Oct 24th - 6:25 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign has more than $15.7 million in cash on hand for the final 11 days of the general election, a filing with the state Board of Elections shows.
Cuomo’s overall haul is practically 16 times the amount that Astorino, the Westchester County executive, has in the bank. He reported slightly more than $1 million in cash on hand earlier today.
Nevertheless, Cuomo has been putting his fundraising advantage to use, spending $8.6 million over the last three weeks, while raising $717,936.
The filing shows that he has transferred $4.4 million to the state Democratic committee, which has largely been used as a surrogate to launch attack ads against Astorino.
Cuomo’s campaign alone has spent $2.3 million on advertising in the last week three weeks, the filing shows. Astorino has spent just over $500,000 during the same time period.
The filing also reveals that the publisher of Cuomo’s book, HarperCollins, paid $2,000 for the one-time use of the campaign’s email list in order to promote the governor’s memoir, “All Thing Possible” that was released last week.
Cuomo returned $10,000 in contributions from Alan Brand, a Long Island man who, along with his son, was indicted on charges of embezzling Medicaid funds. Cuomo spokesman Peter Kauffmann said the contributions were turned over to the state attorney general’s office rather than return the money to Brand.
Cuomo reported $95,479 in in-kind contributions for unspecified “travel” expenditures.
The governor last week traveled to the Caribbean to make stops in the Dominican Republican and Puerto Rico.
Oct 23rd - 10:33 am
Is Gov. Andrew Cuomo becoming pre-occupied by his own mortality?
It certainly seems that way whenever he is asked about whether he’ll serve out a second, four-year term.
Behind the question posed by reporters is obvious: Cuomo is believed to be a potential presidential contender or could be plucked for a high-profile cabinet post in a Democratic administration come 2017.
Each time Cuomo has been asked about serving out a full term, he makes a joke about having a “heart attack” or dying in the middle of the term — seemingly an effort to throw the reporter asking the question off balance.
This has happened at least three times.
The governor at the Business Council’s annual meeting in September was asked about serving out his full term if re-elected by Gannett’s Jon Campbell.
Here’s the exchange:
Campbell: Governor if you’re re-elected in November, will you serve a full, four-year term.
Cuomo: What if I die?
Campbell: It’s a possibility, but do you plan on serving a full, four-year term?
Cuomo: Do I plan on it? Yes. But now you just lost the question when you put ‘planning on it.’
And it was posed to the governor in an interview last week with The Wall Street Journal’s Erica Orden. Again, the mortality issue was raised:
WSJ: Are you going to stay here for four years?
Cuomo: That’s what I hope to do. Unless I drop dead with a heart attack or take a plane to Italy and decide not to come back.
Finally, in last night’s debate, the full term question was asked by panelist Bob McCarthy of The Buffalo News. Guess how Cuomo responded?
“If I drop dead of a heart attack how does that count? Does that violate the pledge?”
After a beat, Cuomo said, “yes.”
Oct 23rd - 10:20 am
From the Morning Memo:
New York’s largest gay and transgender rights organization is celebrating the governor’s election year pledge to push its signature policy issue in 2015, and hopes that will lead to the measure’s passage in Albany.
In a video recorded for the Empire State Pride Agenda’s fall gala, Cuomo called for the passage of Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, or GENDA, which has been approved by the Democrat-controlled Assembly, but remains stalled in the Senate.
Cuomo’s video, which he sent in lieu of an in-person appearance at the event last week (he was departing for a whirlwind trip to the Dominican Republican and Puerto Rico), is the first time the governor has specifically expressed a personal desire to see GENDA pass.
In a letter sent to ESPA several months ago, Cuomo said he has a “deep commitment to protect the rights of all New Yorkers – including those in the transgendered community.” He did not, however, cite GENDA specifically.
“Governor Cuomo calling for…GENDA, is the second time in recent months that we’ve seen true public support on this top human rights priority in New York,” said ESPA Executive Director Nathan Schaefer.
