Heaney Accuses Faso Of ‘Spiking The Ball’ Before Scoring

From the Morning Memo:

Republican Andrew Heaney is accusing his rival for the 19th congressional district nominating of counting his chickens before they hatch.

Or, to use the football analogy Heaney’s campaign came up with for Super Bowl week — spiking the ball before the end zone.

Heaeny’s campaign Thursday afternoon cried foul after the Faso campaign released multiple statements claiming endorsement victories in Otsego, Dutchess and Ulster counties with Republican committees there.

In another instance, Faso claimed to have won the support of GOP officials in Delaware County even as the committee there chose not to issue an endorsement.

The Heaney campaign says those releases were sent out prematurely, given the committees were yet to issue an endorsement in the primary.

“It’s sad that John Faso is so presumptuous about the will of committeemen and women throughout the district that he has press releases lined up claiming victory before they even vote,” Heaney said. “It’s just another example of how the old boy insider network operates and why I decided to forgo a committee process that I never agreed to and take my message directly to the people.”

The Faso campaign declined to comment.

Heaney himself has opted not to go through the candidate screening process in the Hudson Valley congressional district.

He is competing against five other Republicans for the nomination, but has concentrated most of his criticism on Faso, a former minority leader in the state Assembly who has deep ties to local Republican officials.

On the Democratic side, Fordham Law school professor and 2014 candidate for governor Zephyr Teachout is seeking the nomination, as is Will Yandik, the deputy town supervisor in Livingston.

Republican Rep. Chris Gibson is leaving Congress this year as he considers a run for governor in 2018.

Hanna Transfers $250K To Old Campaign Account

From the Morning Memo:

Republican former Assemblyman Sean Hanna last month loaned an old campaign account for his state Senate bid $250,000, records with the Board of Elections show.

In a brief phone interview on Friday, Hanna said he wasn’t ruling anything in or out when asked about another run for public office.

In 2012, Hanna ran for the Rochester-area Senate district that was vacated by Sen. Jim Alesi, but lost to Democrat Ted O’Brien.

In turn, O’Brien left the Senate in 2014 when he was unseated by Republican Rich Funke.

The neighboring district of Sen. Michael Nozzolio is opening this year, however, as he leaves office in order to receive heart surgery.

Potential candidates for Nozzolio’s seat include Republican Assemblyman Bob Oaks.

Senate GOP officials expect to keep the Finger Lakes-area district in Republican hands this fall.

Planned Parenthood Praises Hanna And Katko Votes

Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York praised on Wednesday votes by two Republican House members from upstate New York who did not back a measure aimed at restricting access to health centers.

The organization in a statement feted the votes by GOP Reps. Richard Hanna and John Katko, which rejected legislation Planned Parenthood said would have impacted low-income people.

“Congressman Richard Hanna has been a proven leader when it comes to preserving the ability of thousands in New York State to access critical care at Planned Parenthood. We appreciate Congressman John Katko for looking at the facts and rejecting efforts to defund Planned Parenthood,” the group said in a statement. “Both Congressmen Hanna and Katko are standing up for the women, men, and young people who come through Planned Parenthood’s doors every day.”

Hanna is due to retire at the end of the year from his central New York House district that he was first elected to in 2010.

Katko, a freshman lawmaker who represents the Syracuse area, is facing a potential challenge from several Democrats, including a former aide to U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Colleen Deacon, Steve Williams and Eric Kingson.

SD-9 ‘Key’ Race For Conservative Party

From the Morning Memo:

The effort to retain the 9th Senate district is “key” race for the Conservative Party, Chairman Mike Long said Tuesday in an interview.

At the same time, Long said the party would be “very much involved” the Nassau County Senate district that has been empty since December following the corruption conviction of Dean Skelos, the Republican former majority leader.

“It’s key for the Senate majority, it’s key for us,” Long said, adding, “We’re going to do what we can to make sure we can hold that seat.”

Democrats are hopeful Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky will be able to win an elusive Long Island Senate seat, which is currently represented by all Republicans.

