Republicans

Senate Dems Eye Larkin Seat

From the Morning Memo:

Senate Democrats are increasingly confident of their chances in flipping Republican Sen. Bill Larkin’s district to their column.

Sources familiar with the push to win the Hudson Valley Senate seat long held by one of the conference’s most senior members believe that even if Larkin runs for another, he’s beatable with the right Democratic challenger.

Democrats are especially emboldened, in part, over recent headaches with his campaign finance account which led to Larkin firing his campaign treasurer and expect to tie him to the corruption arrest of the former majority leader, Long Island Republican Dean Skelos.

Larkin himself has not been accused of any wrongdoing. More >

SD-52: Board of Elections Denies Ballot Access To Third Party Challengers

sd52The state Board of Elections on Tuesday ruled against two candidates who sought to gain third-party ballot lines for the 52nd Senate district special election.

The board ruled against the petitions submitted by Rich Purtell, who had sought the Libertarian ballot line, as well as Denver Jones, a Republican businessman who had petitioned for the Taxpayers ballot line.

Both can appeal the decision, but Jones recently lost a ruling that would have given him more time to collect petitions for the independent nominating process.

Jones had last ran against then-Sen. Tom Libous in a Republican primary in 2014. More >

Sugarman Responds To Larkin Probe Request

IMG_1567From the Morning Memo:

The chief enforcement counsel at the state Board of Elections will give the “appropriate attention” to a request from the Orange County Democratic chairman to investigate the campaign finances of Republican Sen. Bill Larkin.

“This office treats all allegations as a serious matter,” Enforcement Counsel Risa Sugarman wrote in the letter dated Aug. 24. “I can assure you this will receive the appropriate attention of my staff.”

Democratic Chairman Brett Broge this month in a letter to Sugarman highlighted Larkin’s failure to report contributions and expenditures during the January through July reporting cycle. More >

D’Amato Disses Pataki, Backs Kasich for 2016

Former US Senator-turned-lobbyist Alfonse D’Amato, who played a key role in helping elect then little-known state Sen. George Pataki to the governor’s office in 1994, has turned his back on his former ally and endorsed Ohio Gov. John Kasich for president in 2016.

The Kasich campaign released a statement from D’Amato, describing him as a “leading Republican force in New York,” though there are some who would debate that characterization, especially given the former senator’s fundraising in recent years on behalf of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The former senator, who, according to an aide, served in Congress with Kasich, called his chosen candidate “a proven political winner in a very tough state for Republicans” – ironically, the very same argument Pataki is making as he makes his case for his long-shot bid for the presidency.

“We Republicans need to capture the White House and in order to do that, we must win Ohio,” D’Amato said. “John Kasich is the only candidate who can assure us of that victory. John Kasich will make America strong and respected. He is a leader, plain and simple.”

“He’s the only candidate in the race with a proven record of leadership on state and federal levels. He’s straight talking. He does what he believes and he does it well. Look at Ohio; it’s come back strong and people are rising…He is the candidate who can get America back on track. I’m all in.”

Kasich gushed over the former senator, saying: he would “be content to just go out to his favorite pasta joint with him and listen to his stories, but that he’s going to help me and my campaign is incredible.”

The Ohio governor standing has risen to an all-time high among voters in Ohio – a key swing state in the presidential race, according to the latest results from a Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this week. He’s also polling in double digits (11 percent) in the first primary state of New Hampshire, according to a new PPP poll, though he’s running second to Donald Trump (35 percent).

Unlike Pataki Kasich, who didn’t announce his candidacy until late July, just barely squeaked his way into the first GOP primary debate held by Fox News earlier this month. The former New York governor was relegated to the pre-debate debate, which was jokingly referred to by some commentators as the “kiddie table.”

Former US Sen. Al D'Amato makes a choice in the 2016 elex. by liz_benjamin6490

The Senate GOP’s Upstate Stake

flanaganFrom the Morning Memo:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s claim that he is the key player in helping upstate New York’s economy steps on a key Senate Republican talking point: Who is really providing a balance in Albany to New York City interests.

