NY-19: Rhodes Campaign Emphasizes Local Ties

From the Morning Memo:

The campaign of Gareth Rhodes, one of the Democrats in the crowded field to take on Rep. John Faso in the 19th congressional district, has sought to bolster his case by pointing to his ties to the Hudson Valley.

That’s no small thing for a candidate, even if it seems basic: the last two Democrats to run in the 19th district, Sean Eldridge and Zephyr Teachout, were dogged by carpetbagging criticism in the battleground races. They both lost.

Democrats, too, may be wary of turning to a candidate without local ties to a district after the special election in Georgia’s sixth district, in which Jon Ossoff struggled to combat the criticism he didn’t live in the House seat he was running to represent.

A state of the race memorandum released by the Rhodes campaign on Tuesday took note of Rhodes having actually grown up in the district.

“Gareth was born in Kingston, raised working on a farm along the Walkill River in Ulster County, graduated from Kingston High School, worked for a water-well drilling business and served as a volunteer firefighter in the district,” the memo stated.

At the same time, his early fundraising has largely come from within New York. Of the $135,000 he’s raised, $107,200 has come from in-state sources.

Rhodes is facing a crowded primary field to win the Democratic nomination in what will likely be a closely watched congressional battle to take on Faso, a freshman Republican who has drawn the ire of Gov. Andrew Cuomo for a provision that would shift county Medicaid spending to the state government.

Rhodes is a former aide to the governor. The campaign memo was distributed this week by Josh Vlasto, a former spokesman for Cuomo.

The Senate Money Race

Donations to Senate Republicans continued to outpace the campaign committee supporting mainline Senate Democrats, campaign financed records show.

All told, the Senate Republican Campaign Committee reported $1.29 million in cash on hand after raising $1.2 million. The conference’s housekeeping account reported $84,663 in cash on hand, but had a high burn rate for campaign-related expenses totaling $707,901 over the last six months.

Mainline Democrats, meanwhile, reported $534,913 in the bank after raising $526,518 since the start of the year. In their housekeeping account, Senate Democrats retain $5,726 after spending $238,732.

The Senate Independence Committee, the campaign committee started by the eight-member Independent Democratic Conference, has $981,628 in cash on hand; $383,235 in its soft money account.

The fundraising race is key for the Senate, where the chamber is narrowly divided. Republicans maintain a majority with help from Brooklyn Democratic Sen. Simcha Felder, but the IDC plays a key role in legislative and budget negotiations.

Liberal advocacy groups have once again pointed to the alliance between Republicans and the IDC this year in urging Democratic control of the chamber.

The filings made public this week show Republicans continue to receive support from their traditional backers, including real estate interests and some labor unions.

Senate Democrats, meanwhile, received a $30,000 infusion of cash from the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, a Washington-based group that has sought to elect more Democratic candidates to state office.

State Dems Report Raising $1.5M

From the Morning Memo:

The state Democratic Committee on Monday reported top line fundraising numbers showing the party had raised more than $1.5 million over the last six months.

But the committee, under the control of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, also spent heavily during that time as well, showing $969,129 in expenses.

The committee ended the six month reporting period with $927,202 in cash on hand, according to Executive Director Basil Smikle.

A full itemized report of how the committee spent its money, and where it was raised from, is yet to be posted on the Board of Elections website.

But during the budget talks in March, Cuomo used funds from the state committee to promote his spending plan in TV ads, as well as ads celebrating the state’s diversity and efforts to oppose the federal health care bill to replace Obamacare.

Cuomo’s campaign on Monday reported more than $25 million in cash on hand for his re-election bid.

De Blasio Fundraises Off Mercer Support For Malliotakis

Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign zeroed in two of the donors to his likely Republican opponent Nicole Malliotakis: Robert and Rebekah Mercer.

Both Mercers are prominent donors to Republican causes, invested in Breibart News and are backers of President Donald Trump.

In a fundraising email, the de Blasio re-election campaign highlighted their support for Malliotakis.

“If you don’t know who they are, they are two of the biggest donors to Donald Trump’s presidential effort and helped place Steve Bannon on the campaign and in the White House. But more than that, they are key funders of the alt-right movement who have given millions of dollars to sustain the Breitbart news empire and even funded Milo Yiannopoulos’s speaking tour,” the email states.