“With the power of the chief executive of New York State behind us, we’re more hopeful than ever that 2015 will be the year GENDA will finally pass and transgender New Yorkers will be treated as equal citizens in the eyes of the law.”
GENDA has been ESPA’s top priority since the passage of same-sex marriage in 2011 – a move that won Cuomo massive support in the LGBT community, and one he continues to tout as proof of his progressive bona fides.
ESPA, which has endorsed Cuomo for re-election, today is launching an “Out the Vote” contest to help turn out the vote on Nov. 4.
Through midnight Oct. 30, LGBT New Yorkers and their allies are being encouraged to share an image or video that explains why it’s important they vote to help secure a pro-LGBT state government by Tweeting @prideagenda or posting on ESPA’s Instagram or Facebook pages using the hashtag #OUTtheVote.
The winner, who will be announced on Halloween, will win a ride to the polls in style in a limo with room to bring three friends.
Oct 22nd - 8:12 am
From the Morning Memo:
Cuomo, Astorino and Hawkins have all filed questionnaires seeking the endorsement of the NYC-based good government group Citizens Union, and their answers – or lack thereof – are eye opening.
Cuomo, for example, declined to circle either “support” or “oppose” on the fill-in-the-blank portion of the questionnaire regarding whether the state attorney general should be empowered to investigate public corruption.
Underneath this section, Cuomo (or whoever filled out the survey on his behalf) wrote that he would “have to review specific legislation.”
The question of whether the AG should have more power in this realm has been an issue since Cuomo held the office.
Back then, he called for the governor – or the Legislature – to strengthen his ability to probe wrongdoing by state lawmakers in the wake of the infamous Troopergate scandal.
Cuomo’s call was not heeded by either former Gov. Eliot Spitzer (himself an ex-AG) or former Gov. David Paterson. Now that he’s governor himself, Cuomo has also declined to empower his successor, AG Eric Schneiderman.
The AG does not have subpoena power in public corruption cases, which has caused Schneiderman to get creative, teaming up with his fellow statewide Democrat, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, whose office does have that power, to prosecute the misuse of public funds.
The governor also neglected to circle either “support” or “oppose” on questions of judicial reform, saying he wants to work with the Legislature and other “stakeholders” to simplify a complicated system.
And as for specific budget reforms, the governor wasn’t interested in being nailed down on any of those, either, preferring instead to detail the reforms he has introduced into the budgeting process since taking office in January 2011.
On his questionnaire, Astorino refused to take a position on lowering campaign contribution limits for legislative and statewide candidates.
But he was clear in his opposition to limiting contributions from lobbyists, placement agents and others who do business with the state and also to closing the so-called LLC loophole.
“Well-meaning efforts to limit campaign contributions have only sent money underground,” Astorino wrote. “…Prompt public disclosure of political contributions is the best possible solution.”
Astorino said he supports all the budget reforms listed by Citizens Union, with the exception of one – limiting the ability of the governor to enact policy changes governing the use of resources in appropriation bills. The county executive didn’t take a position on that.
He did, however, express opposition to Prop. 1 – the redistricting constitutional amendment that has divided good government groups. Citizens Union is leading the charge to get it passed.
Cuomo supports Prop. 1.
It appears Hawkins did not fill out any of the “support” or “oppose” questions on the CU form. But he did express opposition to Prop. 1 and support of “full” public campaign financing. UPDATE: Hawkins over a copy of the short portion of his CU questionnaire, saying a “computer glitch” had prevented it from being sent in full.
Citizens Union said it has interviewed both Astorino and Hawkins in advance of its endorsement decision, but has so far not managed to schedule a sit-down with Cuomo.
The interview is usually required in order for a candidate to qualify for the organization’s nod. CU will announce its endorsement in the governor’s race in the coming days.
Oct 22nd - 5:30 am
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to hold a double-digit lead over his Republican opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, with less than two weeks to go before Election Day, according to a Siena College poll released this morning.
