NRCC Slams ‘Zany Professor’ Teachout

The NRCC is out with yet another TV ad slamming Democrat Zephyr Teachout in the NY-19 race, which is fast becoming one of the most expensive congressional contests in the state this election cycle.

This ad perpetuates a theme that Teachout’s opponent, Republican John Faso, started early on in this race: The idea that being highly educated – and, in fact, a college professor – is somehow a negative thing linked to extreme liberalism.

That’s an idea many conservatives have been pushing for some time, that many colleges and universities are liberal hotbeds where professors are indoctrinating, perhaps even brainwashing, students in a leftist agenda.

(For the record, my father is a veteran professor of Political Science at SUNY New Paltz, and he’s a Republican).

The ad also criticizes Teachout for her support of, and subsequent endorsement by, self-professed Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who challenged Hillary Clinton from the left during this year’s presidential primary.

It also accuses Teachout of wanting to raise a whole host of taxes, including energy taxes, which is an issue over which the candidates clashed repeatedly during the TWC News debate in Woodstock last night.

Here’s the script of the new ad:

“Announcer: Remember that zany professor…who always pushed their liberal agenda? That’s Professor Zephyr Teachout.

She supports Obama’s dangerous Iran nuclear deal. And Professor Teachout supports higher property taxes, higher energy taxes, and higher estate taxes.

That’s probably why Teachout loves Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders. He’s from Vermont, just like her. Zany Professor, Zephyr Teachout. She’s just not one of us.”

NRCC is responsible for the content of this advertising.”

NY-19: Faso And Teachout To Debate Tonight On TWC News

The Hudson Valley is once again playing host to a costly and hotly contentious congressional race.

The race includes charges like these, from Republican John Faso, speaking of his opponent, Democrat Zephyr Teachout: “I have a free-enterprise, market-based approach. My opponent is a socialist. She wants the government to do everything,” Faso said.

For her part, Teachout has blasted Faso’s resume as a state assemblyman and, for the last decade, a prominent lobbyist in Albany.

“People aren’t looking for a lobbyist to take on corruption in Washington and he’s sort of the ultimate insider,” Teachout said.

Both candidates will face off in an exclusive debate on Time Warner Cable News at 7 p.m., live from the Woodstock Playhouse.

But the race has also focused on policy: Faso has pledged to reign in taxes and regulations in Washington, and criticized Teachout’s stance in opposition to the state cap on property tax increases.

“It matters because it shows the general philosophy. She’s going to raise taxes on middle class New Yorkers,” Faso said.

Teachout says she’d rather see a circuit-breaker, which links tax relief to a household’s income.

“There are people who are paying 10 percent, 20 percent of their income, on property taxes,” Teachout said. “It really affects our seniors, it really affects people who have property in their family a long time and it’s something I’m really committed to pushing for.”

Faso says he wants to continue the legacy of outgoing Republican Rep. Chris Gibson, who is retiring this year after three terms. Two years ago, Gibson fended off a well-funded challenge from Democrat Sean Eldridge. Like Faso this year against Teachout, Gibson knocked Eldridge for his tenuous ties to the district, applying the carpetbagger label to the first-time candidate.

“I want just like Chris Gibson has done, who’s endorsed me, just like he’s done, we need to work across the aisle to figure out how do we solve the problems of our country,” Faso said.

And Teachout says that if elected she’d focus on aiding small businesses, not large corporations.

“You hear a lot about independent businesses who are really struggling and have been struggling for a while,” Teachout said. “The big businesses are doing fine. The big corporations are doing fine.”

Both candidates do have at least on thing in common: Running for governor. Faso sought the job in 2006, losing to Eliot Spitzer. Teachout unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination against Andrew Cuomo in 2014.

NY-19: Another Super PAC Enters The Fray

From the Morning Memo:

Yet another Super PAC has decided to weigh in on the NY-19 fight to replace outgoing Republican Rep. Chris Gibson, adding to the rapidly mounting tally of outside spending on this hotly contested race. 

