especially the campaign that pushes New York as being “Open For Business” as painting a rosy and inaccurate picture of the state’s economy.

Astorino, the Westchester County executive, said in a statement ad spending using taxpayer dollars in an election year should be illegal.

“Mr. Cuomo is literally taking money from homeless New York families on Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and elsewhere and put it on TV for his own political gain, three months before an election. He can’t be allowed to get away with that. This is what having the most corrupt state government in America looks like,” Astorino said.

Schneiderman 2014′s Memo On State Of The Race

A memo from the spokesman for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s re-election campaign touts the Democratic incumbent’s position both in fundraising and the public opinion polls against Republican challenger John Cahill.

“Cahill needs to overcome an 8 to 1 money hole, a 25-point deficit in the polls, and a 20-point name ID deficit in a state that hasn’t elected a Republican in more than a decade and in a race against an incumbent who won by 10 points in 2010,” the memo states.

Of course, Cahill only started his campaign in May, raising $1 million in the last several weeks, his campaign reported on Tuesday.

Schneiderman, whose campaign has already reserved $1 million in ad time this fall, reporting raising $2.6 million between January and July. He has $6.9 million in cash on hand.

On his own, Schneiderman has had relatively low name identification himself with voters in polls. A Siena poll found 78 percent of voters have no opinion on or don’t know Cahill. For Schneiderman, the lack of name recognition or opinion stood at 61 percent in the same poll.

While Cahill has been tapping into the former governor’s fundraising network, the Schneiderman 2014 memo also lays out the support the challenger has gotten from social conservatives like Sean Fieler who contributed $20,000 to the campaign.

And the memo notes Cahill recently spoke favorably of Carl Paladino, the party’s 2010 nominee for governor and a businessman from Buffalo under the heading “More Women Problems.”

State of the Race Memo July 18 by Nick Reisman

Hochul’s LG Campaign Account Launches

A campaign account for Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor candidate Kathy Hochul was filed with the state Board of Elections on Thursday.

Hochul, who joined the ticket in May at the state Democratic convention in Suffolk County, had yet to form a campaign account, but has been traveling the state to meet with local elected officials.

Though she’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s preferred running mate, Hochul and the governor run separately.

NYPIRG’s Bill Mahoney says the primary challenge to Hochul from Zephyr Teachout’s preferred running mate, Columbia professor Tim Wu, requires her to set up a separate campaign account.

Records show Wu contributed $30,000 to his campaign account.

A filing from Republican LG candidate Chris Moss is yet to post on the Board of Elections website.

Langones Give To Cahill

Republican attorney general candidate John Cahill’s campaign finance filing this week shows Home Depot founder and prolific GOP donor Ken Langone and wife Elaine Langone contributed a combined $82,000 his effort to unseat Democratic incumbent Eric Schneiderman.

Ken Langone, no stranger to making blunt statements that occasionally garner some controversy, contributed $41,000, while Elaine Langone also cut a $41,000 check, records show.

He is also part of a Republicans For Cuomo organization and has spoken favorably of Democratic incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Ken Langone has pointed to education — especially his support for charter schools — as a top policy issue. Cahill, a former top aide to ex-Gov. George Pataki who is now his law partner, has made education issues a key plank in his campaign.

Joan Cooney, one of the co-creators of “Sesame Street” contributed $41,100.

Records show the former governor contributed $5,000 to Cahill’s effort, while their law practice Pataki-Cahill Group also donated $5,000.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino’s campaign contributed $1,000.

Overall, Cahill raised more than $1 million for his campaign that started in May.

Democrats Unveil Women’s Equality Party

Democratic women on Thursday unveiled a new ballot line designed to raise issues regarding health and workplace rights this election year.

The move was blasted by Republicans, including GOP candidate for governor Rob Astorino, as well as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Democratic primary opponent Zephyr Teachout as a cynical ploy to court female voters this November.

But the move was embraced by a variety of female political leaders, activists and celebrities including members of Congress like Nita Lowey and Grace Meng, along with actress Lena Dunham, model Christie Brinkley and the governor’s girlfriend, Food Network star Sandra Lee.

The formation of the ballot line signals a renewed focus by Cuomo’s re-election campaign on the 10-point women’s agenda, which includes a provision designed to codify the Roe v. Wade decision in state law.

Senate Republicans have balked at holding a vote on the measure, but have approved other pieces of the agenda ranging from pay equity to human trafficking protections.

“After decades of tremendous progress, the march towards women’s equality has stalled. Even in New York, the birthplace of the Women’s Right’s Movement, we’ve felt the impact of the assault of women’s equality when just this year, the New York State Senate refused to act on the Women’s Equality Agenda,” said Cuomo’s running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul. “The new Women’s Equality Party will bring together the strength and power of our state’s women leaders to promote the Women’s Equality Agenda and influence policy and government, inspired by the spirit of Seneca Falls.”

A news conference today in New York City unveiling the ballot line effort was also the first major appearance by Hochul, selected by Cuomo in May to replace outgoing Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy on the Democratic ticket.

Candidates in New York can run on multiple ballot lines.

If the effort to create the party is successful, Cuomo and Hochul could potentially have four ballot lines this fall along with the Democratic, Independence, Working Families lines.

