Ed Koch

GOP Chair Seeks Pataki-esque Gubernatorial Candidate

From the Morning Memo:

State GOP Chairman Ed Cox is putting a priority on competence over charisma when it comes to selecting a candidate to take on Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo this fall.

When I suggested during a CapTon interview earlier this week that the Republicans need to fine someone outside the box to run – someone like a brash, rich, former real estate developer-turned-reality TV star who beat the odds and made it to the White House – Cox replied:

“You really want me to have a disaster as a candidate, don’t you? I want to have someone who everyone will say: this guy can be governor…somebody who knows how government works. I don’t want splash. I want substance. I want a substantive governor, who, along with a majority in the state Senate, who can take this state in the direction it needs to go.”

Recall that Cox wasn’t exactly a full throated Donald Trump supporter back in the day, and definitely wasn’t part of the push led by Western New York GOP elected officials to get Trump to run for governor.

And Cox saw his party get burned by made-as-hell Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, who won an upset GOP primary victory to land the line against then-AG Cuomo in 2010. Paladino lost big in the general election, though he performed well in his home region of WNY, which led Cuomo to lavish attention on the area – particularly Buffalo – for years to come.

When I suggested Cuomo is going to spend big money trying to tie his Republican opponent to the unpopular president, Cox retorted: “It’s not going to work. It’s going to be about him. People will understand.”

The chairman suggested Cuomo is going to be “haunted by the ghost of Christie past,” invoking the former Republican governor of New Jersey who was implicated – but never charged – in the infamous Bridgegate scandal. Christie’s aides took the fall for that mess, and he paid a political price, seeing his presidential aspirations go down the tubes.

Cuomo will have a similar experience once the Buffalo Billion corruption trials – particularly that of his longtime former aide, Joe Percoco – get underway, Cox predicted.

Cox is continuing to insist that the GOP has time to coalesce around a candidate, even though the governor is sitting on a massive campaign was chest – we’ll find out exactly how big of a haul he has managed to amass later this month.

And, the chairman – as many underdog Republicans have before him – likes to remind everyone that a little-known state senator named Pataki came out of nowhere back in 1994 and defeated the liberal lion, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, in a major upset victory.

Just like that race was a referendum on Cuomo-the-elder – an ABC, or “anybody but Cuomo” situation that developed when the then-incumbent decided to seek a fourth term – Cox insists that this fall will be more about the current occupant of the executive mansion that whoever the GOP selects to challenge him.

“When you’ve been governor for two terms, when your party has been in the governorship for three terms, it’s a question of your record, it’s a referendum of you,” the chairman said.

“What we need to put up is someone like George Pataki. Who people have to look and say: Yeah he could be governor, now let’s look at what the governor has done. Hey! We need to replace this guy. He’s not doing a good job for the people of this state.”

After losing the GOP’s top contender, Harry Wilson, Cox specifically mentioned Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, who went on not 24 hours later to announce he’s no longer considering a run; Deputy Senate Majority Leader John DeFrancisco; and – with a little prodding – Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb.

He didn’t name former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra, a Democrat-turned-Republican who is trying to sell party leaders on this moderate brand of politics, and formally announced his campaign yesterday.

Koch Regretted His Upstate Jibe

As Liz pointed out in today’s morning memo, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch regretted his mocking of upstate in a 1982 Playboy Magazine interview in which he criticized the area’s “small-town life” and “gingham dresses.”

In fact, Koch told Liz back in 2010 that had he been elected governor over Mario Cuomo that year, he would been the best governor for upstate.

“Wasn’t I stupid? Stupid! Well it wasn’t really a question of changing my mind,” he said in that 2010 interview on Capital Tonight. “It was, I said them, in jest to a reporter who was disparaging the city of New York and I was conveying to him how the city meant so much to me. ”

Koch lost that race in part thanks to a big turn out in western New York for Cuomo, while he narrowly won the city itself. Overall, Cuomo would capture 67 percent of the upstate vote in the Democratic primary and that ill-fated interview in Playboy was given the lion’s share of the blame.

“But in any event, New York State is one of the great, most beautiful states in the union, and had I won the governorship I would have done more for upstate than any governor who, in fact, was elected. It’s outrageous that unemployment is so high upstate.”

Silver, Skelos, Klein Mourn Ed Koch

Here’s the statement from Speaker Sheldon Silver on the passing of Ed Koch.

It is with great sadness that I mourn the passing of the inimitable Ed Koch. Born and educated in New York City, the son of Jewish immigrants, a staunch supporter of Israel, Ed was a man I respected and a friend I treasured.

We served the people of Lower Manhattan together, and I remember fondly walking the neighborhoods with Ed and witnessing the charisma and empathy he brought to every encounter. I am proud to have had him as my congressman and mayor.

Ed’s path through life led from the Bronx to the battlefields of Europe back to the skyscrapers of Manhattan. He was a visionary who used his political acumen to bring his dreams to fruition and to blaze a trail wide enough for a generation of New Yorkers to follow.

