D-Trip’s Guilt By Association

As Rep. Elise Stefanik and Republican congressional candidate John Faso hold a joint event on national and domestic security concerns, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Thursday is linking both of them to Donald Trump.

The DCCC in a statement pointed to controversial or unusual statements made by Trump during the presidential campaign about nuclear weapons, that he loves war “in a certain way” and the claim he would be able to teach military generals about best strategy to combat the Islamic State.

“When New York Republicans like John Faso and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik talk national security, it’s important to remember that both Republicans still trust Donald Trump with the nuclear codes,” said Bryan Lesswing at the DCCC. “It’s hard to trust John Faso and Elise Stefanik with keeping Americans safe when they support a dangerous and reckless candidate like Donald Trump.”

Both Stefanik and Faso are campaigning in battleground House races.

Faso is running for the open House seat in the 19th congressional district against Zephyr Teachout, while Stefanik is seeking a second term to her North Country district, facing Democrat Mike Derrick.

SD-46: Gillibrand Endorses Niccoli

From the Morning Memo:

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand today is set to endorse Democratic state Senate hopeful Sara Niccoli in her bid for the 46th district.

Niccoli is running to unseat Republican Sen. George Amedore in the district that stretches from the Hudson Valley to the Mohawk Valley.

“As a mother, farmer and public servant, Sara Niccoli understands the challenges facing this region, and she knows how to tackle them. Sara will be a strong, independent voice for reform and will fight to improve the quality of education our children receive while also reducing the tax burden on struggling families and businesses,” Gillibrand said in a statement to be released later on Thursday.

“I am proud to endorse Sara Niccoli on her bid to serve in the State Senate, and I look forward to having her as an ally to achieve real change here in New York.”

Niccoli is the town supervisor of Palatine.

“I am honored to be endorsed by Senator Gillibrand, and I thank her for supporting my fight to clean up Albany, bring good jobs to our region, and improve the quality of our children’s public education,” Niccoli said.

“While my opponent has been bought and paid for by downstate special interests, I am proud to be an independent voice for change in Albany and I will work tirelessly to improve our local communities.”

The district has been considered a battleground spot ever since it was created by Republicans during the redistricting process in 2012 and narrowly won by Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk. She was later defeated in rematch race by Amedore.

NY-24: House Dem Super PAC Yokes Katko To Trump

The super PAC allied with House Democrats on Tuesday released its latest TV ad in the 24th congressional district that once again seeks to tie Republican Rep. John Katko to Donald Trump.

In the ad, Katko is shown saying that Trump “wants to keep the country safe” and “has a lot of good principles.”

Katko, to be clear, has not endorsed Trump and hasn’t ruled out voting for an independent candidate for president.

But the independent expenditure group, the House Majority PAC, is spending up to $370,000 in airtime in the central New York district to push the point, even as a TWC News/Siena College poll show Katko leading Democrat Colleen Deacon by a wide margin.

“For Congressman Katko, it’s all about politics before principles,” said House Majority PAC Communications Director Jeb Fain.

“While Donald Trump laid out a dangerous agenda for our country, Katko parsed words and has even offered praise to his presidential ticket-mate. Central New Yorkers deserve better than a politician who couldn’t take a principled stand against the dangerous, divisive demagogue leading his party’s ticket.”

Katko and Deacon will appear in a TWC News debate from Syracuse at 7 p.m.

SD-39: Gillibrand Endorses Eachus

From the Morning Memo:

Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand later today will endorse Chris Eachus in his bid for the state Senate held by Republican incumbent Bill Larkin.

The Hudson Valley Senate race is one of a handful of districts Democrats are pushing to make competitive in order to gain control of the chamber this year.

“Chris Eachus has dedicated himself to serving the residents of the Hudson Valley, and I am proud to endorse his campaign for State Senate. Chris understands the economic challenges of struggling families and small businesses, and that our students deserve a world-class education that prepares them for the challenges of the future,” Gillibrand said in a statement.

“I know that with his dedication, and endless drive, Chris will make a fantastic State Senator who will fight for people of the Hudson Valley.”

The endorsement from Gillibrand comes the same day as Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to stump for Democrats running in key Senate races on Long Island — a major battleground that could sway control of the narrowly divided chamber this election cycle.

SD-60: NYSUT PAC Steps Up Spending

From the Morning Memo:

The independent expenditure committee backed by the New York State United Teachers union is increasing its efforts in the 60th Senate district, bolstering Democrat Amber Small in what is considering a linchpin for Republicans keeping control of the chamber.

