Collins: Time To Tone Down Rhetoric

Western New York Rep. Chris Collins, a prominent support of President Donald Trump, called for both sides in the political debate to “tone down our rhetoric” in the wake of a shooting at a congressional baseball practice that left five injured, including House Majority Leader Steve Scalise.

“While it is apparent that the shooter was a zealot with an intention to cause harm, it is important that we all be cognizant that our words have strong meaning,” Collins said. “It’s time for all of us, including myself, to tone down our rhetoric and recognize that we are all of one country and all proud Americans.”

The shooter, identified as James Hodgkinson of Illinois, had posted critical comments on social media about Republicans and politics.

“Today’s attack on Whip Steve Scalise, Members of Congress, the Capitol Police, and congressional aides is absolutely devastating,” Collins added. “For those injured, we all send our prayers for a speedy recovery. If it weren’t for the brave men and women of the Capitol Police, this attack would have resulted in an even greater tragedy and I, along with my colleagues, are thankful for their service.”

Tenney’s Office Receives Threatening Email After Shooting

tenneyemailRepublican Rep. Claudia Tenney’s office on Wednesday received a threatening email in the hours after a shooting at a Virginia park that left a prominent member of Congress injured.

The email came with the subject line: “One down, 216 to go…” — an apparent reference to the Republicans in the House of Representatives who voted for the American Health Care Act, the measure repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

“Did you NOT expect this?” the email states. “When you take away ordinary peoples lives in order to pay off the wealthiest among us, your own lives are forfeit. Certainly, your souls and mortality were lost long before. Good riddance.”

The shooting occurred this morning at a baseball practice for the congressional GOP baseball team. The shooter, who has died of his injuries, was identified as James Hodgkinson of Illinois.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was among those shot and was taken into surgery this morning. He is expected to survive.

Tenney, a lawmaker who represents a district that stretches from central New York to the Southern Tier, was elected last year.

Roger Stone To Appear At Otsego County GOP Fundraiser

otsegocountyRoger Stone, a veteran political operative with ties to President Donald Trump, will appear at a fundraiser for the Otsego County Republican Committee on Wednesday.

Tickets for the event, to be held in Cooperstown at the Otsego Resort & Hotel, range from $75 to $250.

Stone’s prominence on the national stage is pre-dated by his time as a New York operative who had, among other clients, worked for the state Senate GOP. He was also a decided thorn in the side of ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

Stone has come under scrutiny during the investigation into Russian involvement in the presidential election last year and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. Stone in May said he would be willing to testify before congressional panels investigating the issue.

Stone is also a controversial figure, known for his Richard Nixon tattoo and political performance art, leading to charges he is a “dirty trickster.”

Stone achieved another level of notoriety this spring with the release of the Netflix documentary “Get Me Roger Stone” directed by Morgan Pehme, a former editor of New York-based political magazine City & State.

RNC Chair Is Special Guest At ‘Politics And Eggs’ Event

From the Morning Memo:

The Erie County Republican Committee kicks off a new event series this morning. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel will be the special guest for the inaugural Politics and Eggs series.

“As we have dignitaries that come through town, we’re looking to have more events like this; it’s a low dollar function, allowing the grassroots to connect with major figures that they see and read about in the news,” local GOP Chair Nick Langworthy said.

The event takes place at 8 a.m. at Chef’s Restaurant in Buffalo. Tickets cost $40 per person with sponsorship package ranging from $150 to $1000.

“We’re eager to talk about how we can help the president’s agenda and that’s really her role as RNC chair is to work with the White House, work with the administration and give that political cover from the Republican National Committee,” Langworthy said.

The RNC chair also spoke at a “Friendraiser” last night which was more geared toward donors than rank and file members of the committee. Local Republicans made clear though, McDaniel’s trip to Western New York this week was about meeting people, not raising money.

She was not soliciting donations for the national party at either event.

NRCC Responds With ‘Ziti’ To Cuomo Effort To Take Back House

Perhaps foreshadowing of what we could see should Gov. Andrew Cuomo emerge as presidential candidate in 2020, the National Republican Congressional Committee was quick to bring up the governor’s dirty laundry following a report that he plans to get involved with the 2018 congressional mid-terms.

In a blog post, the NRCC called Cuomo’s effort to take back the House “an ambitious goal after his former campaign manager/best friend was caught using Sopranos code words like ‘boxes of ziti’ for ‘money’ while orchestrating pay-to-play schemes in Albany.” The reference, of course, is to former aide Joseph Percoco who was one of eight men indicted in connection with a bid-rigging and bribery scheme involving state contracts.

“First Clinton, now Cuomo? We almost feel bad for Democrats hoping their party would get a fresh start in 2018…” NRCC Regional Press Secretary Chris Martin wrote.

The New York Daily New reported that the governor will kickoff his campaign in support of House Democrats with a rally Tuesday at New York City’s Washington Square Park.

For Now, Potential GOP Rivals Are Playing Nice (Updated)

From the Morning Memo:

The field of potential Republican candidates for governor is rather large one, setting up a potentially bruising nominating process in 2018.

But for now, Republicans who have tested the waters of taking on incumbent Democrat Andrew Cuomo are playing nice with each other.

Consider last year, when Westchester Couny Executive Rob Astorino and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro made a joint appearance at an event at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Last week, Molinaro tweeted a photo with another gubernatorial possibility, businessman Harry Wilson.

