DCCC Enters Air War In NY-1

Now both the NRCC and the DCCC are on the air in the Long Island district of NY-1, hoping to assist their respective candidates – Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop and Republican state Sen. Lee Zeldin – as the November general election draws near.

The NRCC this morning released a spot that highlights the fact that Bishop is under investigation for helping a constituent secure a fireworks permit for a Bar Mitzvah and then demanding a campaign contribution in return. That’s actually the national committee’s second ad on the subject; the first aired in February.

Now the DCCC has followed suit with its first ad of this race, which accuses Zeldin of wanting to “privatize” Social Security and features a testimonial from a Long Island senior citizen named “Walter.” The ad started running on cable stations in the district today. Here’s the script:

Walter: I worked for over forty-three years before I retired. When the market crashed, all of our plans, our future, could have been gone. The only sure thing was having Social Security to fall back on.

Narrator: Lee Zeldin said he’d privatize Social Security…gambling our retirement on Wall Street with the same banks that crashed our economy.

Walter: Let’s face it. The stock market is a gamble. If you want to gamble, go to a casino. Don’t gamble with Social Security. This is money we earned. Lee Zeldin would break Social Security’s promise.

Narrator: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.”

Last Night and What’s Ahead

One group feels used after supporting Governor Cuomo in the last election. Now they’re telling primary voters to think twice before trusting him with their vote. Plus, a GPS tracker placed on the car of an elected official? It’s all in last night’s show. Here’s highlights along with what we have coming up tonight:

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WATCH:

Full Show – 9.08.14

Joe Morelle Interview

Vin Bonventre Interview

Matt Edge Interview

*Watch the full show for a look at our new segment Postal Politics, where we take a look at campaign mailers ahead of this year’s election.

Hochul Sends GOTV Email

Former Rep. Kathy Hochul, the preferred running mate of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, released a get-out-the-vote email earlier today, telling Democrats that today’s primary is a “crucial day for women across New York state.”

The email, which includes a request for supporters to sign a petition for the 10-point women’s agenda, ties Hochul closely to the package of measures that were first proposed by Cuomo in 2013.

“There are forces at work that can prevent this from happening,” the Hochul email says. “Some people try to dismiss the women’s rights movement as a “little issue” and will try to derail our plans for equality. Today is a crucial day for women across New York state and I need your help to ensure that the Women’s Equality Act passes.”

The women’s agenda includes measures aimed at pay equity, anti-housing discrimination and a bill designed to curtail human trafficking.

But the package has stalled in thes state Senate, where Republicans are opposed to a provision designed to codify Roe v. Wade in state law (GOP lawmakers have passed individual aspects of the legislation, daring Democrats to do the same, but abandon the abortion plank in the process).

Cuomo’s selection of Hochul for the statewide ticket provided gender balance, as well as a nod to western New York, a region of the state he has courted during his first term.

Furthering the women’s agenda as an election-year issue, Cuomo and state Democrats created the Women’s Equality Party — a ballot line designed to garner more votes come November and promote the women’s agenda.

Cuomo and Hochul face Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham professor, and Columbia University professor Tim Wu, respectively, in today’s primary.

Tim Wu, the Rocky Balboa of Primary Day

Democratic LG candidate Tim Wu this morning compared himself to the iconic boxer Rocky Balboa, saying he and his running mate, gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout, have fought the good fight and left it all out on the mat in their long-shot primary challenges to former Rep. Kathy Hochul and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“I woke up this morning and I just felt this incredible energy and calmness,” Wu said after casting his vote. “And I’m just really excited to see what happens. Nobody knows what’s happening in my race. There has been no polling whatsoever; it all depends on turnout.”

“You know, for me, I love the movie “Rocky,” it’s all about going the distance. And I felt we have fought this campaign strong. We have exploited everything. We’ve been outspent one hundred-to-one. But we have run this campaign with integrity, and I’m proud of it. I’m expecting in my race a big upset, and I’m very excited to see what happens.”

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Teachout: ‘Not Ashamed’ To Be a ‘Traditional Democrat’

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout touted her “positive vision” for the state after casting her ballot in Brooklyn this morning, seeking to strike a clear distinction between herself and her running mate, Democratic LG hopeful Tim Wu, and their respective opponents, Governor Andrew Cuomo and former Rep. Kathy Hochul.

“This is a very serious choice,” Teachout said. “It’s a choice between going down and more Andrew Cuomo, and more Andrew Cuomo is more tax giveaways for the wealthy, more overcrowded schools and less money for infrastructure. The other choice is Tim and I. And Tim and I represent a real positive vision for New York’s future. We’re traditional Democrats. We’re not ashamed to be traditional Democrats. We’re proud of our commitment to all of us, not just the wealthy and well-connected.”