The resolve with which he fought for his city, state, and country forged an admirable legacy. Thanks to his leadership as mayor, the City was transformed. From restoring fiscal stability, to building affordable housing, Ed’s mayoralty fueled a metropolitan renaissance.

A decorated veteran, Ed never hesitated when it came to fighting necessary battles. He went to war when his country called him. He served the people as a City councilman, congressman, and mayor, and remained a devoted public servant long after his time in office. Looking at the tenacity with which he continued to advocate for the issues dear to his heart – transparency in government, access and equality for the citizens of this city and state – one could argue that Ed never left office.

Although our opinions sometimes diverged, I will miss his colorful character, his bold spirit, and his sharp wit. A great New Yorker has passed away this morning. May he rest in peace.

And here is the statement from Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, who butted heads with Koch in past years over redistricting. Koch specifically called out Skelos for not living up to the pledge he made to Koch’s group NY Uprising to support independent redistricting.

With the passing of Ed Koch, New York has lost one of its true larger-than-life political leaders. He had a passion for public service, and an outsized personality to match.
As a Congressman, Mayor and political commentator, Ed Koch brought enthusiasm to everything he did, and he never stopped fighting for the causes he believed in.
All those who knew or worked with Ed Koch, or were fortunate enough to meet him, understand today that he’ll be sorely missed by the people of New York.

And here is Senate Independent Democrat Leader Jeff Klein’s statement on Koch’s death.

“Ed Koch was a rare breed of politician. I learned that first-hand while interning on his second reelection campaign. It was my first foray into politics, and it was an experience that I will never forget.

“Mayor Koch was a brash, honest, and unyielding reformer. But what set Ed Koch apart was that he always took the time to articulate his argument in thoughtful and compelling terms. During his years in and out of elected office, New York was the better for it.

“As many of us valued, there was never any hiding the ball with Ed Koch. Whether we were discussing policy or politics, I always knew exactly where he stood. That’s something that many in public life have tried to emulate, but few have had the courage to replicate.

” I send my deepest condolences to his family and friends. We will all miss him.”

Pataki On Koch Death: ‘Happy To Call Him Friend And Share The Ride’

Our inbox is getting filled up with lots of statements on the passing of Ed Koch.

This one just came in from former Governor George Pataki who received Koch’s endorsement when he ran for Governor for the first time in 1994, unseating Mario Cuomo.

“The ‘elevator’ of life, like politics has its ups and downs and no one enjoyed the ride more than our great Mayor, Ed Koch. From his outspoken honesty, to his great New York accent, Hizzoner was larger than life. His wit, his wisdom, his candor and his irrepressible spirit will be sorely missed. I was so happy to call him friend and share the ride.”

RIP Ed Koch

After a flurry of misinformation this morning, a spokesman for Ed Koch confirms that the outspoken former New York City mayor has indeed passed away at the age of 88.

The cause of death was congestive heart failure, according to George Arzt.

The funeral will be Monday in Manhattan at Temple Emanu-El, and it will no doubt be attended by political dignities of all stripes.

Koch was a larger-than-life character who could swing from completely irascible to totally lovable in a matter of moments.

In other words, he was a true New Yorker.

He remained active in city and state politics until the end, and he was a frequent Capital Tonight guest.

I will miss him.

Koch In Intensive Care

Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, 88, is in the intensive care unit at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia Hospital, his spokesman confirmed this afternoon.


George Arzt said Koch’s cardiologist, Dr. Joseph Tenenbaum, wanted to “monitor the mayor more closely.” He did not provide any additional details.

Koch has been in and out of the hospital over the past several weeks. He was readmitted on Monday after being released two days earlier following treatment for water in his lungs and legs. The former mayor also was showing an iron deficiency.

Koch initially went to the hospital on Jan. 19. He also was hospitalized in December with a respiratory infection and in September with anemia.

The former mayor has remained active in NYC and state politics in recent years, mounting an aggressive statewide refom campaign during the 2010 election cycle. But he has also not shied away from the inevitable. Back in 2008, he purchased  a burial plot in Trinity Church Cemetery, saying: “The idea of leaving Manhattan permanently irritates me.”

Koch’s ill health kept him from campaigning as planned on behalf of President Obama in Florida late last year. The September hospitalization, during which he received several blood transfusions, also caused Koch to miss the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

But he nevertheless monitored the proceedings, and managed to make his displeasure known when the DNC removed from the party platform three sentences mentioning support for Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Also removed were the words “God-given” and a reference to Hamas and a pledge to isolate the organization until it “renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and abides by past agreements.”

The party quickly scrambled to restore these passages to the platform during a rather disorderly voice vote.



Koch Back In Hospital

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch is back in the hospital this weekend after swelling built up in his ankles, his spokesman said.

Koch, a contributor to NY1’s Wiseguy segment on Inside City Hall, was admitted to the hospital this morning, and it is unclear how long he will stay.

This is the third time in the past six months that the former mayor and good-government crusader has been hospitalized.

Koch was admitted to the hospital most recently in December when he was treated for a respiratory infection.

