Feb 9th - 1:04 pm
The race for the Republican nomination in the 19th congressional district grew more heated this week with John Faso’s campaign alleging in a letter to rival Andrew Heaney that he is illegally coordinating with a super PAC that is funding misleading advertisements.
An FEC complaint, filed last week, accuses Heaney of coordinating with New York Jobs Council, a political action committee Heaney contributed to before launching his bid for the Hudson Valley House seat (Filings with the FEC show Heaney is not the only contributor to the PAC).
The complaint stems from criticism by the PAC that he calls “false, defamatory and negative.”
“These ads are intended to mislead voters and since you created the Super PAC,” Faso wrote, “I hold you responsible for its smear tactics.”
The letter refers to TV commercials that have started airing in the district, linking Faso to his lobbying firm Manatt, Phelps and Phillips paying a fine as part of a settlement connected to the pay-to-play pension fund scandal.
Faso himself was never fined, nor was he accused of any wrongdoing at the firm where he was listed as a partner. Faso has also defended his link to the case, saying that he merely introduced someone to state officials.
“As an employee, I was not a party to any settlement and I never represented any client – paid or unpaid – before the state pension fund. Those are the facts. This entire matter was nothing more than Andrew Cuomo’s vindictive effort to smear my reputation; he did not succeed but now you, as a purported New York Republican candidate, attempt to revive the failed political smear of Democrat Andrew Cuomo,” Faso wrote in the letter.
“The truth, as you know full well, is that I have never been fined, sanctioned or penalized for violating any professional or ethical requirement. Yet you’ve attempted to mislead voters by repeating these malicious falsehoods in a recent radio interview and your Super PAC’s television ads.”
The letter also knocks the New York Jobs Council for using a sound bite in which Faso says he was “proud” to be a lobbyist, which edited it the clip so that it excluded the context: He was touting his work for the non-profit organization Autism Speaks.
Heaney’s campaign has sought to run an anti-establishment argument against Faso, forgoing the screening process in the district with Republican county committees ahead of the June primary.
“Andrew Heaney is a small business owner and a father of three young children who is dedicated to taking back Washington from the lobbyists and career politicians like John Faso who will say anything to distract voters from his terrible record on the 2nd Amendment and his political baggage. It’s not going to work,” said Heaney spokesman David Catalfamo.
Faso, in turn, has criticized Heaeny for contributing to President Obama in 2008 and recently moving to the district.
Faso himself has contributed to Manatt’s own political action committee that gave to the campaigns of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and past opponent of Rep. Chris Gibson.
Feb 5th - 3:17 pm
Congressional hopeful and former gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout says she will focus on infrastructure and transportation issues in the Hudson Valley if elected to represent the 19th Congressional District.
Teachout made the remarks following an endorsement from Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who represents the 18th Congressional District to her south.
“I think there’s incredible possibility working with Congressman Maloney on transportation issues, infrastructure,” Teachout said. “He’s actually made infrastructure and transportation a focus and working across the aisle has produced real results for his district.”
Teachout said if she’s chosen by voters in November, she’s planning to work closely with Maloney to push for more infrastructure spending in the region.
“If we can work together on transportation and infrastructure projects that support the whole Hudson Valley,” Teachout said, “that more than doubles the power of New Yorkers in this region in Washington.”
The Democratic hopeful also said she remains committed to widespread campaign finance and ethics reforms, both in Albany and Washington. Those are issues she focused on in 2014 when she, and her runningmate Tim Wu, unsuccesfully sought the Democratic nominatinon for governor.
“The job is a different job and you can look at my record and see what I focused on in the past, which is big money in politics, and fighting to end corruption in Albany and fighting to end corruption in Washington,” Teachout said. “That’s something I’ve always cared about, something I’ve always done.”
Teachout faces at least one serious challenger on the Democratic side in Livingston Deputy Town Supervisor Will Yandik, who has received an endorsement from the Columbia County Democratic Committee. But results from the 2014 gubernatorial primary seem to show Teachout with good standing – she won 10 of the 11 counties that make up NY-19 over Governor Andrew Cuomo in that contest.
Teachout says part of that favorability comes from her strong ground game on the campaign trail.
“I’ve never been a political insider so for me the key is what’s happening at the ground level and the people who really believe it’s possible to get our democracy back,” Teachout said. “The highly local work that you can do in every corner of the district is the essence of the job of being a congressperson.”
So far, that message is paying off. Teachout says she has received over 4,000 contributions since she announced her candidacy more than a week ago with an average of $28 per contribution.
One thing working against Teachout: time. Her opponents on the other side of the aisle have been at work campaigning for months now with plenty of money on hand to show for it.
Feb 4th - 1:54 pm
Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney on Friday will appear alongside congressional hopeful Zephyr Teachout, who is running in the neighboring 19th congressional district.
The event with Maloney, who was first elected to a Hudson Valley House seat in 2012, is being billed as a “major announcement” for Teachout’s campaign, making it likely an endorsement nod in the race.
Teachout, who has gained the support of Democratic county leaders in the 19th, faces Will Yandik in a potential primary in June.
