Congress

Ebola Becomes A Political Football In NY-4

Less than 24 hours after the first Ebola case in New York City was confirmed, the disease has become an issue in the NY-4 race on Long Island.

The campaign of the Democratic candidate, Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, issued a statement blasting her Republican opponent, former Nassau County Legislator Bruce Blakeman, for using Ebola as a fundraising tool.

This morning, Blakeman’s campaign sent out an email with the subject line “scary” that mentioned Dr. Craig Spencer, who fell ill after “nobly participating in Doctors without Borders,” and also solicited cash to keep the candidate’s attack TV ad portraying Rice as a rubber stamp for President Obama’s “failed policies” on the air.

“Patients are dying and people across the nation are terrified, and Bruce Blakeman sees it all as an opportunity to help his political campaign,” said Rice Campaign spokesperson Eric Phillips. “He’s politicized Ebola from the start, but this is beyond shameful.”

A Siena poll released earlier this week showed Blakeman gaining on Rice, thanks to the support of independent voters. But he’s still trailing her by 10 percentage points, which might be too much of a gap to close before Nov. 4. As with a lot of races this cycle, it all really depends on turnout.

NRCC Counters Clinton’s NY-24 Visit With a New Anti-Maffei Ad

Just in time for former President Clinton’s appearance this afternoon in NY-24 on behalf of Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei, the NRCC has released a new TV ad accusing the congressman of putting Washington interests ahead of the interests of his Central New York constituents.

“After decades in Washington, Dan Maffei has become the ultimate, self-interested politician,” said NRCC spokesman Ian Prior. “Maffei has given Central New York families nothing but Obamacare and higher taxes, then turns around and hands out $200,000 in taxpayer money to give lavish bonuses and gifts to his own staff. Under Dan Maffei Central New York loses while Washington D.C. wins.”

The new ad will air through Election Day in the Syracuse and Rochester broadcast markets. Maffei is facing off against Republican former prosecutor John Katko. The two candidates will be going head to head in a TWC News debate this coming Monday, Oct. 27. The debate will air in Syracuse and Rochester at 7 p.m. Those interested in watching who don’t happen to live in that viewing area can catch it online. I’ll be moderating along with TWC News’ Syracuse reporter Bill Carey and Rochester reporter Seth Voorhees.

Here’s the script for the NRCC’s latest attack on Maffei in NY-24:

Announcer: “For Congressman Dan Maffei, Washington comes first. So when Maffei showered his staff with outrageous bonuses, it wasn’t surprising. DC first, it’s the Dan Maffei way.

He voted to allow first class travel and special health care perks for Congress. But for us, Maffei voted with Pelosi to push job killing taxes and devastating Medicare cuts, jeopardizing care for seniors.

With Dan Maffei’s Washington ways, we lose.”

The National Republican Congressional Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.

Conservative Group Launches 2nd Ad Against Bishop

American Action Network, a conservative 501(c)4 run by former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman that is involved in several of new York’s hotly contested House races, has released its second TV ad of this cycle targeting Long Island Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop, who is in a tight race with his GOP challenger, state Sen. Lee Zeldin.

The ad, called “The Game,” slams the veteran congressman for being under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for a pay-to-play fundraising scheme involving a constituent and also for paying his daughter more than $500,000 worth of campaign cash for fund-raising work since he took office in 2002.

““Tim Bishop has played Long Islanders for fools with his pay-to-play scandal and family cash ring,” said Emily Davis, spokeswoman for American Action Network. “Long Island families deserve better than a corrupt politician like Tim Bishop who even tried to mislead them about the fact that he’s still under investigation.”

The Republicans used the “daughter on the campaign payroll” attack against Bishop in the 2012 campaign, too. Bishop ended up winning that race handily, defeating his GOP opponent, businessman Randy Altschuler, who came considerably closer to defeating the congressman when he ran for the first time in 2010.