A Kaminsky win in the April 19 special election would inch the Democrats closer toward capturing the majority in the chamber. Republicans are backing the candidacy of attorney Chris McGrath, a first-time candidate.

“The party, the Conservative Party, does not want to see the Senate conference wind up in Democratic hands,” Long said. “It won’t be good for the state of New York.”

As for the new majority leader in the chamber, Suffolk County lawmaker John Flanagan, Long has nothing but praise for his early tenure.

Long said he and Flanagan talk frequently about issues facing the Senate.

“We’re keeping the good communciation going and he’s attentive to the issues we care about,” Long said.

Negotiations Underway on Pension Forfeiture

From the Morning Memo:

The Senate and Assembly are negotiating new language on a constitutional amendment that would cause public officials convicted of wrongdoing to lose their public pensions – an issue that was supposed to be settled during last year’s session, but got derailed due to labor opposition.

“We’re working with Assemblyman (David) Buchwald right now to get a same-as bill so that both houses have the same kind of bill,” said Senate Ethics Committee Chairman Tom Croci during a CapTon interview last night.

“It’s a constitutional amendment that goes far deeper than what has currently been proposed at taking away pensions.”

As you’ll recall, there was supposedly a deal on this last year, but it was passed by the Senate and not the Assembly, which held off due to reservations expressed by unions that the language was too broad. The worry was that rank-and-file public employees, and not just bad-acting elected officials, who were supposed to be the target of this effort, would be impacted.

Despite numerous assertions that the Assembly would be revisiting the issue, it so far has not. Speaker Carl Heastie just yesterday said he’s seeking “clarity” about the amendment’s reach.

Reform advocates were heartened by the fact that the governor included pension forfeiture in his budget proposal, but lawmakers clearly would like to get something done outside the context of the budget.

Asked how far into the public employee ranks the amendment should reach. Croci said he likes the “federal model” in which anyone who is a position of shaping public policy and/or is a “leader” in a position of public trust is held accountable.

“Those are the kinds of things that we’re trying to sort out right now,” Croci said. “To make sure that we’re going after individuals, whether it’s in the governors branch of government, the executive branch, in the Assembly or in the Senate or in the legislative staff that are considered public officers…we’re having that conversation right now with (Buchwald’s) office.”

Heaney Takes Issue With Teachout Super PAC Pledge

From the Morning Memo:

Republican congressional candidate Andrew Heaney is not jumping on board with the pledge proposed by Democratic hopeful Zephyr Teachout to reject the use of super PACs in the race for the 19th congressional district.

Teachout proposed all candidates sign on to the “Peoples’ Pledge” to ban the use of super PAC in the campaign for the Hudson Valley House seat.

In a statement, Heaney spokesman David Catalfamo pointed out Teachout recently left her own super PAC to run for office. The May Day PAC, formed as a “the PAC to end all PACs” was put together with the intent of raising the issue of campaign finance reform in the election.

“Andrew Heaney is running for Congress to break the grip of the ‘special interests, big corporations and insiders like John Faso on Washington,” Catalfamo said. “Sadly, Zephyr Teachout, having just stepped away from running a PAC, is reducing the ‘People’s Pledge’ to a political prop rather than engaging in a real dialogue – if she is truly serious about a real dialogue on this important issue, we will be happy to discuss it with her.”

Heaney himself has his own PAC supporting him in the race, the New York Jobs Council. Filings show Heaney contributed to the PAC before he declared he was a candidate for Congress.

The super PAC has largely concentrated its criticism in the race for now on Heaney’s GOP rival for the nomination, former Assembly Minority Leader John Faso.

Once Again, Orange County Dems Criticize Larkin

From the Morning Memo:

Democrats in Orange County are once again stepping up their criticism of Republican Sen. Bill Larkin over his use of taxpayer-funded mailers.

This time, Democratic Committee Chairman Brett Broge is knocking Larkin over a mail piece that touts his support for a constitutional amendment for pension forfeiture, a measure that has stalled in the Legislature.

