Where Senate Republicans Are Sending Their Money

The Senate Republican Campaign Committee this month transferred more than $400,000 to candidates running in key swing districts around the state.

Where the money goes provides a snapshot of which races the committee believes are winnable or in need or shoring up support.

It’s not a complete picture, however: The conference’s housekeeping committee isn’t required to release a report until January and the deep-pocketed campaign account held by Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos doesn’t have to report for a few more weeks.

But the infusions kicking off the general election provide a good road map for the Senate’s battlegrounds.

In the Hudson Valley, Republican Sue Serino was given $80,000, where she hopes to unseat Democratic Sen. Terry Gipson.

In Westchester, Joe Dillon was sent a significant chunk of money: $182,000. He is running against incumbent George Latimer, a presumably safe seat. The district is also in the costly New York City media market.

Terrence Murphy, who hopes to replace Sen. Greg Ball, was sent $25,000. He faces Democrat Justin Wagner, who is making a second bid for the district.

On Long Island, Republican Tom Croci was wired $105,000. He is running in the district vacated by Republican Sen. Lee Zeldin, who is running for Congress and faces Adrienne Esposito.

Meanwhile, the eagle-eyed Bill Mahoney of the New York Public Interest Research Group points out that 1199/SEIU, the labor group that pledged to help turn the Senate over to full control of the Democrats this year, made contributions to Skelos, Senate Republican Campaign Committee Chairwoman Cathy Young, and Sen. Michael Nozzolio.

The contributions aren’t being directed at swing districts, but the checking writing suggests 1199 is at least hedging their bets with majority control of the chamber up in the air.

Last Night and What’s Ahead

While Cuomo ushers voters to the polls, Astorino’s getting some help from a former lawmaker. Casinos are also on the table this week while the public weighs in at a set of hearings. Plus, the state is facing another lawsuit – this time from a wine and liquor store. Here’s highlights from last night and a look ahead to what’s coming up tonight.



Full Show – 9.23.14

State of Politics LIVE – 9.24.14

Support for Rob Astorino: George Winner Interview

Climate Conversation: Stu Gruskin Interview

If it’s Tuesday, it’s The Insiders



Tkaczyk Campaign Questions Amedore’s Pay Equity Claim

The campaign of Democratic Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk is questioning a claim made at Tuesday night’s debate by Republican challenger George Amedore that he voted for pay equity for women on 10 different occasions.

In a release on Wednesday, the Tkaczyk campaign points to Amedore’s votes in the state Assembly dating back to 2008 in which he cast “no” votes on pay equity legislation.

“George Amedore’s opposition to women’s fundamental rights, including the right to earn equal pay for equal work, is an extremist position that has no place in the State Senate,” Tkaczyk said in a statement. “Now, George is trying to lie his way out of trouble by claiming he did not actually vote against women’s equal pay protections ten times during his three terms in the State Assembly, but he can’t hide from his record. On one of those bills, in fact, he was one of only three “NO” votes in the 150-member Assembly. Almost every other Assemblymember, Democrat and Republican alike, voted for pay equity and for women — but not George.”

Issues over women’s rights and reproductive health are at the forefront of this political campaign season in state legislative races as Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes a statewide call for the passage of the 10-point women’s agenda and with it Republican opposition to a plank aimed at strengthening abortion rights.

Amedore narrowly lost to Tkaczyk in 2012 by 18 votes in the newly created Senate district that stretches from the Mohawk Valley to the Hudson Valley. The race is expected to be one of about a half dozen hotly contested campaigns this year.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Launching Ads In NY Swing Districts

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced on Wednesday it is launching an advertising campaign on behalf of endorsed Republican candidates in three contested congressional races in upstate New York.

The ads will air in the 18th congressional district (Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney versus Republican Nan Hayworth), the 19th district (Republican Rep. Chris Gibson versus Democrat Sean Eldridge) and the open 21st congressional district (Republican Elise Stefanik versus Democrat Aaron Woolf and Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello).

The 30-second ads were sponsored by the state Business Council, a statewide business lobby.

In the 18th congressional, Maloney is tied to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as well as the Affordable Care Act.

To the north, Eldridge is blasted as an “out-of-town millionaire trying to buy a seat in Congress.”

And in the state’s North Country, Stefanik is praised for supporting tax cuts and calls on voters to “send Washington a wake-up call” by having her replacing outgoing Democratic Rep. Bill Owens.

The Chamber of Commerce says the NY-19 and NY-21 are “significant buys” that will run for a week.

Similarly, the NY-18 purchase will run for 10 days and is also “significant” in its scope, the group says.

Zeldin, In TV Ad, Knocks Common Core

In his first television ad of the general election campaign, Republican congressional candidate Lee Zeldin is critical of the Common Core education standards.

In the 30-second spot released on Wednesday, Zeldin says “common isn’t the answer” and says he supports “equal pay for equal work.”

“Parents need to be in charge of their kids education and common core isn’t the answer and every child deserves an equal opportunity to succeed, including equal pay for equal work,” Zeldin says in the commercial.

Zeldin, a state senator from Suffolk County, is running to unseat Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop, who has been hammered by the National Republican Campaign Committee, including an ad this week that reignites the controversy over his office securing a permit for a fireworks display and then campaign seeking a political donation.

Common Core in New York remains a controversial issue, with state Republicans forming the “Anti-Common Core” ballot line.

The state Legislature approved changes to the implementation of Common Core earlier this year, delaying aspects of implementation for students in March and then in June making alterations to the state’s teacher evaluation law.

Astorino: Cuomo And Lee Should Disclose, Too

A day after releasing his 2013 tax returns to reporters, Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino on Wednesday said Gov. Andrew Cuomo and live-in girlfriend Sandra Lee should be releasing more financial information as well.

