NY-19: Republicans For Teachout

Democratic congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout has been called a “socialist” during her bid for the 19th district.

So this week, her campaign unveiled conservative voters — a family of Republicans and an enrolled Conservative Party member — who are supporting her election over GOP candidate John Faso.

The reason: Teachout’s concerns over the construction of a natural gas pipeline.

In a video released by the campaign, the Teachout campaign highlights a Schoharie County man whose property was taken through eminent domain for an easement to construct the pipeline.

The video also shows Faso backing the construction of the Constitution Pipeline to residents in the area.

Both Faso and Teachout are vying for the Hudson Valley congressional race in a tightly contested election.

NY-19: Dems Surpass GOP In Enrollment

Since the 2012 round of congressional redistricting, Republicans had held a narrow enrollment advantage in the battleground 19th congressional district.

Not anymore.

Updated Board of Elections statistics for the Hudson Valley House district show Democrats with a very small enrollment edge over Republican voters. The Democratic gains come as Republican John Faso and Democrat Zephyr Teachout are locked in a hotly contested and costly race to replace Republican Rep. Chris Gibson in the House of Representatives.

Polls have shown Teachout and Faso in a virtual tie.

Back in 2012, Republican enrollment stood at 140,709 compared to 132,770 enrolled Democrats. Two years later, Democratic enrollment actually declined to 129,337.

But as of Nov. 1, Democrats now out number Republicans in the district: 137,821 to 137,656.

Still, it’s not a completely liberal advantage. Conservative Party enrollment has gained in the district from 10,471 in 2012 to 10,845 as of Tuesday.

Overall, left-leaning parties (Democratic, Working Families, Green, Women’s Equality) are still slightly outnumbered, with 32.5 percent of voters registered in one of those parties compared to 33.9 percent of voters registered as either Republicans or Conservatives.

NY-19: Teachout Challenges Faso On Trump

Democratic congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout is pushing her Republican opponent John Faso to take a precise stand on how he’ll be voting for president next week.

In a statement released Wednesday morning, Teachout’s campaign called on Faso to state whether he’s voting for Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Faso has previously said — most recently in a WMHT debate — that that he’d support the nominee of the party and has said it’s important a Republican appoint the next Supreme Court justice.

“I said I would support the nominee, that is still the case,” he said, stressing that he supports Trump’s hard right position on the Supreme Court. Trump has said he would appoint justices like Antonin Scalia who opposed Roe vs. Wade, and supported the Citizens United decision that made it possible for corporations and SuperPACs to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections.

Later, he said both Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton are “seriously flawed” and that he is yet to endorse Trump himself.

“John Faso says he supports Donald Trump but won’t say who he’s voting for,” Teachout said. “Why should people vote for John Faso if he doesn’t even trust them enough to tell them who he’s voting for? It’s time for John Faso to be straight with people and just tell us who he’s voting for. This is a basic test of leadership and voters will always know where I stand.”

Faso isn’t the only Republican running for Congress in New York this year who has been hesitant to embrace Trump.

In the 24th congressional district in the Syracuse area, Rep. John Katko has endorsed neither candidate as well, but has not revealed who he will vote for on Election Day.

NY-19: Faso Camp Pushes For D-Trip Ad Off The Air (Updated)

The campaign of Republican congressional candidate John Faso is pushing TV stations to remove an ad attacking his record as a state lawmaker.

The ad, released by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, knocks Faso for backing a $175 million cut to college tuition assistance.

The claim is “flatly incorrect” the Faso campaign charges. The assistance cut referred to in the was part of then-Gov. George Pataki’s budget in 1997, but it was removed from the final spending plan when it was voted for approval in August (yes, once upon a time Albany had “late” budgets approved after the start of the April 1 fiscal new year).

“Professor Teachout keeps telling voters she wants to treat them like adults,” Faso said in a statement. “Here’s her chance — call on your well-heeled allies in the DCCC to remove this demonstrably false attack ad and run on your own merits.”

At the same time, Faso’s team is knocking the claim in the ad that he “repeatedly” back tax increases on middle-income families, an assertion the candidate says is the opposition of what occurred. Faso backed a plan that saved middle-class families “billions” since it was approved in 1995.

Faso is now calling for the ad to be removed from the airwaves, which have been crowded with ads boosting and trashing both candidates in the 19th congressional district.

“If Zephyr Teachout takes no action to remove a transparently dishonest ad airing in her name, voters should take notice,” Faso said.

“This pattern of exaggerations, lies and false attacks will be remembered on November 8th for what it is: the desperate tactics of a politician with no connection to the district and no ideas for reducing the sky-high taxes driving too many families and businesses out of Upstate New York.”

Updated: Bryan Lesswing of the DCCC responds.

“John Faso can’t paper over the fact that he sided against middle-class families in Albany, or his many pay-to-play scandals and investigations as an Albany lobbyist,” he said. “Between his anti-middle class conservative voting record, pay-to-play pension investigations, ponzi-like scandals and siding with his corporate backers, the Hudson Valley can’t afford John Faso.”

NY-19 Ad Take Down Letter final by William F. B. O'Reilly on Scribd

NY-19: Faso Ad Touts Jenna’s Law Advocacy

There have been a lot of fun and borderline silly spots in the nearly wall-to-wall TV ads for the 19th congressional district race.

A super PAC ad opposing Democratic candidate Zephyr Teachout that shows the “zany” professor reading a book called “Socialism” and wearing birkenstock sandals.

Republican John Faso in a good-natured bickering with his wife over turning up the thermostat in an Ozzie And Harriet-like sitcom.

And so on.

But the TV ad released by Faso’s campaign on Friday dispenses with the attacks and touts his push for Jenna’s Law, a measure he backed that eliminated parole for those who commit violent felonies.

The ad features a first-person testimonial from Bruce Grieshaber, Jenna’s father, praising the measure’s passage.

And disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is used a foil — not the first time a Republican has deployed the once-powerful ex-lawmaker as a boogeyman in a TV ad.

“Sheldon Silver tried to bottle it up, but John Faso was not going to have that,” Grieshaber says in the ad. “John is a fighter, and a fighter for us.”

Faso in his debate with Teachout last week on Time Warner Cable News argued that as minority leader of the Assembly he had little to do with impacting policy when it came to taxes. But Assembly Republicans have often used their bullhorn to push for measures like this one, especially anti-crime issues.

Faso served as the Assembly minority leader until 2002. He ran for governor in 2006, losing to Eliot Spitzer.

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.”