Teachout reiterated her claim that Cuomo had to pull in “a lot of favors” to get endorsements from progressives like NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and others who might seem like logical supporters of the left-of-center Teachout-Wu campaign. She also said she had cast her vote for “the first woman governor of the state of New York” and “one of the great tech leaders” (assume she means Wu), and expressed support for Renee Collymore, who is running for re-election to the female Democratic state committee seat in the 57th Assembly District.

Unlike Cuomo and Hochul, who won’t be together at a victory party tonight, Teachout and Wu will watch the returns come in at a Manhattan nightclub.

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Hochul: ‘I’m Counting On Western New York’ to Deliver Me Victory

After casting her vote (presumably for herself and her running mate, Gov. Andrew Cuomo) in Buffalo earlier today, Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul told reporters she is counting on turnout in her Western New York base to deliver her a victory against her primary opponent, Tim Wu.

“I’m feeling really good about our prospects,” the relentlessly upbeat Hochul said. “The governor and I have been criss-crossing the state. We were in New York City with a huge labor rally, filled with very excited, energized supporters. We came here to Orchard Park last night. And it has been am amazing journey.”

“I’m so proud to be back home again where it all started. And I’m counting on Western New York to deliver for me…it’s the end of a long process. But it has been an incredible journey that started back here, back in May when I was first asked by the governor to be his running mate.”

“And I have seen things, and I have met the most fascinating people, and I feel that it has really changed me as a person. But also to realize that the issues that effect Western New Yorkers, the desire for good housing, and a good job and a great education for our kids to be able to live the American Dream, that’s the same feeling that people have whether you’re in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, anywhere. And those are the issues the governor and I are going to continue to fight for when we take office in January.”

Hochul said that if she’s elected, economic development will be one of her main focuses (carrying on in the tradition of the current LG, former Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy). She also noted she has been aksed by the governor to spearhead the Women’s Equality Agenda, which has failed to pass (all 10 points of it, anyway) in the Senate.

Hochul said she’s used to “rough-and-tumble” type of politics, and hasn’t been upset by all the talk that her race against Wu might be tight. She insisted that neither she nor Cuomo intentionally snubbed Wu and his running mate, Zephyr Teachout, at a Labor Parade in New York City last weekend. Hochul said she didn’t even notice Teachout and Wu were there, noting she was surrounded by a lot of “big union guys all around me,” adding: “You might notice I’m not the biggest person in the world.”

There has been no official polling of the LG primary, though there has been plenty of speculation that Hochul could perhaps lose to Wu in an upset – particularly if turnout in higher than expected New York City, where she is not well known. But so far, reports on turnout have been that it is pathetically low all over the state, though polls upstate (outside Erie County, that is) didn’t open until noon, so there’s quite a bit of time left yet for people to get to the polls before they close at 9 p.m.

Hochul is well known in Western New York, thanks to her time in the Erie County clerk’s office and – albeit briefly – representing NY-26 (now NY-27, after redistricting) in Congress. There are several contested legislative primaries in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls area that could push turnout higher there, and that might help her. There is some support in Buffalo for Teachout-Wu, particularly among public school teachers, but it is likely going to pale in comparison to support for Hochul.

Hochul is going to be in Buffalo tonight, while Cuomo will be downstate – he said earlier today after voting with his girlfriend, Sandra Lee, in Mt. Kisco, that he’ll be watching the results come in from his office. So, no big victory party for Team Cuomo-Hochul. Asked how she’ll celebrate if she wins, Hochul – clearly still in campaign mode – replied that she would probably go get a “nice big plate of chicken wings somewhere.”

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Stefanik Ad Reiterates ‘Commitment’ To Social Security, Medicare

NY-21 GOP candidate Elise Stefanik is answering the attack ad released earlier today by her Democratic opponent, Aaron Woolf, with an ad of her own on the same issue, reiterating her “commitment protect and preserve Social Security and Medicare programs for our seniors.”

The ad, which stars airing across the district today, repeats Stefanik’s claim that she doesn’t believe those who are “in or near retirement” should see any changes in these benefits. The only problem: The ad doesn’t define what “near retirement” means in Stefanik’s mind – a point that has gotten her into hot water before.

In fact, it was Stefanik’s reluctance to offer any specifics on that key point that led her to walk away from reporters at her own press conference back in August – the very press conference Woolf highlighted in his ad.