“The one who is ducking transparency, the one who refuses to show what secrets there are is Andrew Cuomo,” Astorino said in a radio interview with Fred Dicker on Talk-1300.

Astorino’s tax returns showed he earned more than $190,000 last year, including $30,000 in outside income with a media firm in Connecticut.

Democrats blasted Astorino for only releasing a year’s worth of tax information instead of five as Republican George Pataki did in 1994.

But Astorino said Cuomo hasn’t been forthcoming enough when it comes to his book contract — which the governor revealed in a financial disclosure form is worth more than $700,000 — saying that he should provide more information on derivatives he’s receiving from the memoir deal.

“We’re talking about outside income. I’ve shown all mine. Let’s see what the terms of his contract is,” Astorino said.

Cuomo’s memoir “All Things Possible” is due to be published next month.

When pressed if Lee, a personality on the Food Network, should release her tax returns, Astorino said she should.

“She should, because she’s in that house,” Astorino said.

Both Cuomo and Lee share a home in Westchester County and aides have said the governor and his girlfriend split the expenses, including the property-tax bill.

“It’s complete hypocrisy here,” Astorino added. “It just falls into the lack of transparency, the dishonest, the fraud that is this administration.”

Long Re-Elected Conservative Party Chairman

Mike Long was re-elected on Wednesday the chairman of the influential Conservative Party, the organization announced.

Long has led the party for the last 26 years, which has become a must-have ballot line for any Republican running statewide.

“You are the pivotal part of promoting the Party, elected officials may come and go, but you and your support keeps the Party vibrant, strong and able to make a difference in New York State politics,” Long said of Conservative Party delegates in a statement.

Long is often considered a key player in gubernatorial elections, especially primary races for the GOP and doesn’t hesitate to play an enforcer role when it comes to Senate Republicans considering votes on gun control, abortion or same-sex marriage.

Terms for party chairs run two years.

Latest Gibson Ad Stars Family, Highlights Independence

Republican Rep. Chris Gibson’s campaign released his second TV ad of the campaign on Wednesday that highlights his family and an independent streak in Washington.

The ad is titled “Home Team” and features Gibson’s wife, mother, daughters and sons.

In addition to referencing his military career, efforts to expand broadband Internet access and work on the Farm Bill, Gibson’s ad focuses heavily on constituent services.

But the ad is striking for zeroing in on both his ties to the district as well as decidedly non-partisan issues.

Gibson himself stresses his efforts to “reach across the aisle” in Washington and his roots in the Hudson Valley — a not-so-subtle reference to the carpetbagger charges leveled at his Democratic opponent, Sean Eldridge.

“There’s many things broken in Washington, but I’m fighting to fix that, working across the aisle to get things done for you,” Gibson says in the ad. “We have so much more in common than we ever have apart. Together, we can accomplish great things. My door is always open. I’m always here for you because I’m from here and I understand our needs. This year, join the Home Team.”

Thirty-second and 60-second versions of the ad will air in the markets of the 19th congressional district.

The ad dovetails with his campaign’s first spot highlighting Gibson’s work on efforts to fight Lyme disease.

A Siena College/TWC News poll showed Gibson leading Eldridge by 24 percentage points.

Unshackle Backs Senate Republicans, Plus An IDCer

The Rochester-based business group Unshackle Upstate released its endorsements on Wednesday, supporting Republican Senate candidates and incumbents, including a member of the Independent Democratic Conference, Sen. David Valesky.

“As Upstate’s leading voice for taxpayers and businesses, we’re very aware that voters are concerned about jobs and taxes. These endorsed candidates are wholeheartedly committed to promoting job growth, reducing burdensome taxes and improving the economy,” said Executive Director Brian Sampson. “We strongly believe that Upstate families and businesses will be well-represented by these men and women.”

The group backed former Assemblyman George Amedore, who is running in the Mohawk Valley-Albany area seat he narrowly lost in 2012 to Democratic Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk.

Unshackle also endorsed Republicans Sue Serino, Rob Ortt and Mark Grisanti.

Valesky, a Syracuse-area Democrat, was once a top target for Republicans in the conservative district. But he’s since burnished a moderate voting record in the Senate and as an IDC member, his re-election to the chamber has been often considered a lock.

A full list of the Senate and Assembly endorsements can be found here.

Maloney Releases Veteran Geared Web Ad

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney released a new ad exclusively on the web Wednesday.

The ad, titled “Ed” features a disabled Vietnam War veteran who struggled to pay medical bills related to his wife’s cancer treatements. When he reached out to the VA in 2011 – during Nan Hayworth’s time in the Congressional seat – he didn’t hear back for two years. Then, last year, Ed says Maloney’s office was able to arrange compensation for those bills through the VA.

At the end of the ad, the veteran says (full ad embedded at the bottom of this post):

“He’s the right kind of Congressman. He’s the kind that gets involved and gets things done. Sean Patrick Maloney hit it out of the park. He hit me a home run, and I’ll never forget it. I’ll never forget him.”

This ad follows the veteran-support theme to Maloney’s first television ad, “Dad” and one Nan Hayworth, Maloney’s Republican opponent and former Congresswoman, released six days ago. Her ad, titled “Our Heroes” talks about Hayworth’s commitment to veterans, including when she (a doctor) helped provide medical care for them.

Hayworth released that ad the same day we released our exclusive Time Warner Cable News/Siena Poll showing Maloney with an 8 point lead over Hayworth. For more details on the results of that poll, including voter opinion on specific issues facing congress and the race for governor, click here.

Here’s the full ad from the Maloney campaign: