Maloney Outraises Hayworth

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney continued to bring in more campaign cash than his rival Nan Hayworth.

According to the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission, Maloney raised a little more than $472,000 this past quarter. After expenses, Maloney was left with about $1.5 million in the bank.

Hayworth raised nearly $282,000. She has about $663,000 cash on hand.

Maloney and Hayworth are locked in a contentious battle this election season, as Hayworth tries to regain the congressional seat she lost to Maloney in 2012.

Maloney’s haul included a little more than $113,000 from political action committees. About $56,000 of Hayworth’s total contributions came from PACs, including $5,000 from Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Prosperity PAC.”

You can bet the Maloney campaign is going to seize on that fact, as they try to attach Hayworth to Ryan’s budget proposal, which calls for drastic cuts to government spending.

Hayworth did not report loaning her campaign any of her personal fortune in the period ending March 31.



Cuomo To Skip Nassau Dems’ Dinner Tonight

The legislative budget debate, which is expected to drag on into the night, is preventing Gov. Andrew Cuomo from attending a Democratic dinner in Nassau County where he was scheuled to co-headline a tribute to retiring Rep. Carolyn McCarthy with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs said he received a call from Cuomo aide Joe Percoco a little over an hour ago with the bad news. But Jacobs also received a heads up last night that the way things were shaping up at the Capitol, it was possible Cuomo would need to stay in Albany to make sure the budget vote went smoothly.

Jacobs and Cuomo have been at odds lately, thanks to the chairman’s call for the governor and his GOP opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, to reject the Independence Party’s endorsement in hopes of starving it out of existence.

Astorino, who was unlikely to receive the party’s nod anyway, quickly heeded Jacobs’ call. But Cuomo has hedged, preferring instead to let Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano blast Jacobs at an unrelated Red Room press conference.

During a brief telephone interview this afternoon, Jacobs, a former state Democratic Party chairman, insisted his difference of opinion with Cuomo on the Independence Party has nothing to do with the governor’s decision to skip tonight’s dinner.

“We knew going in when we picked this date that there was a distinct possibility that the governor would not be able to attend because budget wrangling would be going on in Albany,” Jacobs said. “And as I understand it, there is a lot of budget wrangling going on in Albany.”

Jacobs said Pelosi is still scheduled to attend the event, as are a number of McCarthy’s congressional colleagues, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

McCain To Headline Zeldin Fundraiser

US Sen. John McCain will headline a fundraiser in support of state Sen. Lee Zeldin’s congressional run on April 22 in New York City.

Tickets to the event is being held at a private residence on E. 70th Street in Manhattan (which happens to be the building where Christopher Cox, son of state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, is listed. Ed Cox and his wife, Tricia, are listed as hosts). Tickets start at $1,000 and run as high as $5,200.

McCain, a senior senator from Arizona and the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, endorsed Zeldin last October, saying his “service in the military, as a federal prosecutor and in state government demonstrate his deep commitment to advancing causes greater than his own self-interest.”

Zeldin is seeking the GOP nod to challenge Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in November. He is being challenged for the GOP line by George Demos.

MoveOn Pressures Gibson, Grimm With Minimum Wage Poll

MoveOn today released a series of PPP polls of 13 “vulnerable” GOP House districts – including two in New York – that show a majority of voters in each support the idea of raising the federal minimum wage, which has been a top priority of the Obama administration and congressional Democrats.

The NY-19 poll, which appears below, shows 60 percent of Rep. Chris Gibson’s constituents support raising the hourly wage at the federal level from $7.25 to $10.10, while 36 percent are opposed and 4 don’t have a position.

Fourty-four percent said they would be less likely to vote for Gibson if he voted against raising the wage, while 27 percent said they’d be more likely to vote for him and 26 percent said it wouldn’t make a difference.