National Horizon, a conservative group, this morning is launching its first – and so far only – TV ad in New York, aiming to boost the Republican contender in this contest, former Assembly Minority Leader John Faso. 

The ad echoes a theme Faso and his allies have been pushing hard lately, accusing the Democrat running in NY-19, Zephyr Teachout, of wanting to significantly raise a plethora of taxes. 

The script features a female narrator who says: 

“More of the same, that’s Zephyr Teachout. More taxes. More political double-talk. Teachout opposed a cap on property taxes here. She backed a new ten billion dollar tax on investments. and on energy, Professor Teachout wants something she calls a quote fee and dividend system, a quote tax is what regular folks might call it. Zephyr Teachout, more of the same with more taxes.”

Republican strategist Nelson Warfield, who has long been involved with National Horizon, said the Super PAC is spending about $150,000 on this ad, ($10,000 of that is to cover production costs), which will run on Albany-area network and cable stations for the next week. 

Warfield said National Horizon decided to get involved in this race because it believes Teachout “presents a unique threat to the public purse,” adding: “A kooky professor is fun at a cocktail party, but in Congress, it’s another matter entirely.” 

This is a potentially potent line of attack against Teachout, especially when it comes to her opposition of the popular property tax cap, which she first expressed in 2014 when she was challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary. 

Teachout recently released a video explaining her position on taxes and pushing back against what she characterized as “lies” about her position. She expressed support for a circuit breaker, which is an idea long embraced by progressive advocates and organizations in New York. 

National Horizon hasn’t done much work in New York since 2012, when it spent $500,000 to assist Republican Wendy Long, who was then challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. 

Long ended up losing to Gillibrand in a landslide that year. She’s now running a long-shot campaign against the state’s senior U.S. senator, Chuck Schumer. 

NY-19: Warren Endorses Teachout (Updated)

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a hero to the progressive left, has endorsed Democratic congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout, her campaign announced in a fundraising email.

“Everyone from billionaire hedge fund managers to the Koch brothers’ corporate PAC is pouring money into defeating Zephyr Teachout,” the Massachusetts senator said. “Why is she one of the biggest targets in the country? Because Zephyr isn’t for sale. They know Zephyr will fight to protect social security from Wall Street. She’ll take on bad trade deals. She’ll help hold big banks accountable and get them lending to farmers, families, and small businesses again.”

The news isn’t surprising in part since Teachout and Warren have similar resumes as academics, and Teachout has the potential of modeling her career in the House after Warren’s advocacy in the Senate.

Warren, in the email, certainly seems to think Teachout will have a similar approach to the job if elected.

“I want to serve in Congress with Zephyr so we can put people before powerful interests. Zephyr has the kind of truly independent voice we need,” she said.

Teachout is running in the battleground 19th congressional district against Republican John Faso. GOP incumbent Chris Gibson is retiring this year.

Updated: The National Republican Congressional Committee in a statement pointed to the donations from liberal and wealthy hedge fund managers like George and Jonathan Soros.

“Not only does Zephyr Teachout think Upstate voters are dumb, but her radical liberal friends like Elizabeth Warren think they’re dumb, too,” said NRCC spokesman Chris Pack. “Elizabeth Warren and Zephyr Teachout must only take issue with billionaire hedge fund managers when they aren’t donating to their campaigns, and that makes them both pandering hypocrites.”

NY-19: Astorino Endorses Faso

Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino endorsed congressional candidate John Faso on Thursday in the 19th congressional district.

Astorino, speaking with Faso in Kingston, praised Faso’s record on fiscal issues.

“If you’re as sick and tired of high taxes and smothering Washington overreach as I am, John Faso is your candidate for Congress,” Astorino said. “John is the voice of struggling taxpayers in this congressional district, and his policy solutions to get the economy kick-started are rock-solid. It’s an easy choice: A vote for Faso is a vote for lower taxes and job growth; a vote for his opponent is a vote to raise your taxes and to hand control of every aspect of your life to bumbling Washington bureaucrats.”

