Feb 22nd - 4:38 pm
No big surprise here. Buffalo businessman/former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino has been in Assemblywoman Jane Corwin’s corner since he decided not to run for former Rep. Chris Lee’s seat himself.
Nevertheless, in case you’re interested, here’s what he has to say about her candidacy, 24 hours after the NY-26 GOP leaders selected her as their preferred contender whenever Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls the special election:
“I am honored and thrilled today to once again reiterate my support and endorsement of Jane Corwin for Congress.”
“The challenges facing our country are enormous – runaway spending, overwhelming regulations, crushing deficits and unaffordable big government giveaways like Obamacare and wasteful bailouts.”
“Washington needs leadership that will stand up to the liberal special interests and Obama-Pelosi agenda and reclaim our country for taxpayers and everyday citizens. That’s why Jane is the right choice to represent us in Congress.”
“I’m a proud member of the Tea Party movement in New York, and together we helped change the face of Congress in November. Jane Corwin will be another member in our movement to take our country back.”
“As the 2nd most conservative member of the New York State Assembly in rankings by the New York State Conservative Party and the #1 Legislator of Unshackle Upstate, a New York reform organization, Jane knows we need to slash federal spending, balance the budget, end bailouts, oppose the Obama stimulus package and support repeal of Obamacare.”
“Most importantly, Jane knows how to create jobs, because she’s done it her entire life in the private sector. That’s the kind of leadership we need in Washington, and that’s why I am supporting Jane Corwin for Congress.”
There’s also a statement from Lenny Roberto, who’s described as an “active Tea Party member and founder of Primary Challenge” (he also ran against Rep. Brian Higgins last fall).
The point here, obviously is to push back against the portion of the Tea Party movement in WNY that isn’t on the Corwin train, seeming to prefer Bellavia instead. Clearly, this is a coordinated effort since the statements are remarkably similar.
Feb 22nd - 3:34 pm
Here’s Rep. Louise Slaughter ruminating earlier today on the rash of sex-related scandals that have bedeviled New York in recent years – from former Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s prostitution problem, to former Rep. Vito Fossella’s out-of-wedlock baby scandal (the congresswoman mistakenly says he’s from Long Island; it’s actually Staten Island) to former Rep. Chris Lee’s recent Craigslist debacle.
“We’ve sure had a hard time with the district, though, haven’t we?,” Slaughter said. “…We’re pretty well known in Washington. Several people have asked me what’s going on up here.”
“…We also had one congressman, you know, from Long Island who had a second family nobody knew about and when he retired they say he said he wanted to spend more time with both families.”
“And so, I think the answer to that is to elect more women.”
Feb 22nd - 3:09 pm
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand sent the following fundraising appeal this morning in the wake of last week’s House vote defunding Planned Parenthood:
“The new Republican House has gone too far – and they’ve only just begun to implement their extreme agenda. Tens of thousands of you have stood up and joined me in the fight to stop the GOP’s assault on women’s rights and I can’t thank you enough.”
“This blatant disregard for women continues. On Friday, the House voted to repeal funding for Title X, which saves lives and is vital for family planning for so many Americans. As the radical right continues its march against women, we’re going to need your help.”
“Thank you again for standing with me at the forefront of this debate – your support is invaluable.”
At the bottom of the e-mail is a big “contribute” button that takes supporters to the junior senator’s Website.
Gillibrand has seen her approval rating rise since her first statewide win last fall. She has to defend her seat again in 2012, and is starting almost from square one from a fundraising perspective, with just $614,593 on hand as of the end of December.
So far, at least two of Gillibrand’s failed 2010 challengers – David Malpass and former Rep. Joe DioGuardi – have expressed interest in a potential re-match.
Feb 22nd - 2:09 pm
Now that the NY-26 GOP leaders have, as expected, thrown their support to Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, competition has heated up for the Conservative Party line.
Hoping to avoid a repeat of the NY-23 nightmare (at least it was from a GOP perspective), Erie County Conservative Chairman Ralph Lorigo, who controls the largest share of the weighted vote in the district, told me that he’s inclined to support Corwin, too, but needs to wait and see what his committee members say when they meet tonight.
Lorigo said he has received daily calls from Republican Jack Davis, who is also making overtures to run on the Democratic line now that he has been rejected by the GOP.
“He made a big mistake going to Republicans and saying: If I don’t get endorsement, I’ll go to the Democrats,” Lorigo said of Davis. “That isn’t going to bode well on either side for him.”