Gibson is facing a challenge from Democrat Sean Eldridge this fall. MoveOn members plan to demonstrate outside Gibson’s Cooperstown offices at noon tomorrow to demand he support an increase in the minimum wage also to deliver petition signatures from constituents.

Similar actions are scheduled outside the offices of every House member whose district was polled, including Gibson’s Republican colleague, Rep. Michael Grimm, in NY-11. Grimm is facing a challenge this fall from former Democratic Brooklyn Councilman Domenic Recchia.

NY 19 Minimum Wage Polling Results by MoveOn_org

NRCC Slams Maffei For Second Home Purchase

Rather predictably, the NRCC is taking aim at Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei for buying a $699,000 second home in Virginia, saying the purchase shows he’s out of touch with his constituents back home in Central New York, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet.

The GOP’s statement notes that Maffei lost his seat in year – like this one – when there isn’t a presidential race to boost turnout in this Democrat-dominated state. The congressman is apparently back in the Republicans’ crosshairs now that local GOP and Conservative leaders have settled on a challenger, former federal prosecutor John Katko, to take on Maffei in the general election. (Katko does face a primary challenge from Syracuse businessman Ian Hunter).

“D.C. Dan Maffei apparently loves the Washington life so much that he decided to put down roots there,” said NRCC spokesman Ian Prior. “Maffei will certainly have lots of time to spend in his new $700,000 home after November 4th when Central New Yorkers tell him he can stay in Washington, just not as their representative.”

According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, Maffei and his wife, Abby Davidson Maffei, split their time between Washington, D.C. and Syracuse to accomodate both of their work schedules.

The couple had been renting an apartment near the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., and also owns a home in Syracuse’s Valley neighborhood, which they purchased last year after selling a house in DeWitt to Joan O’Donnell Dadey, wife of Onondaga County Republican Chairman Tom Dadey.

Maffei told the Post-Standard that rents in the D.C. area are so high that it made more sense, financially speaking, for him to rent. He and his wife are expecting their first child in June.

Members of Congress receive a base salary of $175,000. As of last June, Maffei was one of the least wealthy members of Congress, thanks to his student loan debt.

Crowley for Rangel

Though a number of high-profile Democrats have defected from Rep. Charlie Rangel’s side to back Sen. Adriano Espaillat’s second primary challenge to the veteran Harlem lawmaker, at least one powerful party leader/elected official is refusing to turn his back on his long-time congressional colleague.

Rep. Joe Crowley, who is also chairman of the Queens Democratic Party, sent out a combination fundraising/endorsement email on Rangel’s behalf this morning entitled “Keep Him in Congress.” Crowley noted that he serves on the powerful Ways and Means Committee with Rangel (actually, Rangel chaired the committee, once upon a time).

“I’ve made it my mission to boost the Democratic Party, first in Queens, where I’m the Democratic county leader, and now across the country as the Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus in Congress,” Crowley wrote. “We need leaders like Charlie Rangel who know how important it is to create good, middle-class jobs, improve healthcare, and build a better America.”

“Instead, though, Republicans have spent their time, sitting on their hands, blocking Democrats from making progress. They’ve held dozens and dozens of votes to repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. They’ve blocked votes on the minimum wage, on the DREAM Act and immigration reform, on investing in our infrastructure. On so many important issues, Republicans have opposed progress.”

Crowley also announced in the email that he’ll be headlining a fund-raiser for Rangel this Thursday at Antun’s in Queens Village (a popular political spot). Also expected to attend: Former Gov. David Paterson, Rep. Greg Meeks, and Assemblywoman Vivian Cook.

Oddly, Crowley concludes his email by saying that the Republicans are trying to defeat Rangel. But the Harlem congressman’s bigger problem is the June primary, in which he faces both Espaillat and the Rev. Michael Walrond.

AsCapital NY’s Azi Paybarah notes, Crowley’s decision to stick with Rangel is particularly interesting because of the growing Latino presence in Crowley’s district – something about which the Queens congressman has always been particularly sensitive, worried about a potential primary challenge of his own.

