A GOP ‘Yes’ For Raising The Debt Ceiling

Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, who is so far the only announced Republican 2012 challenger to Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, told me during a CapTon interview that he would, if he had the opportunity to do so, vote in favor of raising the U.S. ceiling.

But, not surprisingly, he offered some caveats, saying the congressional Republicans are being “fiscally responsible” in their refusal to vote “yes” before first wringing cost-cutting agreements from the Democrats and the White House.

“We have to, we have no choice,” Maragos said of the debt ceiling vote. “But we also have to get serious in making significant cuts in the entitlement programs.”

“They are being fiscally responsible because if they raise the debt ceiling without any preconditions on, or serious commitments to, cut costs, what they simply will be doing is giving the Obama administration another blank check. And America cannot afford to give another blank check to this administration.”

As for revenue increases, Maragos balked at the idea of raising taxes on the rich, or, as House Speaker John Boehner would say, “higher taxes on job creators.” Gillibrand called last week for an end to the Bush-era tax cuts and proposed tax breaks for small businesses instead.

He did, however, voice support for ending subsidies for big oil, which isn’t in keeping with the rehtoric of his GOP colleagues.

In fact, that’s something on which the comptroller and Gillibrand agree.

Former Giuliani Aide: SC Ruling Could Hinder City Finance System

A blog post co-authored by Larry Levy, a former campaign lawyer for Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential bid, suggests that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling could derail New York City’s taxpayer-subsidized campaign finance system.

The post on Albany Law School Law Review’s Fireplace blog, points to a 5-4 court decision that struck down a portion of Arizona’s campaign-finance law pertaining to matching funds to candidates that is based on the proportionate spending of opponents.

Levy, along with Andrew Rafalaf, writes that the ruling could have consequences for the city’s campaign-finance model, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he supports replicating on the state level.

From their blog:

Consequently, it would appear that New York City’s campaign finance program is ripe for constitutional challenge since it incorporates trigger provisions similar to those at issue in Arizona. ”

“The current New York City program, which is highly regarded and vigorously enforced by the Campaign Finance Board (‘CFB’), provides participating candidates for public office with an opportunity to qualify for matching funds

Lurie Dials Back ‘Suicide Mission’ For State GOP Chairman

Former state GOP executive director and veteran NYS Republican operator Ed Lurie has stepped back from his effort to oust state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, citing a lack of interest and support – both financial and operational – among the party’s county chairs.

Lurie refused to allow me to use the word “suspended” in connection with his behind-the-scenes campaign, insisting he remains interested in the state chairman’s job if circumstances change between now and when Cox’s two-year term is up this fall.

“I’m not going on a suicide mission, Liz,” Lurie told me. “I’ve done enough of that.”

“If things are the way they are now come the fall, then no, I won’t push it. If things have changed, then yes…I think there will be some others out there, and I think it’s important that if we’re going to move ahead, there needs to be a united front.”

Lurie used the word “deactivated” when he spoke to the NY Observer’s David Freedlander, explaining: “I’m still out there, but it’s not an organized campaign at this point.”

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Goo-Goos Give Incomplete To Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo managed to get a lot done in his first six months, but good-government groups want more.

Speaking on The Capitol Pressroom this morning, Jessica Wisneski of Citizen Action and Bill Mahoney of the New York Public Interest Research Group said Cuomo should fulfill his campaign pledge of pushing for a New York City-style form of public financing for political campaigns.

“If I had to give him a grade it would be an incomplete,” Mahoney said. “He talked a lot about what he wanted to do during the campaign, including campaign finance reform. There’s no enforcement whatsoever and even with these high limits there’s a way you can get around them.”

Cuomo highlighted the issue in his campaign policy book on government reform, wrting, “Like New York City, New York State needs a system of public campaign financing to set limits on campaign spending and to increase participation by qualified candidates who lack the means or the connections to raise significant campaign funds.”

Wisneski said she was hopeful Cuomo would turn his attention to the issue this fall.

“That would allow more people to run in state Assembly and Senate races,” she said. “I think for Gov. Cuomo he clearly has taken certain issues and wants to see them through. We know campaign finance is on that list and we hope that public financing will be on that list.”

Cuomo was applauded by reformers for pushing through an ethics overhaul bill that includes new requirements for lawmakers to disclose their outside sources of income — a major and long-sought goal.

The governor also reiterated his vow last week made during the campaign season that he would veto legislative boundaries drawn by lawmakers during the redistriciting process. Cuomo is pushing for an independent panel to redraw the lines, another good-government backed issue.

Still, good-government groups were dismayed that Cuomo called special elections for the vacant state and federal seats in New York. Advocates charge special elections allow party bosses to pick candidates and reduce ballot access to outsiders.

Cuomo set the special elections for the ninth congressional district and six vacant Assembly seats on Sept. 13.

