Nov 3rd - 9:36 am
Fight Back PAC, the political action committee formed with the sole purpose of ousting senators who voted “no” on gay marriage last December and replacing them with “yes” voters, sent out an early-morning e-mail with the subject line: “8 Months + $800,000 = 3 New Votes for Marriage Equality!”
The message touted the victory of two same-sex marriage Democrats: Former NYC Councilman Tony Avella, who defeated GOP Sen. Frank Padavan in the 11th SD and Tim Kennedy, who won a three-way race in the 58th SD over incumbent Sen. Bill Stachowski (who lost the Sept. 14 primary to Kennedy, but was still on the WFP and Independence Party lines) and GOP Assemblyman Jack Quinn.
“Successfully eliminating two more anti-equality candidates and ensuring pro-equality candidates replaced them wasn’t easy,” the Fight Back team wrote.
“You helped drive nearly $800,000 into three strategically targeted districts and picked up three new marriage votes. Your support ensured constant direct communication with target voters – including hundreds of thousands of mail pieces, and radio and TV ads which aired over 1,200 times.”
The only problem, of course, is that it’s not at all certain the Democrats will retain the majority.
Nov 3rd - 8:13 am
Sorry for the delay folks. It was a rather late night/early morning. My co-anchor, Roma Torre, and I didn’t get off the desk last night until close to 2 a.m. – after Democratic state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli delivered his victory speech.
It was a big night for New York Democrats, who provided a bright spot of success in a nation that saw big GOP gains. The Dems swept the statewide races, picking up the offices of governor, LG, both US Senate seats, attorney general and comptroller (it appears).
As for the congressional races, it looks like the GOP picked up five – and possibly six – seats in Democrat-dominated New York, which helped the party re-gain control of the House. They are:
NY-13 Michael Grimm beats Rep. Michael McMahon.
NY-19 Nan Hayworth beats Rep. John Hall.
NY-20 Chris Gibson beats Rep. Scott Murphy.
NY-24 Richard Hanna beats Rep. Michael Arcuri.
NY-29 Tom Reed defeats Democrat Matt Zeller to win an open seat that used to belong to Democratic former Rep. Eric Massa.
NY-25 Rep. Dan Maffei leads Mary Ann Buerkle by just 5,000 votes. (NOTE: I’m told this race has tightened further, with only several hundred votes separating the two candidates, and about 7,500 paper ballots still out).
The state Senate is still too close to call. The Democrats’ best hope is 32-30 to retain the majority. The GOP’s best is 33-29 to regain control. The rundown of what we know:
Nov 2nd - 2:13 pm
A GOP reader who’s working on the 48th SD race between Democratic Sen. Darrel Aubertine and Republican Patricia Ritchie sent a photo of some rather curious campaign lit that’s showing up at the homes of the district’s prime R voters.
The front of the piece features a mock DN wood for tomorrow’s front page that reads: “Tea Partiers Massive Victory Across the Country.” Beneath a sticker that indicates where the recipient’s polling place is, there’s a line that reads: “You can write a different future with your vote.”
Flip the lit over and you’ll find a bunch of head shots of…Democrats! Specifically, Rep. Bill Owens, gubernatorial frontrunner Andrew Cuomo, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, and Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer. This team is touted as capable of improving the economy and creating jobs, not blocking “progress.”
Oddly, Sen. Eric Schneiderman, the party’s nominee for AG, is missing from the piece. That’s particularly strange because he’s been endorsed by Cuomo and spent all yesterday stumping with the AG, while DiNapoli has not.
The lit is brilliant in its lack of specifics. It could be taken as either a condemnation of the Tea Party or an effort to jump on board with it, depending on the view of the voter who receives it. The blocking progress line is a criticism both the GOP and the Democrats have employed this election season.
Nov 2nd - 1:29 pm
The pro-GOP reader I referenced in my earlier post who questioned the veracity Hasidic sample ballot I posted forwarded a second version that is also being handed out in Williamsburg today.
Whereas the first version, which was sent to me by a Democrat, featured a straight Row A recommendation, this one urges voters to deviate from the Democratic line in the AG’s race and support Republican Staten Island DA Dan Donovan instead of Sen. Eric Schneiderman.
There are so many factions in the Hasidic community I can’t say with any certainty what’s going on here, although there was some speculation that Brooklyn Democratic Party Chairman Vito Lopez and his ally, Rabbi David Niederman of the UJO, had something to do with it.
Another Republican reader writes: “There was a major meeting of rabbis in Monsey last week, and it was decided that no one could vote for Schneiderman because is pro-gay. Of course all the other Dems are too, so I don’t know why they picked him.”
The group issued a press release on Oct. 25 that included the following:
Rabbi Noson Leiter, Executive Director of the Orthodox Jewish advocacy group, Torah Jews for Decency, and an organizer of the event identified those candidates who advance the LGBT agenda.
“The prospect of State Senator Eric Schneiderman, an avid proponent of same-gender ‘marriage,’ becoming the highest ranking law-enforcement official in New York state, raises the specter of thousands of Bible-adherents eventually becoming criminalized for their religious beliefs and practices. ”
“Additionally, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s pledge to prioritize same-sex ‘marriage,’ should disgust any G-d fearing voter and disqualify him.”
The rabbis also urged voters in NY-19 to vote for neither “pro-abortion Log Cabinist” Republican Nan Hayworth nor Democratic Rep. John Hall, calling for them to write in the name of Neil DiCarlo, the anti-abortion rights Tea Partier whom Hayworth defeated in the primary on Sept. 14.
Nov 2nd - 7:54 am
Former gubernatorial hopeful Rick Lazio joined me on CapTon last night and insisted he has “no regrets” about dropping out of the race to cede the Conservative line to Carl Paladino, although he refused to say whether he will be voting today for the Buffalo businessman who trounced him in the GOP primary on Sept. 14.
In his first extended TV appearance since he quit the race in September, Lazio said his judicial candidacy (for state Supreme Court in the Bronx), which he used to get off Row D, prevents him from making any endorsements or overt political statements. He did, however, lament the tone of the governor’s race and its lack of focus on issues.
“It would have been a different race for sure,” Lazio said when I asked him if he wished he had stuck it out in the gubernatorial contest.
“I don’t think it would have been likely that it would have effected the ultimate outcome in terms of who the victor might be, and my thinking of it at the time was I did not want to create unintended consequences where people were voting for me and one candidate or the other was a net beneficiary.”
“…I thought the right and honorable thing for me to do honestly was to step aside even though I had won that Conservative Party line, so I have no regrets at all about that.”
Lazio did take a swipe at state GOP Chairman Ed Cox for candidate shopping and failing to unite early behind contenders who had no significant primary opposition (actually, only comptroller hopeful Harry Wilson falls into that category).
The former congressman said he thinks criticism of Cox is “fair,” although I’ve heard some say he’ll be vindicated in backing Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy if Paladino loses big today. (Heck, even Eliot Spitzer thinks Levy would have beat Andrew Cuomo).
Nov 1st - 3:15 pm
A reader forwarded this robocall from former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani on behalf of Fran Becker, the Republican who’s challenging Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy in Long Island’s 4th CD.
Becker is a long-shot, but he’s been gaining steam, and the GOP has high hopes for him. The reader astutely noted the subtext of this race: Giuliani vs. Mayor Bloomberg, who endorsed McCarthy (a thank-you for her willingess to cross party lines and back his successful bid for a third term last fall).
Here’s the script:
“This is Mayor Rudy Giuliani with a short message reminding you that unless we act
now to change the direction of our country, future generations will never again have the standard of living, the opportunities, and the freedoms we have now.”
“That’s why I’m asking you to vote Fran Becker for Congress this Tuesday. Because nothing is going to change in Washington until we change the people we send there. Thank you.”
Nov 1st - 2:40 pm
George Pataki just sent out a statement offering an eleventh-hour endorsement of GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, who once referred to the former governor as a “degenerate idiot.”
“One-party rule has led New York State to the brink of ruin,” Pataki said.
