Republicans

Reed Says He’d Back Pelosi For Speaker Pending Rules Changes

Republican Rep. Tom Reed on Thursday signaled he would be willing to cast a vote for Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi for speaker if she is willing to take up rules reforms his Problems Solvers caucus has backed.

The bipartisan group is backing a 10-point package of changes meant to bolster the power of individual lawmakers in the House and push legislation that has the backing of both Democrats and Republicans.

The changes would include the requirement that a three-fifths supermajority would be needed for any bill brought to the floor through a closed rule. Another would hasten the consideration of a bill that’s been formally co-sponsored by two-thirds of the members in the chamber.

Reed represents one of the more conservative areas of the state in the Southern Tier and parts of western New York. He defeated Democratic candidate Tracey Mitrano earlier this year.

Pelosi served as speaker from 2007 and 2011. She remains deeply unpopular with both conservatives as well progressive groups who have pushed for a change in the Democratic leadership in Congress.

Flanagan Criticizes Amazon Deal

Sen. John Flanagan in a statement on Wednesday ripped the tax breaks and incentives that lured Amazon to Long Island City in Queens, calling past efforts to spur job creation through similar means “a colossal failure.”

Flanagan, a Long Island lawmaker fighting to keep his leadership post in the state Senate, said there is “no long-term strategy” for economic development in the state.

“Why isn’t the Governor talking about lowering taxes across the board so New York is more attractive to companies looking to relocate and existing businesses can grow and thrive here?” Flanagan said. “Why isn’t he talking about reducing energy costs to bring down the overall cost of doing business in our state? Why won’t he do anything to eliminate the endless regulations that are holding job creators back? If he really wants to create jobs and opportunity, and isn’t just chasing a headline, this is still the best path forward.”

Senate Republicans have in the past largely embraced the efforts tying tax credits and incentives to job creation, backing a variety of efforts like the START-UP NY program and other economic development projects.

Amazon’s promise to pledge up to 25,000 jobs within 10 years and 40,000 within 15 years could lead to $3 billion in tax incentives.

As the Republican conference’s relationship with Gov. Andrew Cuomo soured, Flanagan and lawmakers backed efforts to scrutinize economic development spending through mechanisms like a database of deals and restoring oversight of state contracting.

“Meanwhile, this deal was put together by the Governor with zero legislative input,” Flanagan said. “After the scandals and self-dealing we’ve witnessed from this administration, do we really want the Governor operating with no oversight? We need procurement reform and the so-called ‘database of deals’ so the public can have full faith and trust in the actions of its elected officials. Those bills should be passed by the Legislature immediately upon its return.”

Akshar: Flanagan ‘Best And Only Choice’ For Minority Leader

Sen. Fred Akshar formally endorsed Sen. John Flanagan to become the Republican minority leader next year in the state Senate.

Flanagan, the current majority leader, is competing for the post with Sen. Cathy Young in a leadership fight that stems in part from a debate over power between upstate and downstate lawmakers in the Legislature.

“The only way we can ensure that our upstate communities continue to have a voice is through a united front based on good policy, fierce advocacy, strong leadership and the ability to bring people together,” Akshar said.

“John Flanagan’s expertise in each of those categories makes him the best and only choice for Minority Leader. His ability to listen to the needs of his members regardless of where they’re from and work together to translate those needs into tangible results has been essential to our past successes. It will be essential to navigating a new New York driven more by politics and reacting to President Trump than by good policy and responding to the needs of the people we serve.”

Akshar is a Republican from the Binghamton area and at the moment remains the most prominent voice backing Flanagan’s push to remain leader of the GOP conference, which lost eight seats last Tuesday.

Republican Sens. Robert Ortt and Rich Funke have called for a change in leadership, with Funke backing Young’s candidacy.

Flanagan himself insisted he was not seeking the Suffolk County executive post next year and is running for leader.

“His ability to recruit good candidates and raise millions in support of those candidates will be essential to retaking the Majority in 2020,” Akshar said.

“I’m a member who proudly represents a diverse upstate community and one who whole-heartedly supports John Flanagan’s leadership. I urge my colleagues from the Eastern tip of Long Island to Jamestown to join me in that support as we work together to ensure that the path forward for our conference and the people we represent is one of strength, unity and real results.”

