Congress

Hillary Clinton Emails for DCCC

Hillary Clinton has been stepping up her political activity in recent weeks, fanning the flames of speculation about her potential presidential run in 2016.

The former first lady and ex-secretary of state and her husband, former President Clinton, recently traveled to Iowa, which hosts the the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, to attend the 37th and final steak fry hosted by Sen. Tom Harkin.

Later this month, Hillary Clinton will appear at a Washington, D.C. fund-raiser for a state senator in New Hampshire, which is home to the nation’s first presidential primaries. And the former president will be heading to the state to speak at the Jefferson Jackson Dinner on Oct. 16.

Hillary Clinton is also gearing up to assist Democratic congressional candidates in her home state. She’ll be headlining a high-dollar fund-raiser on Sept. 29 in New York City at Le Parker Meridien hotel to benefit the DCCC, which is headed by Long Island Rep. Steve Israel. And she’ll also appear at another event to benefit the DCCC that’s being held in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s home state of California.

Today, Hillary Clinton leant her name to a DCCC fundraising email with the subject line, “a Choice and a Chance.”

“Every election is an opportunity to shape our future,” she wrote. “This November, we have a clear choice – and a chance. It’s a chance to elect Democrats to Congress who will fight for us every day. It’s a chance to elect leaders who believe that our economy and our democracy should work for everyone.”

“That’s why I’m writing you. My friends at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) are pulling out all the stops to help us seize this chance. But they need our help. It’s going to take all hands on deck to get this done. Can we count on your support?”

The email includes six links to an “ActBlue” fundraising web page that features a large photo of Clinton. Options include contributions starting at $5 and going as high as $1,000 (or any other amount a contributor would like to give). There’s also an option to make a weekly donation though the Nov. 4 general election.

There are a number of tight congressional races across the country, including a handful here in New York, despite the fact that the Democrats enjoy a roughly 3-to-5 enrollment edge across the state.

Hayworth’s 1st NY-18 TV Ad Focuses On Veterans

Former Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth has released her first TV ad of her re-match with Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney in NY-18 – a spot that focuses on the county’s beleaguered VA system.

The ad, called “Our Heroes,” doesn’t make any specific policy promises, but rather generally focuses on Hayworth’s experience as a doctor treating vets and what she says is her “unwavering support for veterans.”

Recent reports have Hayworth gaining steam in this race. Her campaign has touted her win in the June Independence Party primary as a momentum builder, despite the fact that it was a very small turnout race.

An exclusive TWC News/Siena poll scheduled to be released tonight will demonstrate whether the numbers are indeed in Hayworth’s favor with seven weeks remaining until the November election.

Thanks to her Independence Party win, Hayworth’s name will appear on three lines on the ballot, while Maloney only has two (Democrat and Working Families Party).

Maloney’s campaign has been sending out fundraising appeal emails with increasing frequency, trying to instill a sense of urgency in his supporters over Hayworth’s supposed gains.

His most recent missive went out yesterday, and sought to use Hayworth’s imminent first ad as an impetus for donors to give more.

Here’s the script for Hayworth’s ad; her campaign didn’t give any information about the size of the buy, where it will be running or for how long:

Hayworth: As the daughter of two World War II veterans, I revere the sacrifices of the men and women who made our freedom possible.

I had the privilege of caring for out veterans in the VA as a doctor. I’ve witness firsthand the unconscionable inefficiencies of the VA.

Our veterans need access to the best care, anytime and anywhere they need it. To all those who have followed the call of duty, this duty is owed in return by a grateful nation.

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

Siena/Newsday/News 12 Poll Shows Rep. Bishop Up 10 Over Zeldin

A new Siena College/Newsday/News 12 poll shows veteran Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop leading his GOP challenger, state Sen. Lee Zeldin, by 10 percentage points with seven weeks to go until the November general election.

