Aug 19th - 2:24 pm
After losing the appeal of her residency case, Regina Calcaterra is giving up her bid to try to oust GOP Sen. Ken LaValle and has asked Suffolk County Democratic and Working Families Party leaders to tap her friend and donor, Jennifer Maertz, to run in her place.
“Unfortunately, because of the underhanded, desperate legal challenge brought by my opponent Ken LaValle and his long-time political cronies – and court rulings that I adamantly believe were flawed and not in standing with the intent of our state constitution and legal precedent – my candidacy has been knocked off track,” Calcaterra wrote in a statement released this afternoon.
“I firmly believe that a fight to the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, would provide the opportunity to make a strong argument to keep me on the ballot and had a good chance of success.”
“However, because of pending deadlines for parties to formally place alternate candidates on the ballot, I simply am not willing to take a chance that Ken LaValle and his incompetent political agenda would run unopposed for a second straight election should my further appeals fail.”
“He should not be our representative in the New York State Senate and his brand of Albany insider politics has long since passed its expiration date. Ken LaValle must go now.”
Calcaterra said she is convinced that Maertz, a Woodbury attorney who has been supporting her campaign since it started over a year ago, will be able to win the election and be a “great state senator”, in spite of her late entry into the race.
While it’s true that anti-incumbent sentiment is prevalent this year, the reality is that changing candidates this late in the game is never a good thing – particularly when that candidate is fighting an already uphill battle trying to take out an incumbent who was first elected in 1976.
The enrollment in the 1st SD is: 72,123 Democrats, 83,495 Republicans, and 62,801 blanks.
Aug 19th - 12:43 pm
The state Conservative Party is all in for its gubernatorial designee, Rick Lazio, releasing a TV ad that features the candidate challenging the Democratic frontrunner, Andrew Cuomo, over the mosque proposed for construction near Ground Zero.
The spot features Lazio standing in front of iconic footage of the smoldering remains of Ground Zero in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Lazio included similar images in a Web ad released yesterday morning – a move that drew criticism from TPM‘s Josh Marshall, who dubbed the former Long Island congressman “Sleazy Rick.”
Maggie Haberman expressed shock yesterday over Lazio’s blatant use of such graphic images, which were considered political off-limits for a long time.
I’m not sure when the statute of limitations is on this, but it does strike me as a little hypocritical to argue that the mosque is an affront to the 9/11 survivors and victims’ relatives and then force them to re-live the tragedy over and over in a campaign ad.
Aug 19th - 12:12 pm
The state Democratic Party is continuing to weigh in on some of New York’s more hotly contested congressional contests, sending out a statement that slams Republican candidates in NY-20 and NY-25 for appearing with House Minority Leader John Boehner, whom the Dems dubbed the “poster boy for social security privatization.”
“After the worst financial meltdown in a generation, you’d have to be crazy to think that handing our Social Security dollars over to Wall Street is a good idea, but that’s just what Congressman John Boehner stands for,” said state Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs.
“And you know who’s standing with him? Ann Marie Buerkle and Chris Gibson. Their decision to invite the poster child for Social Security privatization into their districts says more about their backward views on Social Security – the most popular and effective social program in history – than any campaign ad ever could.”
“Privatization is nothing but a risky scheme that seniors can’t afford right now. Buerkle and Gibson must have learned a different set of lessons than the rest of us from the Great Recession. They should be safeguarding the integrity of the program, not backing someone who wants to send our Social Security dollars to Wall Street and gamble with the retirement security of millions of Americans.”
Boehner is scheduled to headline a fundraiser for Gibson, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Scott Murphy, at the Reading Room in Saratoga Springs tomorrow.
(CNN’s Politicker noted earlier this week that while Boehner opposes the mosque, Gibson has taken a position similar to President Obama’s on the project, although he’s also called for a re-zoning of the site that would essentially disallow all religious buildings).
The minority leader is going to appear at a fundraiser for Buerkle, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei, on Saturday in the Syracuse area.
Aug 19th - 11:39 am
NY-1 candidate George Demos is continuing to slam one of his two Republican primary opponents, Randy Altschuler, for his history of sending jobs overseas, releasing this so-called “hidden video” of the Long Island businessman boasting about the success of his former firm, OfficeTiger.
The firm was clearly described as “a leading provider of business process outsourcing service” in this March 20, 2006 news release that announced its acquisition by P.R. Donnelley & Sons Company in an all-cash $250 million deal, adding:
“OfficeTiger, headquartered in New York, provides integrated onsite- offshore BPO services to Fortune 500 companies and to professional services firms through its operations in North America, Europe, India and Sri Lanka.”
The video features footage of Altschuler talking with employees in Chennai, India and also being grilled during several TV interviews on why he can’t create the same jobs here in the US and how much less he was paying employees in Indian.
“It’s less expensive than here domestically I mean obviously that’s one of the reasons why peolpe are using off-shore,” Altschuler replied.
Altschuler has the Conservative Party line, although he’s being challenged for that in a long-shot opportunity-to-ballot bid by Chris Cox, the third GOP candidate in the race. All three are vying for the right to take on Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in November.
Aug 19th - 9:51 am
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the man most closely associated with 9/11, appeared on the “Today” show this morning for his first extended TV interview about the mosque proposed for construction near Ground Zero said the developers might have a right to build, but to do so would be insensitive to 9/11 victims’ families.
Giuliani said the mosque/community center is an “as of right project” and probably didn’t even need to seek the limited approval it has already received. He insisted: “If you are a healer, you don’t go forward with this project. If you’re a warrior you do.”
“The question here is a question of sensitivity and people’s feelings and are you really what you pretend to be,” the former mayor and 2008 presidential contender said.
