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Former Rep. Anthony Weiner admits his political career is “realistically” over, and he’s no longer looking for a way back in.

Sen. Liz Krueger opposed the redistricting constitutional amendment (Prop. 1), calling it “fake reform” and urging friends and colleagues to vote “no.”

The NYC Council’s Progressive Caucus also opposes Prop. 1.

US Attorney Preet Bharara will be a guest on “The Capitol Pressroom” with Susan Arbetter tomorrow morning.

The first – and only – televised debate between the gubernatorial candidates will take place tomorrow night in Buffalo.

Proctor’s is screening the debate.

Less than a day after the CDC announced new safety protocols for treating Ebola patients, thousands of New York City health-care workers gathered for a mass demonstration of proper use of head-to-toe protective gear.

The state Court of Appeals has reinstated a slander suit by two former SU ball boys who alleged Orangemen Head Coach Jim Boeheim’s assistant coach, Bernie Fine, had molested them.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the CPR in schools bill into law.

NYCLU announced an historic settlement that overhauls public defense in five counties and lays the foundation for statewide reform of New York’s broken public defense system.

“The Contender,” a biography about Cuomo by Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Shnayerson, is scheduled for release on Feb. 17, and it has a cover.

Republican AG hopeful John Cahill said Democratic incumbent Eric Schneiderman should be working with new businesses like AirBnB instead of investigating them.

After VP Joe Biden endorsed Rep. Dan Maffei, several reporters questioned why two bands from the Syracuse School District performed at a political rally.

Under a bill signed into law by Cuomo, New York will officially promote the state’s growing beer, wine and liquor industries.

NYU Prof. Patrick J. Egan believes Cuomo is among a handful of governors wll positioned to run for president in 2016.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani fired back at Mayor Bill de Blasio over his protest of the critically acclaimed “Klinghoffer” opera, saying he has studied the opera and has found it “historically inaccurate.”

The lawyers representing the woman who has accused attorney Sanford Rubenstein of rape accused the Manhattan DA that his office is moving too slowly to bring charges.

The Cuomo-backed “Truth Squad” alleged GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino reneged on a pledge as Westchester County executive to prohibit sex offenders from being housed at a homeless shelter in Valhalla.

Five businesses, including four medical industry companies, have been picked to be part of the tax-free zones established by the state as part of the Start-Up NY program.

The Gothamist’s take on the NYT’s endorsement of Cuomo is worth a read.

Giuliani will be hitting the campaign trail with Gov. Rick Scott tomorrow in South Florida.

New York may replace its bar exam with a nationally administered and graded standardized test, making it easier for young lawyers to move in and out of the state without having to take another grueling test.

NRCC Launches 4th Anti-Bishop Ad in NY-1

And speaking of NY-1, residents in the congressional district at the tip of Long Island have been subjected to a veritable barrage of ads this campaign season, and the hits just keep on coming.

The NRCC has released its fourth ad attacking Long Island Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop, who is facing off against GOP state Sen. Lee Zeldin next month. Bishop is among the Republicans’ top targets this cycle, and the race may well be tightening, given the Democrats’ calling in of former President Clinton to headline a rally for Bishop tomorrow.

Here’s the script of the new ad:

Announcer: “Congressman Tim Bishop is still under investigation. Watchdogs name him one of Congress’ most corrupt. But what’s even worse?

Bishop spent twelve years backing higher taxes and reckless spending. Voting with Obama and Pelosi on every major piece of legislation. Even voting to give rights to foreign terrorists.

Congressman Tim Bishop, he’s made things worse.

We have a better choice. Lee Zeldin. The change we need.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.”

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City.

At 8 a.m., NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell and Council members Helen Rosenthal and Mark Levine hold a rally with parents to call for legislation to protect school children from serious harms of construction projects, P.S. 163 main entrance, 163 W. 97th St., Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan announces a new infrastructure investment, Lincoln Park pool stairs, Albany.

At 9:15 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks at at Urban Land Institute’s General Session: The Changing World, Hall E, the Javits Center, 655 West 34th St., Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul joins female student leaders from upstate universities for a Q-and-A about sexual assault on college campuses, Community Room of the Panasci Family Chapel, Le Moyne College, 1419 Salt Springs Rd., Syracuse.

At 10 a.m., Cuomo address an Ebola education session co-hosted by the GNYHA/1199SEIU Healthcare Education Project and the Partnership for Quality Care, Javits Center North, West 39th Street and 11th Avenue, Manhattan. (De Blasio will also speak).

Also at 10 a.m., timed with the 42nd anniversary of the Clean Water Act, Environment New York and its allies release a new report on how the bedrock environmental law has helped protect the Hudson River and other waters around the country, Ossining Boat & Canoe Club, 1 Westerly Rd., Ossining.

At 10:32 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on “Live from the State Capitol with host Fred Dicker,” Talk 1300 AM.

At 11 a.m., Onondaga County Comptroller and GOP state comptroller candidate Bob Antonacci is interviewed on Gomez at TX99.

Also at 11 a.m., Astorino will unveil the Astorino/Moss Empowerment Plan with Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., in front of Lincoln Hospital, E 149th Street and Morris Avenue, the Bronx.

Also at 11 a.m., the Assembly committees on Children and Families and Oversight, Analysis and Investigation hold a roundtable to examine the practices of the Statewide Central Register for Child Abuse and Maltreatment, Room 711-A, LOB, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., the GOP leadership of the City Council will endorse state Senate candidate Joe Dillon, Cacace Center Footbridge, outside Yonkers City Hall.

Also at 11 a.m., Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins will ask Cuomo why he “tampered” with a fracking study, 2013 E. Genesee St., Syracuse.

At 11:30 a.m., GOP AG candidate John Cahill discusses his plan for combatting heroin addiction in New York, outside the Robert Abrams Building for Law and Justice, Albany.

At noon, LG Bob Duffy delivers remarks at Buffalo State College’s inauguration ceremony for President Katherine Conway-Turner, Rockwell Hall, Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo.

At 1 p.m., anti-frackers discuss the letter they sent to 500 of Cuomo’s top campaign donors, calling for a halt to the DOH’s review of the health impacts of drilling, 44 Hawley St., Binghamton.

At 1:30 p.m., Hochul joins a discussion with Brockport College students following a screening of “Brave Miss World”, Center for Select Respect, The College at Brockport, SUNY, 350 New Campus Dr., Brockport.

Also at 1:30 p.m., Cahill, joined by Dutchess County Legislator Rob Rolison, discusses his heroin addiction plan, City Hall, Corner of Civic Center Plaza and Mill Street, Poughkeepsie.

At 2 p.m., Women for Marc Panepinto, NARAL Pro-Choice NY and Planned Parenthood of NY stand with the candidate in support of the Women’s Equality Act, Niagara Square, in front of City Hall, Buffalo.

At 4 p.m., Chemung County Sheriff and LG GOP candidate Chris Moss appears live on the Tom Bauerle Show, WBEN 930 AM, Buffalo.

At 6 p.m., Astorino will host a Countdown to Victory event with special guest former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Marriott Hotel, 670 White Plains Rd., Tarrytown.

Also at 6 p.m., Hawkins makes a campaign top at Muhammad’s Barber Shop, 1207 Park Ave., Utica.

At 6:30 p.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli holds a fundraising reception with special guest de Blasio, The Park Lane Hotel, 36 Central Park S., Manhattan.

Also at 6:30 p.m., Antonacci attends the Clay Committee Meeting, Syracuse.

At 7 p.m., de Blasio delivers remarks at Community Service Society’s Step Up New York Reception, Edison Ballroom, 240 West 47th St., Manhattan.

Also at 7 p.m., Moss delivers remarks at the Seneca County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, Rumseyville Sportsmen’s Club, 32 Ridge St., Seneca Falls.

Headlines…

The New York Times, which made no endorsement in the Democratic primary, has reversed course and backed Gov. Andrew Cuomo for re-election – with caveats. It wants him to devote himself to cleaning up Albany, and passing campaign finance reform, for the next four years.

The paper said GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino “does not have broad experience and, on many issues, is out of step with most New Yorkers and the needs of this state.” It called the candidacy of Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins “unrealistic,” but a useful goad to Cuomo from the left.

Cuomo said the federal government should “seriously consider” banning some flights in response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, reversing his comments from earlier this month. He also said the Port Authority did not have the power to put such a ban in place.

New York City officials are stepping up training and outreach this week to thousands of city employees and emergency workers who would be among those involved, even if only peripherally, in the response to any Ebola cases.

The Cuomo administration has still not released details of its plans to test first responders should a case of Ebola be reported on a New York City subway.

High school students, for the first time, would be able to take a career or arts exam in place of the history test under a long-awaited plan to make the state’s graduation requirements more flexible and more relevant.

Transportation experts welcomed Cuomo’s announcement of a design contest to remake La Guardia and John F. Kennedy International Airport, saying that the Big Apple’s aviation hubs have long languished behind those in the world’s other great cities.

However, some of the most vocal critics of the conditions at the city’s airports wonder what took Cuomo so long to act.

Cuomo’s airport improvement plans include new START-UP NY zones at Newburgh’s Stewart Airport and Long Island’s Republic Airport.

More >

Extras

Monica Lewinsky has joined Twitter, and already has many thousand followers.

Lewinsky broke a decade-long silence to announce her campaign to end cyberbullying and today’s toxic culture of internet shaming.

Flanked by VP Joseph Biden, Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out a plan to revamp New York City’s airports – in part by having Newburgh’s Stewart Airport focus less on passengers and more on freight.

Cuomo was quick to playfully jab at Biden’s comment comparing La Guardia Airport to a third world country.

Cuomo engaged in a little expectation lowering, saying he would consider 51 percent of the vote a satisfactory win on Election Day.

The 2005 party at which AG Eric Schneiderman is alleged to have snorted cocaine was a benefit for Hurricane Katrina victims headlined by Al Franken. Attendees said there were no drugs at the event.

Activist Randy Credico, who made the allegations about Schneiderman’s drug use, now says he was “hoodwinked” by the NY Post, and he’s not happy about it.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the production of a controversial opera about the death of an American Jew at the hands of Palestinian terrorists, while broadly denouncing attacks on Jews throughout the world.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani joined the fight to stop the Metropolitan Opera’s showing of “The Death of Klinghoffer.”

Former Democratic LG candidate Tim Wu will give a speech on political corruption and the First Amendment at Columbia J-School tomorrow.

US Sen. Chuck Schumer: “Mark Warner is the culinary Cousteau for senators hoping to find new hip places in Washington.”

Cuomo brushed off the tidal wave of lousy Amazon reviews of his new memoir, arguing he didn’t have the time to do a proper book tour to make people love the book.

Research from Cornell University shows that a candidate’s physical attractiveness was perceived differently based on political affiliation.

The CBC urged New Yorkers to vote “no” on the Smart Schools Bond Act.

De Blasio rejected a request from JPMorgan Chase for more than a $1 billion in tax incentives from the city and state to keep its headquarters in New York City.

While in his hometown of Chicago, President Obama engaged in a little early voting.

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins is not rich.

Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. is defending his endorsement of GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino.

De Blasio criticized the boyfriend of his top aide, Rachel Noerdlinger, for dropping First Lady Chirlane McCray’s name while fighting parking tickets in court.

New York students will have more ways to earn a high school diploma under a change approved by state education leaders.

Now in his 10th year in the House, Rep. Brian Higgins of Buffalo remains an anomaly: a lawmaker who is every bit as unnoticed in Washington as he is revered back home.

The NRCC had some fun at Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei’s expense with Biden’s visit to NY-24 today.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina will headline a fund-raiser for Astorino in NYC Wednesday morning.

Last Night and What’s Ahead

Governor Cuomo chooses a replacement for the State Court of Appeals, and also makes a trip outside the country. Meanwhile, the candidates for Lt. Gov. are still campaigning back in New York. Plus, we take a look at the latest campaign mailers and discuss the week’s events with our Reporter Roundtable. Here’s highlights from Friday night and a look ahead to tonight.

WATCH (NO LOG-IN REQUIRED):

WATCH:

Full Show – 10.17.14

State of Politics LIVE – 10.20.14

Judging the Judge: Assemblywoman Deborah Glick Interview

Public Financing Problems: NYPIRG’s Bill Mahoney Interview

Postal Politics

Reporter Roundtable

Senate GOP Keeps the Heat on Denenberg

Technically speaking, Democrat Dave Denenberg isn’t running anymore for the Long Island state Senate seat once held by former GOP Sen. Chuck Fuschillo. The Nassau County legislator dropped out of the race in late September, after a lawsuit by his former law firm accused him of defrauding a client of more than $2 million by billing for “fictitious” services that he never performed.

