Aug 4th - 12:08 pm
Republican Jay Townsend released this Web video today that asks a number of questions of his target, US Sen. Chuck Schumer, who the political consultant-turned-candidate says has failed to use his post as the most powerful Democrat in his chamber to help his constituents back home.
Townsend is the Conservative Party designee and is fighting in a primary battle with the GOP designee, Gary Berntsen, for the right to face off against Schumer on Row B in the general election.
The full script of Townsend’s video appears after the jump.
Aug 4th - 11:38 am
…This could be subtitled: “Two guys who flirted with the idea of challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and took a pass go head-to-head.”
Dan Senor, who was wooed by the GOP and Conservative Party to take on the Democratic senator, has been using the mosque to keep his name in the game, following up a WSJ OpEd with this “Hardball” debate against Mahattan BP Scott Stringer.
Stringer, who is preparing for a likely 2013 NYC mayoral bid, actually opened a federal committee to explore a run against Gillibrand, backed off after other, more high-profile, Democrats got calls from the White House to cease and desist.
Aug 3rd - 11:39 am
Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos this morning criticized the Democrats for failing to get all 32 of their members to Albany for the second extraordinary session called by Gov. David Paterson in as many weeks, but also said his conference might be willing to provide enough votes to pass an FMAP contingency bill.
Skelos noted Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr.’s absence and used that as an example of how, in his opinion, the Democrats still aren’t ready for prime time.
“Last week we saw Malcolm Smith, the temporary president of the Senate, Democrat, not here,” the Nassau County senator told reporters, including Capital Tonight’s Kaitlyn Ross.
“I remind all of you that last year at the end of session, last day of session, eight Democrat senators were missing. And I just don’t believe that they understand their responsibility that they should be here, governing. We’re here, we’re prepared to govern.”
“We’re going to support a number of bills on a bipartisan basis. We want to make sure we get a school property tax cap and other legislation. But we will not be supporting, as we’ve indicated throughout this whole legislative session, we will not support any increase in taxes and fees.”
Aug 3rd - 9:35 am
Even Republicans who took a pass on running for office this fall are weighing in on the mosque issue.
Dan Senor, a former Bush advisor who was wooed by the GOP and Conservative Party to challenge Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and, like so many others, took a pass on the race, penned an open letter in today’s WSJ to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the mosque proposed for construction near Ground Zero, urging him to reconsider the location of his project.
This comes as the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission is expected to vote this morning to clear the way for the mosque to be constructed.
“Another site- not just away from Ground Zero but also closer to residential neighborhoods – would serve your institution and the city better,” Senor wrote.
“Worshipers would be closer and the communities that need help would also benefit from proximity. We stand ready to help you select and secure another site, to overcome regulatory hurdles, and to make up for any lost time.”
Aug 2nd - 12:37 pm
A GOP reader forwards an e-mail from Ilario Pantano, a North Carolina Republican congressional candidate and former US Marine, who has seized on the issue of the mosque proposed for construction near Ground Zero as a fundraising tool.
According to Wikipedia, Ilario was accused of premeditated murder in the killing of two Iraqi insurgents during a unit mission near Fallujah on April 15, 2004. The charges against him were eventually dropped and he was honorably discharged after resigning his commission. He’s challenging incumbent Democraic Rep. Mike McIntyre in the general election.
He was also working in 4 World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, so does have a legitimate – and personal – claim to this issue, although how many votes it might win him down South is questionable. This e-mail is about dollars, not votes, of course, and the issue is certainly a hot-button one that has ignited strong feelings on both sides.
Interestingly, this e-mail is careful not to say the mosque is being built AT or ON Ground Zero, as some opponents have, but rather a “mere” two blocks away. Ilario has already written an OpEd against the mosque.
The text of the e-mail appears in full after the jump, it ends with:” Your support of Ilario will help restore order for the entire United States Congress. Thank you for your time, and let’s take back Washington in November
Aug 2nd - 11:14 am
Staten Island DA Dan Donovan appeared on “Good Day NY” this morning and explained why he had decided to support a bill signed into law by Gov. David Paterson to prevent the NYPD from keeping information gleaned from stop-and-frisks that don’t result in any charges.