The split is 51-41 with with 8 percent undecided. Fifty-five percent of poll respondents said they are firm in their choice of candidate and there’s no way they will change their minds before the election.

Despite an ongoing ethics investigation into his fundraising – a point the GOP has repeatedly sought to exploit – Bishop has a strong favorable rating in his district, 54-39. Zeldin’s favorable/unfavorable rating is 40-29, with 32 percent of voters saying they don’t know enough about him to have an opinion one way or the other.

Zeldin is ahead 6 points with male voters, but Bishop has a whopping 23-point lead with women.

“With seven weeks to go, this race is likely to be a hotly contested battle between a popular incumbent Democratic representative and a popular Republican state senator,” said Siena pollster Steve Greenberg. “Enrollment and lower turnout in a gubernatorial year favor Zeldin. However, Bishop is better known, viewed stronger on more issues and is certainly not hurt by having Cuomo at the top of the ticket,” Greenberg said. “This is one to watch.”

Greenberg said jobs is the most important issue to voters, and by 10 points they say Bishop will be better on that issue. Zeldin and Bishop run very close in voters’ minds on taxes, turmoil in the Mideast and immigration.

Zeldin’s campaign manager Eric Amidon issued a lengthy statement calling the poll “flawed,” adding:

“They didn’t ask the ballot right, there were too few Republican and Conservative Party voters, and they failed to account for a missing 6 percent in the party registration methodology. They should throw this poll out and start over again.”

Amidon also insisted Zeldin’s campaign strategy won’t be impacted by the results of this poll. He noted that unspecified pre-primary polls (not conducted by Siena) showed Zeldin trailing his GOP opponent, George Demos, and the senator ended up winning the June 24 race by almost 25 percentage points.

President Obama’s numbers are underwater in NY-1, with his unfavorables outweighing his favorables, 55-41. But support for Obama’s fellow Democrat, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is strong, with a 56-40 favorable/unfavorable rating, compared to 24-26 for his Republican challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. Astorino remains unknown to 50 percent of voters in this district.

In a hypothetical head-to-head match-up, Cuomo beats Astorino, 52-32, with 6 percent saying they prefer Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, and 9 percent undecided. Cuomo has the support of 33 percent of Republicans in the district, and also leads Astorino by 35 percentage points with women and 5 with men.

Siena poll on NY-1 race between Rep. Tim Bishop, D, and GOP state Sen. Lee Zeldin. by liz_benjamin6490

Rice’s 1st NY-4 TV Ad – a ‘Promise’ On Texting & Driving (Updated)

Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, the Democratic candidate for the seat of retiring Long Island Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, is on the air with the first TV ad of her campaign, which focuses on her record of combatting drunk driving, and her proposal to crack down on drivers who text behind the wheel.

Just last week, Rice unveiled a five-point plan to address the texting-while-driving problem – an issue on which Gov. Andrew Cuomo is also focused, but not one that’s generally high on the “to-do” list for a member of Congress. Taxes, terror, jobs, healthcare? Yes. Texting-while-driving? Not really.

The ad is airing on a wide variety of targeted cable channels across Cablevision and FiOS networks, according to Rice’s campaign. The DA is facing Republican former Nassau County Legislator Bruce Blakeman in November, after both candidates won June primaries for their respective major party lines.

Blakeman has far less campaign cash on hand than Rice ($609,249 with $700,000 worth of debt, to her $1.4 million, as of the last fundraising quarter, which ended at the end of June). He has been hammering her on her silence regarding the corruption-busting Moreland Commission, which she co-chaired until January, when she quit the post to run for Congress.

UPDATE: Blakeman’s spokesman Matt Coleman sent this response:

“Bruce Blakeman will be better in Washington to fight for more jobs, lower taxes and to keep New York safe from terror. Bruce Blakeman in Congress and Kathleen Rice as District Attorney taking-on texting while driving is a win-win for Nassau voters.”

