May 26th - 12:17 pm
The conventional wisdom for Republicans running in down-ballot races this year has been this: Donald Trump, the GOP standard bearer this fall, should be kept at a distance given his inflammatory rhetoric aimed at women, Mexicans and Muslims.
Not so for businessman Andrew Heaney, who is locked in a heated Republican primary battle for the 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley.
Instead of running away from Trump, he’s embracing him.
Heaney in a TV ad released this week linked himself to Trump, simultaneously attempting to catch some of the populist wave Trump is generating and knocking his GOP opponent, John Faso, a former state Assembly minority leader and lobbyist.
In doing so, Heaney appears to be banking on the establishment being a far more toxic label than being dubbed a Trump Republican.
“John Faso’s friends made the same attacks against Donald Trump,” the ad’s narrator says.
The video then turns to a split screen of Heaney and Trump.
“That’s because Donald Trump and I represent everything that John Faso and his cronies hate,” Heaney says while stadning next to a picture of Trump. “We won’t take special interest money and we can’t be bought.”
The 19th congressional district could be an interesting laboratory for Republicans reckoning with Trump as the presumptive nominee. Trump today receive the needed delegates to clinch the nomination.
The district has been represented for the last three terms by Rep. Chris Gibson, a moderate Republican who had expressed unease with Trump’s candidacy.
At the same time, Gibson was able to successfully win re-election by comfortable margins to a district that voted for President Obama in 2012 (the district was reshaped during that year’s congressional redistricting).
Still, Trump carried virtually every county in the New York Republican presidential primary last month, including those in the 19th congressional district.
And Heaney may have his eye on the general election, too, should Fordham Law School Professor Zephyr Teachout be his opponent. Teachout, a supporter of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s campaign, faces Livingston Deputy Supervisor Will Yandik in a primary.
Heaney has made the argument he’s better equipped to take on a political outsider like Teachout in an election year in which outsiders have flourished.
May 23rd - 1:51 pm
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is enjoying the heated primary for the Republican nomination in the 19th congressional district, sending out a sampling of the coverage of the race between John Faso and Andrew Heaney that describes the contest as nasty and a “war of words.”
“As the two Republican congressional candidates in New York’s 19th district, Albany conservative politician John Faso and Trump-Fanboy Andrew Heaney, continue to launch debilitating personal attacks and drag each other further to the right, they won’t be able to undo the damage in the eyes of Hudson Valley general election voters who voted for President Obama twice,” said Bryan Lesswing at the DCCC.
The race for the GOP nomination to replace Rep. Chris Gibson in the Hudson Valley House district is indeed a contentious one. Heaney, a businessman who hasn’t held elected office before, has criticized Faso’s record as a lobbyist. Faso, in turn, has knocked Heaney for his campaign contribution to President Obama in 2007.
Democrats have a primary of their own in the district between Livingston Deputy Supervisor Will Yandik and Zephyr Teachout, though that race has been no near as a heated.
The 19th congressional district has been a battleground for the last several cycles and an open seat means both parties will be pushing hard to either keep or flip it.
Still, a heated primary doesn’t necessarily spell doom for a party. Rep. Elise Stefanik two years ago faced off against Matt Doheny in a pitched battle for the Republican nomination in the 21st, and ultimately won the seat.
In the NY-1 on Long Island, Rep. Lee Zeldin fended off a personally financed challenge from George Demos and eventually unseated Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop.
May 23rd - 10:59 am
The heated race for the Republican nomination in 19th congressional district grew more pitched on Monday with John Faso releasing a TV ad knocking his GOP opponent, Andrew Heaney.
Heaney’s campaign, meanwhile, released an attack on Faso for not agreeing to a series of debates ahead of next month’s primary.
In the Faso campaign ad, Heaney is criticized as a “New York City millionaire” who has launched false attacks on Faso’s record as a lobbyist working with the firm Manatt Phelps.
And, as his campaign has done repeatedly, the ad knocks Heaney for donating to President Obama’s campaign in 2007.
New York Post columnist Fred Dicker is also featured in the spot, saying “there is no indication that Faso is guilty of the things Heaney is accusing him of.”
The Heaney campaign, however, is knocking Faso for his “reluctance” to agree to a series of three debates (including Time Warner Cable News among others) and pointed to Faso’s firm donating money to Democratic candidates through a political action committee.
The Heaney campaign, too, insists Faso should be tied more closely to the firm that employed him after he left elected office.
From the Heaney campaign:
But in fact John Faso was not just another employee at Manatt, he was a partner. According to a December 1, 2006 press release: “Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, the national law and consulting firm, announced today that John J. Faso rejoined the firm as a government and regulatory partner in New York following a leave of absence to undertake his New York gubernatorial campaign.”
