Lieutenant Governor

Sharpton Wades Into the LG Fray

From today’s Morning Memo:

Republicans have gleefully predicted that GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino’s selection of Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss as his running mate will pressure Gov. Andrew Cuomo to diversify the Democratic ticket this year.

Moss, who is unknown to many outside his home county, makes his debut on the statewide stage at the convention today. He is the first black statewide candidate in New York GOP history. He’s also believed to be only the fourth African-American from either major party to make it onto the statewide ballot.

In 2010, Cuomo was criticized for putting together an all-white, all-male ticket, with the exception of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who was running in a special election to keep the seat she inherited – compliments of New York’s first black governor, David Paterson – from Hillary Clinton.

At the time, Cuomo was believed to prefer Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice for attorney general, due to her ticket-balancing capabilities, but she lost the five way Democratic primary to then-state Sen. Eric Schneiderman.

Cuomo’s selection of then-Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy to be his running mate sparked criticism from black leaders – especially the Rev. Al Sharpton – and led Cuomo to promise that his administration, should he be elected governor, would be the most diverse in modern memory.

That mollified minority leaders for a while. But now that Duffy has announced he won’t be seeking re-election with Cuomo, they are again pressuring Cuomo to right the wrongs of 2010 by selecting a running mate of color.

So far, the only black contender on the public LG short list is Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, who was also mentioned as a potential No. 2 for Cuomo back in 2010.

But Sharpton apparently has some other ideas. During his National Action Network radio show yesterday, Sharpton expressed hope that Cuomo would this time heed the call to diversify the Democratic ticket, and even made some suggestions as to who the governor might consider:

“I hope that as the Democrats put their ticket together statewide that it is a diverse ticket,” Sharpton said.

“I’d like to see Governor Cuomo put somebody on the ticket – a lot of qualified African Americans and Latinos. Hakeem Jeffries, the congressman in Brooklyn. Eric Adams, the borough president. The borough president of the Bronx is Ruben Diaz Jr.”

“Many, many qualified people, and I’d like to see them run statewide.”

A little later on in the show, Sharpton reiterated his call, saying:

“I’m hoping they have a diverse ticket in New York State other states and other cities.”

“We need to vote and we need to see ourselves in positions on these tickets. And see the right representations, people that will fight and stand up in these executive positions or legislative positions for what is right.”

Coincidentally, Jeffries’ name was floated to me by a Democratic operative yesterday morning. He said Team Cuomo finds the idea intriguing, and Jeffries himself hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a statewide run.

But a source close to Jeffries scoffed at the idea, noting the former assemblyman only just got elected to Congress in 2012, and is seeking re-election this year.

Jeffries is viewed as an up-and-comer in D.C., and this source couldn’t imagine why he would give that up for a thankless job like lieutenant governor.

Unless, of course, the timeline for holding said thankless job was short, thanks to the national ambitions of the No. 1 – either as a candidate for president or a cabinet contender if a Democrat other than himself – like, say, Hillary Clinton – wins in 2016.

Buffalo Mayor Deflects Lt. Governor Rumors

Western New York was once again highlighted during Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s fourth State of State Address – a focus that has fueled rumors the governor may be considering Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown as his new running mate.

“The governor has been incredibly focused on Buffalo, on Western New York, Upstate New York,” Brown said.

“He has certainly put his Money where his mouth is. He has visited Buffalo frequently; I think more than 15 times last year alone.”

Despite weather concerns that prompted Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz to cancel his trip to Albany, Brown was in attendance at the Empire State Convention Center for Cuomo’s speech.

The three-term Buffalo mayor was gushing with praise after the governor concluded his remarks.

“He (Cuomo) certainly recognized that over the past decades, Upstate New York, Western, New York, Buffalo seemingly was forgotten by the state; we were left behind in many ways,” Brown said.

“But we’re also an area with great promise, great resources and he is making the investment in the second largest city in the State of New York to make the entire state stronger.”

“And those investments are certainly paying dividends in business development and job creation in our community.”

Since Lt. Governor Bob Duffy interviewed for the top job at the Rochester Business Alliance last year, without notifying Cuomo beforehand, whispers about his desire to leave the position have become louder. 

Brown was mentioned as a candidate for Lt. Governor back in 2010 and, with continued speculation over Duffy’s future, his name keeps coming up as a potential addition to the 2014 ticket.

Capital Tonight’s Nick Reisman asked Brown if he’d consider running as Cuomo’s running mate, if asked.

“My full focus and attention is on serving as Mayor of the City of Buffalo,” Brown responded. 