“The ethical and fiscal morass that Democratic control has wrought upon our state government can only end if we re-establish a vigorous two-party system. The best way to achieve this is through competitive statewide candidates.”
“While I don’t agree with my party’s nominee for governor on any number of issues, we do agree on three essential Republican-Conservative core beliefs: The need to cut taxes, reduce spending and shrink the size of government. It is with these bedrock beliefs in mind that today I endorse Carl Paladino for governor.”
That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it’s the best Paladino could hope for this late in the game.
As recently as last week, Pataki, who was a Rick Lazio supporter, was refusing to say whether he would support Paladino – or even vote for him – saying he was holding out to see if the Buffalo businessman would be able to stop putting his foot in his mouth and start focusing on “issues.”
(It should be noted the two did have a sit-down not long after the Sept. 14 primary at which Paladino apologized for insulting Pataki and sought his support and advice).
This move is really a lot more about Pataki and his national aspirations than it is about Paladino, who is trailing Cuomo by double digits – at least according to the public opinion polls that the candidate rejects.
The former governor, who started out his tenure in 1995 as very conservative (remember that he ran on restoring the death penality and cutting taxes) and then swung toward the middle to get re-elected in the Democrat-dominated state in 1998 and 2002, has again reverted to his old right-leaning days with his Revere America committee and its anti-”Obamacare” message.
Nov 1st - 1:34 pm
Here’s a mailer I received this morning at my abode in Upstate America that was paid for by the Republican National Committee.
It’s just a general “vote Republican” mailer. (I’m a blank, and so the GOP is targeting the all-important independent swing voting bloc that pollsters expect will again make the difference in any number of races this year). I haven’t received any DNC mail, and my Greene County mailbox has been stuffed to the brim with lit. Anyone out there getting national Dem mail?
The front features photos of President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the main focus is jobs, as in “where are they?”
Oct 31st - 10:01 am
If Siena’s final pre-general election poll is on the money, it could be a very long and tense election night.
The survey continues to show Democratic frontrunner Andrew Cuomo with a comfortable double-digit lead over his GOP challenger, Carl Paladino, (58-33). Paladino now leads the AG among Republicans, 62-27, and made inroads with independents, too, although Cuomo is still ahead there, 48-40.
Ditto for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in her race against former GOP Rep. Joe DioGuardi (57-37) and extra ditto for Sen. Chuck Schumer vs. Republican Jay Townsend (64-32).
But the other two statewide races are deadlocked.
The real surprise is the state comptroller’s race, in which Republican Harry Wilson has closed a 17-point gap between himself and Democratic incumbent Tom DiNapoli. The two candidates are tied at 44 percent with 12 percent still undecided and only two days (counting this one) remaining in the campaign.
Wilson is now ahead in both the suburbs (nine points) and upstate (16 points) – both areas where DiNapoli previously had a slim lead.
The first time candidate and former hedge fund manager also managed to, as Siena spokesman Steve Greenberg put it, “bring home” Republicans, and is now leading among his fellow GOPs by 62 points, up from 36.
Oct 29th - 2:48 pm
Republican state Senate candidate Bob Domenici called on his Democratic opponent, Sen. Neil Breslin, to authorize the State Police to release any information related to his traffic stop and field sobriety test and even suggested all interactions with troopers should be made public – even if they don’t result in charges.
“That might not be a bad idea so we don’t have confusion in the future,” Domenici said earlier today at a press conference called by his campaign following the TU’s report this morning that the senator admitted he had been drinking the night he was pulled over – a direct contradiction of a Senate spokesman’s account of the Oct. 19 incident.
Breslin has gone underground since speaking Wednesday night about his brush with the law. He did not show up at any of the public events he was scheduled to attend today. That left the media cycle to Domenici, who dutifully did his best to keep the story alive.
“We’re in the dark,” Domenici told reporters. “We don’t know, and he won’t say, and nor will anyone else say. We need to come out of the dark. Maybe Neil Breslin needs to be here answering the question. What really happened?”
“This goes to the heart of why people don’t trust our government, because technically he was the one in the car here, and technically he needs to come forward and say exactly what happened. Neil Breslin is the one here in question. His integrity is in question.”