Donovan insisted his position, which is in keeping with his five would-be Democratic AG opponents but against Mayor Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, wasn’t a politically motivated attempt to woo moderate voters in an increasingly blue state, saying it has “nothing to do with my race for attorney general.”
“I just think our whole government is based on less intrusive government on people’s rights,” he said (starting at about the 3:30-minute mark in the video that appears below).
“The individuals we’re talking about were stopped, there was a determination made that they weren’t committing a crime or about to commit a crime, there’s no actual legitimate reason why government should retain their personal information.”
Donovan called stop-and-frisks a “useful tool for fighting crime” and said he doesn’t agree with the allegation that the practice is overused or disproportionately targets minorities, saying each instance has to be judged on its own merits.
Aug 2nd - 9:28 am
Sen. Joe Griffo, a Utica Republican, made some unusually critical comments about Gov. David Paterson last Friday, accusing the Democratic governor of dragging his feet on issues surrounding the almost-historically late state budget because he’s “bitter” and more interested in remaining relevant than making deals.
The Watertown Times had the following report today:
“I think there are two issues with the governor right now,” Griffo said.
“One of them is relevancy. The other, I think, is that he’s bitter. He says he wishes he didn’t get out of the race. I think he burned a lot of bridges, so there’s nothing waiting for him after this – an ambassadorship or something – because he pissed off the White House.”
“The bottom line is, I think he’s a bitter guy and he’s trying to remain relevant.”
Aug 2nd - 8:21 am
Randy Altschuler, the Conservative contender in NY-1 and one of three Republicans vying to take on Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop on Row B in November, is the latest GOP candidate to try to make political hay from the mosque proposed for construction near Ground Zero.
Last Friday, Altschuler launched an on-line petition and Web video calling on New Yorkers to “stop this travesty and stand-up for the memory of the victims of September 11th.”
In the video, the full script of which appears after the jump, Altschuler makes the Pearl Harbor argument (the US would never let the Japanese government erect a “shrine” to its WW II emperor there – not that such a thing was ever actually suggested) that I’ve also heard another GOP candidate who has seized on this issue, gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino, make on several occasions – including during a recent interview on “Capital Tonight”.
As the WSJ’s Jacob Gershman reported this morning, the mosque is poised to clear its final regulatory hurdle this week, which means the fight to block it will now be taking place enitrely in the court of public opinion.
Aug 1st - 3:26 pm
George Demos, one of the three Republicans vying for the right to take on Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in November, is engaged in war of words with the future father-in-law of one of his primary rivals, Chris Cox.
Maggie Haberman reported earlier that the man in question, Democrat-turned-Republican supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis, whose daughter, Andrea, is engaged to Cox, the son of state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, fired off a strongly-worded letter to Demos and called on his to drop out of the race.
Catsimatidis called Demos “a person lacking in integrity” and cited SEC allegations of which Demos insists he has been cleared. Here’s Demos’ response, in which he avoids taking on Catsimatidis directly and instead hits Cox for “using” his future relative to “engage in dirty tricks”:
Aug 1st - 1:42 pm
The 40th SD GOP primary just keeps getting dirtier.
Lauren J. Pistone, a former girlfriend of Assemblyman Greg Ball, stood with him last week along with other female supporters as the SRCC targeted him with a mailer that highlighted allegations he engaged in sexual assault and stalking.
She followed that appearance up with an e-mail in which she accused the campaign of Ball’s primary opponent, the SRCC-approved Somers Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy, of approaching her and asking her to “slander Greg.”
All this intra-party fighting bodes well for the Democrats in their quest to win what has long been a GOP-held seat. (Sen. Vincent Leibell is retiring to run for Putnam County executive). The Dems are running Westchester County Legislator Mike Kaplowitz.
The rest of Pistone’s rather eye-popping e-mail appears in full after the jump.