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GOP-Aligned Advocacy Group Launches TV Campaign For Tax Overhaul

A Republican-allied advocacy organization has launched a $1.5 million TV and digital ad campaign ahead of this week’s vote on the tax overhaul legislation in the House of Representatives.

The ad from the American Action Network is targeting New York House Republicans and their voters as some GOP lawmakers from New York have expressed reservations with the package that would limit deductions for state and local taxes.

A version of tax reform backed by the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate would end SALT deductions entirely.

“Across America, working families are in desperate need of tax reform that increases take-home pay, creates jobs, and strengthens our economy,” said AAN Executive Director Corry Bliss. “It’s not surprising that Nancy Pelosi and her allies in Congress are trying to jeopardize reforms that would put an extra $1,200 into the pockets of middle-class families. We’re asking these members to make the choice to help middle-class families over helping Pelosi.”

The group is spending up to $20 million on TV, radio and direct mail as well as other advertising methods aimed at 50 House districts across the country.

Here’s an example of one of the ads, which focuses on Rep. Claudia Tenney.

McLaughlin Mailer Focuses On Women

In the final days leading up to tomorrow’s election, Republican Rensselaer County executive candidate Steve McLaughlin is making a concerted push to appeal to women voters with a mailer that features three of his female constituents praising his efforts to assist them from his current post in the Assembly GOP conference.

I can say for certain that the mailer is being sent to independent women voters because I am one, and I received it at my Rensselaer home within the last five days.

The mailer features testimonies from a Hoosick Falls resident named Margaret Restino, who says McLaughlin worked “around the clock” to get answers and clean water in the wake of the discovery of PFOA in the local water supply. Another woman, Nancy Bailey, of Nassau, praises McLaughlin for helping her ensure her cancer treatments could continue, though she doesn’t provide any details as to how he accomplished that.

A third woman, Anne Helft, also of Hoosick Falls, says McLaughlin is “always there when needed,” and “has never let us down.”

McLaughlin is not only running for a seat being vacated by a woman (outgoing Republican County Executive Kathy Jimino), against a Democratic opponent who is a woman (Andrea Smyth), but also has received some very negative press regarding his verbal abuse of a female staffer.

The staffer in question also accused McLaughlin of roughing her up physically, which the assemblyman emphatically denies. He has, however, admitted to using inappropriate language with the staffer, and has repeatedly apologized, characterizing the incident as a mistake made during a heated verbal exchange – something that could happen to anyone.

Smyth, while initially pledging to run a positive campaign and steer clear of the taped exchange between McLaughlin and his aide, has, in fact, sought to make political hay of the incident, featuring it in campaign ads. She has also said the incident raises questions about McLaughlin’s character and demonstrates that he is not fit to hold a leadership role.

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Super PAC Spends More In Westchester Race

The super PAC funded by Long Island billionaire Robert Mercer is spending more money in the race for Westchester County executive, a filing at the state Board of Elections on Friday shows.

The PAC, Win For New York, is spending an additional $25,090 on media placement in the race. The PAC is backing Republican incumbent Rob Astorino, who is locked in a heated contest with Democratic challenger George Latimer.

Mercer, who announced this week he was stepping away from his investment firm and handing his share of the right-win website Breitbart News to his daughters, initially funded the PAC with a $1 million contribution.

The added media spending comes as the state Democratic Committee has began airing an ad in the suburban county linking Astorino to Mercer and President Donald Trump.

NY Dems Target Mercer, While Mercer Steps Away From Breitbart

New York Democrats in a TV ad released on Thursday linked Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino to Robert Mercer, the billionaire investor who has funded a super PAC backing the Republican incumbent’s re-election bid.

Depending on how Astorino’s election turns on Tuesday, the ad could be an early staging ground for how Democrats in New York, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, will handle Republican opponents in next year’s state-level races.

“After using their right-wing billions to bankroll the toxic twosome of Donald Trump and Steve Bannon, the Mercers have now set their sights on buying politicians and influence in New York,” said Basil Smikle of the New York State Democratic Committee. “They’re spending millions to try and sell the ultraconservative Trump agenda, but New York voters aren’t for sale. New York is going to be on the frontline in 2018 in fighting back and exposing the Mercers and their nefarious political schemes.”

The ad, first reported by The Daily News this morning, comes as Mercer announced he was selling his stake in the right-wing website Breitbart News to his daughters and distanced himself from Milo Yiannopoulos, a controversial figure linked to the white nationalist movement.

In Video, Ithaca Mayor Endorses Con Con

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick on Thursday endorsed the upcoming referendum for a constitutional convention in a video released by the New York Peoples Convention.

In the video, Myrick says the convention is a chance to positively remake state government.

“We are good people with big hearts and great minds being hamstrung by our government,” he says in the video.

The video comes after a coalition opposed to the convention, New Yorkers Against Corruption, released a TV ad opposing the convention.

A vote for a con con, as it’s known, is held every 20 years.

Curran Hammers Martins’ Skelos Link in Ad No. 3

From the Morning Memo:

The Nassau County executive race continues to focus largely on ethics reform, with both sides trying desperately to tie the other to a number of scandals that have dogged their respective political parties in recent years.

Exhibit A: The latest TV ad – number three of the race, according to her campaign – released by Democrat Laura Curran, a Nassau County legislator.

The spot hammers Curran’s Republican opponent, ex-Sen. Jack Martins, for initially defending former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos in the wake of the federal corruption charges that eventually forced him from office.

The ad features footage of Martins demanding in the Senate chamber that Democratic colleagues trying to oust Skelos immediately after his arrest “please sit down.”

That was just part of a very heated exchange between Martins and Deputy Senate Minority Leader Mike Gianaris, who shouted at and over one another until the Democrats, after failing to force a vote on Skelos’ leadership, walked out of the chamber, en masse.

Curran also appears on the ad, saying that New Yorkers are “all paying a corruption tax, we are paying for the patronage, we are paying for the nepotism.”

“I love Nassau County,” she concludes. “I know we can do better.”

Curran’s campaign could not or would not reveal any information about the size of the buy for this ad, or how long it will be running.

Martins, as you’ll recall, has been lambasting Curran for hiring a NYC-based consulting firm, BerlinRosen, that has longstanding ties to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, and played a key role in scandals involving his fundraising that were investigated but did not result in any charges.

The ethics issue has been a particular focus in this race due in large part to the fact that a corruption scandal has forced the current county executive, Republican Ed Mangano, not to seek re-election.

Mangano has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of receiving bribes and kickbacks from a local businessman in exchange for favors.

GOP Advocacy Group Plans $600K Ad Buy

From the Morning Memo:

The Republican-aligned advocacy group American Action Network is launching a $600,000 ad purchase for digital spots aimed at pushing for the GOP-backed tax overhaul efforts in Washington.

The group has been targeting key House districts nationally and in New York. The launch comes as Vice President Mike Pence is in western New York later on Tuesday to push for the tax overhaul efforts with Republican Rep. Chris Collins.

“The tax reform plan put forward by the White House and congressional leaders would provide a tax cut upward of $1,200 for the average, middle-class family. It’s time for Congress to do their part, act on tax reform, and make tax cuts a reality for hardworking Americans across the country,” said the group’s executive director Corry Bliss. “America’s current tax code places a costly and unnecessary burden on middle-class families. Too many working families have had to live paycheck-to-paycheck for too long, struggling to make ends meet.”

Since August, the group has spent $12 million, including ad buys in seven New York congressional districts.

Astorino Ad Knocks Latimer On Tax Issue

The campaign of Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino on Tuesday criticized his Democratic opponent over taxes owed on the home owned by his wife.

Latimer’s campaign blasted the ad in turn, calling it “a lie” and “a new low” for the Republican incumbent.

The ad comes as Astorino’s supporters have been raising the issue reported last month in The Journal News that the home owned by Latimer’s late mother-in-law has a $46,000 tax lien on it.

“George Latimer has been raising taxes on Westchester families for going on 30 years, but he doesn’t pay his own,” said Astorino spokesman William O’Reilly. “How is it possible that a sitting state senator can get away with not paying taxes for five years? Is there a special rule for Albany politicians now?”

Latimer campaign spokesman Jon Greenfield called on Astorino’s campaign to apologize and linked the county executive to President Donald Trump in the process.

“Rob Astorino’s disgusting attack is a lie, plain and simple,” Greenfield said. “There is no outstanding tax bill owed by George Latimer. He is not and has not been deliquent on taxes. Astorino is using the estate of George’s deceased mother-in-law to attack George, a new low but not surprising for a guy who stood by as Donald Trump called Nazis and white supremacists ‘very fine people.’ Rob should apologize to George’s family immediately.”

Latimer’s campaign previously released a negative TV ad of its own this week, criticizing Astorino for “patronage” hires and tax votes.

Latimer Ad Slams Astorino For Taxes, Patronage And Contributions

The race for Westchester County executive is entering a heated final month with Democratic candidate George Latimer’s campaign on Monday releasing a scathing TV ad criticizing Republican incumbent Rob Astorino.

In turn, Astorino’s campaign once again criticized Latimer for taxes owed on a home owned by his wife after the death of his mother-in-law.

The ad released by Latimer’s campaign knocks Astorino for Westchester County’s taxes.

“Rob Astorino lied to us,” the ad says. “Astorino pledged to cut taxes 20 percent. But we’ve got the highest property taxes in the nation.”

The ad also points to money Astorino’s campaign has received from an indicted developer and for doling out a “patronage” job.

Astorino spokesman Bill O’Reilly called the ad “preposterous” and that it “doesn’t deserve a response.”

But he also criticized Latimer for the tax issues facing a home in Rye once owned by Latimer’s mother-in-law and now owned by his wife, which Latimer has said stems from unsettled estate issues.

“This is the type of false and unscrupulous ad Albany politicians like George Latimer put on the air when they’re in trouble,” O’Reilly said. “George Latimer owes Rye school children $35,000 in unpaid taxes going back five years, and more than $46,000 in unpaid city, county, and school taxes combined. You can’t trust a word George Latimer says; he has repeatedly lied to reporters and to the public.”

Curran Ad Links Martins to Skelos

The Nassau County executive race is heating up, as evidenced by the announcement earlier today that former Gov. George Pataki has endorsed the Republican candidate, former Sen. Jack Martins.

But Pataki isn’t the ex-Republican elected official that Martins’ Democratic opponent, Nassau County Legislator Laura Curran, wants voters to think of in connection with the former senator.

She released a new TV ad today that continues her ongoing effort to link Martins with disgraced former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who lost his job in a federal corruption scandal – though his conviction was recently overturned, thanks to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that significantly narrowed the definition of an “official act” in connection with public corruption.

The ad highlights what Curran deemed the “cozy” relationship between Martins and his former GOP conference leader, noting that the FBI “caught Jack Martins plotting political strategy” with Skelos on a wiretap. Also, the ad notes Martins initially opposed efforts to remove Skelos from office even after his arrest.

“When you’re paying for those sweetheart deals, for those patronage positions, that’s a tax, it’s a corruption tax,” Curran says. “That’s completely unacceptable. I’m in this race to give Nassau County the fresh start that it deserves.”

Ethics has been a big focus in this race due to the fact that the incumbent, Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, is not seeking re-election due to fact that he’s battling his own corruption charges.
He has pleaded not guilty, and is facing trial in January 2018.

“When Jack Martins continued to support Dean Skelos after his arrest on federal corruption charges he made it clear: he cares about politics more than he cares about ending the culture of corruption in Nassau County,” Curran said in a press release announcing the new ad.

“Nassau taxpayers don’t need another typical machine politician like Jack Martins who is going to tell them one thing and do another. Taxpayers are crying out for change, and Jack only offers more of the same.”

The ad is called “Restore.” Curran’s campaign has not said where it is running, or for how long, nor did it provide any information on the size of the buy.