Filings at the state Board of Elections show NYSUT’s Fund For Great Public Schools super PAC has invested in both mailers and TV ad production over the last week to knock Republican Chris Jacobs and boost Small’s chances in the battleground district.

The IE reported spending that includes $143,685 for a TV spot in the district opposing Jacobs’s candidacy. An additional $37,152 is being spent on anti-Jacobs mail from the committee, while $12,173 has been spent for mail promoting Small.

The super PAC’s spending comes as the state Republican Committee has complained to the Board of Elections over the PAC’s spending, alleging an illegal degree of coordination between the labor union and the independent expenditure committee — a claim that’s denied by NYSUT.

The spending also comes as the bulk of the attention for control of the Senate has been placed on Long Island races, specifically in Nassau County where Democrats hope to flip several GOP-held seats.

The 60th Senate district, however, is one of two Democratic-held seats Republicans hope to play offense through Election Day (Republicans are also pushing to unseat Democratic Sen. George Latimer in Westchester County with Republican Julie Killian).

Democratic Sen. Marc Panepinto is stepping down at the end of the year.

Dems Call For GOP To Denounce ‘Rigged Election’ Comments

Leaders of the Erie County Democratic Committee are putting the pressure on their Republican counterparts. They called for members of the GOP in Western New York to denounce the remarks made by Donald Trump during last night’s debate regarding whether he would accept the outcome of the election.

Trump would not commit when pushed by moderator Chris Wallace. The Republican nominee has repeatedly claimed on the campaign trail that he believes the election is being rigged against him.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said while some Republicans have already disavowed the statements, party members in WNY are trying to avoid the conversation.

“All across the board you have lots of candidates, lots of Republicans who are trying to hide after many months of being ‘Rah-Rah’ and supporting Donald Trump. Donald Trump is a danger to our democracy. Donald Trump is willing to put himself before our democratic institution,” he said.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, who is also the state Democratic Party chairman, said while he has heard many surprising things from Trump throughout the election cycle, this was the most surprising.

“One of our major principles has been the free and fair transfer of power in this country. For an candidate running for president, the Republican nominee, to say he potentially would not abide by the results of the election, by people of every state in this nation speaking for who they want to elect as their president – it threatens our very democracy,” he said.

Congressional candidate Diana Kastenbaum and state Legislature candidates Steve Meyer and Amber Small also spoke at the press conference Thursday afternooon. They specifically called on their opponents to address Trump.

Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy and State Chair Ed Cox are holding a joint media availability Friday afternoon.

Senate Dem Candidates Pounce On Corruption Arrests (Updated)

Senate Democrats are pressing their advantage after Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Oyster Bay town supervisor John Venditto were arrested by federal law enforcement on bribery and kickback charges.

Democrats had already sought to run competitive races in Nassau County Senate districts, including an open seat being vacated by incumbent GOP lawmaker Jack Martins as well as seats held by Carl Marcellino and Kemp Hannon.

Four of the Democrats running in Long Island races — Jim Gaughran, Ryan Cronin, Adam Haber and John Brooks — released statements blasting the corruption scandal and alleged kickback scheme that has also engulfed Mangano’s wife.

At the same time, Venditto is the father of Republican Sen. Michael Venditto, though he occupies what is considered a safe seat in the chamber and has not been charged in the case.

Gaughran, in particular, has sought to make the financial issues surrounding Oyster Bay a major theme of his campaign against Marcellino.

“This is a sad day, and an urgent reminder that we need to address public corruption and pass meaningful ethics reforms. All elected officials should be judged on what they have done to fight corruption, and my opponent, Carl Marcellino, has consistently enabled and supported Ed Mangano and John Venditto,” Gaughran said.

“Senator Marcellino’s longtime support of these two corrupt officials – both of whom should resign immediately – means he can’t be relied upon to bring the reform and change we so desperately need. As State Senator, I will fight to clean up Albany and root out corrupt officials on the state, county and local level.”

Long Island occupies some political importance for Republicans, given the power they held with the original “Long Island 9” bloc of GOP lawmakers, which was upended when Democratic Sen. Todd Kaminsky won the special election to fill the seat formerly held by Dean Skelos, the majority leader ousted after a corruption charge he is appealing.

“These politicians have spent years empowering Ed Mangano and John Venditto and protecting them as they abused their offices to line their pockets,” said Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy.