The poll found Cuomo leading Astorino, 54-33, with Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins receiving 9 percent of the vote.
The result is a slight dip for Cuomo from the previous month, when Siena College found the governor leading Astorino 56-27, with Hawkins at 7 percent.
With Hawkins gaining some ground in the polls, it’s possible the Green Party candidate can eat into a chunk of Cuomo’s overall total come Election Day.
“If Hawkins does that well on Election Day – something third party candidates often don’t do – then it will almost certainly make this year’s race closer than four years ago and keep Cuomo well below his total vote from 2010,” said Siena College pollster Steve Greenberg.
Cuomo received 63 percent of the vote against Republican Carl Paladino in 2010.
Hawkins is a proven vote getter for the Green Party. He received more than 50,000 votes in 2010 to give the party automatic ballot status this election.
Hawkins is hoping to tap into liberal dissatisfaction with Cuomo, and gain some of the supporters of Fordham Law School professor Zephyr Teachout, who ran a surprisingly strong primary challenge to the governor in September.
Still, the poll shows Cuomo blowing out Astorino in New York City, where he leads 72-16. He also has the support of 79 percent of self-identified liberal voters.
Upstate, Cuomo’s lead is smaller: He leads Astorino 47-38.
The race is closest in the suburban counties, where it is a virtual tie. Cuomo is actually trailing Astorino 44-46.
And the governor, who has pushed hard on his 10-point Women’s Equality Act, leads Astorino among female voters 65 percent to 25 percent, according to the poll’s crosstabs.
Cuomo has a favorability rating of 54 percent, compared to 43 percent of voters who do not have a favorable view of him – the highest unfavorable rating he’s garnered from Siena to date.
Astorino, a first-time statewide candidate, continues to show a high negative rating: 41 percent of voters have an unfavorable view of him, compared to 32 percent who view him favorably.
In the other statewide races, Democratic AG Eric Schneiderman holds a 20-point lead over his Republican challenger, John Cahill, 55-35. Schneiderman’s lead grew by 5 percentage points from last month – likely thanks to the fact that the AG is now running TV ads.
Meanwhile, in the race for state comptroller, incumbent Democrat Tom DiNapoli leads Republican Onondaga County Comptroller 58-31 – the largest gap of the three statewide races.
The poll of 748 likely voters was conducted from Oct. 16 through Oct. 20. It has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.
Oct 22nd - 1:16 am
After weeks of questions over why Governor Cuomo hasn’t endorsed him and a constant barrage of attacks from his political rivals, State Senate Candidate Marc Panepinto is firing back.
“I’m talking about the issues. My opponents want to talk about negative things. This guy did this. This guy did that,” Panepinto said.
The Buffalo Democrat will appear on the Democratic and Working Families lines on a crowed Ballot in New York’s 60th State Senate District. His chief rival, Incumbent Senator Mark Grisanti, lost the GOP Primary in September but not the support of his Republican colleagues.
The Senate Republican Campaign Committee is behind a scathing attack against Panepinto. The TV ad, details a 2001 election law misdemeanor. It accuses Panepinto of submitting “blatantly fraudulent voter petitions” and “personally forging signatures of handicapped voters and voters who had been dead for years.”
Panepinto claims he signed off on some signatures even though he wasn’t present when they were collected. Those signatures turned out to be bogus and the Democrat pleaded guilty to making false witness statements on petitions.
“Here’s somebody who’s been associated with organizations that affiliated with racketeering. He also had some other allegations against him that have to do with more election fraud. So it seems to be a pattern of abuse that this individual has. So we have make sure that this person is not elected to the state senate,” said SRCC Chair Cathy Young.
Panepinto briefly lost his legal license and has consistently expressed remorse over what he’s called a “mistake.” More than a decade later, Panepinto told Time Warner Cable News Reporter Ryan Whalen he’s moved on.
“I’ve paid the price for that. It’s ancient history and so if they want to continue to talk about what happened thirteen years ago, that’s fine. I think the voters want to know what their plans are for the next two years,” said Panepinto.