John Faso was not just another employee he was the “Albany based partner lobbyist” upon which Manatt’s fine and ban were based. According to reports, even Faso’s lawyer, Steptoe & Johnson’s Evan Barr, identified him as the unamed Albany based partner “at the center of the investigation.”
Moreover there are multiple reports that indicate Faso unsuccessfully represented clients before the Comptrollers office. Most importantly, if Faso was just another employee, as he claims, the firm would have not been liable for his actions.
May 20th - 11:52 am
Republican congressional candidate Andrew Heaney on Friday renewed his calls for federal and state water quality hearings after Taconic Plastics in Petersburgh was declared a state superfund site after a chemical contamination was discovered in the town.
“What is the mystery?” Heaney said in a statement. “How many more communities need to go through this type of uncertainty and fear? Would Governor Cuomo and Speaker Heastie be more interested if these communities were named New York City or Buffalo?”
Rep. Chris Gibson, the Republican incumbent who retires this year and Heaney is vying to replace, has called for federal hearings on the contamination issues in the area, which this year also included the village of Hoosick Falls.
“I commend Congressman Gibson for joining my call for federal hearings, with the news in Petersburgh it’s clear the scope of the problem and the need for investigation is greater and more imminent than ever,” Heaney said.
The Democratic-led Assembly had initially suggested it would hold water quality hearings as well, but those plans never materialized. Speaker Carl Heastie this week said the issues facing Hoosick Falls had been largely resolved and the governor’s office had responded with its own task force to respond to water contamination issues.
In the wake of the DEC’s decision to designate Petersburgh as a Superfund site due to PFOA contamination, Republican candidate for Congress Andrew Heaney renewed his call for public hearings.
Also this week, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it had set a new standard for PFOA in water which lowers the parts per trillion level for safety.
May 13th - 12:18 pm
Republican congressional candidate Andrew Heaney on Friday became one of the first in New York to knock President Obama’s administration for advising public schools in the country to provide access to bathrooms for students based on their gender identity.
In a statement, Heaney compared the call — which came in the form of a letter — to the Common Core education standards, drawing a comparison over local control for school districts.
“It’s Common Core for restrooms and just the latest reason why we need to get the federal government out of schools and out of our lives,” Heaney said.
The letter from the Obama administration instructs school districts that students should be given access to bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. The issue of public bathroom usage based on gender or gender identity briefly became an issue pushed by Sen. Ted Cruz during his presidential campaign, though his stance had little impact with Republican primary voters.
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has said he doesn’t oppose people using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
“Whether it’s Obamacare, Common Core or an assault on our 2nd Amendment rights, this directive is part and parcel of the attitude in Washington that distrusts and actually holds in disdain the American people and wants to micromanage our lives,” Heaney said.
The 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley is being vacated by Republican Chris Gibson. Heaney faces Republican John Faso in a GOP primary next month.
May 10th - 3:54 pm
Republican Bob Bishop is dropping out of the Race for the 19th Congressional District, his campaign confirmed Tuesday.
He will withdraw his candidacy ahead of the federal primary in June, and says he will instead back John Faso for the seat.
“John Faso has shown us that he has what it takes to best represent our interests,” Bishop said in a statement. “Not only does John have the endorsement of four parties critical to winning in November, he also possess the skills and passion needed to win this race. It is time for all Republicans and Conservatives to unite behind John Faso in order to continue Congressman Gibson’s strong legacy while making sure this seat does not fall into the hands of a radical liberal like Zephyr Teachout.”
UPDATE: Faso thanked Bishop for his endorsement after the announcement Tuesday.
“I am very grateful for Bob Bishop’s support in this race, and I salute all the hard work he’s done over the past several months to voice important local economic and agricultural concerns that we share,” Faso said. “Bob’s endorsement is a meaningful one, and I look forward to his friendship and counsel both as a candidate and as a member of Congress. “
Bishop had come under scrutiny from his now-former primary opponent Andrew Heaney in recent weeks over ballot signatures. Heaney and Bishop were scheduled to appear in court to resolve the litigation this Friday. Heaney’s campaign issues a statement later Tuesday responding to Bishop’s departure.
“Now voters will have a clear choice between John Faso, a 30 year lawyer-lobbyist and failed Albany politician versus Andrew Heaney a political outsider and conservative small businessman who wants to change the corrupt culture in Washington, DC.,” Heaney said.
Bishop’s decision narrows the Republican field in the 19th Congressional District to two candidates ahead of the primary – Faso and Heaney. Former Gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout will compete against Livingston Deputy Town Supervisor Will Yandik on the Democratic side.
The primary will be held June 28.
May 6th - 3:49 pm
Representatives from the campaigns of both Bob Bishop and Andrew Heaney will appear in Poughkeepsie court next Friday to resolve a dispute over ballot signatures from the Bishop campaign, a source knowledgeable of the situation confirmed.
