Citing Gun Control, Cuomo Backs Throne-Holst in NY-1 (Updated)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued what I believe is his first endorsement of this general election campaign, announcing his support for Anna Throne-Holst, who is challenging Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin in the 1st Congressional District on Long Island.

In a press release sent by his campaign committee, (Cuomo 2018), the governor called Throne-Holst a “proven leader who will represent the interests of Suffolk County residents in Congress.”

“During her eight year tenure as Southampton Town Supervisor, Anna established herself as a no-nonsense executive who reached across the aisle to cut wasteful spending, audit the budget, and eliminate inefficiencies so taxpayer dollars could be focused where they were needed most,” Cuomo said.

“In fact, it was her initiative and leadership that helped make the New York State Center for Clean Water Technology at Stony Brook University a reality,” the governor continued.

“Not only does this state-of-the-art research center encourage innovation and job growth in the First District, but it also helps make our communities more resilient in the face of extreme weather like Superstorm Sandy and examines nitrogen loading that has adversely affected ground and surface water across Long Island.”

The governor also said Throne-Holst will work to address “common-sense gun control laws” – one of his pet issues since he pushed the controversial SAFE Act through the Legislature in early 2013 in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre.

Cuomo noted that Zeldin opposed the SAFE Act when he was a member of the Senate Republican conference, and has voted against gun control measures since arriving in Congress.

“Senseless acts of violence continue to claim the lives of too many citizens across our state and country, and this issue is critical to the people of Suffolk County,” the governor said. “Lee Zeldin has allowed the grip of the NRA to persuade his positions, forgoing the needs of his constituents for the deep pockets of the gun lobby.”

The NY-1 race is one of a handful of contested congressional contests occurring throughout the state this year. It’s a safe bet there will be more endorsement announcements where this one came from, but the main question is: How much will the governor do to assist the candidates he says he supports?

Will he record robocalls – a favored method of his, especially as Election Day nears? Make personal appearances? Contribute campaign cash?

Political observers are also waiting to see just how far the governor is willing to go to assist his fellow Democrats in their quest to re-take the state Senate majority this year. He has said that he supports their effort, but has yet to really make any significant moves to help them.

Cuomo has publicly stated his desire to see the Senate in Democratic hands in the past – most notably in 2014, when doing so was a condition of his endorsement by the Working Families Party over his primary challenger, Zephyr Teachout.

But he subsequently failed to deliver in a significant way, leading to widespread speculation that he actually prefers to see the GOP in control, since that offers him a handy foil if things go wrong, and also provides a check to the more liberal policies pushed by the downstate Democrats.

The governor recently said he believes the question of who will control the chamber will again come down to the IDC, which is poised to grow from five members to six, thanks to expected addition of Marisol Alcantara, who won the four-way primary for Sen. Adriano Espaillat’s Upper Manhattan seat.

UPDATE: Zeldin’s campaign sent the following statement from the congressman:

:”Being that I have long held deep concerns with the Governor’s obsessive push for Common Core in our schools, safe fracking bans, money grabbing red light cameras throughout Suffolk County, awfully written gun laws and drastic increases to the state’s Medicaid budget, which is now well over $1 billion per week and more than Texas, Illinois and Florida combined, I won’t lose any sleep over this one.”

“After his preferred candidate gets crushed in 7 seven weeks at the polls, hopefully the Governor will choose to be a little less partisan and political for the best interest of New Yorkers. We are at a cross roads in our state and country where elected leaders should be working together in an inspired pursuit of common ground. There is no better way to move New York forward than united.”

NY-3 GOP Candidate Martins Releases 2nd TV Ad

On the heels of a court decision last week that canceled an October primary in the 3rd Congressional District on Long Island, the Republican candidate in that race, Sen. Jack Martins, has released his second TV ad, which focuses on his ability to work in a bipartisan fashion to get results.

The ad, entitled “Helping Families,” makes no mentions of Martins’ political affiliation, instead highlighting his efforts to “burdens” in the state Senate for his Long Island constituents.

The ad specifically mentions Martins’ support for an income tax cut on middle class families “to the lowest rates in 70 years,” (an initiative spurred by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which also reinstated the so-called millionaire’s tax, though at a lower level than a straight reauthorization would have), and efforts to work across party lines to pass on-time state budgets.

The spot also mentions Martins’ push to “strip corrupt politicians of taxpayer-funded pensions.”

The senator is facing off against the winner of the recent Democratic primary in NY-3, former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, who is running in hopes of retaining for his party the seat currently held by retiring Rep. Steve Israel.

After an extended legal battle, it appeared Martins was also going to have to compete in an Oct. 6 primary against a fellow Republican, Philip Pidot.

But the Second Court of Appeals last week vacated a lower court order for the primary, supporting the senator’s argument that an October contest would cause voter confusion and create an undue burden for local governments, which are already struggling to cover the costs of multiple elections this year.

Martins had also argued that holding a primary on Oct. 6 would leave less than 45 days between the primary and general elections, which which would violate the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Act, disenfranchising absentee and military voters. The state Board of Elections and Department of Defense had issued waivers to that requirement.

NY-3: ‘Stunned’ Pidot Loses October Primary, Ends Bid

A “stunned” Philip Pidot is ending his bid for Congress after a federal appeals court on Wednesday reversed a decision to hold an unusual October primary against Republican Jack Martins.

The decision by the federal court ended the improbably and protracted bid by Pidot against Martins, a state senator.

“I am stunned, in all candor, at today’s Court of Appeals reversal that effectively ends any chance of that primary occurring — a primary between two equally validated candidates for the office,” Pidot said in a statement. “I take enormous pride, though, in the issues raised by my campaign and in the mettle we showed in taking on a political machine that has helped drive New York State into the ground in comfortable and perennial conjunction with Albany Democrats.”

Pidot’s campaign had waged a long legal battle over the summer to gain battle access after he was denied a spot on the June primary battle against Martins in the third district.

A court ruling granted an October primary after determining his right to the ballot had been denied. Martins in a counter move sought a December general election in order to comply with the MOVE Act, which governs military and overseas ballot access.

Those arguments, though are now moot.

Martins will face Democratic former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi for the seat being vacated by Democratic Rep. Steve Israel.

“Our opponent in this case was a pawn for Nancy Pelosi and the DCCC,” the Martins campaign said in a statement. “The national Democrats tried to play games with the Republican nomination. This is another loss for Flip Pidot, Tom Suozzi, Nancy Pelosi and the DCCC.”

Slaughter Campaign Releases New Television Ad

The Committee to Re-Elect Louise Slaughter released a new television campaign ad Tuesday, simply titled Jobs. Rep. Slaughter, D-NY, narrated the 30 second spot which focuses on some of the work she’s done to bring jobs to her districts and work she wants to do to keep them there.

“Western New York has the most talented workers in the world, doing incredible things,” the commercial begins.

Slaughter said she is fighting to stop bad foreign trade deals, expand advanced manufacturing, and is working with local universities. She also focuses on her role in bringing the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics facility to Rochester.

“We’ve said from the beginning that our campaign would take Louise’s impressive record straight to the voters,” campaign manager Axel Owen said. “The voters of Rochester know Louise is a leader who gets things done and that’s exactly what this new ad highlights.”

Slaughter is being challenged by Republican Mark Assini who is currently the town of Gates Supervisor. Two years ago, Assini came with less than 1,0009 votes of the longtime incumbent.


NY-3: Paul Ryan Endorses Martins

With an unusual October primary looming next month, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday endorsed Jack Martins’s bid for the third congressional district.

Ryan, who has been crisscrossing the state to bolster House GOP members in swing districts, praised Martins’s record as a state senator.

“When you run for Congress your record is an important indicator of what you will do in office. With Jack Martins, you know he will support policies that help hard-working families,” Ryan said in a statement.

“As a New York State Senator, Jack voted for fiscally responsible budgets, he cut income taxes, and he repealed a tax on small businesses and schools. When tested, he has shown he stands with the hardworking taxpayer; I’m proud to endorse Jack Martins for Congress.”

Martins faces fellow Republican Phillip Pidot in a primary in October, which was set following an extended legal battle waged by Pidot’s campaign.

The winner will face Democratic former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi in November. Democratic incumbent Steve Israel is not running for re-election.

“Speaker Ryan is a leader who puts results ahead of partisan politics and believes that complaining about a problem is no substitute for offering a solution,” Martins said. “That is something which I have strived to do throughout my time in public service. Earning his support, trust and endorsement is something of which I am very proud and appreciate.”

Martins Campaign Urges Suozzi To Back Dec. 6 General

Republican congressional candidate Jack Martins on Friday afternoon urged the Democrat in the race to also back a Dec. 6 general election after submitting a court filing today arguing for the move in the 3rd district.

Martins’s stated reasoning for the Dec. 6 general election is to have the election line up with the MOVE Act, which governs timely access to absentee ballots to military and overseas voters. A court ruling this week set a primary between Martins and Republican Philip Pidot to Oct. 6 following a lengthy and unusual court challenge. Martins is challenging that decision.

Moving the date to December could potentially help Martins over Democrat Tom Suozzi, considering the presidential election in November will likely drive more Democratic voters to the polls in a district where Donald Trump is deeply unpopular.

“I call on Tom Suozzi to join me in asking the judge to protect the rights of the Military, senior citizens and others whose right to vote in the general election is jeopardized by an October Primary,” Martins said in a statement. “The October primary election date leaves 32 days for a general election, disenfranchising the military voters and even potentially the permanent absentee voters. The military voters and all other voters in New York’s 3rd Congressional District deserve the same consideration of 50 days or more in the general election, just as the judge provided for the primary voters.”

New York’s state and local primaries are not in compliance with the MOVE Act. After state lawmakers in 2012 failed to reach an agreement on a primary date, a federal judge moved congressional primaries to June. With no agreement in Albany, local-level primaries continue to be held in September.

Ryan To Fundraise With Reed, Collins

House Speaker Paul Ryan is taking to the fundraising circuit in western New York, holding events later this month with Republican Reps. Chris Collins and Tom Reed.

The planned events scheduled for Aug. 29 and Aug. 30 were first reported by The Buffalo and confirmed by our colleagues at Time Warner Cable News in Buffalo.

Along with Collins, Ryan will appear at a Buffalo at the Hotel @Lafayette. The event is planned as a fundraising effort for Team Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican’s campaign committee, a PAC called Prosperity Action and the National Republican Campaign Committee.

Tickets range from $1,000 for the reception and dinner to $10,000 for a VIP photo reception.

The Reed event is planned the next day as a breakfast gathering at the Oak Hill Country Club outside of Rochester.

NY-3: D-Trip Poll Shows Suozzi Lead

A poll commissioned by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released on Thursday found former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi leading state Sen. Jack Martins in the third congressional district contest by 16 percentage points.

The poll, conducted by Global Strategy Group, found the Democrat Suozzi leading Martins 52 percent to 36 percent in the House district that comprises parts of Queens and Nassau County.

“There is no way to spin it – State Senator Jack Martins faces a difficult uphill climb this November,” said Bryan Lesswing at the DCCC. “Given Jack Martins’ past defense of Dean Skelos and continued support for Donald Trump despite his dangerous ideas, it is clear that voters in New York’s 3rd congressional district won’t let Martins get away with putting Trump and his own party before country.”

The poll found Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton leading Republican Donald Trump in the district, 51 percent to 35 percent.

A wrinkle for the battleground House race has been the campaign of Republican Philip Pidot, who a federal court on Wednesday ruled will compete against Martins in an October primary following a lengthy ballot challenge. The poll released by the DCCC did not consider Pidot’s impact on the race.

The district is considered a swing seat as Democratic Rep. Steve Israel is due to retire this year.

NY03 DCCC Commissioned Poll Memo by Nick Reisman on Scribd

NY-3: Pidot Gets His Primary

After a protracted court battle and myriad legal motions, Republican congressional candidate Philip Pidot secured an Oct. 6 primary against state Sen. Jack Martins for a Long Island House seat.

The court ruling is an unusual one, given that it places the primary a month after state-level primaries are being held and more than three months after the June congressional primaries.

Pidot had been initially challenged for the June ballot status, with drop outs and legal decisions seemingly clearing the way for Martins to directly take on the Democratic challenger, former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi.

But a federal court on Wednesday landed on the side of Pidot, setting the Oct. 6 primary date.

“The Long Island political machine has been rolling over outsiders since I was a boy, and it had to stop; someone had to stand up to the bully,” Pidot said in a statement.

“For the next month I will spending every waking hour asking Republicans on Long Island and in Queens to stand with me on October 6 to bring reform not only to the Island, but to Congress itself. If you want term limits in Washington, lower taxes, and less federal interference in your life and in your healthcare, I’m your candidate.”

In a statement, Martins campaign advisor OB Murray indicated they were focused on the November election.

“We are confident we will win in November because of the overwhelming support Jack Martins has continued received across the district and in his previous elections,” he said. “Jack’s record of fighting for lower taxes, a stronger economy and the families he represents is a message the voters support overwhelmingly.”

The district is being vacated this year by Democratic Rep. Steve Israel.

Buffalo For Bernie Focusing On Congressional Races This Fall

Bernie Sanders campaign organizers in Western New York are turning their focus toward New York’s congressional races. Thursday, Buffalo for Bernie announced the kickoff of a new initiative called Brand New Congress Buffalo.

The organization announced its support for three Democrats running in New York’s 19th, 23rd and 27th districts: Zephyr Teachout, John Plumb and Diana Kastenbaum. Buffalo for Bernie is urging Sanders supporters to donate to the congressional campaigns and plans to have volunteers help get out the vote in the fall.

They hope that’s just the beginning.

“What we’re looking to do is extend the group of people we have from working on the Sanders campaign into a permanent organization that’s working inside and outside of the Democratic party,” organizer Brian Nowak said.

Nowak said there’s a name change in the works and Buffalo for Bernie plans to file for not-for-profit status soon. By time the 2018 cycle comes around, it plans to be drafting, endorsing and fundraising for candidates as a political action organization.

“Everything that a candidate needs that’s running for office that helps that person win, we want to be able to do all of those things,” Nowak said.

He said Bernie campaign teams across New York are organizing similar groups, although each will have their own flare. The move falls in line with the message Sanders had for his supporters in a June address, when he urged them to continue the “political revolution.”