“Let’s be clear, the Nassau Republican Machine has done enormous damage to the residents, businesses and taxpayers of Long Island, and they are all to blame for the continued corruption festering on the Island. From supporting Dean Skelos to propping up Ed Mangano and John Venditto, every elected officials within the Nassau Republican establishment shares in the blame for the corruption and dysfunction which have plagued our communities for decades. These corruption enablers standing up now is not only laughable but offensive. It’s is easy to feign outrage after the fact but let’s be clear they are part of this Nassau Republican Criminal Enterprise.”

Updated: Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif responds.

“Senator Martins, Senator Hannon and Senator Marcellino and the Republican candidates who are running there have already called on the County Executive and Town Supervisor to resign. We have absolutely no tolerance for corruption of any kind, regardless of whether it is committed by a Democrat or Republican.

It’s important to note that the Senate Democrats were the subject of a very serious criminal referral and remain under investigation for an illegal scheme they hatched with Mayor de Blasio to circumvent the state’s campaign finance limits and steal the elections in 2014.”

SD-5: Gaughran Releases Ethics Plan

From the Morning Memo:

Jim Gaughran, the Democratic opponent of Republican Sen. Carl Marcellino on Thursday is set to release an ethics reform package aimed at campaign finance reform and recalling elected officials whose actions impact taxpayers.

“Long Island voters are tired of the corruption and scandals that have rocked state government and yet Senator Marcellino has ignored his constituents and has actually benefitted from the corrupt state quo in Albany,” Gaughran said.

“Our communities deserve new leadership and a State Senator who will work to clean up corruption, not be part of the problem. Carl Marcellino has proven that he will not fix our broken political system or take any real steps to reform state government, and Long Island families deserve better from our State Senator.”

The measures include new restrictions on the personal use of campaign funds and would bar the use of campaign cash for a criminal defense.

Officials whose handling of a municipality’s finances cause its bond rating to drop would be subject to a recall — a provision that’s aimed at the problems that have arisen in the town of Oyster Bay on Long Island.

And Gaughran wants to close the loophole in election law that allows unlimited donations through limited liability companies.

The Long Island Senate seat is one of a handful of races Democrats hope to wage a competitive contest in as they seek to flip control of the chamber in next months’ general election.

NY-18: Maloney Picks Up Fraternal Order Of Police Nod

From the Morning Memo:

Democratic congressional candidate Sean Patrick Maloney’s re-election bid is being endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, his campaign is set to announce on Wednesday.

The organization, the oldest police association in the country, doesn’t always endorse in congressional races, but did back Maloney and Republican Rep. Peter King two years ago in their re-election bids.

“I’m proud to have the support of the Fraternal Order of Police and so many of our brave men and women in blue who put their lives on the line to protect our communities,” said Maloney. “I’ve worked hand-in-glove with our local police departments to get more cops on the beat, combat the heroin and opioid epidemic, and keep our neighborhoods safe for families and businesses.”

Maloney faces Republican opponent Phil Oliva, a former aide to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, for re-election in the 18th congressional district in the Hudson Valley.

ASC Remains ‘Optimistic’ On Unity With IDC

Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins in a radio interview on Monday reiterated she remained optimistic Democrats in the mainline and independent conferences could come together to form some sort of power-sharing arrangement in the chamber.

“I’m optimistic we will be able to follow the lead of New Yorkers and New Yorkers who I believe after this cycle will want a Democratic majority in the Senate,” Stewart-Cousins said in an interview on WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom.

Stewart-Cousins was responding to a question on whether she would step aside in order for a Democratic majority to take hold in the Senate in favor of Bronx lawmaker Jeff Klein holding the top post.

In essence, Stewart-Cousins wouldn’t commit to the prospect of a Klein-led conference at the expense of her not becoming majority leader. Stewart-Cousins would be the first woman to lead a majority conference in Albany.

“I don’t imagine — I don’t know where that would go. Clearly if one becomes the leader that’s because the vast majority of Democrats voted for the leader,” she said. “As far as I know the process is the members vote for the leader. You step up when they vote for you, you step down when they don’t.”

The possibility that Klein, the leader of the Independent Democratic Conference, becoming the sole leader is one of several options facing the Senate, depending on the outcome of the election.

Klein in the past had formed a majority coalition with Republicans in the Senate when they fell into a numerical minority in the chamber. The arrangement gave Klein the power of Senate co-leader and he’s continued his working relationship with the GOP conference.

Even still, Stewart-Cousins said in the interview Monday morning she and Klein continue to speak, having had lunch recently.

“We have an ongoing relationship,” she said.