Lorigo said his first choice to run for the seat vacated by former Rep. Chris Lee would have been Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino. The fact that the erstwhile gubernatorial candidate took a pass on the race and is supporting Corwin “is helpful to me,” the chairman said, adding:
“I have a great deal of respect for Carl…(He) brought us the third ballot position. For 16 years we fought to regain that, and there’s no question in my mind that he helped us regain that.”
Lorigo said he has also received calls from David Bellavia, who has Tea Party support and is reportedly mulling an independent run (he would have 12 days from the date Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls the special election to collect 3,500 valid signatures to gain access to the ballot.
Feb 22nd - 1:54 pm
The labor-backed Working Families Party is raising cash to support the Wisconsin workers who are protesting their governor’s plan to cut benefits and change collective bargaining rules for most public employees, offering to send either money or food – whichever midwestern labor leaders prefer.
“The governor and his Right-Wing allies actually manufactured a budget crisis in order to advance their pro-corporate, anti-middle class agenda.” WFP Deputy Director Bill Lipton wrote in an e-mail fundraising appeal to party supporters.
“He’s a ‘trickle-down’ governor who pushed through irresponsible tax cuts that turned a budget surplus into a deficit. And now he wants working families to pay”
“Thankfully, the workers and their allies have said enough is enough. Democratic legislators have fled the state in order to prevent the Republican legislature from pushing through Walker’s anti-worker proposals. And the protests have continued for seven days – dubbed by some as the ‘Week of Rage.’”
“Will you join us in supporting these protesters with a $15 contribution? We’re in touch with the leaders of the Wisconsin protest, and we’ll send them a contribution or a care package to keep their efforts going – whatever they need. It takes a lot of food to keep 80,000 people on the ground.”
“The governor and his Right-Wing allies actually manufactured a budget crisis in order to advance their pro-corporate, anti-middle class agenda. He’s a “trickle-down” governor who pushed through irresponsible tax cuts that turned a budget surplus into a deficit. And now he wants working families to pay .
Thankfully, the workers and their allies have said enough is enough. Democratic legislators have fled the state in order to prevent the Republican legislature from pushing through Walker’s anti-worker proposals. And the protests have continued for seven days – dubbed by some as the “Week of Rage.” 
Will you join us in supporting these protesters with a $15 contribution? We’re in touch with the leaders of the Wisconsin protest, and we’ll send them a contribution or a care package to keep their efforts going – whatever they need. It takes a lot of food to keep 80,000 people on the ground.”
“Help us send some New York pastrami sandwiches with love to the Cheese State.”
Lipton goes on to attack the “corporate-backed Right Wing” that has been “coming after working families for thirty years,” adding: “(M)adison is our Cairo today. We need solidarity now more than ever, as this battle against the middle-class spreads like wildfire throughout the country.”
There’s a brief mention of New York in Lipton’s e-mail – “Here in New York, we need politicians to stand up for the common good. Today’s attacks in the Rust Belt remind us how serious and nasty the corporate-funded right-wing in America has become.”
But remember: The WFP signed on last fall to then-gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo’s “New New York Agenda,” which included things like a public employee pay freeze and the property tax cap – neither of which are particularly pro-union.
After ending his stalemate with the party and accepting its endorsement, the governor helped the WFP move up from Row E to Row D last fall, and so far, the party’s lobbying against his budget proposals has been fairly muted.
Help us send some New York pastrami sandwiches with love to the Cheese State:
Feb 22nd - 12:29 pm
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, a Bronx Democrat, released a strongly-worded statement earlier today on what he called “the attempt to destroy the public employee unions of Wisconsin.”
You can read the statement in its entirety below. In short, Dinowitz, who is also a leader in the Bronx County Democratic Party, accuses Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker of being more interested in “destroying unions” than balancing his state’s budget.
“If Governor Walker’s primary concern was really about balancing the budget, then he would not be supporting tax cuts for big business,” the assemblyman said.
“As is the case in so many other states, everyone is being asked to make sacrifices in these tough economic times – thatis everyone except the wealthy and the business community.”
“If Walker is successful in nullifying rights that have existed for over 50 years, then other Republican radicals from around the country will try the same thing. I applaud the workers of Wisconsin and their families and supporters for standing up tothe bullying tactics of this would-be dictator.”
Walker is now threatening layoffs, saying notices could go out as early as next week if his proposal to offset the $3.6 billion budget deficit (considerably lower than New York’s $10 billion budget hole) doesn’t pass.
Democrats and labor leaders from all over the country are rushing to speak out about the situation in Wisconsin, which is being viewed as ground zero for a national effort by states – including New York, albeit to a lesser degree than what’s going on in the midwest – to weaken public employee unions.