Cuomo in Utica on Thursday insisted his advocacy for upstate New York has helped provided a counterweight to the interests representing New York City.

Indeed, the leadership of the two houses of the Legislature — Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader John Flanangan — are from the downstate region, the Bronx and Long Island respectively.

Both Heastie and Flanagan won their seats after defeating upstate lawmakers who sought the job: Joe Morelle and John DeFrancisco. More >

Heastie Differs With Cuomo On Indian Point

HeastieschenectadyFrom the Morning Memo:

While Gov. Andrew Cuomo has supported closing the Indian Point nuclear power plant for years, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on Wednesday said he had an opposite view.

“I’m never really been one to have issue with nuclear plants,” Heastie said during a visit to Schenectady. “But the discussion really is to make sure — particularly because Indian Point does supply a lot of energy to New York City — we have to make sure all the lights come on in the city.”

Cuomo’s criticism of the plant, which generates about 2,000 megawatts of power for the New York City area, intensified in May after a transformer caught fire at the facility. More >

Long Backs Akshar For SD-52

Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long announced Tuesday he is backing Republican Fred Akshar in the 52nd Senate district special election.

Akshar receiving the line is not actually up to Long: That decision will rest with county leaders.

But the endorsement of the statewide chairman will likely go a long way for the Broome County undersherif, who is running to replace former Sen. Tom Libous in the Southern Tier district.

“Chairman Long noted that Fred Akshar’s 15 years of experience in law enforcement along with his experience in managing the Law Enforcement Division within the Broome County Sheriff’s Office would be an asset when reviewing bills and budgets,” the Conservative Party said in a statement. “His training at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA and his years working undercover should provide a unique and needed approach to restoring trust in our public officials.”

More >

Assembly Dem Conference Grows By 1

Assemblyman John Ceretto is a Democrat — again.

The western New York lawmaker is bolting from the Assembly Republican conference and joining the large Democratic majority, Speaker Carl Heastie on Tuesday announced.

“Like the members of our conference, John is committed to working families and helping people climb the ladder of economic opportunity,” Heastie said in a statement. I have spent the summer traveling throughout upstate New York and learning about the needs of the communities I have visited, and I am excited that Assemblyman Ceretto will be bringing his views and experiences as a lifelong resident of Western New York to the Majority Conference.”

With Ceretto’s defection, the Democratic majority is growing its already large advantage in the chamber to 105 members. More >

A Summertime Focus On Upstate?

carlheastieAs he’s traveled across upstate New York this summer, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says he’s learned a lot from visiting the urban, suburban and rural corners of the state.

“This has really been a fact finding and a learning and eye-opening experience for me,” Heastie said during a stop in Buffalo.

The newly elected speaker traveled the state this summer to familiarize himself with the regions north of his Bronx Assembly district.

Heastie says the trip could turn into some recommendations to address issues he’s seen in upstate New York. More >

Broome County Exec Troubled By Cuomo’s Endorsement Timing

prestonAdd Republican Broome County Executive Debbie Preston to the list of GOP elected officials who were disappointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s quick endorsement of Democrat Barbara Fiala for the Senate seat left vacant by Sen. Tom Libous following his felony conviction.

In a Capital Tonight interview on Tuesday, Preston said the endorsement of her predecessor to fill Libous’s seat in a special election so soon after Libous was automatically removed from office came less than 24 hours after the guilty verdict.

“To me, it was like someone who had just passed and there was no time to even bury the person,” Preston said. “So I think the timing was not right and I think that’s what most people were upset about. We understand that we want to get out and endorse a candidate, but I just thought we needed to wait a little bit longer out of respect for the man who had given so much to the area.”

Fiala, a former DMV commissioner in the Cuomo administration, will face Republican Fred Akshar for the Southern Tier-area Senate seat. More >