“Their pockets have no bottoms. Robert Mercer even has a multi-million dollar train set, so one can only imagine the value they place on putting a Trump acolyte at the helm of the largest and most diverse city in America. We’re gonna need your help.”

De Blasio has sought to link Malliotakis to Trump in previous fundraising emails, including a tweeted picture of the two from a meeting in 2013. No matter who the Republican nominee would have been, it’s a strategy de Blasio was almost certain to deploy in his re-election bid for a second term.

State Officials Keep Voter Data Away From Trump Panel

From the Morning Memo:

New York is among the of states rebuffing efforts by President Donald Trump’s administration to gain access to voter registration information, all part of a stated effort to root out fraud.

Assembly Democrats released a letter urging the Board of Elections not to provide the voter data, arguing that in this instance, it’s not public.

“We’ve requested that they don’t share that information,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie during a stop in Syracuse last week.

For New York officials, including Heastie and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the request for identifying voter information from the commission established by the Trump White House is too broad.

“If there’s information that they want, there’s plenty of things that’s public, but I think their request went a little, not a little, a lot, beyond what I think a normal request should be,” Heastie said.

Trump established the commission after making a debunked and unsubstantiated claim that he lost the popular vote in 2016 because of millions of illegally cast votes. And, at least in New York’s case, much of what the president’s commission is seeking is not publicly available.

“That database is limited,” said Robert Freeman, the executive director of the Committee on Open Government. “It specifies for example a social security number, a motor vehicle ID photo — out of bounds, confidential, completely understandable.”

Freeman said the law is clear: A statewide database maintained by the state Board of Elections isn’t available unless there’s a clear election-related need.

“It also says that statewide list is only available for election purposes,” he said. “From my perspective and I can’t tell you that I’m an expert on the election law, the request by the federal commission does not involve an election.”

Campaigns already maintain reams of data on voters in effort to identify and target supporters in order to get them to come to the polls. Still, there are other avenues for gaining access to voter information by obtaining on the county level.

“The county boards of election have their own separate list of registered voters, names and addresses, among other items in many instances,” Freeman said. “As I read the election law, that list is available to anybody for any reason.”

For now it’s not clear what the commission will do to compel states to release the voter information.

1199 Endorses Perkins For Full Council Term

New York City Councilman Bill Perkins on Wednesday was endorsed by the key labor union 1199SEIU in his bid for a full term.

Perkins, an upper Manhattan Democrat, won a special election in February, vacating his seat on the state Senate.

“When it comes to standing up and fighting for what is right, Bill Perkins has always been there fighting for working people,” said Helen Schaub, New York State Director of Politics and Legislation at 1199SEIU.

“He has fought for jobs and better working conditions and quality healthcare for all He’s been tireless in fighting for justice, fairness and equality and has a proven record of taking action and getting results. We look forward to continue to work with Bill Perkins in the City Council and are excited to join his team and help him win.”

Perkins has previously received the endorsement of a range of labor groups including 32BJ, RWDSU, CWA Local 1, UAW, Professional Staff Congress and the Doctors Council SEIU.

“I’m honored to receive the endorsement of 1199SEIU. I thank the more than 220,000 NYC members for the work they do every day to help our city and the leadership they have provided to promote good jobs and quality healthcare. This is a major endorsement because this is a union that not only supports candidates but whose members really work to make a difference,” he said.

“It is another sign of the momentum we are feeling as we build a large and diverse grassroots campaign that is moving this campaign forward. I look forward to working with 1199SEIU to win this campaign and improve the lives of the people of my District and City. Together, we can make a difference for families today, and for generations to come.”

NY-19: Rhodes Raises More Than $133K

From the Morning Memo:

Democratic House candidate Gareth Rhodes will report having raised approximately $133,500 in his bid to take on Republican Rep. John Faso in the 19th congressional district.

Rhodes, a former aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, entered the race and began fundraising in the middle of the reporting cycle which ended June 30. In June alone, Rhodes’s campaign took in $111,900.