Here’s the text (ahem) of Rice’s ad:

Clip from 2005 Nassau DA’s race Rice ad: I’m Kathleen Rice. Nassau County can do a much better job of drunk driving enforcement.

Rice today: When you elected me DA, I promised you that I would take on DWI. I did. And we’ve made progress where nobody said we could. Now we have a new challenge – we’ve all seen it. Drivers young and old, texting behind the wheel. I’ll make you another promise: Send me to Congress, and I’ll go after texting – just like DWI – and we’ll save lives.

I’m Kathleen Rice, and I approve this message.

DCCC: Katko a ‘Rubber Stamp’ for Boehner

The DCCC is up on the air with its first ad of the NY-24 race, which casts GOP candidate John Katko as little more than a “rubber stamp” for House Speaker John Boehner.

The ad starts running on cable and broadcast stations in Central New York today.

The focus is women’s issues – specifically abortion rights and contraception – which has been a very hot topic in both congressional and state Senate races.

NY-24 is a pretty evenly divided district, with 141,823 active registered Democrats, 140,099 Republicans and 100,647 so-called “blanks” as of April, according to the state Board of Elections.

The district has changed hands between the GOP and the Democrats over the last several election cycles, and its current representative, Democrat Dan Maffei, lost his seat once before to a conservative Republican who accused him to being too liberal for this centrist region.

Since his return to Congress, Maffei has been a lot more careful about his voting record, occasionally breaking ranks with his fellow Democrats and moving to the center in an effort to brand himself a “pragmatic progressive.”

By last August, Maffei had voted with his Democratic leaders 75 percent of the time since beginning his second term in January, according to a vote-tracking database maintained by the Washington Post. Now, he’s up to 79 percent of the time.

Here’s the script for the DCCC’s ad:

“Narrator: Lately, John Katko’s been a busy guy.

Busy being a rubber stamp for John Boehner and Republican leaders in Congress.

On abortion, Katko sides with them, opposing a woman’s right to choose.

And Katko would even allow employers to deny coverage for common forms of birth control.

He said denying women access to contraception is the “right decision.”

John Katko. A rubber stamp who doesn’t share our values.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.”

Rep. Grimm Goes Negative In First TV Ad

Scandal-scarred Republican Rep. Michael Grimm is out with the first TV ad of his re-election campaign, and he’s going right for the jugular of his NY-11 Democratic opponent, Domenic Recchia, accusing the former NYC councilman of being a “tax-raising machine.”

In a statement announcing the new spot, the Staten Island (and a small piece of Brooklyn) congressman slammed Recchia’s Council voting record, noting he supported tolling the outer borough bridges with his backing of congesting pricing – former Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s long-time pet project, which died at the hands of the state Legislature. Grimm also criticizes Recchia for voting in favor of extending term limits, which not only enabled Bloomberg to successfully seek a third term, but also extended his own tenure in public office.

“For 12 years as a Brooklyn councilman, Dom Recchia raised almost every middle class tax he could get his hands on, hiking property taxes a record 18.49 percent and raising income taxes,” Grimm said in a statement. “As if the $15 Verrazano toll isn’t bad enough, my opponent voted for even more tolls through congestion pricing and then had the audacity to vote himself an unprecedented third term against the will of the people.”

Grimm’s release does not mention the size of the ad buy, or how long it will be airing. The congressman is a top target of the DCCC, which is hammering him on the airwaves - and also has been largely abandoned by the politial arm of the House Republicans – thanks to his indictment on federal fraud and tax charges in connection with an Upper East Side eatery he used to own. (He has pleaded not guilty).

Recchia launched his first ad of the campaign in mid-August. Grimm’s legal troubles have negatively impacted his fundraising, which might explain why it took him this long to get onto the air to try to counter the Democrats’ ads.