United Front For Turner

Republicans and Conservatives gathered in Forest Hills, Queens this morning in hopes of conveying a message of solidarity in the wake of a brief struggle over the selection of Bob Turner to run for ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner’s seat in NY-9, NY1′s Grace Rauh reports.

Turner was introduced at the event by Juan Reyes, the attorney and former low-level Giuliani administration aide (UPDATE: A reader insists Reyes was not, in fact, “low-level,” noting his last title was general counsel to the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals, and he also served as counsel to the NYC Loft Board) preferred by the Queens GOP to get the party’s nod in the upcoming Sept. 13 special election.

Supporters who had volunteered for Turner’s unsuccessful 2010 bid against Weiner stood behind the newly-minted candidate with re-purposed “Bob Turner for Congress” signs.

“I’m very gratified at the turnout,” Turner said. “I can hardly believe the volunteers didn’t toss their signage after the last election. I had thrown mine out. But apparently we have more believers here than we thought.”

Also on hand were state Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long and state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, both of whom backed Turner, a businessman who garnered about 40 percent of the vote in his failed effort to unseat Weiner.

Cox huddled last Friday with Brooklyn GOP Chairman Craig Eaton and his Queens counterpart, Phil Ragusa, who lost the internal power struggle over selection of the NY-9 candidate. Ragusa had preferred Reyes due to concerns over Turner’s alliance with NYC Councilman Eric Ulrich, who isn’t a Ragusa loyalist.

Ragusa and Eaton attended today’s event, too. Cox was the only party leader who spoke from the podium.

Turner said the country is “on the wrong course, adding:

“As I walk around this neighborhood and talk to friends and acquaintances, I see a continuing problem – a lack of hope that our direction can be fixed or fixed easily. There’s a crisis of leadership…We appeal to Washington for help, for leadership. They are directionless, and to my mind, clueless.”

Turner invoked the late President Reagan when he spoke of stimulating the economy, saying business needs to be “freed up” and not “crushed” with regulations and new taxes.

He made no mention of his Democratic opponent, Assemblyman David Weprin, from the podium, and didn’t mention Weiner, either.

Israel: GOP Moving Goal Posts

Speaking on CNN this morning, DCCC chairman and Long Island Congressman Steve Israel blamed the lack of a debt deal on House Speaker John Boehner. Israel says the Speaker and Republicans have moved more and more to the right whenever they get close to a deal.

“We unfortunately remain far apart because every time we get close the Republicans move the goal posts further to the right, further to the far right. Look, the recent past does not inspire confidence that we will be able to wrap this up. At the beginning of his speakership, Republican John Boehner was asked, ‘What are you going to do about the debt ceiling?’ He said, ‘We need an adult moment.’

Israel continued, “Since then, Eric Cantor the number two Republican leader, walked out on the talks. Two days ago, John Boehner said ‘I’m not going to participate in talks if it means that we’re going to have to close corporate tax loopholes.’ That is not acting like an adult. That is partisan game playing and the American people and our economy cannot afford that kind of partisan game playing.”

While neither side admits it publicly, a large reason for the fight over raising the debt ceiling and subsequent budget cuts is so the respective parties can position themselves for the 2012 elections. While the DCCC wasn’t heavily involved in the election of Kathy Hochul in NY-26, they are hoping to capitalize on her successful message of tackling debt without cutting benefits to Medicare.

Last week, the President and Democrats expressed a willingness to cut billions from Medicare and other health care programs in order to reach a deal with Republicans. In return, Democrats want some kind of revenue increase, which they think can be achieved by closing tax loopholes for certain corporations without raising the income tax level.

Here And Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Westchester and NYC today with no public schedule.

The Judicial Compensation Commission is meeting at 9 a.m. at 633 Third Avenue, 37th Floor, NYC. The get-together will be Webcast here.

The debt talks continue in D.C. today.

Republican, Conservative and Libertarian Party NY-9 candidate Bob Turner officially launches his campaign for ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner’s seat at 10 a.m. at Station Square in Forest Hills, the same spot where TR gave his “One Hundred Percent American” speech in 1916.

Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, looked “very much in love” (a witness said) while celebrating their 1st anniversary at a Miami steakhouse.

Commentator in Orthodox Jewish paper Hamodia says Assemblyman David Weprin paid a steep price for the Democratic nod to replace Weiner: “His very soul.” (The upset is over the observant Jew’s outspoken support and “yes” vote for same-sex marriage).

Midnight tonight is the fundraising deadline for the first six months of 2011. Final figures will be public Friday.

The 2013 mayoral hopefuls are sprinting to the finish.

The state Senate is likely to return to Albany sooner rather than later; the Assembly might have to come back, too, but hasn’t discussed that yet.

The Times wants the Senate to return and pass the health care exchange bill approved by the Assembly.