Feb 22nd - 12:10 pm
Vogue profiled semi-First Lady Sandra Lee in its March edition, referring to her as “the new first girlfriend of New York State” and featuring a photo of her in the white-on-white home she shares with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the cockatoo he gave her for Christmas.
No big revelations in the piece, which takes up several pages. But there are a few interesting tidbits, including:
At the mention of Cuomo, Lee’s face lights up. “I’ve got a good one,” she says. “He’s loyal and dedicated.”
When I touch briefly on the unfortunate shenanigans of a certain previous New York governor, she laughs. “Oh, no, I don’t have to worry about that; I can relax.”
And marriage? “Well, I did it once” – in her 30s she married a real estate mogul in Los Angeles – “and as I was walking up the aisle I remember thinking, It’s not too late to run.”
But of course it was, and five years later they divorced. “Right now I’m happy being a girlfriend, but someday Andrew and I will get there. When his kids say we need to, we will.”
And then there’s this (the writer, Gully Wells, is traveling via train back to NYC from the Lee-Cuomo home in Mt. Kisco and thinking about a cookbook Lee showed her that was written by the nation’s first first lady, Martha Washington):
I see an image of Sandra standing in Martha’s old kitchen, dressed in a crisp white apron, cheerfully confiding to the camera that back in the day when she and Andrew lived in New York, this had been his favorite dish whenever they entertained friends in their Founding Fathers dining room.
And the more I think about it, the less far-fetched it seems.”
UPDATE: The fabulous DN columnist Bill Hammond schools Vogue – and me (hence, the headline change of this post) – writing:
“Someone should tell the writer of that article that Martha Washington never lived in the White House. Maybe she was picturing Sandra Lee as a historical reenactor at Mount Vernon?”
Wikipedia informs us that the White House was built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical style. It has been the residence of every U.S. President since John Adams.
Feb 22nd - 11:48 am
The US Justice Department, which sued New York in 2010 to force election officials to take extra steps to count military service members’ absentee ballots in the general election, is again sounding the alarm on this issue, which could require moving the annual primary date from September to June.
The state received a hardship exemption from the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (or MOVE) Act last year, but at least 13 counties still failed to comply with the waiver requirements.
In settling the DOJ’s suit, New York agreed that changes in law, the state election schedule or election procedures would be necessary in the future and also promised to provide a status report to the feds by April 1.
A majority of elections officials at the winter Elections Commissioners Association conference in January voted to request that the Legislature move the primary date to give them more time to comply with the overseas and military ballot rules. The MOVE Act mandates these ballots be sent out at least 45 days before a federal election.
So far, the Legislature hasn’t acted, and the DOJ is getting restless, as is clear from the letter forwarded by a reader.
UPDATE: State Board of Elections spokesman Tom Connolly told me officials are “well aware” of the April 1 deadline, but so far have no proposal to provide to the DOJ.
Feb 22nd - 11:23 am
Former Gov. George Pataki is teaming up with developer Paul Guillaro for a March 11 fundraiser to benefit Sen. Greg Ball, a Hudson Valley Republican, at Guillaro’s Garrison home.
Tickets for the event run from $1,000 for “general admission” to $9,500 for event sponsors. Ball, who has settled in as a member of the GOP majority even though the Republicans actively tried to prevent him from joining their conference during the 2010 campaign, trends toward the conservative side of the party.
Pataki started out his gubernatorial tenure as a strict fiscal conservative, moved toward the middle to get re-elected twice, and then swing right again as he eyed a never-realized presidential bid in 2008.
Now that the former governor is reportedly eyeing another long-shot attempt at getting to the White House, he is again seeking to buff his conservative credentials – just consider his 2010 Revere America PAC push to repeal so-called “Obamacare.”
Feb 22nd - 11:01 am
On the same day his sale of the Buffalo Sabres to Pennsylvania oil and gas magnate Terry Pegula becomes official, Paychex founder erstwhile gubernatorial hopeful Tom Golisano is announcing his intention to try to do away with the Electoral College as part of the National Popular Vote campaign.
Golisano, who is now primarily living in Florida and apparently is no longer interested in New York politics, is pumping an undisclosed amount of cash into this effort.
(I’ll be asking him that for tonight’s show, but knowing Golisano, I’m probably not going to get much of an answer. He reportedly sold the Sabres for between $175 million and $190 million).
He’s being assisted by two longtime advisors – former Erie County Democratic Chairman/Pedro Espada Jr. aide Steve Pigeon and Laureen Oliver. Golisano is announcing his new quest at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. today, and is appearing the PSA below.