An investigation into his fund-raising operation is ongoing, and his former girlfriend recently pleaded guilty to making an illegal contribution to his campaign when he first ran for Congress in 2010. She is not, however, cooperating with the federation government’s probe. Grimm ousted one-term Democratic Rep. Michael McMahon in 2010. McMahon won the long-held GOP seat after its former occupant, ex-Rep. Vito Fossella, declined to seek re-election in 2008 after a drunk driving arrest exposed his extramarital affair and out-of-wedlock child.

Here’s the script of Grimm’s new ad:

“Congressman: I’m Michael Grimm, and I approve this message.”

Narrator: “Domenic Recchia thinks we’re fools. Recchia claims to protect the midle class, but he’s just a tax-raising machine, raising income taxes, raising your property taxes over 18 percent. Now Recchia says he wants to lower tolls. But for 12 years as a Brooklyn councilman he did nothing except vote for even more tolls.

More taxes. More tolls. That’s the real Recchia. Don’t be fooled.”

Rep. Bishop Ad: Lee Zeldin’s Environmental Record ‘Toxic’

Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop is fighting fire with fire, responding to an NRCC ad released earlier this week that highlights his fundraising scandal with an ad of his own that accuses his GOP opponent, state Sen. Lee Zeldin, of being pro-polluter.

The ad, entitled “Toxic,” starts off by with an image of a Newsday story in which the Long Island congressman’s attorney is quoted as saying that the Justice Department has closed its investigation – without filing charges -into whether Bishop broke the law when he sought a campaign donation from a constituent he helped get a fireworks permit for his son’s bar mitzvah. (The DOJ has neither confirmed nor denied this claim).

Handily, the story image only includes the bold headline proclaiming Bishop’s innocence, but doens’t make it down to the second paragraph, which notes that the House Ethics Committee’s review of a two-year-old complaint on this very issue remains open.

Bishop is trying to tie Zeldin to a toxic dumping scandal involving 32,000 tons of asbestos-tainted debris dumped at an Islip Town park in Brentwood. The Islip parks commissioner was forced out as a result of the scandal, and caused Islip Town Board member Anthony Senft, the Conservative, Republican and Independence candidate for state Senate in the 3rd SD (the seat Zeldin is giving up to run for Congress) to bow out of the race.

According to Bishop, Zeldin has accepted thousands of dollars worth of campaign contributions from the company accused of doing the illegal dumping. A similar accusation was lodged against the senator by his failed GOP congressional primary opponent, George Demos.

This ad was not provided to SoP by either the Bishop or Zeldin campaigns, but rather highlighted by the American Action Network, a group with ties to House Speaker John Boehner that is spending big money on behalf of GOP candidates this fall. In the email that accompanied the ad, the American Action Network accused Bishop of a engaging in a “cover-up” because the spot fails to acknowledge the House Ethics Committee probe.

Here’s the script of Bishop’s ad:

Congressman: “I’m Tim Bishop, and I approve this message.”

Narrator: “Another right-wing smear. Tim Bishop is not under FBI investigation. They found no wrongdoing. Lee Zeldin has taken $17,000 from a company that illegally dumped 50,000 tons of toxic waste in Suffolk Couty parks. And even at homes for veterans. It figures, in Albany Lee Zeldin voted to protect polluters from being held financially responsible. The EPL named Lee Zeldin New York’s Environmental Enemy No. 1. That’s some real dirty politics.”

Hayworth And Maloney Agree To TWC News Debate

The campaigns Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and his Republican opponent, former Rep. Nan Hayworth, have agreed to a televised debate next month on Time Warner Cable News.

The debate is scheduled for Oct. 16, and will air on TWC News in the Hudson Valley at 7 p.m. with the debate itself taking place at Marist College in the district.

The campaign is a rematch of the 2012 contest, in which Maloney unseated Hayworth, a firs-term incumbent Republican.

The 18th congressional district all of Putnam and Orange counties as well as parts of Dutchess County and Westchester County.