When Reisman noted that wasn’t exactly a Shermanesque denial of interest in the job, Brown responded:

“I’m just very focused on Buffalo and what’s happening here in Buffalo, tremendous year 2013, over $2.2 Billion in investment I’m hoping to see a continuation of that in 2014,” Brown responded.

Cuomo was scheduled to visit Buffalo Thursday for a Western New York version of the State of the State, but cancelled because of what his staff called a “scheduling emergency.” He’s sending EDSC President and CEO Ken Adams in his place.

Cuomo has lavished attention – otherwise known as “Buffalove” – on Western New York since the 2010 election, when he lost the region to his GOP/Conservative challenger, Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino.

This year, Paladino is threatening to mount a re-match against Cuomo, potentially running only on the Conservative line if the GOP’s selection of a gubernatorial candidate doesn’t measure up to his standards.

Cuomo Sets Economic Council Meetings (Update)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo today announced the first meetings for the 10 regional economic development councils, with the inaugural events being held this week.

Update: These won’t be public meetings. Rather, the councils will hold an organizational meeting and then follow that with a media availability. At the news conference, they’ll announce future public and private meetings. It’s all a bit questionable, since they’re talking about dividing up $1 billion public funds for economic-development aid.

The first meetings will be held Wednesday in Buffalo and Monroe County (a full schedule is after the jump).

Cuomo created the councils as a “bottom up approach” to job creation. The councils will compete for a $1 billion pool of money for tax credits and grants.

The competitive process will create both winners and losers, Cuomo said, with some regions losing out on the funds.

Cuomo, along with Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy, crisscrossed the state last week promoting the councils and announcing who would serve on them.

Duffy will be the councils’ chairman.

Cuomo also announced last week a sort of super committee that will oversee all 10 of the regional committees, which was set up to manage and streamline the process.

“The members of the state’s Regional Councils are true leaders in their respective industries,” Duffy said in a statement. “Involving community stakeholders and focusing on local economies will finally allow New York to identify and take advantage of the assets offered by different regions in the state. As Chair of the Regional Councils, I look forward to beginning our work together to open New York up for business and make our plans for economic development and job creation a reality.”

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Senate Considers Lt. Gov. Appointment Bill (Update)

The Senate will consider a bill today that would create a succession plan for the lieutenant governor, fixing an issue that could have ended the 2009 leadership coup early.

The measure, sponsored by Sen. Joe Griffo, R-Rome, would allow the governor to fill the lieutenant governor’s office if there’s a vacancy. The pick would be subject to Senate approval. There is no Assembly same-as measure.

The lack of a succession plan went into relief in 2009, when two Democratic lawmakers — Sens. Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate — joined with Republicans to overthrow the Democratic majority.

When Monserrate switch back to the Democratic fold, the Senate was tied 30-30. Because Eliot Spitzer had resigned in disgrace leaving Gov. David Paterson in charge, the temporary president of the Senate became the acting lieutenant governor.

It was unclear during the coup if Dean Skelos was filling that job or if it was Pedro Espada — that latter of which was an especially horrifying prospect for good-government groups and Democratic lawmakers. Paterson tried to appoint Richard Ravitch to fill the job, but then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said the appointment was illegal.

The Court of Appeals, however, ruled in favor of Paterson.

From the bill memo:

The recent vacancy in the office of Lieutenant-Governor has called attention to the fact that under current law, there is no method available to appoint a new Lieutenant-Governor. This bill would enact a system identical to the one used under the Federal Constitution to fill a vacancy in the office of the Vice-President. Requiring separate votes from each House of the Legislature, rather than a single vote in joint
session, ensures that no single House has enough votes to confirm the nomination by itself.

Senator Griffo tells CapTon that he is going to lay the bill aside today, because it doesn’t have an Assembly sponsor. He has introduced this bill for the past 4 years, even before the Senate coup. He tells us that the inspiration for the bill actually came from Alfred DelBello’s resignation back in 1985.

Duffy Made More Than Cuomo In 2010

Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy last year made more money in 2010 than his boss, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, thanks in part to his Rochester police pension.

Cuomo and Duffy both made available their tax returns today, something of a change from last year when the then-attorney general filed for an extension on his tax returns.

Cuomo reported an income of $148,609 and is due to receive a return from the feds for $8,050. He owes $3,582 in state taxes.

The governor listed the Westchester County residence of his girlfriend, TV chef Sandra Lee, as his full-time address. But he also paid $6,397 taxes for being a full-time New York City resident “out of an abundance of caution,” spokesman John Milgrim said.

Cuomo donated $10,000 to Help USA, the anti-homelessness organization he founded.