On top of that, Panepinto is facing new questions over his wife’s appearance in his campaign flyers. A man claiming to be an unaffiliated voter filed a complaint against Panepinto because he used his wife’s image, State Supreme Court Judge Catherine Nugent-Panepinto, in campaign flyers.
“This attack on my wife is disgusting,” Panepinto said.
Panepinto is confident his use of her image does not violate election law.
“The Office of Court Administration provided my wife with documentation that it is permissible for her to be in my commercials, in my advertisements as long as she’s not identified as a judge and we don’t even identify her by name,” Panepinto added.
As for Governor Cuomo’s endorsement, Panepinto told reporters at a rally for the Women’s Equality Act in Buffalo Tuesday that he’s not concerned about it. Panepinto pointed out he stands with the Governor on the WEA and the Buffalo Billion.
“I support the Governor on those agenda points and most of his agenda. The fact he hasn’t endorsed yet doesn’t concern me. He knows where he needs to be to pass the Women’s Equality Act and that’s not with Senator Mark Grisanti,” said Panepinto.
Grisanti is hoping to buck the odds and win on the Independence line. Kevin Stocker is the endorsed Republican and Attorney Timothy Gallagher is the endorsed Conservative Party Candidate.
Oct 21st - 4:12 pm
If you are a donor or a regular receiver of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign emails, you may have gotten an email from HarperCollins earlier today that promoted “All Things Possible.”
That’s because the book publisher, for an unspecified price, paid for the campaign’s email list in order to blast out the promotional note.
“Harper did rent a list from Governor Cuomo’s campaign for one time use to promote Governor Cuomo’s new book,” said Tina Andreadis, a spokeswoman for the publisher.
The use of the Cuomo campaign email list, as well as an email list from the state Democratic Committee, was first reported by The Daily News.
The cost of the email list will likely be reflected in Cuomo’s next campaign-finance report filed with the state Board of Elections.
Cuomo’s contract with the company is worth at least $700,000, according to a financial disclosure form the governor filed with state ethics regulators earlier this year.
Cuomo has promoted the book in appearances on David Letterman and in an interview with Charlie Rose. He also took a tour of local TV stations via satellite with guidelines being only the book would be discussed.
Previously, the governor’s re-election campaign emailed select donors to invite them to a book signing event at Barnes & Noble in New York City.
Sales for “All Things Possible” is currently ranked at 6,504 on Amazon.
Updated: Bill O’Reilly, a spokesman for Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, weighs in.
“Andrew Cuomo is twisting himself into a pretzel to explain all the government and campaign resources he is spending promoting a book for personal enrichment,” O’Reilly said. “Now he is caught giving Harper Collins an email list to try to buoy staggeringly poor book sales. If Harper Collins truly rented the list from Governor Cuomo, let’s see the terms of that rental agreement and the time stamped emails proving when it was coordinated. Mr. Cuomo said he’d be the most transparent governor in history. Here’s an opportunity to show it.”
Oct 21st - 2:21 pm
On the eve of the first – and it appears only – gubernatorial debate, which will take place tomorrow night in Buffalo, the state GOP has released a new TV ad trashing Gov. Andrew Cuomo for running a “mean-spirited” campaign and being “afraid” to debate his Republican opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.
The ad claims Cuomo is on the attack against Astorino because he is “failing” New Yok on taxes and job creation.
It also maintains the governor is under federal investigation for witness tampering and obsctuction of justice, which isn’t entirely true, though it has been speculated that those could be charges under consideration – if any charges are indeed to be brought – by US Attorney Preet Bharara, whose office is investigating the demise of Cuomo’s now-defunct corruption-busing Moreland Commission.
Also, there have indeed been tax cuts during Cuomo’s four years in the governor’s office, and according to data released today by the state Department of Labor, the statewide unemployment rate has fallen from 7.4 percent in September 2013 to 5.6 percent last month. Meanwhile, the national jobless rate improved from 7 percent a year ago to 5.7 percent this part September.