Blakeman Video Slams Rice: ‘What’s Wrong With Her?’

Republican NY-4 candidate Bruce Blakeman is keeping the heat on his Democratic opponent, Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, release a new web video that accuses her of being anti-woman.

The video, which the campaign says will eventually air as a full-fledged ad on cable TV, resurrects a 2006 storyline in which Rice, then a newly-minted district attorney, told the dozen lawyers in her office who had been working part time – mostly to care for their children – that they had a choice: Come back to work full-time, or don’t come back at all.

Rice told Newsday that the county “deserves victims’ advocates that are full time,” and also noted that her predecessor (the man she had defeated at the polls in 2005, 31-year incumbent Denis Dillon) had done away with the part-time policy in 2004, but grandfathered in the dozen attorneys in question. She also said she needed all hands on deck in order to overhaul the DA’s office, and was hampered by the fact that the county legislature has imposed a statutory limit on the size of her staff.

The New York Times was unsympathetic to Rice’s arguments, and editorialized against her policy.

Rice and Blakeman are battling to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy in the Long Island district. Rice, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for state attorney general in 2010, has the support of numerous women’s groups. When she was elected in 2005, Rice became the first woman ever to hold the Nassau County DA post. She has since been re-elected twice – in 2009 and 2013.

Blakeman’s ad also dings Rice for refusing to fire a campaign staffer for making sexist and racially insensitive comments on Twitter. Rice’s campaign said it had been unaware of the Tweets, which a spokesman called “stupid, insensitive attempts at sarcasm and parody,” and responded by disciplining the staffer, Zach Tierney, but kept him on the payroll.

Here’s the script for Blakeman’s video:

Voiceover: “Upon becoming District Attorney, without conscience or warning, Kathleen Rice eliminated the positions of twelve working mothers who worked flexible shifts to care for their children.”

Neighbor: “What’s wrong with her?”

Voiceover: “And Kathleen Rice refused to fire her campaign aide when he mocked the physical abuse of women…and considers women a man’s property.”

Neighbor: “And Rice is OK with that? What’s wrong with her?”

Bruce Blakeman: “I’m Bruce Blakeman and I approve this message.”

Blakeman On the Air 1st in NY-4

Republican NY-4 candidate Bruce Blakeman has beaten his Democratic opponent, Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, to the punch in the general election air war, releasing the first TV ad of the race to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy.

The 30-second spot, entitled “There for Us”, focuses on some of Blakeman’s achievements during his career inthe Nassau County Legislature. It will run on Long Island cable stations, and the buy is about $125,000.

Both Blakeman and Rice won primaries in June, but Rice is widely viewed as the frontrunner in this race. The district has a Democratic enrollment edge – 205,698 to 171,404, with 109,038 “blanks” who are unaffiliated with any political party – and Rice has steadily out-raised Blakeman, reporting about $1 million more in cash on hand at the end of the second quarter in June.

But Blakeman has been keeping the pressure on Rice, especially following the New York Times’ bombshell Moreland Commission story back in July, calling on the DA to reveal what she knew about the governor’s interference with the commission as one of its three co-chairs. (She resigned that post in January and announced her congressional campaign not long after McCarthy revealed she would not seek re-election).

Here’s the script for Blakeman’s ad:

“Bruce Blakeman: “I’m Bruce Blakeman and I approve this message.” (Inset: Disclaimer)

Narrator: “You learn a lot about a person when you see what he’s willing to do for others. Well, Bruce Blakeman is one of those people.

Blakeman formed the Commission that helped working moms find affordable day care. (Inset: More Daycare Options for Moms)

And Blakeman started the Breast Cancer Learning Center at Hewlett House – the first of its kind in the nation to help women fighting this disease. (Inset: Newsday headline quote: “Hewlett House a ‘major asset’ to patients”)

Bruce Blakeman has been there for us. And we’re there for him.

Voiceover:”Bruce Blakeman for Congress.”