Astorino, the Republican candidate, has the Conservative Party ballot line as well, and signaled this month to form a party based on opposition to the Common Core education standards.

Astorino, who opposes abortion, said the creation of the ballot line is a sign Cuomo is “jumping the shark,” noting that the governor did not take an aggressive stance publicly against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s handling of multiple sexual harassment scandals in New York.

“Every time the words ‘Women’s Equality Party’ are spoken, New Yorkers should think ‘Andrew Cuomo and Sheldon Silver.’ Because that’s what this party line is really about,” Astorino said.

It’s a sentiment echoed by Republican Chairman Ed Cox.

“Any conversation about women’s issues in New York begins with Sheldon Silver, the Democratic Speaker of the Assembly who used taxpayer money to silence young female victims of sexual assault,” he said.

The campaign of Teachout and her running mate Tim Wu circulated a Tweet from Daily News columnist Bill Hammond that included a link to a satirical article in The Onion headlined: “Man Finally Put In Charge Of Struggling Feminist Movement.”

Astorino On Cuomo’s ‘Transactional’ Donations

Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino on Wednesday morning in a radio interview knocked Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s fundraising, saying much of the big-dollars have come from powerful interests who want something in return.

“If you look at it though, this is all transactional,” Astorino said on Fred Dicker’s Talk-1300 radio show. “This is not from individual citizens around the state.”

Astorino lags Cuomo in fundraising, having just $2.4 million to the incumbent governor’s $35 million coffers.

But Astorino says fundraising will pick up as voters and supporters become more focused on the election, adding that many of the contributions he’s gotten have come from individual, small-dollar donors.

“This is from people who giving $5, $25,” Astorino said. “Yeah, we are getting large checks along the way, but these are people who are investing in our campaign.”

Cuomo, he said, will be able to outspend them on TV ads, but Astorino expects to win “the ground game.”

“It really picked up over the last five weeks, six weeks when we raised $1 million,” he said of fundraising.

Nevertheless, Cuomo has sucked up much of the oxygen when it comes to fundraising, including money from traditional allies of Republicans.

Astorino says GOP donors should be doing a double take on the governor, given his leftward turn in recent weeks with the endorsement from the Working Families Party.

“A lot of it turned when Andrew Cuomo signed a deal with the Working Families Party to take the de Blasio agenda statewide,” he said.

Teachout-Wu Raise $277K

As they challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his running mate Kathy Hochul for the Democratic ballot line this September, Fordham professor Zephyr Teachout and her running mate Tim Wu have raised a combined $277,360 for the effort.

Teachout had initially sought the Working Families Party ballot line in May, but ultimately failed to garner enough support at the labor-backed party’s convention, losing the endorsement to Cuomo.

Regrouping, Teachout last month launched a campaign to primary Cuomo on the Democratic Party ballot line.

The fundraising total includes $247,000 raised by Teachout and $63,000 from Wu’s campaign account, which includes a $30,000 loan from the Columbia professor.

The campaign spent heavily on an effort to petition its way on to the Democratic primary ballot, with the campaign expenditures totaling $119,050.

Teachout says the fundraising effort — which includes 796 individual donors — is a sign of strong grassroots for her candidacy as an alternative to Cuomo.

“This is an amazing show of support,” Teachout said in an interview. “People really are ready for a Democrat to be on the Democratic ballot line. He (Cuomo) really has abandoned core Democratic values.”

Analyzing Astorino’s Filing, Democrats Point To Hydrofracking Donors

From the morning memo:

A memo to “interested parties” from the state Democratic Committee sent Tuesday paints a characteristically dim picture of Republican Rob Astorino’s campaign filing.

The GOP gubernatorial candidate has $2.4 million in the bank, a fraction of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $35 million war chest.

The memo points to the transfers from Astorino’s county executive account and from local county committees as a sign that he’s padding is haul.

And the memo notes Astorino has received contributions from opponents of same-sex marriage, GOP donor Foster Friess — who made an eccentric statement about birth control — as well as the Rifle and Pistol Association.

But the memo also notes Astorino has received strong support from supporters of high-volume hydrofracking, a controversial natural gas extraction process.

“Charles Joyce, owner of the pipeline contracting firm Otis Eastern Service, gave Astorino $50,000. Joyce claims that he maintains the largest payroll in Allegany County, and that with a fracking moratorium, none of his employees can work New York,” the Democratic memo states. “Private equity mogul Ray Bartoszek, who invested $20 million into a fracking sand shipping company in upstate New York, contributed another $10,000 to Astorino.”

On the government side of things, Cuomo is yet to weigh in on whether high-volume tracking permits can be granted in the state.

Cuomo has insisted that the science will be guiding the process on hydrofracking, while acknowledging there are potential benefits if it can be done safely.

The state Department of Health continues to perform a review of the impacts of hydrofracking on human health, and those results are yet to be released.

Cuomo’s own filing shows donations from a variety of influential figures in entertainment, banking and real estate, as well as supporters of charter schools.

One donation, from former hedge fund manager and charter school supporter Stanley Druckenmiller, came the day the governor spoke at a charter school rally in Albany.

His campaign spokesman told the Times the donation was a coincidence.

“It also rained that day,” said spokesman Peter Kauffmann. “Are they connected, too? Because one had nothing to do with the other.”