In the statement, Broge points to Larkin taking advantage of a “legal loophole” to collect his pension while he’s still in elected office.

“It’s offensive that Bill Larkin is using taxpayer money to send out a glossy mailer claiming that he is ‘protecting taxpayers.’ Adding insult to injury, Larkin has the gall to talk about pension reform at the same time he is exploiting a legal loophole to collect his own taxpayer-funded pension on top of his Senate salary,” Broge said in the statement.

“After nearly 40 years in office, career politician Bill Larkin is simply out of touch with the residents of the Hudson Valley. We desperately need a fresh voice in Albany.”

Democrats have repeatedly criticized Larkin in recent weeks as they seek to potentially make his Hudson Valley Senate district a competitive one this year.

The GOP-led Senate last year backed a measure that strip public officials of their pension if convicted of a felony. But in the Assembly, lawmakers raised objections to how the amendment was written and whether the language was too broad.

Ultimately, the Assembly approved a different measure that doesn’t match up with the Senate version.

“All New Yorkers are supportive of preventing any lawmaker from collecting their pension if convicted of a felony,” said Orange County Republican Chairwoman Courtney Greene. “It is about time the Democrat lead Assembly get on board. The Democrats have resorted to personally attacking Senator Larkin because they have no one who can match his record of service to our community and our country.”

New York GOP 2016 Convention Will Be In Buffalo

The New York State Republican Committee will hold its 2016 convention in Buffalo. The convention is scheduled for March 4th and will be in one of the city’s newest buildings, HARBORCENTER, which is connected to First Niagara Center.

GOP Chairman Ed Cox will be at Erie County Republican Headquarters, Tuesday at 11 a.m., to make the announcement. The committee will name its candidate for U.S. Senate during the convention.

The party has typically held the convention downstate although in 2012 it was in Rochester when Wendy Long was selected as the candidate to run against Kirsten Gillibrand.

Griffo: No Run For NY-22

Republican Sen. Joe Griffo on Monday announced he would not run for the 22nd congressional district in central New York.

Griffo, a lawmaker from Rome, joins a growing list of state and county lawmakers who have bowed out of the race to replace outgoing Rep. Richard Hanna, a moderate GOP lawmaker.

“I believe I have been a very effective voice as State Senator, accomplishing much good for the communities I serve,” Griffo said in the statement. “Yet, as I envision the challenges that lie ahead for the future growth of our region, I believe my experience, my wisdom and my trusted relationships across all levels of government put me in the best position in my current capacity to continue building upon the accomplishments and momentum we’ve already achieved.”

Republican Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente last month announced he won’t run for Congress, as did Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi.

On the GOP side, Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney is seeking the seat, as is George Phillip of Binghamton.

Griffo not running for the seat is one less district Senate Republicans will have to defend later this year. On Long Island, GOP Sen. Jack Martins is running for the district that’s being vacated by Democratic Rep. Steve Israel.

Report: Nassau GOP Backs McGrath

From the Morning Memo:

Nassau County Republicans on Thursday night backed the candidacy of Chris McGrath for the district left vacant by the corruption conviction of ex-Majority Leader Dean Skelos, according to Newsday.

Capital Tonight reported earlier in the day that Republicans were turning to McGrath, a personal injury attorney who has given to the local county committee, to fill the Long Island Senate seat.

McCarth is expected to face Democratic Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, a rising star in the party who plans a “special announcement” on Sunday after forming a campaign committee ahead of the Senate bid.

Kaminsky’s candidacy was previously approved by Nassau County Democrats.

A run by Kaminsky, a former federal prosecutor who has tried corruption cases, has been stoked by Democrats eager to win a Senate seat in either Nassau or Suffolk counties.

The “Long Island 9″ is a potent voting bloc for the Senate and, up until Skelos’s departure last month following his felony conviction, was represented by Republican lawmakers across the board.

A special election to fill the district could be called for April 19 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, though he is yet to do so.