Today, Astorino will appear with Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan for an announcement in Westchester County to annnounce the establishment of the Hudson Valley’s first Center of Excellence focused on Precision Responses to Bioterrorism.

Recall that during the 2014 campaign for governor, Astorio and then-Majority Leader Dean Skelos didn’t exactly get along.

Seven years, Republicans had a disparate field for governor that featured personalities ranging from Carl Paladino, to former Rep. Rick Lazio, businessman Myers Mermel and Democrat-turned-Republican Steve Levy.

This time, the field appears more ideologically coherent and perhaps more united in their opposition to Cuomo.

Still, unseating the governor remains a challenge, at least at this point as a majority of voters in a Siena poll last month signaled they are ready to re-elect him.

Updated: Flanagan did not attend the event with Astorino, a spokesman for the Senate GOP confirmed. Flanagan was in Albany over the weekend and, with the session re-starting, could not make the trip to Valhalla.

Molinaro: ‘Serious Thought’ To Running For Governor

From the Morning Memo:

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro in a fundraising email to supporters on Thursday said he is giving “serious thought” to a run for governor next year.

Molinaro is among a handful of Republican statewide hopefuls next year who are considering campaigns against Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo, who is running for a third term.

“Let me be straight with you: I’m giving serious thought to running for Governor,” Molinaro said.

“With a young family and a new addition, our six-month-old son, the timing is not perfect; but the circumstances across our state grows more dire everyday. With hard work, love and commitment, my family is strong – but the family of New York is a family in crisis.”

In the email, Molinaro pointed to the heroin and opioid addiction crisis in upstate New York, the outmigration of the area’s population and the high cost of property taxes.

“The mood around the state is one of frustration, impatience, and even anger,” the email states. “Sadly, many people are so alienated and disappointed, they are giving up on New York. Tragically, others are in crisis and on the verge of giving up on themselves, on their family, on hope for the future.”

Molinaro pointed to his own efforts on property tax reduction and combating heroin abuse, as well as implementing plans to overhaul county government and strengthen mental health services.

It concludes with asking for donation between $25 and $1,000, sent from his Dutchess County executive campaign.

In addition to Molinaro, the potential Republican field for governor includes Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who ran in 2014 and businessman Harry Wilson, the GOP nominee for comptroller in 2010.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan has also suggested he may run next year, as has the deputy leader, Syracuse’s John DeFrancisco.

Flanagan Now ‘Demanding’ Info From de Blasio

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan this week sent a letter to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio demanding he comply with the requirement his administration detail how the city is spending its education funds.

The letter comes as a follow up to a letter sent earlier in May that had asked de Blasio to release more information on city school spending as Senate Republicans consider an extension of mayoral control for New York City schools, which expires later this month.

“As there are three weeks remaining in the legislative session to consider extending the statute, I am no longer requesting, but am demanding that you comply with the law and fulfill your duty as the Mayor of New York City and the official chiefly responsible for New York City schools,” Flanagan wrote in the letter released today and dated Wednesday. “This is your opportunity to prove that the billions are not being misspent and mismanaged.”

Senate Republicans have had a strained relationship with the liberal mayor and have been hesitant to support granting him more than 12-month extension of the policy.

Assembly Democrats in May backed an omnibus bill that extended mayoral control, but linked it to the extension of local tax provisions that impact suburban and upstate communities that are represented by Republicans in the Senate.

De Blasio Letter by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Lhota Endorses Malliotakis

Republican Joe Lhota, the party’s 2013 nominee for mayor of New York City, has endorsed Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis’s bid.

“After nearly 4 years of the de Blasio administration, New York City desperately needs a new mayor and I firmly believe Nicole is the person for the job,” Lhota said in a statement issued Wednesday.

Lhota previously served as a deputy to Mayor Rudy Giuliani and later as the chairman of the MTA under Gov. Andrew Cuomo, overseeing the transit agency’s response to Superstorm Sandy.

Incumbent Democrat Bill de Blasio handily defeated Lhota after he defeated John Catsimatidis in a GOP primary. Catsimatidis has been allied with Malliotakis, though he has also praised her Republican rival for the nomination, businessman Paul Massey.

Lhota is in endorsement praised Malliotakis’s record as a state lawmaker.

“She is the only real Republican in the race and a candidate that truly understands the problems of our city,” he said, “and the solutions needed to fix them.”

Cox: Feds ‘Indulging In Politics’ In Libous Case

Republican Chairman Ed Cox on Tuesday took a swipe at federal prosecutors for pursuing the case against the late ex-Sen. Tom Libous, whose perjury conviction was vacated more than a year after his death.

“It’s disgraceful that Senator Libous was forced to spend the remaining days of his life fighting this politically-charged battle,” Cox said in a statement. “As I said in 2014: ‘allegations too thin, press releases too thick, and timing too political for this indictment to be credible.’ It has been the US Attorney’s Office who was on trial, and it’s now evident that they failed for indulging in politics.”

The case was prosecuted by the office of then-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose office has tackled Republican and Democratic officeholders, including then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.

Libous, like his fellow legislative leaders, was ejected from office following his conviction of a single count of lying to the FBI in a case stemming from his son receiving a job at a politically connected law firm.

Libous was in the middle of his appeal when he died from terminal cancer. In addition to the conviction being vacated, the $50,000 fine levied against him is being returned.

“This case will forever be a black eye on the prosecution, but thankfully justice has ultimately been served. Hopefully, Tom Libous’ family can gain some peace with this outcome,” Cox said.