Flanagan Says He Can Unite Upstate And Downstate

Sen. John Flanagan in a statement on Tuesday insisted he could unite the upstate and downstate factions in the Republican conference as he runs to keep the leadership post in the chamber.

At the same time, Flanagan also said he has “no interest” in running for Suffolk County executive.

“I believe I am the one candidate who can unite Upstate and downstate and chart a credible path to a future Republican Majority,” Flanagan said. “To do so, we must recruit strong candidates who can compete and win in every region of the state, including Upstate, the suburbs and, yes, even in New York City.”

Flanagan became majority leader in 2015. His chief rival for retaining the leadership is Sen. Cathy Young, the chairwoman of the Senate Republican Campaign Committee.

Republicans last week lost eight seats in the 63-member chamber and controlling majority in the Senate for the first time in a decade.

Flanagan called the election “historically difficult” and attributed to a “national wave that favored Democrats.”

“As Republicans, we are going to spend the next two years aggressively highlighting the differences that exist between ourselves and the incoming Democrat Majority,” Flanagan said.

“We are going to make a case for reducing taxes so it’s far easier to live in New York, helping businesses create new jobs so there are opportunities for families and for young people, and we’re going to stay hard at work on the issues that truly matter to middle-class families – – like making higher education more affordable, bringing about safer streets and stronger communities, helping individuals overcome the scourge of heroin and opioids, ensuring clean water, combating Lyme disease, and so much more.”

So far, at least two Republicans — Sens. Rich Funke and Robert Ortt — have publicly announced they want to see a change in leadership. Flanagan has the public backing of Sen. Fred Akshar of the Binghamton area.

“I have been speaking openly and honestly with my Republican colleagues from around the state about the qualities they want in their leader, and I have been pleased with those initial discussions,” Flanagan said. “What lies ahead will not be easy, but I believe I am uniquely prepared to take up and lead this important fight on behalf of the extraordinary men and women of our Senate Republican Conference.”

Republicans Battle For Senate Leader

From the Morning Memo:

Poised to fall into a 23-member minority in less than two months, Senate Republicans have a leadership fight on their hands.

Sen. John Flanagan, the outgoing majority leader, is campaigning to stay atop the soon-to-be-diminished Republican conference, making a public show of support that he’s received from Republican Sen. Fred Akshar.

Sen. Cathy Young, meanwhile, has picked up the support of institutions that have supported a GOP majority over the years, including the Real Estate Board of New York, the Rent Stabilization Association and the New York Rifle And Pistol Association. On Monday, Rochester-area Sen. Rich Funke said he would support Young for leader over Flanagan.

The leadership vote has aspects of what has been a downstate-upstate tension in a conference that is normally publicly united on issues like property taxes. But cracks in the Republican unity first began to show in 2015, when Majority Leader Dean Skelos stepped down after he was charged with using his office to help his son get a job.

The subsequent leadership fight between Flanagan, a Long Island lawmaker, and Sen. John DeFrancisco of central New York brought those differences in style as well as substance to the surface.

The conference had increasingly moved further away from public cooperation with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose first term and parts of his second term were marked by a productive working relationship with the Senate GOP majority.

But facing political pressure from the left in New York to aid his own party’s takeover of the Senate, Cuomo’s relationship with Senate Republicans soured and devolved to public sniping.

Working with Cuomo also strained the coalition for Republicans in New York, who flinched at the GOP-led Senate approving measures like gun control and increases in the state’s minimum wage.

The Republican conference next year will not just be smaller, but have have reduced downstate ranks. Only three Republicans will represent Long Island’s nine Senate districts next year: Flanagan, Sens. Phil Boyle and Ken LaValle. The conference will have only one New York City member, Sen. Andrew Lanza.

Four Things To Watch On Election Day

From the Morning Memo:

It’s Election Day! Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. in New York statewide. Remember to go vote. It’s a vitally important way of having your voice be heard in our country governs itself. And since you’re probably an engaged citizen to begin with given you’ve come to this blog, remember to call a friend and bring them to the polls as well.

Here are four things to watch for today.

1. Democratic sweep.

Democrats are poised to gain total control of every chamber of the Legislature and statewide office this year for the first time since 2009-10, when the party had an ill-fated majority in the state Senate. That leadership from that time has completely turned over since. Republicans for the last 10 years have managed to cobble together a majority over the years with the occasional help of the now-defunct Independent Democratic Conference and currently with Democratic Sen. Simcha Felder, who sits with the Senate GOP. But convincing victories on Long Island, the Hudson Valley and even in several upstate seats could end the last lever of power Republicans hold statewide. Adding to that is a surge in Democratic enrollment in New York, making this blue state even bluer.