The event in New Paltz with Maloney and Teachout will also include the city’s mayor, Tim Rogers.
Teachout launched her bid last month for the seat being vacated by outgoing Rep. Chris Gibson, a Republican who is considering a run for governor in 2018.
A half-dozen GOP candidates are vying for the Republican nomination, including businessman Andrew Heaney and former Assembly Minority Leader John Faso.
Teachout ran for governor in 2014, but was defeated for the Democratic nomination by incumbent Andrew Cuomo.
Feb 2nd - 4:27 pm
Andrew Heaney continues to out-raise his Republican primary opponent John Faso in the race for the 19th Congressional District.
Heaney raised $363,475 in the last quarter, according to his latest filing with the FEC. Faso trailed behind with $233,706.
That’s a larger difference than last quarter when both candidates were separated by about $20,000. Heaney pulled ahead in that filing with contributions totaling $645,856.
Now Heaney has a comfortable advantage over Faso with $761,890 on hand to Faso’s $624,267.
Both campaigns have spent similar amounts since declaring last year. Faso has thrown $234,188 into his campaign while Heaney has spent slightly more at $247,440.
Bob Bishop, a Delaware County farmer, has raised just under $6,000.
The two leading Democrats in the race declared their candidacy after the filing deadline, so we won’t have public information on them until April, just two months ahead of the Congressional primary.
We do know that within the first day former gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout declared her candidacy, she raised $43,656 from 1,000 contributions.
Teachout has received support from several Democratic chairs in the district, with the exception of Columbia County where Livingston’s Deputy Town Supervisor Will Yandik has the endorsement.
But if history repeats itself, Teachout has work to do to make up ground in the 19th Congressional District. Republican Congressman Chris Gibson won the district easily with 62.5 percent of the vote in 2014. His Democratic opponent, Sean Eldridge, was able to get 34.4 percent.
Enrollment also does not do Teachout any favors. Republicans and conservatives outnumber Democrats and WFP voters by almost 10,000 as of last November. There are enough voters who do not identify with either party for that point to be moot, though.
One advantage for the Fordham Law Professor – the year. We know statistically more Democrats turn out in a presidential election year than off-years.
Jan 25th - 12:27 pm
Democrat Zephyr Teachout is launching a bid for the 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley, she announced on Monday.
“Throughout my career, I’ve never been afraid to stand up for ordinary citizens whose voices are drowned out by special interests, big corporations, and powerful insiders,” Teachout said in a statement. “I’m running for Congress to give people their voices back so together we can address the real concerns facing our communities.”
Her announcement included the unveiling of a “splash page” website.
Teachout, a Fordham Law School professor who has written extensively on the issue of campaign finance, is best known in state political circles for challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a Democratic primary in 2014.
Teachout during the primary did well in upstate counties, including Ulster, the largest county in the district.
Her candidacy comes after several Democrats, including Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and Sean Eldridge — who ran in 2014 and spent heavily in the process — announced they would not seek the nomination.
During the primary, Teachout was able to mobilize Democrats upset with Cuomo’s first economic policies, including teachers and public workers.
The labor-aligned Working Families Party, which declined to back her bid against Cuomo in 2014, announced earlier this month it would support her congressional bid.
Teachout was previously endorsed by county Democratic chairs in the district. The sprawling district includes Ulster, Sullivan, Columbia, Schoharie, Otsego, Delaware and Greene counties and parts of Montgomery, Dutchess, Rensselaer and Broome counties.
The 19th district has been a battleground district since it was redrawn in 2012 to include most of the Hudson Valley region. Incumbent Republican Chris Gibson is considering a run for governor in 2018 and retiring from Congress at the end of the year.
Teachout’s presence in the race likely will make the 19th district another closely watched campaign. Eldridge, a wealthy businessman and husband of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, spent heavily in district against Gibson’s re-election bid despite his loss.
On the Republican side, about a half dozen candidates have filed to run, including former Assembly Minority Leader John Faso and businessman Andrew Heaney.
Jan 20th - 11:15 am
Republican congressional candidate John Faso announced Wednesday he was endorsed by the Schoharie County Conservative Committee in the 19th House district.
Faso’s nod from the committee was announced a day after one of his Republican rivals for the GOP nomination, businessman Andrew Heaney, was endorsed by the Ulster County Conservative Committee.
“The choice for us is clear: John Faso is precisely the type of leader we want representing us in Washington,” said Schoharie County Conservative Party Chairman William Hanson. “In addition to living in and serving our communities for more than three decades, John will help control government spending, advocate for small business and protect our national security interests at home and abroad. Frankly, he’s our best chance at changing the culture in Washington and its failing policies.”
Faso and Heaney are both vying for the party nomination in the Hudson Valley district that is being vacated by incumbent Rep. Chris Gibson, a Republican who is considering a run for governor in 2018.
On the Democratic side, Fordham Law School professor Zephyr Teachout is considering jumping in the race after Democrats Sean Eldridge and Mike Hein signaled they would not run in 2016.