“As I understand this Cordoba House, the idea is about healing…if you’re going to so horribly offend the people that were most directly offended by this, most directly affected by this, the families of the September 11 victims, who I happen to know and have gotten to know really well, then how are you healing? All this is doing is creating more division, more anger, more hatred.”
Aug 18th - 2:43 pm
Lobbyist/consultant Richard Lipsky sent me a memo earlier today that details GOP congressional candidate Chris Cox’s argument that the judge presiding over his Conservative opportunity-to-ballot case should recuse himself because of his ties to the Suffolk County Conservative Party.
The Conservatives, as you’ll recall, have backed one of Cox’s primary opponents, Randy Altschuler, and are fighting Cox’s efforts both to challenge Altschuler for Row D and cast himself in mailers and a TV ad as the real conservative in the race.
Lipsky’s stable of clients includes John Catsimatidis, the supermarket mogul and Democrat-turned-Republican who is Cox’s father-in-law-in-waiting. (His daughter, Andrea, is Cox’s financee). Catsimatidis has emerged as an outspoken defender of – and contributor to – his soon-to-be son-in-law’s campaign.
Cox’s case against state Supreme Court Justice Thomas Whelan, who has already refused to recuse himself and rejected the Cox campaign’s conflict-of-interest claim, starts with this fact: He is married to Suffolk Family Court judge Theresa Whelan, who was cross-endorsed by the Conservative party in 2007.
In addition, Theresa Whelan made contributions to the party and to the campaign of Suffolk Sheriff Vincent Demarco, who is the employer of Suffolk County Conservative Party Chairman Ed Walsh, according to Frank Seabrook, a conservative Long Island blogger who has laid out the case for Whelan’s reccual in exhaustive detail on his Website.
As Lipsky notes, this case is due back in court Thursday.
Aug 18th - 11:42 am
When I noted during yesterday’s “Capital Tonight” that Carl Paladino’s Taxpayers Party line could siphon enough votes from the state Conservative Party to prevent it from reaching the all-important 50,000 threshold, Republican US Senate hopeful Gary Berntsen’s response was: “Wouldn’t that be a shame.”
“Look, the Conservative Party didn’t choose a full array of conservatives across the state in lots of different places, in some congressional races and in some of the statewide races,” said Berntsen.
“I’m probably the most conservative man running in New York state. I didn’t get their nomination. I was only in week to 10 days before that convention, and Mr. Long held all the proxies in his pocket, and decided he was going to nominate his friend, Jay Townsend,.”
“And unfortunately, if that line does poorly, Mr. Long will be out of business after this year, and I suspect that the Taxpayers line is going to viewed by most people as sort of the real conservative line in New York ctate.”
Aug 18th - 10:54 am
Rep. Mike Arcuri, who lost the WFP line due to his “no” vote on health care reform and is facing a challenger with three lines (GOP, Indy and Conservative), yesterday filed 7,301 signatures to create an independent line of his own: NY Moderates.
That’s slightly more than twice the 3,500 necessary for a congressional candidate. Arcuri’s campaign said it collected the names with the assistance of nearly 200 volunteers.
It didn’t mention the fact that the DCCC has had field employees embedded in the congressman’s campaign for some time now – a practice employed for marginals deemed sufficiently in danger of losing their seats as to require attention from Washington.
UPDATE: DCCC informs me it does NOT have embeds in the Arcuri campaign. Bad intel on my part. Sorry.
Arcuri took the opportunity of announcing his line to swipe at his opponent, Richard Hanna, for accepting the Indy line at a time when the local party is under investigation by both the Oneida County DA’s office (which Arcuri used to occupy) and the state party remains in the crosshairs of the Manhattan and Staten Island DAs.
Aug 18th - 9:53 am
Staten Island DA Dan Donovan, the lone Republican AG hopeful who has been slammed by Democrats and LGBT leaders for his position on gay marriage, received the endorsement today of the Log Cabin Republicans of New York State PAC.
“As the District Attorney of Staten Island, Mr. Donovan has a long and distinguished record of treating everyone equal under the law,” PAC Chairman Gregory T. Angelo said in a press release.
“He is a man of integrity with a selfless commitment to uphold the rights of all citizens of this state, and we look forward to working with him when he becomes the next Attorney General of the State of New York in November.”
The Log Cabin Republicans were very involved in the lobbying effort last December to try to convince some GOP senators to vote “yes” on marriage – an effort that ultimately failed when the entire 30-member conference, joined by eight Democrats, voted “no” on the measure, killing the bill in the process.
Aug 18th - 9:36 am
The latest on the statewide horseraces, also as per today’s Siena NY poll:
- AG Andrew Cuomo continues to blow away the competition, although Carl Paladino has made some modest headway against the Democratic frontrunner, while his GOP primary opponent, Rick Lazio, has not.
Cuomo leads Paladino 60-27 percent, down from 64-23 percent last month. He defeats Lazio 60-26 percent – not much change from 60-28 percent in July.
In a three-way race, Cuomo gets 56 percent to 19 for Lazio (identified as a Republican) and 12 for Paladino (identified as an independent). In a three-way race identifying Paladino as the Republican and Lazio as the Conservative, Cuomo leads 56 percent to 16 for Lazio, and 14 for Paladino.
- Lazio continues to lose ground to Paladino. His primary lead over the self-funding Buffalo businessman among enrolled Republicans is down to 13 points to 43-30 percent. The former Long Island congressman had a 20-point lead (40-20 percent) just last month.
- For the first time, more voters – 38 percent – would rather elect Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to the US Senate seat she inherited from Hillary Clinton (compliments of Gov. David Paterson), rather than the 36 percent who support the generic ‘someone else.’