But Denenberg’s name remains on the ballot after Nassau County Democrats decided against the only option available to them to remove him from their line – nominating him for a judgeship. Though Denenberg isn’t actively campaigning against his GOP opponent, Nassau County Legislator Michael Venditto, Senate Republicans aren’t taking any chances, launching another attack ad that highlights his legal troubles, both past and present.

The GOP needs to hold all its seats on Long Island, including the 8th SD, which was left vacant by Fuschillo’s abrupt retirement on New Year’s Eve 2013, as part of its strategy for winning back control of the chamber. The Democrats viewed Denenberg as their best chance for a pick-up on the side, but have since transferred their attention to Adrienne Esposito, who is battling Republican Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci for another open seat – the one being vacated by state Sen. Lee Zeldin, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in NY-1.

Another active race on Long Island pits businessman Adam Haber, a Democrat, against Republican Sen. Jack Martins. Denebger’s implosion freed up time and resources for the Senate Republicans to spend on defending Martins.

A Long Island GOP source says there’s a “shadow campaign” pushing Denenberg, who continues to serve in his capacity as county legislator, despite calls – most notably, from former US Senator-turned-lobbyist Al D’Amato – for him to step down.

Here’s the script for the new anti-Denenberg ad, which hits the airwaves today and is similar to a past ad that said the Democratic attorney would “fit right in” with the string of Albany lawmakers busted on corruption charges:

Announcer: “There’s no other way to put it, Dave Denenberg is a criminal. First Denenberg is arrested and convicted for fraud and deceit. Then Denenberg is fired from his law firm for stealing $2 million from his clients, creating fake bills for work he never did. The kicker: Denenberg forges more than one judge’s signature to cover it all up. We already have too many criminals in Albany. Do we really need another one. No, Mr. Denenberg, we don’t.”

Watch Here >>

Campaign Diary – Caribbean Edition

Traveling with Governor Cuomo is a unique experience. It moves very fast, without much time for breaks. That is particularly challenging when you are trying to produce for television, which is labor-intensive. But it’s also a fascinating window into what these politicians do, since we are basically embedded with the Governor and his staff for the roughly 12-hour adventure.

On Wednesday at about 5pm the call came in from Cuomo’s office that the trip to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico was a go. This set off a scramble within NY1 to try and figure if we could go along. On top of that, we were asked to be the pool, which can be challenging. We ended up not booking tickets until Thursday morning, about 3 hours before our 1:50pm flight was supposed to leave JFK. We made it to the airport in time, although barely. I was joined by my photographer and technical whiz Davide Cannaviccio and Gerson Borrero from City and State. Gerson has been around New York politics for years. He’s very knowledgeable, knows everyone, and is always dialed in to what is going on.

When we landed in the Dominican Republic, Gerson had his friend Evan meet us at the airport to drive us to the hotel. I was in the backseat next to Davide and City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, who apparently also knew Evan ( Hey, everybody knows this guy! ). It was one of those situations where you take a look around and say, ‘Ok, this is not something I would have predicted in a million years. I am in the backseat of someone’s SUV driving through the nighttime streets of Santo Domingo and sitting next to Ydanis Rodriguez. Does it get any weirder?’

Once at the hotel, Davide and I filed an “on scene” report from our rooftop for NY1. It was very CNN of us. We then met Matt Wing from the campaign and bumped into Senators Adriano Espaillat and Jose Peralta, who were part of the delegation accompanying Cuomo.

The next morning Evan picked us up and drove us to the Presidential Palace, known as Palacio Nacional, where Cuomo was having a closed door meeting with Dominican President Danilo Medina. Davide shot some of the meeting and part of the tour Cuomo was given of the Palace. None of the leaders of the Dominican Republic actually live at the Presidential Palace anymore. The country’s previous dictators apparently haunt the place, so they opt not to stay there. I don’t know too much about Dominican history, but I did learn much about the infamous Rafael Trujillo from reading Junot Diaz’s “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.” To say Trujillo was a “bad dude” might be the understatement of the century.

Cuomo did a brief press conference with the delegation where he acknowledged the growing influence and voting power of the Dominican community in New York. After the presser we got into the motorcade and raced through the streets of Santo Domingo for the next event. I don’t wanna sound too much like a little kid, but speeding in the motorcade was kind of the coolest thing ever. Driving is definitely a contact sport on the island, and our car trips did not disappoint.

Cuomo then held a second meeting with Former President Leonel Fernandez and after that we were off to the airport where we hitched a ride aboard the Governor’s plane to Puerto Rico. In San Juan I met my NY1 Noticias colleague Juan Manuel Benitez, who is a fantastic person to work with on these trips. Cuomo retired to the guest house at the Puerto Rican Governor’s mansion, known as Fortaleza. There he had about an hour or so to watch a little TV and relax. Apparently, Andrew needed a little “Andrew time.” Hey, man…I get it.

Cuomo and Puerto Rico’s Governor Garcia Padilla then walked ( part of the way ) together from Fortaleza to the nearby San Juan Hotel, El Convento where their joint press conference would be held. Walking through the streets in Old San Juan is a political tradition that is appreciated and respected by Puerto Rican voters. Mayor David Dinkins did it in 1992. Cuomo and Padilla looked like they were about to burst into song…I bet it woulda been something like, “Most Happy Fella.”

While this was going on, I was sitting on the floor of El Convento doing a radio interview with the great Pat Kiernan of NY1 morning show fame for his afternoon radio show with Rita Cosby. See Erica Orden’s tweet. I was also having a mild heart attack because our equipment wasn’t cooperating as it should. Twitter was all a flutter with my choice of outfit during my  NY1 hit. ( Pink shirt, sleeves rolled up. What can I say? On the trip I kinda turned into “Island Zack” )

After the press conference Cuomo and the Puerto Rican delegation headed to Fortaleza for a private reception. I wasn’t there, but I was told that a certain Governor did a smashing rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.” I don’t know what happened next, but if I were writing the definitive novel about the day long trip I’d say that after finishing his song Cuomo dropped the microphone and walked off the stage.

 

With Eye Toward 2016, Pataki Pitches ‘More Freedom, Less Gov’t’ (Updated)

Former Gov. George Pataki, who is reportedly toying yet again with a White House run, is hitting the airwaves with a new TV ad that slams Washington and calls for a “new America” with less government, and “more freedom.”

The entire ad, launched through a Super PAC called “Americans for Real Change,” features Pataki in a jacket, but no tie, speaking straight to the camera and saying:

“When America’s economy is struggling, and Washington is booming, it’s time for a new America.”

“Big government benefits the rich and powerful. They can afford to play the game; you can’t. It’s time for a new America, with much smaller federal government. Washington can’t run he economy, and shouldn’t try to run our lives.”

“Less government. More freedom. Log on. Join us.”

The ad was announced in an email that doubles as a fundraising pitch signed by Pataki, who says: “Now is the time for us to take the initiative and present a proactive agenda that addresses, head on, Americans’ perception that the deck is stacked in favor of the rich and powerful.”

According to the email, the ad is airing across the nation. But no information was provided as to exactly where, and for how long.

Pataki says the goal of the ad is to “launch a renaissance in Conservative thought.” But it’s also clearly an effort by the moderate New York Republican to reintroduce himself as a fiscal conservative.

An apparently unrelated 501(c)4 called “Americans for Real Change” was created in 2012 by GOP consultant Jake Menges, an advisor to former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani; and Vincent Balascio, who worked for Pataki.

At the time, the PAC’s focus was trying to to force out Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for his controversial handling of the Vito Lopez sexual harassment case. Supposedly, the PAC was going to raise and spend as much as $1.5 million and make NYC mayoral candidates “take a stand” on whether Silver should still be speaker.

But it doesn’t appear to have done any spending, and, according to a filing with the FEC, was terminated in 2013.

Despite ongoing attempts by various Republican candidates – including GOP gubernatorial hopeful Rob Astorino – to make hay of the Lopez scandal, Silver is still speaker, and does not appear in any imminent danger of losing that post.