2. Who gets the most votes?

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is at the top of the ticket and, unless polling has been catastrophically wrong, he’s likely to receive a third term over Republican Marc Molinaro. But he’s also sharing the ticket with Democrats like U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, two proven vote-getters in statewide elections. At the same time, the top of the gubernatorial ticket is a relatively competitive one, given the three independent party candidates like Larry Sharpe of the Libertarians, Howie Hawkins of the Green Party and former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner running on the Serve American Movement ballot line. All have the potential draw protest votes from both Cuomo and Molinaro. Nevertheless, turnout is expected to be far higher than the 30 percent or so in 2014.

3. Senate watch

As Republicans seek to hold their majority, the most competitive races are relatively crammed into two areas of the state: Long Island and the Hudson Valley. Suffolk and Nassau counties in particular have been longtime GOP strongholds, with Republicans at their most powerful when they have won a clean sweep of the so-called “Long Island 9” — all of the districts in those two counties. Democrats last made significant in-roads on Long Island in the 2008 campaign, winning key races in Nassau and Suffolk counties to break up the Long Island 9. Democrats dashed it again with the victory of Sen. Todd Kaminsky in a special election to replace the scandal-scarred former majority leader, Dean Skelos. But if this is a true wave year for Democrats, its possible the party will have successes in additional races higher up in the Hudson Valley, Capital Region and central New York.

4. Will New York flip the House?

There are a handful of competitive House races around the state this year, partially by dint of President Donald Trump’s unpopularity or the unpopularity of the incumbent. Rep. Chris Collins is seeking re-election to his heavily Republican House seat amid insider trading charges. Democrats are trying once again after several failed attempts to flip the 19th district in the Hudson Valley. If Republicans want to hold the House of Representatives, they’ll have to notch victories in New York to do so.

Flanagan Blasts Cuomo, Defends Golden

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan blasted Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday in a phone interview, insisting Republicans would retain control of the chamber and that the down-ballot races would hinge on state and local issues, not President Donald Trump.

Cuomo in Brooklyn earlier in the day appeared with Democratic state Senate candidate Andrew Gounardes, Golden’s opponent. Speaking with reporters after the rally, Cuomo said the race wasn’t about Golden, but about Trump’s record and rhetoric.

“This isn’t about Marty Golden. They are carrying Donald Trump’s message,” the governor said. “They’re not in charge. This is led by the top. They’re carrying the Trump agenda,” Cuomo said. “He is the dictator — Trump — of the Republican Party. So it doesn’t really matter what Marty Golden thinks.”

Flanagan in the phone interview said Cuomo’s attack on Golden was hypocritical.

“I am incredulous and it’s beyond belief the hypocrisy that’s coming from the governor,” he said. “The governor wants to talk about everyone else except his own record. The arrogance that it doesn’t matter what Marty Golden thinks is unbelievable.”

He called Cuomo’s criticism “unwarranted” and “undeserved”

“That’s unmitigated gall,” he said. “I’ll work with Marty Golden any day of the week. He’s a superb public servant.”

The Brooklyn Senate race is one of a handful of battleground Senate districts around the state, with many of the contests playing out on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley, as well as a race in central New York.

Republicans hold a one-seat majority in the chamber with the aid of Brooklyn Sen. Simcha Felder, a Democrat who conferences with the GOP.

And the campaign for the seat, long eyed by Democrats as a potential pickup opportunity, has become increasingly heated.

Golden at a rally this weekend warned of recently released parolees being able to vote in the election, though no evidence has surfaced of parolees being a danger to voters in the primary elections.

“Think about the people who will die because the governor wanted people to vote,” he said.

Senate Republicans are facing a range of crosscurrents to protect their majority, including heavy spending by super PACs funded by organized labor groups, a president who is unpopular with a majority of New Yorkers and a sharp increase in Democratic enrollment.

But Flanagan believes the battle over the state Senate will be decided candidate-by-candidate.

“I think things have trended in our direction,” he said. “Now this is about turnout. We get our base out, we’ll be in good condition. I’m confident we’ll be able to do that.”

And he expects to still be able to work with Cuomo should he win a third term and Republicans hang on to the majority.