Duffy, who filed jointly with wife Barbara, reported $193,134 in income, with $122,879 from his job as mayor of Rochester and $70,255 from his police pension.

Barbara Duffy worked as a human resources consultant for St. John Fischer and reported a $42,600 in income.

The Duffys owed the federal government an additional $3,323 and are due to receive a $840 refund from the state.

Duffy reported donating $2,825 worth of clothes to Goodwill (quite a bit more than the $150 worth of clothes David Paterson gave) and gave $3,445 in cash donations. Details of the cash donations were not immediately available.

Dept Of There But For The Grace Of (Insert Preferred Deity Here)

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown released the following statement today:

“My son Byron was arrested this past Saturday, charged with petit larceny and issued an appearance ticket. My wife and I are greatly disappointed by this extremely poor judgment by our son.

“Although this is a private family matter, I want to make it clear that my son Byron will cooperate fully with the authorities throughout the ensuing legal process.”

The Buffalo News has more, reporting that Byron Brown Jr., 19, was accused of trying to shoplift items from the A.J. Wright store in Delaware Consumer Square in North Buffalo. He was accused of attempting to take clothing and an electronic device.

Also, there’s some history here, the News reminds us:

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Ravitch And Gov To Meet

LG Richard Ravitch is scheduled to meet in Albany this afternoon with Gov. David Paterson amid multiple reports in recent weeks that the relationship between the governor and his hand-picked No. 2 has been strained almost to a breaking point.

A Paterson administration source confirms the get-together is scheduled to take place at 12:30 p.m. and the LG is traveling from NYC, where he has been spending the bulk of his time, at the governor’s request.

Neither Ravitch nor Paterson has been shy about confirming they are at odds over the mulit-year borrowing/budget reform plan the LG proposed in March.
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Duffy Stands with (Some) Union Members

As we reported yesterday, Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Robert Duffy met with striking workers at the Mott’s processing plant in Williamson, NY this afternoon.

YNN’s Mike Hedeen reports the Rochester Mayor told the striking employees he supports their cause and will do what he can to get them back to the negotiating table with Mott’s parent company, the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.

Some may see this as Duffy riding both sides of the fence when it comes to union support.  Rochester police and firefighters have been working the last two years without a contract.  As mayor of Rochester, Duffy (who is the city’s former police chief) is putting his foot down when it comes to overtime for police and firefighters.

Duffy insists the Mott’s situation is different.

“You need businesses to thrive in New York State, you need workers to make those businesses thrive,” Duffy told Hedeen.  “It is a two way street.  This situation is far different than things I’ve dealt with in Rochester where you’re talking about overtime.  This is people that are working, they need to work, they need to put food on the table.”  Duffy went on to say, “I think there’s a lot of honor here in terms of what’s going on and a lot of loyalty.  It’s different than some of the things I’ve dealt with in my career in terms of the public sector, it’s far different.”

Mott’s employees walked off the job May 23 after rejecting what the company called its final contract offer.  That included a $1.50 an hour pay cut and a decrease in other benefits.  Duffy told the striking workers that he and his running mate, AG Andrew Cuomo, will do whatever they can to bring the two sides back to the negotiating table.

‘Loose Cannon!’

Ahem. Apparently someone didn’t get Team Cuomo’s memo on keeping a low press profile.

Here’s Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy being downright contrite with the local media earlier today, apologizing for being AWOL after he was officially tapped to be the Democratic gubernatorial nominee’s LG running mate and promising to be back to his old accessible self going forward.

My favorite moment is when he refers to himself as a “loose cannon” – Bidenesque!

I am a big fan of this unfettered LG contender – (that invite to come on the show is still open, Mr. Mayor) – but something tells me this state of affairs might not last long.

Samuels Drops LG Bid

In a move that doesn’t come as a big surprise, Bill Samuels will announce this afternoon that he’s suspending his campaign for lieutenant governor to focus solely on his New Roosevelt Initiative PAC’s efforts to elect reform-minded state senators.


Samuels, who announced his long-shot LG bid back in April, plans to un-announce this afternoon at a rally being held outside Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr.’s Mamaroneck home in mock celebration of the Senate coup’s one-year anniversary.

(Takeout sushi menus from the Bronx/Westchester Democrat’s favorite purveyor of raw fish will be distributed).

Espada is New Roosevelt’s first target. Jay Strell, a PR consultant who has worked with Samuels for some time, said the PAC will broaden his focus to include four or five other races. He declined to say immediately which incumbents will be in the crosshairs.

At one point there were two declared Democratic LG contenders – Samuels and Ramapo Town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence.
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