Koch Hospitalized

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch is in the hospital today after being admitted with a respiratory infection, his spokesman George Arzt said this afternoon.

Koch, who turns 88 next week, is being treated with antibiotics at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Arzt said.

The former mayor was admitted to the hospital back in September, the same week as the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte and was treated for anemia.

Koch in recent years became a force for good-government in New York, pushing lawmakers and legislative candidates to run on his platform of independent redistricting and ethics reform in Albany.

Ed Koch’s Ordeal

Everyone has a Sandy story, including Ed Koch.

Koch emailed the following recap of his storm experience to the list of people who receive his regular commentaries and movie reviews:

“When I woke up on Tuesday morning, I had no electricity in my apartment. After being told by my doorman that it could be off for five or more days, I decided to leave the building, even though it required walking down 16 flights of stairs.”

“The concierge assigned a young man to carry my suitcase and accompany me down the stairs. I was very grateful for his assistance, good humor and his flashlight. The descent wasn’t easy because of my physical condition. (I have spinal stenosis, a pacemaker, congestive heart failure and walk with a cane.) After about a half-hour which included several rests we arrived in the lobby.”

“I then traveled by car over the George Washington Bridge to my sister’s home in New Jersey. She lives in a wonderful assisted-living complex, and although she had no electricity, a generator provided access to a working elevator which I took to her apartment on the fourth floor. I stayed overnight and on Wednesday morning went to my office in midtown Manhattan where I wrote my movie reviews and this commentary.”

“New Yorkers are resilient. Nevertheless, these catastrophes make us appreciate the importance of energy to the world as much as fire was appreciated by prehistoric mankind. When I think of the problems others in the city had during the storm, including over 100 homes burning to the ground, heart attacks, lethal injuries as a result of accidents including falling trees, and 75 people nationwide who lost their lives, I realize how lucky most of us have been, suffering primarily inconvenience.”

“I saw my cardiologist, Dr. Joseph Tenenbaum, today, and he said the feat of going down 16 stories established that I am stronger today than I was when he last saw me before the storm. That’s good news.”

The 87-year-old Koch was hospitalized last month for several days (just as Democrats were fighting down in Charlotte over the removal of language regarding God and Jerusalem from their party platform at the national convention). He was treated for anemia, receiving several transfusions at the time.

Thankfully, he appears to be recovering well.

Koch Backs Murphy, Blasts ‘Ryan-Grimm Budget’ In NY-11

Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch is poised to deliver what I believe is his second congressional endorsement in this general election cycle, announcing his support of Democrat Mark Murphy, who is trying to oust freshman GOP Rep. Michael Grimm in NY-11.


In a statement released by Murphy’s campaign, Koch said he has gotten to know the candidate in recent years and has been impressed by his “commitment to Democratic values, his political pragmatism, and his understanding of the issues affecting middle class families today.”

“There is a strong feeling across the city and country that the middle class is under attack,” Koch continued.

“The policies in the Ryan-Grimm budget are hostile to Medicare and Medicaid and other safety net provisions which protect the middle class and the poor. Of course the wealthy – millionaires and billionaires – are protected.”

“We need members of Congress who will fight for the middle class and those in need of a helping hand. Mark Murphy will fight back in Congress and be a strong voice for middle class families and others in need who are struggling.”

The “Ryan-Grimm budget” is, of course, a reference to the controversial budget plan proposed by Congressman-turned-vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, on which Grimm twice voted “yes.”

The strategy of linking Republican congressional candidates – both incumbents and challengers alike – to Ryan’s budget plan is one that is being employed by Democrats all across New York and the nation.

Democrats were practically gleeful when Mitt Romney selected the Wisconsin congressman as his runningmate – especially here in New York where his proposals, particularly when it comes to overhauling Medicare, played a key role in Democratic Rep. Kathy Hochul’s upset special election victory in a GOP-dominated WNY district last spring.

Koch, who spent several days in the hospital being treated for anemia, said he will hit the campaign trail on Murphy’s behalf “in the days ahead”, but didn’t provide any specific dates or events he plans to attend. He also said he will “get other Democratic leaders involved in this campaign.”

The NY-11 fight isn’t in the top tier of competitive House races in New York, but it is nevertheless worth keeping an eye on. The race does have sleeper potential, thanks to the FBI probe of Grimm’s fundraising and recent arrest of his bundler, Ofer Biton.

In August, the DCCC added Murphy to its list of “Red to Blue” candidates, which highlights the race in hopes of drawing donors from around the nation. Murphy’s campaign touted an internal poll this past summer that showed his opponent with a double-digit lead, but under the magic 50 percent mark.

NY-11 includes all of Staten Island and a piece of Brooklyn. It’s Democrat-dominated, but has an unusually high number of Republicans for a NYC district and also trends fairly conservative. Koch appeals to a certain brand of conservative Democrat – particularly Jewish voters.

(In case you were wondering, the other House candidate who has been endorsed by Koch this year is Grace Meng. He backed the Queens assemblywoman after she won the June 26 primary in the newly drawn Brooklyn/Queens NY-6).