Aug 14th - 8:00 am
Republican candidates in all manner of races rushed in weigh in last night after President Obama broke his silence and expressed support for the mosque proposed for construction near Ground Zero during a speech at the White House.
The GOP hopefuls tried to tie their respective Democratic targets to the president, though gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino went one step further, calling on Congress to declare the entire World Trade Center “district” a war memorial in order to block what he has deemed the “victory mosque” from being built.
To Paladino, that would include all of the area where the “dust cloud containing human remains” spread from the Twin Towers site, although it’s not clear exactly where the boundaries of that area would be.
We’ll start with Paladino’s statement and then work our way through what landed in my in-box between Obama’s speech and this morning and update as necessary.
“Now we know exactly what President Obama thinks of the families left behind by the murderous attack on America not ten years ago,” Paladino said.
“The Ground Zero Mosque is an insult to all Americans and a slap in the face to the surviving families of those murdered in cold blood on September 11th and all the American and allied men and women killed and maimed in the ensuing wars.”
“The Ground Zero Mosque is not about freedom of religion, as President Obama claims. It’s about the murderous ideology behind the attacks on our country and the fanatics our troops are fighting every day in the Middle East.”
“New York’s Congressional delegation must move immediately to sponsor and pass a law that declares the entire World Trade Center district a War Memorial where one group of Americans may not move to insult another class of citizens.”
Aug 14th - 7:42 am
GOP gubernatorial hopeful Rick Lazio’s campaign released its top line numbers from the 32-day pre-primary filing due at the state Board of Elections yesterday, which revealed he is still struggling to raise cash as his Sept. 14 battle with self-funding Carl Paladino looms.
The candidate raised $230,987 over the past month – bringing his to-date total to $3.1million. (Fixed). He has $600,317 on hand, according to his spokesman David James, who added: “We are very proud of our 5,080 individual contributors and are confident that we will have the needed resources to defeat Andrew Cuomo in November.”
If my math is right (and remember, my skills in this particular arena leave much to be desired), Lazio blew through more than $300,000 over the past four weeks, spending all that he raised – and then some.
Lazio’s rapid burn rate is well documented at this point. Between Jan. 15 and July 15 he spent upwards of $1.6 million – about $200,000 more than he raised – spending close to $230,000 on a single consultant (Arthur Finkelstein) and more than $20,000 a month on his (now former) campaign manager, Kevin Fullington.
The Democrats tried to use Lazio’s spending against him, saying it undercut his claims of fiscal conservatism.
Lazio’s 32-day report is not yet on-line, so it’s impossible to tell who and what he’s been spending money on over the past month. Matt Walter only just replaced Fullington at the end of July, which didn’t give him much time to try to rein in the campaign’s spending.
Aug 14th - 7:25 am
The controversial mosque proposed near Ground Zero is becoming a factor in races all over New York and even the nation, popping up repeatedly not only in the governor’s race here at home, but also in a South Carolina congressional contest and the battle for the governor’s office in Florida.
The issue has now reached the North Country, where Doug Hoffman and Matt Doheny are duking it out in a September primary fight over Row B in hopes of carrying the GOP banner into the general election against Democratic Rep. Bill Owens.
Hoffman, who has lost ground among fellow Republicans since his unsuccessful attempt at retaining the NY-23 seat for the party in a special election last fall that drew national attention, has retained the support of the state Conservative Party.
So it should come as no surprise that he came out swinging last night after President Obama said the mosque developers have a “right to build” and worship wherever they’d like, accusing the White House of trying to “appease” liberal supporters and demanding an apology.
Here’s Hoffman’s statement in full:
“Running for Congress, my number one focus is jobs and the economy of our region. But today, I cannot remain silent as President Obama wades into the Ground Zero mosque controversy.”
“The President is pandering to appease his liberal supporters and that is an outrage. This isn’t about tolerance, Mr. President, it’s about respect for the innocent victims of a despicable attack by Muslim fanatics.”
“There are mosques, large and small all across New York City. So this isn’t a question of excluding anyone from having a place to worship. It is about the simple common sense idea that, while we are a tolerant people, we expect those who enjoy our freedoms to show some respect themselves. ”
“President Obama should apologize to the families of the 9/11 victims he has offended tonight.”
Aug 13th - 4:05 pm
GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino dropped another $300,000 of his own cash into his campaign over the last month, bringing his self-funding total to $1.95 million to date.
Since the July 15 filing, Paladino has raised $82,365 and spent $285,001, which pushes his expenditures to just shy of the $2 million mark.
His biggest expenses over the last four weeks were $103,000 for ads (paid to his own production company, Ellicott Advertising, which he started to keep costs down), and $73,000 to his campaign manager, Michael Caputo.
Paladino’s filing isn’t yet available on the state Board of Elections Website, but Caputo sent it to me upon request.
Paladino’s primary opponent, Rick Lazio, who had just $688,821 on hand as of July 15, thanks to a last minute loan of $200,000 he made to his own campaign, has not yet filed his 32-day pre-primary report.
I called the Lazio campaign and asked for the numbers. I have not heard back yet.
Aug 12th - 1:48 pm
The New York City Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA), which bills itself as the fifth-largest police union in the country, announced its endorsement of Chris Cox’s bid to oust Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in NY-1.