A September Siena poll showed Bishop 10 percentage points ahead of Zeldin, but as Election Day approaches, Democrats are stepping up their efforts to protect the congressman. Yesterday, former President Clinton headlined a rally on Bishop’s behalf, lashing out against “ideological extremism” in Washington, D.C. Zeldin responded to the former president’s appearnce by deriding Bishop as a “rubber stamp for the Obama/Pelosi agenda.”

This ad will run as part of AAN’s existing $1.5 million independent expenditure cable TV, online and mail campaign. The organization’s first ad – “Damn Good Idea” – has aired on cable TV since September 30. The AAN is also up on the air in NY-18 with an ad targeting Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.

Here’s the script for the AAN NY-1 ad:

Announcer: “Politicians get a bad name because of back room dealers like Tim Bishop.”

“He paid his daughter half a million bucks for helping him collect checks. Bishop shook down a constituent for campaign cash. When a Long Islander needed a favor, Tim Bishop delivered but solicited $10,000 in return The Post called it a bribe. He’s under investigation. But that’s how Bishop plays the game. And why we would be better off without him in Congress.”

American Action Network is responsible for the content of this advertising.

Gibson Releases 5th Ad of NY-19 Race, ‘Clear Choice’ (Updated)

Rep. Chris Gibson released his fifth TV ad of his re-election battle in NY-19 with his opponent, Sean Eldridge – a spot that seeks to highlight the main differences between the incumbent Republican congressman and the Democratic newcomer.

The ad, “Clear Choice,” is a sort of amalgamation of arguments Gibson has made throughout the campaign. It touts the congressman’s record in public office and paints him as a dedicated local family man, while also swiping at Eldridge, depicting him as an inexperienced carpbetbagger who has run a negative campaign fueled largely by the wealth of his husband, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes.

“Voters want a representative in Washington who they can trust. Chris’s lifetime of honorable service to his country and constituents in New York is a record we can be proud of,” said Gubson’s campaign manager Kevin Crumb. “Unfortunately, Sean Eldridge has shown that he’ll do anything to be elected to Congress – including district-shopping and spending millions of his personal fortune to misrepresent Chris’s record.”

Gibson has used this line of attack many times – including in the NY-19 debate that TWC News hosted yesterday and aired last night. (In case you missed it, you can find it here).

UPDATE: Eldridge’s campaign released a point-by-point rebuttal of Gibson’s ad, which spokeswoman Sophie Friedman, said proves the congressman is willing to “lie to his friends and neighbors” and continues his practice of “false, personal attacks against Sean.”

Team Eldridge notes that Gibson is a member of the “least productive Congress in history,” and therefore cannot honestly claim to be working hard on behalf of his constituents. It also points out that the congressman supports fracking and has received a 33 percent lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters.

What’s more, according to Eldridge’s campaign, Gibson has “refused to lead by example and speak out against the more than $5 million that has been spent by outside groups on his three bids for Congress.”

Here’s the script for Gibson’s new ad:

Female Narrator: “The story of Chris Gibson’s life of service starts here.

Male Narrator: But Sean Eldridge just moved here, filing to run for office before registering to vote.

Female Narrator: While Chris worked hard for us…

Male Narrator: Eldridge was deceiving you about Chris’ position on fracking, distorting Chris’s record of protecting our environment.

Female Narrator: Chris proposed to limit spending in this election.

Male Narrator: But billionaire Eldridge said no, supporting tax dollars paying for politicians’ negative ads.

Female Narrator: This election comes down to trust. The clear choice? Chris Gibson.

Chris Gibson: I’m Chris Gibson and I approve this message.

19th Congressional District Debate

Time Warner Cable News hosted an exclusive debate between the two candidates vying for the 19th Congressional District. Republican incumbent Chris Gibson, who has been in office for two terms, and Democratic challenger Sean Eldridge met for their fourth and final debate on Wednesday. They tackled everything from Ebola to the economy and campaign finance. Liz Benjamin was host with Nick Reisman and Michael Scotto as moderators. Watch the full debate, no log-in required!

Watch Here >>

Hayworth Drops Big $ In NY-18

From the Morning Memo:

With her re-match against Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney coming down to the wire, Republican former Rep. Nan Hayworth is going all in on her campaign.