All told, he raised campaign funds from 678 contributions. Of those, 498 were of $100 or less and 168 contributions were for $19 — part of his campaign’s “19 to flip NY-19″ push.

“From day one, we said this campaign to repeal and replace John Faso would be fueled by a grassroots effort, and with nearly $135,000 raised in less than eight weeks from nearly 700 donations – many of whom contributed $19 to flip NY-19 – we have shown that we can stand up to Trump and repeal and replace Faso by relying on overwhelming grassroots energy, excitement and support,” Rhodes said in a statement.

Rhodes is part of a crowded field of Democrats seeking the nomination to take on Faso in the Hudson Valley House district.

The 19th district has long been considered a battleground district. Last week, the non-partisan Cook Political Report moved the 19th district from “Lean Republican” to the toss-up column.

Latimer Receives 32BJ Nod

Democratic Westchester County executive candidate George Latimer on Wendesday received nod from the local 32BJ labor union.

Latimer, a state senator faces Ken Jenkins, a county legislator, for the Democratic nomination to face incumbent Republican Rob Astorino.

“Whether in the State Senate, the Assembly, the Westchester County Board of Legislators, or the Rye City Council, George Latimer has steadfastly supported working men and women throughout three decades of public service,” said John Santos, Vice-President of 32BJ.

“He has always been able to work across the aisle while vigorously supporting the interests of working men and women fighting for good jobs that enable them to take care of their families. We are proud to support George Latimer so that we can bring forward-looking, inclusive policies to the County Executive office in Westchester.”

Latimer’s candidacy also been backed by the county Democratic committee, the Working Families Party as well as the Independence Party in the county (the latter of which is something of a controversial line and the local party’s chair is locked in a feud with Astorino).

“My father spent his work life as a maintenance man,” Latimer said. “Local 32BJ is there to fight for all the working men and women who are trying to support their families and give their children a better life, just like my Dad. I stand by them, and I am deeply honored they are standing by me.”

The race is being closely watched this year, given Astorino’s potential second run for governor next year.

Gianaris Blasts ‘Extraordinarily Embarassing’ Session

Democratic Sen. Michael Gianaris in a statement Wednesday blasted the lack of any agreement in the extraordinary session in Albany for bolstering New York City’s ailing subway system.

“This extraordinary session is extraordinarily embarrassing for our state,” Gianaris said. “Make no mistake, this sorry chapter represents a dereliction of duty by state leaders who are failing to perform their most basic responsibilities. Instead of saving our mass transit system and working on other important issues, we’re wasting taxpayer dollars so politicians can come to Albany and stare at each other. It is an outrage of epic proportions.”

Gianaris, a Queens Democrat, had urged state leaders to take up a plan that would have provided more funding for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority through new taxes on those who make more than $1 million in the New York City MTA service area as well as hotel occupancy taxes.

A plan related to the MTA does not seem to be in the mix in Albany as straphangers increasingly turn their ire on Gov. Andrew Cuomo following the latest subway derailment.

Cuomo, who has boosted MTA capital spending, on Tuesday in a statement pointed to the appointed of Joe Lhota as the authority’s new chairman who is being charged with turning the problems on the system around.

NY-22: Brindisi Launches Bid For Congress

Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi on Wednesday officially launched his campaign for the House district held by Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney, pledging to be “independent voice” in Congress.

In a statement, Brindisi touted his efforts for state funding for small-city school districts and pledged to oppose “irresponsible and mean health care policies.”

“I believe in an economy that rewards hard work,” Brindisi said.

“We need to create private-sector jobs, to invest in our local economy with tax breaks for the working and middle class, and ensure that our local workforce is ready to fill new jobs. We must invest in education and infrastructure to attract new businesses, while using apprenticeship programs to train those who will rebuild our manufacturing base and pay them living wages.”

The National Republican Congressional Campaign in a statement knocked Brindisi, linking him to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — a strategy deployed in the special election this month for a Georgia House race won by by GOP candidate Karen Handel.

“After all, Brindisi has spent years rubber-stamping Cuomo’s failed liberal agenda in Albany – and Nancy Pelosi knows he would do the same for her in Washington,” said NRCC spokesman Chris Smith. “Guess you can’t blame her for seeing an opportunity in a political opportunist.”