Nearly 5,500 employees spanning more than three dozen state public authorities raked in six-figure salaries last year, the DN reports.

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The Weekend That Was

RIP Sisa Moyo, a longtime spokeswoman for the Assembly Democrats.

Moyo “distinguished herself as a respected and dedicated public servant during her more than two decades of service to this body and the people of New York,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said in a statement announcing her death.

Goodbye, News of the World.

Citing differences over tax revenues, House Speaker John Boehner pulled back from deficit reduction talks with the White House.

The Cuomo administration is rethinking a Medicaid billing system, eMedNY, that has cost the state close to $1 billion and is beset by cost overruns and flaws.

GOP NY-9 candidate Bob Turner wants to make the Sept. 13 special election a referendum on President Obama.

Turner’s selection as the Republican candidate was a loss for Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa, who technically could have picked whoever he wanted since he controls the weighted vote.

In case ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner is having second thoughts about resigning, Jimmy McMillan is offering the Rent is Too Damn High Party line.

The Buffalo News sings the praises of freshman Sen. Mark Grisanti.

Mayor Bloomberg issued a statement in praise of Mr. 3,000, Derek Jeter.

NYC municipal unions are trying to wait out Bloomberg.

“I think she’s the front-runner now,” Hunter College’s Kenneth Sherrill said of NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s position in the 2013 mayoral field. “But being a front-runner two years ahead of the primary doesn’t get you much.”

Sen. Carl Kruger rejected a report that he’ll resign by the end of the summer to help cut a better deal for his so-called “boyfriend,” who is also facing corruption charges.

More >

Indy Party Backs Weprin in NY-9

From NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt:

Sources tell NY1 that the Independence Party is backing Democrat David Weprin in his special election bid to succeed Anthony Weiner in Congress.

Weprin, a Queens Assemblyman, was picked by the Democrats last week to run in a September special election for the remainder of Weiner’s Congressional term.

The Republican and Conservative parties have tapped Bob Turner, who got about 40 percent of the vote when he ran against Weiner last year.

Weiner got nearly three thousand votes on the Independence Party line last year.

It’s Official: GOP Picks Turner for NY-9

As we reported earlier, Bob Turner will be the Republican candidate in the ninth congressional district race.

Here’s the full release:

“At a meeting between Queens County Republican Party Chairman Phil Ragusa and Brooklyn Republican Chairman Craig Eaton, Bob Turner was officially chosen to be the Republican Party’s candidate to run for the vacant congressional seat in New York’s 9th district.

Ragusa and Eaton, along with State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox, all united behind Turner, a successful businessman, who ran a strong race in this district in 2010 against now disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner.

According to Queens Chairman Phil Ragusa, “We are very pleased to have such a capable and experienced candidate to win this seat. Bob ran strongly against the incumbent last time, and we know he has the momentum now going into this special election to win and send a strong message to Washington that the people need real change for the American people.”

Brooklyn Chairman Craig Eaton added, “Bob Turner is the best candidate to win this race due to his experience as a businessman and leader in the community. He will be a great representative in Congress to fight for the middle class and the struggling small business owner who are the backbone of our country.”

The choice came down to two extremely qualified candidates, Turner and Juan D. Reyes, a lifelong Forest Hills resident, former Giuliani administration official, and attorney who had previously worked in Washington for Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and the National Republican Party. Reyes withdrew his name from consideration and endorsed Turner in a strong show of Party unity.

Upon receiving the endorsement, Bob Turner said, “I am pleased and grateful to receive the support of the Queens and Brooklyn Republican Party’s,” Turner continued. “I am especially grateful to the Chairmen, Phil Ragusa and Craig Eaton, for having such confidence in me and my ability to run this race. We are united going into this, with a great campaign team coming together, that will make this a very successful effort. I believe our message of bringing real world experience and fiscal sanity to Washington will resonate with the people in the 9th district, and I look forward to representing them in Washington.”

Upon stepping aside and announcing his support for Turner, Juan Reyes said, “I am very happy to support Bob Turner for Congress and will gladly help him win this race for the Republican Party. He is a highly qualified candidate with strong business experience who ran a good race last year. I look forward to seeing him serve the people of our district in Congress.”

Turner added, “Juan Reyes is an outstanding candidate who is a rising star in the Republican Party. I look forward to his support in my efforts to win this election, and am glad I can count on him to help reach out to the large Hispanic community here.”

Turner will face off against Democrat David Weprin, who was just elected to his brother’s State Assembly seat last year. Weprin, who doesn’t reside in the 9th district, was supported by the Queens Democratic Party to try to help the seat in Democratic hands until it can be eliminated in the redistricting process next year.

Turner will hold his first press conference on Monday, July 11th at 10:00 AM at Station Square in Forest Hills at the spot where former President Theodore Roosevelt made his historic “One Hundred Percent American” speech in 1916.”