Faso and Astorino have at least one thing in common: both men ran for governor, albeit unsuccessfully. Faso was the GOP nominee in 2006; Astorino ran two years ago against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Faso is facing another former gubernatorial candidate from 2014, Democrat Zephyr Teachout, in the Hudson Valley congressional district.

Teachout unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination against Cuomo two years ago.

“Much like County Executive Astorino, I believe we need to be laser-focused on serious issues affecting residents in this district such growing the economy, helping small businesses and keeping the size of federal government in check,” Faso said. “Washington and its bureaucrats have run amok and we need leaders who are willing to take on the madness and change it. I share County Executive Astorino’s concerns and I am grateful to have his support.”

NY-19: Teachout And Faso To Debate On Oct. 24

Democratic congressional hopeful Zephyr Teachout and Republican John Faso will debate on Time Warner Cable News in a forum on Oct. 24.

Teachout and Faso are vying for the 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley, a seat that is being vacated by Republican Rep. Chris Gibson.

The hour-long debate will air on TWC News at 7 p.m. in the Hudson Valley, Albany and Binghamton on channel 200. It will re-air at 10 p.m.

The debate will take place at the Woodstock Playhouse and tickets will be available to the public.

A TWC News/Siena College poll taken last month showed Faso and Teachout in a virtual tie.

NY-19: Teachout Campaign Knocks Faso On Trump Support

The congressional campaign of Democrat Zephyr Teachout is wasting little time in blasting Republican John Faso over Donald Trump’s vulgar remarks in a 2005 video that surfaced Friday.

Teachout over the weekend blasted Faso for not dropping his support of the Republican candidate for president in the wake of the video, writing in a fundraising email her GOP opponent is trying to have it both ways.

“If my opponent John Faso flip flops now and condemns Trump — even after saying he’s not swayed by the latest audio — it’s far too late for anyone to believe him,” the email states.

It went further on Monday, with the Teachout campaign releasing a web video challenging Faso on the issue, painting him as having made conflicting statements on Trump’s candidacy.

The race for the 19th congressional district is a tightly contested one in the Hudson Valley, with a TWC News/Siena College poll last month showing Faso and Teachout in a dead heat.

NRCC Chairman: NY-19 ‘Is A Fight’

The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee in a Capital Tonight interview on Thursday acknowledged the race for the 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley will be a competitive race given the open seat and the name recognition Democrat Zephyr Teachout garners.

Still, Rep. Greg Walden, an Oregon Republican, was confident former Assemblyman John Faso will ultimately prevail, pointing to the weight the endorsement of outgoing Rep. Chris Gibson brings to the table.

“Let’s face it: Zephyr Teachout is pretty slick. She’s Manhattan slick,” Walden said in the interview. “I don’t think it’s going to sell in the end. People know what they have in Chris Gibson, people can trust Chris Gibson and Chris Gibson supports John Faso.”

A Time Warner Cable News/Siena College poll last month showed Teachout and Faso in a neck-and-neck race — with the former lawmaker leading the Fordham Law School professor by a percentage point.

The NRCC has committed $1.7 million in spending the district and related super PACs have been spending as well on TV ads.

“We know this is a fight,” Walden said. “Anytime you have an open seat that presents new challenges and I have great confidence in John and the work he’s doing.”

The Hudson Valley congressional district has been a battleground in the past, and Gibson’s retirement makes it a challenge for Republicans to hold in a presidential election year. Gibson faced a well-funded challenge from Democrat Sean Eldridge in 2014, but ultimately prevailed by a comfortable margin.

“We know it’s going to be a competitive race,” Walden said. “We thought it would be more competitive last time than it turned out to be, but we feel like we’re in a good place and have a path to victory.”