In her ad, Stefanik takes a swipe at Woolf (without mentioning him by name, of course), saying: “(M)y opponent has no proposal to modernize these programs so that they exist for my generation and your grandchildren’s.”

Cuomo: My Voters Have Passion, Too

Voting in Mount Kisco in today’s Democratic primary (presumably for himself and his running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul), Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted those who support him have “a lot of passion” albeit a different kind than what his opponents have channeled in recent weeks.

“I am passionate guy,” Cuomo told reporters after voting. “I think my supporters have a lot of passion. You have groups that have a lot of support about single issues, like fracking. But you want to see passion, talk to angry taxpayer in Westchester.”

Cuomo and his allies have often insisted the opposition to the governor’s centrist approach — liberal on social issues while emphasizing a moderate fiscal agenda — has broader support than is apparent.

Nevertheless, Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu, the rival Democratic ticket, have marshaled liberal discontent with Cuomo’s first term as well as disappointment that he didn’t go far enough on reforming Albany.

Though no polls have been taken in the primary, Cuomo is widely expected to win today. Focus after 9 p.m. this evening will likely be on the margin of victory for Cuomo over Hochul, with an invisible line drawn at about 20 to 30 percent for Teachout.

Cuomo again today said all he was concerned with was hitting 51 percent.

Cuomo’s office initially advised that he would vote at 5 p.m., but the schedule was changed to show he would cast his ballot at 10:30 a.m. as opponents of hydrofracking planned to show up at the polling place.

Cuomo this morning betrayed no hints that he was worried about tonight’s outcome in his primary or the contest between Hochul and Wu.

“I am going to be at work. I am doing job I was elected to do,” Cuomo said.

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Cuomo-Hochul Palm Card Touts Dream Act, Universal Pre-Kindergarten

A tipster in New York City sent along a palm card being distributed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign that references the Democratic ticket’s support for both the Dream Act as well as an expansion of pre-Kindergarten programs.

The palm card, which also urges Democratic voters to support Cuomo’s preferred candidate for lieutenant governor, former Rep. Kathy Hochul, was being distributed this morning on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Cuomo and Hochul face a left-leaning primary challenge from Fordham Law School professor Zephyr Teachout and Columbia University professor Tim Wu in what is expected to be a low-turnout primary.

Hochul has faced questions over her voting record while representing a conservative House district in western New York, while Wu has criticized conservative stances she’s made.

Hochul, however, was quick to embrace the Dream Act, which provides tuition assistance to undocumented immigrants, soon after being added to Cuomo’s statewide ticket, replacing retiring Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy.

Meanwhile, astute political observer Russell Schaffer this morning emailed to report that turnout was low in his Queens election district in Forest Hills — a polling station that “was quiet as a morgue.”

“I was literally the only person there who was NOT working for the Board of Elections,” he wrote. “The gentleman who was manning the check-in table said only 11 people as of 830 AM had voted in my election district. He called that “very low.” If there was a primary and nobody voted, was there really a primary at all?”

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NRCC Slams Rep. Tim ‘Mailman’ Bishop for Zeldin

The NRCC is out with yet another TV ad slamming veteran Long Island Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop for a fundraising scandal that has been the subject of several investigations.

This is the second ad from the national GOP that focuses on the probes into whether the NY-1 congressman’s office solicited a campaign contribution in exchange for securing fireworks permits for a constituent who wanted to put on a show at a Bar Mitzvah.

The first ran back in February. The NRCC says the buy for this ad is bigger – $231,000 – and it will run on NYC cable stations from today through Sept. 15.

The allegations first surfaced in 2012. Bishop has called this a “non-story,” but the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District reportedly requested information from the congressman’s office in early 2013.

The Office of Congressional Ethics released a 177-page report in the fall of 2013 that found “a substantial reason” to believe Bishop had violated the law in soliciting a donation from the constituent in question.

The “mailman” reference is pulled from the OCE report.

The OCE transmitted a referral to the House Ethics Committee, and the committee extended its review.

Bishop was named one of CREW’s “most corrupt” members of Congress in 2012 and 2013. He won re-election in 2012, defeating his GOP challenger, Randy Altschuler, who was making a second attempt at unseating the Democratic congressman.

Altschuler, a largely self-funding businessman, came very close to defeating Bishop in 2010; the 2012 race was not as tight.

This year, Bishop is facing state Sen. Lee Zeldin, who defeated George Demos, a former aide to ex-Gov. George Pataki and a serial congressional candidate, in the June primary.