Jan 19th - 3:00 pm
Republican House hopeful Andrew Heaney on Tuesday announced he had the backing of the Ulster County Conservatives as he seeks the GOP nomination for the 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley.
“We were very favorably impressed by your instincts and Conservative values,” county Conservative Party Chairman Ed Gaddy wrote in an endorsement letter to Heaney. “Most importantly, however, we feel that you will continue to seek input from the Conservative Party on important issues, as and when they arise.”
The endorsement from the conservative committee comes after Heaney announced he would not continue on with the Republican county committee screening process, suggesting at the time that his primary opponent, former Assembly Minority Leader John Faso, had a leg up in the process.
The Ulster County conservative endorsement is potentially big for Heaney, a Millbrook businessman, who has been criticized by Faso for donating to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008.
“The Ulster County Conservative Party represents the largest of all eleven counties in the 19th Congressional District, and their endorsement is proof that of our message of term limits, tax reform, Obamacare repeal and economic growth is resonating,” Heaney said.
The 19th congressional district is being vacated by Rep. Chris Gibson, a Republican first elected in 2010 and is considering a run for governor in 2018.
On the Democratic side, Fordham Law school professor Zephyr Teachout on Saturday received the endorsement from the county Democratic committees in the district.
Jan 14th - 12:13 pm
Republican congressional hopeful Andrew Heaney announced on Thursday he would forgo the county committee screening process ahead of the June primary for the 19th district in the Hudson Valley.
The decision comes as a rival for the Republican nomination, former Assembly Minority Leader John Faso, has started to amass support from local chairs.
Heaney in the letter wrote Faso’s support comes in part because of his deep ties to local leaders due to his work as a “political insider.”
”It should come as no surprise that after decades as an elected official, losing candidate for statewide office, and political insider and lobbyist, John Faso has developed deeper relationships with the Republican County Chairmen in the 19th Congressional District than I have,” said Heaney, a businessman from Milbrook. “I will respect their choice and their longstanding friendships, but it won’t prevent me from taking my case to the voters in the June primary. Not one bit.”
County chairs stating a preference in the race helps a candidate with the practical nuts-and-bolts of running a campaign in a primary, such as carrying petitions.
Heaney expects to be on the June primary ballot regardless, and indicated he’ll be further campaigning on a theme of being a political outsider in an election year in which that could resonate with voters.
“The people of this district are hungry for real conservative change, and we can give it to them, but only if we as Republicans nominate the best candidate – a candidate uncompromised by the special interests and insiders who have been dismantling the promise of the American Dream,” he wrote in the letter. “I believe I am that candidate.”
Updated: The Faso campaign responded, pointing to Heaney having only recently moved to the district and contributed to President Obama’s 2008 campaign.
“Seeing that he is likely to lose the GOP nomination among grassroots Republicans, Mr. Heaney, after having agreed to this nominating process, is taking his bat and ball and leaving the field with another negative attack,” Faso’s campaign said. “His arrogant actions tell grassroots GOP activists all they need to know about Mr. Heaney’s character and temperament for office.”
Jan 11th - 1:52 pm
Republican Assemblyman Peter Lopez on Monday bowed out of the race for the 19th congressional district, citing family concerns after his father was diagnosed with cancer.
“There really is no choice when family is involved,” Lopez said in a statement. “The timing of the diagnosis and treatment runs right into the necessary committee candidate selection process that will begin on January 11, 2016 and run through late February.”
Lopez was one of a half-dozen Republicans seeking the GOP nomination in the Hudson Valley district, which is represented by Rep. Chris Gibson, who is retiring as he considers a run for governor.
In addition to businessman Andrew Heaney of Millbrook, Lopez was also competing against his old boss, former Assembly Minority Leader John Faso. Lopez was an aide in Faso’s office, handling constituent concerns.
Lopez, meanwhile, pointed to the upcoming legislative session as further dividing his time with the campaign.
In addition, beginning this week I am required to be in Albany as we initiate the important legislative session and budget process for the State of New York for 2016,” Lopez said. “Balancing all these demands while engaging in a congressional race of this magnitude, is just not possible. These are the months that my family needs me the most.”
Jan 11th - 11:50 am
“Zephyr Teachout would be an instantly competitive and compelling candidate. She has a record of fearlessly standing up for a democracy and an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few,” said WFP state director Bill Lipton.
In the email, the WFP writes that Teachout’s potential candidacy “is already gaining steam” as several county chairs in the district have signaled support for her.
Teachout in 2014 sought the WFP’s endorsement and ballot line in the gubernatorial race. Ultimately, the party endorsed Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Teachout would go on to challenge Cuomo for the Democratic nomination in a close-than-expected primary that year.
“Zephyr lives in Dutchess County, and would be a great match for the district: she’s a fearless, reform-minded leader who has stood up to both Republicans and Democrats to challenge the status quo,” the WFP wrote in the email, skirting Teachout’s other residence in Brooklyn. “She is a passionate believer in government by and for the people, not just the powerful.”
Incumbent Rep. Chris Gibson is retiring from the Hudson Valley district at the end of the year as he considers a run for governor in 2018.