Crowley also backed Manhattan Councilman Dan Garodnick over Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito in the NYC Council speaker’s race, and ended up picking the wrong horse. Mark-Viverito won that battle, becoming the first Latina ever to hold the speaker’s office. She also recently endorsed Espaillat over Rangel in the NY-13 primary, after supporting Rangel against the senator in 2012.

WFP Backs Rice in NY-4 (Updated)

The Working Families Party this morning announced its support for Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice’s bid for the Long Island House seat of retiring Rep. Carolyn McCarthy.

“Kathleen Rice has been resolute in her fight to take on a corrupt culture of pay-to-play politics in the state and give average New Yorkers a voice,” said Bill Lipton, state director for the Working Families Party. “As a prosecutor, she has a proven record of delivering bad apples to justice and she’ll bring that same determination to her work on behalf of Long Island’s working families.”

WFP’s Long Island Political Director Jess Carrano also cited Rice’s support for the so-called “Raise the Age” campaign (the push to stop trying some youthful offenders as adults) and campaign finance reform – especially the creation of a publicly funded system.

Rice was one of the three co-chairs of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s corruption-busting Moreland Commission, which recommended (though not unanimously) public campaign finance as a remedy for the never-ending corruption scandals in Albany and NYC. Rice stepped down from her commission post after announcing her congressional campaign.

Much of the labor and Democratic establishment has lined up behind Rice in this race. But she’s not the only Democrat in the running.

Nassau Legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams is also seeking the party’s nod to run in the November general election.

The Nassau County Democratic Party is remaining neutral in the June primary. Ditto the DCCC, whose leader, Rep. Steve Israel, is also a Long Islander. UPDATE: Daily Kos notes that the DCCC has put Rice on its “Red to Blue” fundraising list, which certainly qualifies as support.  But I haven’t seen a formal endorsement from Israel himself…perhaps I missed it? UPDATE: Israel is personally supporting Rice, but he’s also not discouragin Abrahams from mounting his primary bid.

Tenney Circulating NY-22 Petitions

Though she hasn’t yet formally declared her candidacy, it appears Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney is moving forward with a primary challenge to Republican Rep. Richard Hanna.

A source forwarded one of Tenney’s petitions that he said is being circulated in NY-22 by a Tea Party group. The assemblywoman and her conservative allies are apparently seeking volunteers to carry petitions in the district, which partially overlaps with the serpentine assembly district she currently represents (and was drawn into during the last round of redistricting, compliments of the Assembly GOP leadership, with whom Tenney doesn’t always see eye-to-eye).

In a brief telephone interview, Tenney said she still hasn’t made up her mind about running, but recognized she needed to be out with petitions if she wanted the option of doing so. (Due to the court-ordered June 24 congressional primary date, petitioning started on March 4 and only runs through April 10). The assemblywoman said she has “a couple more people, things that are going to go one way or another” before she decides whether to pull the trigger on a campaign, adding: “We’re working on that today and tomorrow.”

Tenney has repeatedly confirmed she was giving serious consideration to challenging Hanna, despite being discouraged from doing so by party leaders. Hanna is one of the more moderate members of the GOP conference in the House, and Tenney has accused him of being out of step with his district, which she says is more conservative since redistricting, and also “taking populist positions as opposed to taking the positions he said he would.”

Tenney has also slammed Hanna for joining a congressional gay rights caucus and consistently supporting abortion rights during his two terms in office.

A poll conducted recently for Hanna by McLaughlin & Associates found he would defeat Tenney by a wide margain.

Hanna has survived a conservative primary challenge before. Two years ago, he easily defeated a Tea Party candidate, Michael Kicinski of Earlville, who is planning a re-match this summer. The congressman then went on to a general election victory against his Democratic challenger, Dan Lamb, a former aide to retired Rep. Maurice Hinchey.