The men and women of the SBA are proud to endorse Chris Cox for New York’s First Congressional District,” said SBA President Ed Mullins in a statement released by the Cox campaign.
“Chris is a man of strength and integrity who is willing to make the difficult decisions to protect American citizens and provide the support and commitment to the guardians of our freedoms, the Armed Forces and the law enforcement community.”
“Chris understands that, in addition to the daily dangers of fighting crime, our members are faced with the same threats to their financial well being as every other citizen. Chris will lead the fight to limit government waste and stop mortgaging our children’s future.”
A few thoughts:
Aug 11th - 3:22 pm
Staten Island DA Dan Donovan’s campaign hit back at the state Democratic Party and its LGBT allies following their slam on the Republican AG hopeful for his opposition to same-sex marriage and attempt to cast this as a deal-breaker for anyone seeking to be New York’s top attorney.
Donovan spokeswoman Virginia Lam said the campaign wasn’t surprised to see the party and “political bosses” (ESPA’s Ross Levi? RWDSU’s Stu Appelbaum?) trying to “distract voters from the cesspool of corruption in Albany.”
“However, we were surprised to find that President Obama was not included as a target of this political hit, as he and Dan share the same position of supporting civil unions while holding the personal belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman,” Lam continued.
“Dan Donovan is the only candidate for AG who actually puts politics aside in the interest of all New Yorkers and no amount of demagoguery will change this fact,” she continued.
“To be clear, if the state Legislature, who should be the real target of this attack, passes marriage equality, Dan will protect everyone’s right to marriage and also aggressively prosecute any individuals who impede or infringe upon those rights.”
The president’s ongoing support of civil unions over full marriage equality has caused consternation among his LGBT supporters – particularly in the wake of a federal judge’s ruling last week that overturned California’s Prop. 8.
Aug 11th - 12:58 pm
Sen. Marty Golden, a Brooklyn Republican, has thrown his support to first-time candidate Jay Townsend’s quest to face Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer on Row B this November.
“Jay is extremely talented, well-informed and an excellent speaker who has an outstanding grasp of the issues facing the State of New York,” Golden said in a statement released by Townsend’s campaign.
“He is deeply committed to lifting our economy off its knees and creating an economic climate that provides a good job at a good wage for anybody who wants one.”
Townsend must first get past Gary Berntsen in the September primary. A recent Siena NY poll showed Townsend leading Berntsen, 24-13, with a whopping 64 percent of Republicans undecided.
Aug 10th - 5:19 pm
GOP gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino is scheduled to hold a joint press conference at 1 p.m. in Batavia tomorrow with a number of Genesee County Republican leaders along with Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer and Assemblyman Steve Hawley.
Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy is also scheduled to be on hand. Since he’s is the only party official who has endorsed Paladino to date – along with the heretofore lone elected official, Erie County Executive Chris Collins – it seemed a safe bet that this is an endorsement event.
Paladino campaign manager Michael Caputo refused to confirm or deny. But Ranzenhofer wasn’t nearly so reticient.
“My feeling is that Carl Paladino is a very successful businessman, and I think we need a very strong private sector candidate to help us here in New York State,” he told me.
The freshman GOP lawmaker, (who defeated Democrat “Baby” Joe Mesi for the seat vacated by retired former GOP Sen. Mary Lou Rath in 2008), said he has “never been requested to endorse anybody.”
So he’s technically not defecting from the party’s designee, Rick Lazio, although he did tell me in no uncertain terms:
Aug 10th - 4:13 pm
Republican US Senate designee Gary Berntsen just endorsed Chris Cox in the NY-1 congressional race – a contest in which Berntsen himself was competing until his last-minute pre-convention decision to switch tracks and challenge Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer instead.
Berntsen said Cox “conducted himself as a decent on honorable man” during the short time that the two were opponents (this strikes me as a not-so-subtle swipe at Cox’s two remaining GOP primary opponents, Geroge Demos and Randy Altschuler, who have spent considerable time attacking both Cox and one another).
Berntsen called Cox “the Republican Party’s best candidate to face and defeat liberal Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop in this year’s critical mid-term elections,” adding:
Aug 10th - 3:49 pm
Former Rep. Joe DioGuardi stopped by the “Capital Tonight” studio this afternoon to update me on his bid to oust Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and also chatted at length about his former House colleague Rep. Charlie Rangel, whom he says should resign – if only to spare his party, and himself, a prolonged ethics trial.
The bulk of the interview focused on politics. But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get the latest on what’s happening with the “American Idol” judge shake-up, in which DioGuardi’s daughter, Kara, may or may not have been bounced from the panel for the next season.
DioGuardi, who has at times balked at being best known as “Kara’s Dad”, informed me his daughter “still has not heard anything” regarding the winnowing of the panel back down to three judges, adding:
“She read it the way you did and I did. In fact, her disappointment is that that’s the way she’s being treated and she feels that’s not proper.”
“Now, what could this be about? I think what they’re trying to do is to create a lot of buzz like they did with Paula Abdul. They’re trying to reformat the thing.”
DioGuardi noted that his daughter has a “very deep career in music” and also just got married this past July 4 and “would like to have a family”, hinting that perhaps a break from “Idol” wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
When I noted Kara DioGuardi has a lot to fall back on and so doesn’t have to accept being mistreated, if that’s how she feels, he replied: “No, and I think she will at some point confront them about that.”
He didn’t go into specifics.