This week, according to a source familiar with her decision, Hayworth invested an additional $1 million of her own money in her effort to oust Maloney, who defeated her two years ago.

That’s the most Hayworth has ever personally spent on any of her congressional bids, though she has dropped quite a bit of cash on her political aspirations.

So far this cycle, Hayworth has loaned her campaign $558,000. That’s a lot more than the $173,533 she invested two years ago, but as an incumbent House member, raising campaign cash was considerably easier.

Hayworth, an ophthalmologist by trade, loaned her campaign $500,000 when she first ran for office in 2010, defeating then-Democratic Rep. John Hall.

Now that Maloney is the incumbent and Hayworth the challenger, his fundraising has been a lot stronger than hers. She had brought in (including her own cash) about $2.1 million by the end of September, while he had brought in about $3.4 million.

Even with the additional money she’s putting into her campaign, the effort to oust Hayworth dwarfs the amount being spent to get her back into office.

To date, about $1.3 million has been spent by outside groups – mostly the DCCC and the House Majority PAC – against Hayworth, while about $200,000 has been spent in her favor and about $150,000 went toward negative ads that slam Maloney.

NRCC Launches 4th Anti-Bishop Ad in NY-1

And speaking of NY-1, residents in the congressional district at the tip of Long Island have been subjected to a veritable barrage of ads this campaign season, and the hits just keep on coming.

The NRCC has released its fourth ad attacking Long Island Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop, who is facing off against GOP state Sen. Lee Zeldin next month. Bishop is among the Republicans’ top targets this cycle, and the race may well be tightening, given the Democrats’ calling in of former President Clinton to headline a rally for Bishop tomorrow.

Here’s the script of the new ad:

Announcer: “Congressman Tim Bishop is still under investigation. Watchdogs name him one of Congress’ most corrupt. But what’s even worse?

Bishop spent twelve years backing higher taxes and reckless spending. Voting with Obama and Pelosi on every major piece of legislation. Even voting to give rights to foreign terrorists.

Congressman Tim Bishop, he’s made things worse.

We have a better choice. Lee Zeldin. The change we need.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.”

Bill Clinton to Campaign for Rep. Bishop

The Democrats are bringing out the biggest gun they’ve got – former President Bill Clinton – to shore up veteran Long Island Rep. Tim Bishop as Election Day looms.

Clinton will headline a rally for Bishop at 5 p.m. tomorrow at The Staller Center at Stony Brook University along with DCCC Chairman Steve Israel, who has a lot riding on this race, since it’s taking place in his backyard.

The Republicans have been trying to dislodge Bishop for several cycles now, and haven’t yet managed to oust him, despite the fact that his fundraising remains under investigation by the House ethics committee. The congressman is again a top target this fall, and he’s facing a challenge from GOP state Sen. Lee Zeldin.

A Siena poll released early last month found Bishop leading Zeldin by 10 percentage points – a spread the senator’s campaign disputed. The race must be tightening according to the Democrats’ internal numbers, however, or they wouldn’t bother deploying Clinton this far out from the Nov. 4 election.

A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg Center poll found that of all the big name Democrats, a nod from Bill Clinton moves voters like no one else – and even he can’t influence a race that much.

An endorsement from the former president makes 38 percent of voters think more favorably about a candidate, the poll found, and 24 percent of voters think less favorably. Former First Lady/Secretary of State and potential 2016 presidential contender Hillary Clinton was right behind her husband, with 34 percent saying they would view a candidate more favorably if she bestowed her endorsement upon him or her.

A number of big names on both sides of the aisle have been making appearances on behalf of statewide and congressional candidates in recent weeks.

Just yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden headlined a rally at the airport in Syracuse in support of Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei, who faces a tough challenge from Republican John Katko in NY-24. Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino has received in-person support from Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, along with statements and/or email appears from former Massachusetts Governor/presidential candidate Mitt Romney and US Senator/former presidential candidate John McCain.