The state party is stepping in to assist Astorino in the final weeks of the campaign with this ad, which will run through Election Day. But it’s going to be difficult to make a dent in the flood of TV ads – both positive and negative – that the Cuomo campaign and the state Democratic Party have been running, since they are both flush with many more millions of dollars worth of campaign cash than Astorino has managed to raise.
Cuomo, Astorino, Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins and the Libertarian Party’s Michael McDermott will square off tomorrow in a debate sponsored by The Buffalo News and WNED/WBFO of Buffalo. The debate will be televised, and will kick off at 7 p.m.
Cuomo had offered to debate Astorino one-on-one on WNYC public radio, but Astorino rejected the offer, saying any head-to-head debates between the two major party candidates should be televised. Astorino had previously called for eight debates with the governor.
Here’s the script of the GOP’s new ad; the party is not disclosing the size of the buy or any details about where the spot is running:
Announcer: “Andrew Cuomo spent millions on campaign ads filled with lies. The reason: Cuomo’s failing New York.
Under Cuomo we have the highest taxes, and record job losses. Cuomo is at the center of Albany corruption, under federal investigation for obstruction of justice, witness tampering.
Cuomo failed on jobs, failed on taxes, and failed us. That’s why Cuomo is running a negative, mean-spirited campaign. And that’s why Cuomo is afraid to debate his opponent.”
Oct 20th - 4:45 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo should direct the state Department of Health to shut down gates at JFK International Airport and block planes carrying passengers from west African from disembarking, Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino said in a conference call with reporters.
Astorino, the Westchester County executive, ripped Cuomo’s response to the Ebola outbreak, which so far has infected two nurses.
Astorino in particular knocked Cuomo for at first saying a travel ban from west African nations wouldn’t work and then on Sunday expressed an openness to such a ban.
“We’ve got a governor right now who ridiculed me two weeks for saying this. He said it wouldn’t work,” Astorino said in the call. “Now yesterday he said he’d consider it, and yet I think he sees it as a nuisance during his book tour.”
Any flight ban would be up to the federal government, a move that Cuomo on Sunday said should be “seriously” considered at this point.
While there aren’t any direct flights from west African countries into JFK, Astorino said the governor should block incoming flights with passengers who originate from the region from disembarking.
“We’re going to be dealing with a major public health crisis soon,” Astorino said. “It’s a matter of when, not if.”
Astorino had initially stated passengers from Ebola-stricken countries should be barred from the U.S., but later in the call expanded on that by saying the entire plane’s passengers, including U.S. citizens, should be blocked
“We can’t just keep our heads on the sand,” Astorino said. “We should do everything possible to prevent this from happening.”
Ebola cannot be contracted through the air, water or through casual contact, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Oct 20th - 3:24 pm
All things are possible, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo says “interruptions” such as governing and running for re-election are interfering with his promoting of his new memoir, released last week.
Cuomo, in New York City earlier today to discuss airport upgrades with Vice President Joe Biden, dismissed questions about the poor reviews the book have received on Amazon (which, to be fair, were likely generated by an army of Internet-based Cuomo haters).
Speaking with reporters, Cuomo said the promotion of the book will be done “over a period of time” and not in one multiple week burst.
“It’s just started, right? I’m introducing the book, but it’s not like I can do it like you normally introduce a book,” Cuomo said. “You normally introduce a book and that’s all you do for weeks is sell the book. I’ve had a couple of interruptions that have happened in the mean time here. I have an election, I’m the governor, I have a day job, I’ve just been to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. I’m going to do this over a period of time as opposed to a sprint.”
Cuomo’s Republican opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, has knocked the governor’s book promotion tour as a way of capturing publicity in the final weeks of the campaign season.
In a brief interview on Capital Tonight, Cuomo said the book’s timing was not related to the election, but meant to allow him to discuss personal issues that had been on his mind.