“I know when to govern and I know when to be involved in politics,” he said. “We have absolutely demonstrated that we know how to lead and we know how to govern.”

Updated: Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for Cuomo, responded.

“We know john is having a really bad couple of weeks, but this public temper tantrum is just embarrassing, especially for him and his members,” he said.

Giuliani Endorses, Robocalls For Farley

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Monday endorsed Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chele Farley in her bid to unseat incumbent Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand.

Giuliani, now President Donald Trump’s attorney handling the special counsel investigation, also recorded a robocall for Farley.

“Chele Farley has experience negotiating business deals and will work with President Trump to get a better deal for New York,” he says in the call. “Her qualifications and experience will make her a great Senator who will put New York first.”

Giuliani had one point considered running for the Senate seat Gillibrand now holds. He dropped his bid for the seat in 2000 in what would have been a marquee matchup against Hillary Clinton after a prostate cancer diagnosis and a high-profile divorce.

Gillibrand was appointed to the seat in 2009, replacing Clinton, who had joined the Obama administration as secretary of state. She won a special election in 2010 and a full term in 2012.

“With a lack of affordable housing, an exploding homeless population and a crumbling transit system, New York is at a dangerous tipping point. Mayor Giuliani knows that we need a Senator in Washington whose only priority is working for New York,” Farley said in a statement. “Thank you, Mayor Giuliani, for your generous endorsement, everything you have done for New York and your continued service to our country.”

NY-22: Trump Jr. Makes Final Push For Tenney

From the Morning Memo:

President Donald Trump’s son will appear in the 22nd congressional district on behalf of Rep. Claudia Tenney as she faces a competitive re-election fight against Democrat Anthony Brindisi.

Donald Trump Jr. is the third member of the First Family to make an appearance on Tenney’s behalf in recent months. In October, Tenney campaigned with Eric Trump. Earlier this year, she received a visit from Ivanka Trump.

On Saturday, Tenney campaigned with White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

“President Trump and his family have been huge supporters of my campaign because we are working together to rebuild the economy, strengthen our country and give the people of our district a voice in Washington,” Tenney said. “I look forward to welcoming Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle to the Mohawk Valley on Monday night for an election eve rally.”

Tenney has been a stalwart support of the president, who headlined a fundraiser for her in Utica this summer.

Trump has a 53 percent job approval rating with voters in the district, according to a Spectrum News/Siena College poll last month.

But Tenney herself a high unfavorable rating with voters, the poll found.

Brindisi, a member of the Assembly, has not focused on Trump much during the campaign.

“Campaign events like this are exactly the kinds of things you would expect from a Washington politician more concerned about playing politics than reaching out to her constituents,” Brindisi said in a statement.

“While Claudia Tenney is holding another closed campaign event, I’ll be touring the district visiting five counties, meeting with the people I hope to represent, and making the case that I’ll be an independent voice working for them.”

The race in the district, which stretches from the Mohawk Valley to the Southern Tier, is considered one of the most competitive in the country this year.

Molinaro Camp Fundrasies Off Siena Poll

From the Morning Memo:

Republican Marc Molinaro’s campaign is not deterred by the 13-percentage point deficit in the Siena College poll released on Sunday.

After all, he’s closed a 22-point gap from several weeks ago. Plus, a poll just before Election Day in 1994 showed Mario Cuomo leading George Pataki by 16 points.

“That’s right! We are even closer,” Molinaro’s campaign said in a last-minute fundraising email on Sunday afternoon. “We can win this race with your help, your energy — your commitment.”

Any new money would likely be too late for a TV spot. But the 11th hour donations could lead to added digital spending and target voters directly.

Molinaro through the weekend has been comparing his campaign to the underdog challenge by Pataki, who would go on to upset the incumbent governor’s father that year.

There are difference, including robust fundraising by Pataki over Mario Cuomo and the Republican power structure led by then-U.S. Sen. Al D’Amato.

“Molinaro is an ultra-conservative anti-choice, anti-immigrant, NRA A-rated Trump mini-me,” said Cuomo campaign spokeswoman Abbey Collins. “Pataki was pro-choice, pro-assault weapons ban and outraised Mario Cuomo $25M-$12M in a Republican wave year. Otherwise, exactly the same.”

Molinaro did not vote for President Donald Trump in 2016, instead writing in former Rep. Chris Gibson.