NRCC Triple Threat: Ads In NY-19, NY-22 and NY-24

The NRCC today unleashed a trio of ads in three hotly contested congressional districts – NY-19, NY-22, and NY-24 – slamming the Democratic (and in one case, independent) contenders in hopes of bolstering the chances of the GOP contenders as the general election draws closer.

The NY-22 and NY-24 spots are similar, in so much as they cast the non-Republican candidates (remember, there’s an independent – Martin Babinec – and a Democrat – Kim Myers – running in NY-22) as too close to Democrats both here in New York and down in D.C.

The NY-24 spot again uses a clip from Democrat Colleen Deacon’s Capital Tonight interview this past spring, when she couldn’t come up with any policy issue on which she might break from the current House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, even though the district is closely divided and voters there have demonstrated time and again that they prefer independent thinkers.

Yesterday, an exclusive TWC News/Siena poll found freshman Republican Rep. John Katko with a comfortable double-digit lead over Deacon.

The NY-22 spot is something of a twofer, accusing both Babinec and Myers as being too closely aligned – either politically or ideologically – with the Democrats.

The NY-19 ad takes a different approach, criticizing Democrat Zephyr Teachout for supporting the controversial Iran deal negotiated by the Obama administration, accusing her of being in “denial” over the potential national security threat that the country poses to the U.S.

According to a recent TWC News/Siena poll, Teachout and her Republican opponent, former Assemblyman John Faso, are running neck-and-neck for the seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Chris Gibson.

Here are the ads, which were released this morning and are all currently airing in their respective markets.

This comes as NRCC Chairman Greg Walden is due to make a stop in NY-22 tomorrow to support the Republican candidate there, Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney. Walden would like to keep the seat, which is being vacated by Rep. Richard Hanna, a moderate Republican, in GOP hands.

TWC News/Siena College Poll: Dead Heat In NY-19

Republican John Faso and Democrat Zephyr Teachout are in a virtual tie in the race for the 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley, a Time Warner Cable News/Siena College poll found.

The poll released Tuesday night shows Faso, a former Assembly minority leader, drawing 43 percent of the vote, with Teachout receiving 42 percent of support.

The results are not wholly unexpected: The 19th congressional district is considered one of the key battleground House races in New York and already is drawing a heavy rotation in television advertising for both candidates.

But the poll results underscore the unsettled nature of the race an open congressional seat that’s being vacated by Rep. Chris Gibson, a Republican.

Both Faso and Teachout are known quantities in some regard.

Faso, a longtime state lawmaker turned lobbyist, ran for governor as the Republican nominee in 2006. The poll found 32 percent of voters hold a favorable view of him, while 30 percent do not. Teachout, who ran for the Democratic nomination for governor against incumbent Andrew Cuomo in 2014, has a 36 percent to 25 percent favorable rating.

But a large swath of voters — nearly 40 percent — have not heard enough about either candidate to form an opinion with six weeks to go before Election Day.

Though the race is considered a tossup, Republicans fare better in other races.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump leads Democrat Hillary Clinton in the district by 5 percentage points, 43 percent to 38 percent.

And while Sen. Chuck Schumer holds a comfortable lead over his little known Republican challenger Wendy Long, it is more narrow in the 19th district than in broader statewide polls.

At the same time, most voters in the district by a margin of 46 percent to 41 percent want Republicans to retain control of the House of Representatives this November.

So, why does Faso still struggle to overcome Teachout in the race?

The answer lies with independent voters: Faso and Teachout are tied with those not registered as Democrats or Republicans, 42 percent to 41 percent, the poll found.

At the same time, the poll shows these voters lean conservative. Among the independent voters polled, 66 percent support Second Amendment rights, 56 percent back repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, and on the role of the federal government, 53 percent believe it should less its burden on businesses.

The poll of 678 likely voters was conducted from Sept. 20 through Sept. 22. It has a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points.

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