NRCC Invests In Hayworth (Updated)

As the closely watched NY-18 race enters its final weeks and continues to tighten, the NRCC is entering the fray on behalf of Republican former Rep. Nan Hayworth, who is trying to win back the seat she lost to Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney two years ago.

The NRCC is out with what I believe its its first TV ad on Hayworth’s behalf. It’s a positive spot (no word yet on how long it will run or the size of the buy), that features a Democrat who crossed party lines to back the former GOP congresswoman.

Democratic Dutchess County Legislator Gwen Johnson, of Poughkeepsie, narrates the ad and is prominently featured in it. She calls Hayworth “loving,” “kind” and “not a typical politician,” making no mention of Maloney.

Maloney has been touting his support from local Republicans in NY-18, including state Sen. Bill Larkin, who appeared in a web video calling the congressman a “decent, honest gentleman” and lauding his work on behalf of the district’s veterans.

A September Siena poll found Maloney leading Hayworth by 8 percentage points.

But an internal poll conducted for the Hayworth campaign earlier this month – the results of which have not been disputed by Team Maloney – showed the race as a statistical dead heat, with just four percentage points separating the two candidates.

The DCCC recently reallocated resources from other races in the state to assist Maloney in an attempt to prevent his ouster next month.

UPDATE: The NRCC makes clear that this isn’t an independent expenditure, but rather coordinated funds (of about $93,000, and usually coming in the form of TV ads) that has been made available to a variety of GOP House candidates, including: John Katko (NY-24), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Chris Gibson (NY-19) and Sen. Lee Zeldin (NY-1).

Here’s the NRCC ad script:

Johnson: “Nan is not a typical politician. She is loving. She is kind. She is supportive. Nan is a public servant. She’s always responsive; she’s only a phone call away.

Nan is a genuine person, and she actually really does care for our seniors, the working families. She’s always here. That’s why I’m supporting her.

I’m a Democrat, I’m supporting Nan Hayworth because we have to cross party lines for the best person.

Hayworth: I’m Nan Hayworth, and I approve this message.”

Internal Hayworth Poll: NY-18 Race Is A Statistical Tie (Updated)

From the Morning Memo:

According to an internal poll conducted for Nan Hayworth’s campaign, the former congresswoman is closing fast on her Democratic opponent, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, and now trails him by just 4 percentage points.

The poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, shows Maloney leading Hayworth 39-43, with a third party candidate, Scott Smith, receiving 2 percent of the vote.

The margin of error for this poll of 400 likely voters is 4.9 percent, which means this race is a statistical dead heat.

A Siena poll released last month showed Hayworth trailing Maloney by 8 percentage points.

Hayworth’s campaign shared just the top lines of the poll with SoP, providing no additional details or crosstabs. (Federal election rules, unlike state requirements, do not mandate that candidates release entire poll results if they make just some information public).

The poll memo warns, however, that this situation is “eerily similar” to the 2012 election, when Hayworth was up 7 percentage points in an October Siena poll, only to see her lead slip away come November.

“Bottom line – if the Hayworth campaign is able to appropriately fund paid media for the final push to get Nan’s message out to voters in the district, she can win back this congressional seat on November 4th,” the memo concludes.

The DCCC is clearly worried about Maloney’s chances of holding onto his seat next month.

The national Democats recently pulled funding for TV airtime from two flailing upstate congressional campaigns in NY-21 (Aaron Woolf) and NY-23 (Martha Robertson), and shifted the cash to NY-18.

Using that money, the DCCC recently launched its first attack ad against Hayworth, echoing Maloney’s main campaign theme that she is too conservative to represent the evenly divided district.

Update: Stephanie Formas of the Maloney campaign weighs in on the poll.

“This self-serving release of selectively hand-picked poll results is a Hail Mary attempt to save the campaign of a self proclaimed radical who supports a Tea Party agenda to privatize Social Security and defund Planned Parenthood to give more tax breaks for multimillionaires like herself,” she said. “There’s a reason even Republican elected officials are supporting Sean’s results-driven, bi-partisan approach.”

NY-18 internal poll for GOP former Rep. Nan Hayworth's campaign. by liz_benjamin6490