Michael Vasquez, a former stockbroker living in Binghamton, has declared his intention to challenge Hanna, which means this will be a four-way race if Tenney gets in. Congressional petitioning started March 4 and ends April 10.

Hanna has been endorsed by seven of the eight GOP county committees in NY-22 – Tioga County so far hasn’t weighed in – and also landed the Independence Party’s nod.

Thanks to the Legislature’s refusal to move the state-level primaries to coincide with the June House primary, the assemblywoman would not necessarily have to forgo seeking re-election to her current seat if she challenges Hanna and loses. But she insisted that she hasn’t given any thought to that strategy, telling me: “ I’m not going this because I’m planning on losing, and honestly, I haven’t given (an Assembly run) a lot of thought. I haven’t even gotten on the ballot yet.”

NY-22 petition for Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney by liz_benjamin6490

Then There Were Three (In NY-21)

Item II from the Morning Memo:

A little news this morning out of the 21st Congressional District.

An email that arrived in my in-box at 5:15 a.m. revealed one of the four Republican candidates vying for their party’s nod to run for the seat of retiring Democratic Rep. Bill Owens has decided to drop out of the race.

GOP consultant and former US Marine Jamie Waller says “the time is not right” for him to run, and so he has decided to withdraw from the race and back businessman Matt Doheny instead.

This was a fairly abrupt decision. As recently as last week, Waller was preparing to circulate petitions for his congressional run.

“Matt has the strongest work ethic, the proven experience and the record to be a great representative for all of us,” Waller said.

“As a true fellow resident of the North Country, I know Matt shares my values and understands the truly dynamic needs of all communities within the 21st.”

Waller expressed disappointment with Doheny’s main opponent, former Bush administration aide Elise Stefanik, saying she “fails to be truthful” with radio ads that claim she’s the “only conservative” in the race.

Stefanik landed the endorsement of the majority of the NY-21 GOP county chairs before Doheny, who ran two unsuccessful campaigns against Owens, decided to throw his hat into the ring a third time.

Now the two Republicans are battling for support from both GOP and Conservative Party leaders. Joseph Gilbert, a retired U.S. Army major and Tea Party leader from St. Lawrence County, is the third GOP candidate.

The Democrats have selected Brooklyn documentary filmmaker Aaron Woolf, who owns a house in Elizabethtown, to run in Owens’ stead.

But Woolf faces a primary from Macomb Town Councilman Stephen Burke, a former St. Lawrence County Democratic chairman.

NRCC Chairman Eyes New York

The head of the National Republican Congressional Committee is feeling bullish that New York will help the GOP keep and perhaps expand its majority in the House this fall.

“New York, interestingly enough, especially in an off year for Republicans, holds great promise for some pickups,” Rep. Greg Walden said at an event Tuesday at the National Press Club.

Walden seems most excited about regaining the seat being vacated by Rep. Bill Owens, who first won during a 2009 special election marked by nasty GOP infighting. Though Walden said the NRCC isn’t getting involved in the GOP primary between Elise Stefanik and Matt Doheny, he did point out the institutional support Stefanik has already accumulated.

“Elise is very poised, has experience and roots in the district as well – got out early, has a lot of endorsements,” Walden said. “They’re going to sort that out,” referring to Republican primary voters.

The GOP may have reason to feel optimistic about the seat. Aaron Woolf, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s pick, used to split his time between the district and New York City and until very recently had never been to Watertown. Woolf is now facing a primary challenge from Steven Burke.

“The Democrats’ recruit is from Brooklyn,” Walden said, referring to Woolf. “That’s a ways. My district is big, but Brooklyn to Watertown is a long way apart.”

Other Democratic seats Walden has his eye on include Rep. Tim Bishop’s, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s and Rep. Dan Maffei’s.

Initially, Walden did not mention Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who is facing a rematch against Nan Hayworth, but he said not to read into that.

“No one will outwork Nan Hayworth,” Walden insisted.