The Heaney campaign has filed litigation over the signatures, alleging they are fraudulent. Ahead of that court date, the Bishop campaign says they will try to validate as many of their signatures as possible.
The Bishop campaign confirmed Thursday that they have hired an attorney ahead of the court date. They say they were given notice of the litigation last week.
“We are confident that this effort by Mr. Heaney’s insider consultants and his high paid lawyers will fail just as it did at the Board of Elections,” the Bishop campaign said in a statement.
Heaney’s campaign had previously appealed to the Board of Elections to invalidate Bishop’s signatures, but that appeal was thrown out.
Bishop collected 1,900 signatures for the ballot ahead of the deadline last month, with more than 1,300 declared valid by the Board of Elections. If the court rules in favor of the Heaney campaign, Bishop will not appear on the ballot, bringing the Republican primary in the 19th Congressional District down to two candidates.
May 6th - 11:35 am
The congressional campaign of Republican John Faso is receiving a boost from Larry Kudlow, the former Wall Street banker-turned-CNBC host who is respected economist and pundit within GOP circles.
The Faso campaign has released a fundraising email signed by Kudlow, which tout’s Faso’s bonafides as a budget hawk and fiscal watchdog.
“John Faso will champion tax reforms to let Americans keep more of what they earn. He will also vote to change counterproductive business tax rules to bring trillions of U.S. dollars and millions of jobs back to this country. That will help guarantee America’s position as the world center of capital and investment for years to come,” Kudlow wrote in the email. “He won’t forget the Main Street economy either: John supports cutting taxes and regulations that adversely impact small business employment.”
Republicans for the last several years have sought to recruit Kudlow himself into running for office, first as a potential U.S. Senate candidate in New York and, most recently, Connecticut.
Still, he remains an in-demand speaker for Republican functions and earlier this year endorsed Donald Trump for president.
Faso, a former Assembly minority leader, is running for the Hudson Valley congressional district that is being vacated by Rep. Chris Gibson. He faces a three-way primary next month against businessman Andrew Heaney and Robert Bishop.
May 4th - 11:28 am
Republican congressional candidate Andrew Heaney formally endorsed presumptive president nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday and urged New Yorkers to unify around his candidacy.
Heaney, who faces a three-way contest for the Republican nomination in next month’s congressional primary, had previously announced he had voted for Trump in New York’s April 19 presidential primary.
At the same time, Heaney knocked his chief rival for the nomination, John Faso, saying that should Trump have followed through with his plan to run for governor in 2014, lobbyists in Albany would have been dealt a blow.
“Imagine Albany today if Donald Trump was Governor. John Faso and his lobbyist buddies would be on the sidelines, powerless, instead of selling out the voters for pipelines or big pharma profits,” Heaney said in a statement.
“People are fed up with Washington – a place where good ideas and better ideals go to die at the hands of lobbyists, monied interests and the career politicians who poll test everything down to which side of bed to get out of in the morning,” he added.
Rep. Chris Gibson, the man Heaney hopes to replace in Congress, has been critical of Trump, saying he would have concerns with the controversial mogul in charge of the nation’s military. Gibson in a Capital Tonight interview on Monday said he wrote in Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan in the presidential primary.
Trump on Tuesday coasted to a victory in the Indiana primary and, with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz dropping his bid, was declared the “presumptive” nominee of the party by RNC Chairman Reince Preibus.
Trump last month handily won the New York primary, winning nearly every county save for Manhattan, which backed Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who remains in the race.
May 3rd - 1:04 pm
Two of the Republicans running in the 19th congressional district on Tuesday agreed to a series of debates ahead of the June primary.
The day began with Heaney calling on Faso, a former Assembly minority leader who likely enjoys higher name recognition with voters in the district given that he was once an elected official, to hold six debates ahead of the primary.
“As the turnout for the Presidential primary showed, voters are energized and want to hear directly from the candidates about how they will finally change the culture of corruption and back scratching that permeates Washington,” Heaney said in a statement.
Not missing a beat, Faso agreed in a statement released by his campaign 20 minutes later.
At the same time, Faso’s campaign called for the third GOP candidate in the race, Bob Bishop, to be included. Heaeny’s campaign allies have sought to challenge Bishop’s ballot position.
“John Faso accepts,” said Faso spokesman Bill O’Reilly. “He’s happy to inform voters about Andrew Heaney’s history of donating to President Obama, and we suspect that Mr. Bishop may want to talk about Mr. Heaney’s ongoing attempts to disenfranchise him.”
The 19th congressional district is being vacated this year by Republican Rep. Chris Gibson, who announced Monday he would not run for governor in 2018 and instead take a job at Williams College.