UPDATE: A source familiar with the former governor’s effort says this ad is airing in New Hampshire to correspond with Pataki’s visit there – he’s appearing at Politics and Eggs tomorrow, and spent the weekend campaigning with local NH candidates. The ad is also airing nationwide on FOX News.

NRCC Invests In Hayworth (Updated)

As the closely watched NY-18 race enters its final weeks and continues to tighten, the NRCC is entering the fray on behalf of Republican former Rep. Nan Hayworth, who is trying to win back the seat she lost to Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney two years ago.

The NRCC is out with what I believe its its first TV ad on Hayworth’s behalf. It’s a positive spot (no word yet on how long it will run or the size of the buy), that features a Democrat who crossed party lines to back the former GOP congresswoman.

Democratic Dutchess County Legislator Gwen Johnson, of Poughkeepsie, narrates the ad and is prominently featured in it. She calls Hayworth “loving,” “kind” and “not a typical politician,” making no mention of Maloney.

Maloney has been touting his support from local Republicans in NY-18, including state Sen. Bill Larkin, who appeared in a web video calling the congressman a “decent, honest gentleman” and lauding his work on behalf of the district’s veterans.

A September Siena poll found Maloney leading Hayworth by 8 percentage points.

But an internal poll conducted for the Hayworth campaign earlier this month – the results of which have not been disputed by Team Maloney – showed the race as a statistical dead heat, with just four percentage points separating the two candidates.

The DCCC recently reallocated resources from other races in the state to assist Maloney in an attempt to prevent his ouster next month.

UPDATE: The NRCC makes clear that this isn’t an independent expenditure, but rather coordinated funds (of about $93,000, and usually coming in the form of TV ads) that has been made available to a variety of GOP House candidates, including: John Katko (NY-24), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Chris Gibson (NY-19) and Sen. Lee Zeldin (NY-1).

Here’s the NRCC ad script:

Johnson: “Nan is not a typical politician. She is loving. She is kind. She is supportive. Nan is a public servant. She’s always responsive; she’s only a phone call away.

Nan is a genuine person, and she actually really does care for our seniors, the working families. She’s always here. That’s why I’m supporting her.

I’m a Democrat, I’m supporting Nan Hayworth because we have to cross party lines for the best person.

Hayworth: I’m Nan Hayworth, and I approve this message.”

NYLCV Hits Airwaves For Grisanti, Announces Statewide Slate

With just two weeks remaining until Election Day, the New York League of Conservation Voters is poised to announce its third and final top priority candidate: Sen. Mark Grisanti.

The League is launching a new TV ad on behalf of the Western New York Republican, which highlights the fact that he is no longer running on the GOP line after losing his own party’s primary to attorney Kevin Stocker, and instead will appear solely on the Independence Party line.

Grisanti joins two other candidates – Democratic freshman Sen. Ted O’Brien, of Rochester, facing off against Republican Richard Funke; and Andrienne Esposito, a Democratic environmental activist who running against GOP Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci for the Long Island seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Lee Zeldin – as the NYLCV’s top priority candidates this season.

The League also went all in for Queens Sen. Tony Avella, a member of the IDC, in his successful campaign against his Democratic primary opponent, former NYC Comptroller John Liu.

The NYLCV is on track to spend $700,000 worth of independent expenditures to assist candidates on both sides of the aisle this year – more than double the $300,000 it spent in 2012.

That cash goes to cover mailers, TV ads, GOTV campaigns and door-to-door canvasses for its priority candidates.

The NYLCV has two ads out for O’Brien – a negative spot that slams Funke; and a positive spot that focuses on O’Brien’s support for the Child Safe Products Act, which made it out of the Senate Environmental Committee and had enough sponsors to pass, but never got to the floor for a full house vote.

The League’s main goal is to defend allies who advance its agenda in the Senate’s Environmental Conservation Committee, which Grisanti chairs. O’Brien is the committee’s ranking member.

The NYLCV is also announcing its support of the re-election campaigns of two statewide Democrats – Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

When it comes to the state attorney general’s race, however, the League is splitting the baby, taking the unusual step of endorsing both candidates: Incumbent Democrat Eric Schneiderman and Republican John Cahill.

Here’s the Grisanti ad: