NRCC Launches ‘Strings Attached’ In NY-26

With nine days remaining in the NY-26 fight, the NRCC has hit the airwaves with its first TV ad to assist Assemblywoman Jane Corwin – a spot that depicts both Kathy Hochul and Jack Davis as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s puppets.

The buy is about $400,000, and the ad will aid on cable and broadcast stations in both Buffalo and Rochester through the rest of the campaign, which will end when voters head to the polls on May 24.

The ad was made by Scott Howell & Co., which is home to Dan Allen, a Washington, D.C.-based consultant who has roots in New York. He worked for the state GOP as communications director of communications back in the Bill Powers days.

Until now, the NRCC has been largely content with letting Corwin self fund. She has now loaned her campaign close to $2 million.

Davis, a Democrat-turned-Republican who is running as an independent, has pledged to spend up to $3 million of his own cash on his fourth attempt to win a congressional seat, while Hochul, the Democratic Erie County clerk, has led both her opponents in fundraising.

Here’s the ad script:

“Meet Jack Davis. He claims he had a hand in creating Nancy Pelosi’s Democrat majority. And meet Kathy Hochul, who said about Pelosi: ‘She’s done a great job for this country.’ Great job? Pelosi pushed through the failed stimulus that created green jobs in China, while unemployment soared in Western New York. Jack and Kathy can’t fight for us. They come with strings attached.”

The Weekend That Was

The IMF chief was arrested and accused of sexually assaulting a Manhattan chambermaid.

Bob McCarthy considers the Jack Davis temperament question without talking to the candidate himself, who refused an interview request.

Kathy Hochul is leading the NY-26 pack in fundraising.

Hochul’s donors include Rep. Paul Tonko ($1,000 donation), and DCCC Recruitment Chair Allyson Schwartz’s leadership PAC, We The People PAC, ($1,000).

Corwin’s fellow Republicans are criticizing her top aide, Michael Mallia, for the alleged Davis “assault” incident and question why he wasn’t suspended.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attended a fundraiser for Hochul in NYC.

The House Majority PAC and SEIU will be spending on Hochul’s behalf.

The Buffalo News endorsed Hochul.

Videos from the BN editorial board meetings with the NY-26 candidates.

The National Right to Life Committee’s PAC is mailing for Jane Corwin, even though she supports abortion rights in the first trimester. Outside spending in NY-26 is $1.2 million and counting.

The Citizens Budget Commission accidentally broke the news of Ben Lawsky’s new job.

Mayor Bloomberg announced a recent crackdown on illegal hotels and released this video of closed-down locations.

More >

Rumors Of Jay Jacobs’ Demise…

…(political demise, that is), are greatly exaggerated, the state Democratic Party chairman maintains.

The persistent chatter about Jay Jacobs imminent departure and replacement by his current executive director, Charlie King, (hand-picked by Gov. Andrew Cuomo during the 2010 campaign), has grown louder in advance of this week’s state party meeting in Suffolk County.

A reader forwarded a Community Free Democrats newsletter in which state committeeman Daniel Cohen writes the “word on the street” is that King will be taking Jacobs’ place, adding:

“This has been much discussed but not confirmed for months, and, if true, at least it finally resolves the leadership issue for the State Party.”

Cohen goes on to note that he has known King since his CFD days, and postulates that it would be “helpful” for Upper West Side Dems to have a connection to the party leadership. (Not that they don’t now, since King, an on-again/off-again Cuomo ally/opponent, is already pretty high up the food chain).

Cuomo hasn’t really done much with the party since he took office, although he used it to run the coordinated campaign during the 2010 race, installing HTC political director Neal Kwatra (now working for AG Eric Schneiderman as his chief of staff) to oversee that effort. Also, via statements released by King and Jacobs, the party provided the governor with some backup during the budget battle.

I reacher Jacobs this afternoon on his cell phone, and he informed me he has no plans to step down this week, noting that if there were to be a resolution call on him to go, it would have had to be placed in the 10-day notice, which it was not.

Jacobs, who was elected to a two-year term last fall, told me he spoke about a week and a half ago with Team Cuomo and was asked to “continue doing this job for the time being.”

As long as he would like me to be there and I can do the job, I’m happy to do it,” said Jacobs, who is also still running the Nassau County Democratic Party. “The chair serves at (the governor’s) pleasure and at this moment in time, it seems to be that’s what his pleasure is.”

Schumer Stumps For ‘Vintage WNYer’ Hochul

Senior Senator Charles Schumer made a campaign stop for Democrat Kathy Hochul today in Amherst, calling her a vintage Western New Yorker, and making the case that she is the best person to send to DC because of her position on Medicare.

There is a major issue in this campaign. In this district we have a lot of people on Medicare or that will soon be on Medicare. There is a dramatic difference between Kathy and her opponent. Her opponent basically wants to dramatically change Medicare so, that many think it would end in any form that we know it.

Kathy understands that we have to cut the costs in Medicare, and cut out the waste, but keep the basic program as it is and keep the benefits. And that has been a major struggle in Washington, and it will be. And this election in a sense will be the vote heard round the world. Or certainly around the country. Because everyone will look and say, is Kathy’s view on Medicare the more acceptable view, or is her opponents.

Medicare has been the major issue in this race. And was the main reason the Buffalo News endorsed Hochul.

During the Q and A, as expected, Hochul was asked about the flap between Corwin’s campaign and Jack Davis. Both Hochul and Schumer dodged a direct answer. Hochul saying she is “laser focused” on the race.

Note: Video is raw, so please excuse the cutaway shots.

Schumer Emails, Campaigns For Hochul

Sen. Chuck Schumer sent out a fundraising appeal on behalf of Democratic NY-26 contender Kathy Hochul, calling her surge in the polls “absolutely incredible” and deeming the May 24 special election his party’s “first chance” to send a message to the House Republicans.

Schumer was scheduled to campaign with Hochul this morning at The Family Tree Restaurant in Amherst.

“Ever since Republicans took the majority in the U.S. House, they’ve pushed a non-stop platform of unpopular and destructive ideas, like ending Medicare while preserving tax breaks for millionaires,” Schumer wrote.

“Kathy’s special election, in one of the reddest districts in the state this May 24, is our first chance to show them how much it’s going to cost them. Let’s get her over the top.”

“Kathy is exactly who we need in Congress. She is a tireless fighter for jobs, someone who will always do right by middle class families in her district, and a strong leader who will stand up to the hard right.

“Washington insiders and the media are closely watching this race. If Kathy can win a dramatic grassroots victory in this Republican stronghold, it would give Democrats the momentum in our fight to preserve Medicare and stop the Republicans’ reckless agenda.
That’s why hard right groups have just launched a smear campaign against her.”

“This race is winnable, but time is running short. We must keep Kathy on the air so she can keep fighting back against the special interest-funded attacks. With the eyes of the world watching, let’s show them exactly the kind of victory that grassroots Democrats are capable of.”

Schumer’s appeal comes on the heels of a similar email from junior Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, an early and enthusiastic Hochul supporter. Gillibrand has said she’ll head to the WNY district to campaign for the Erie County clerk in the campaign’s final days.

Buffalo News To Endorse Hochul

The Buffalo News is endorsing Democrat Kathy Hochul in the race for NY’s 26th Congressional District. The article comes out in the Sunday edition – but we were able to get a copy of the article below.

The BN says both Hochul and Republican Jane Corwin are “capable and well informed” but they are backing the Erie County Clerk because she has a “more rounded grasp of government in the 21st Century.”

The paper quickly gets to the issue that seems to be driving this race. Health Care. They praise Hochul for her understanding of the issue, while criticizing Corwin for supporting the Ryan budget which they say will turn Medicare into a voucher system. (Note: Many Republicans argue that this isn’t true.)

All the candidates get praise for their message of cutting the deficit. But the BN says Hochul has the best ability to do that, while also “guarding against an assault on the role of government itself.”

News Endorsement

Extras

The NY-26 race has created some strange bedfellows.

MoveOn.org is getting involved for Kathy Hochul, while the NRCC has upped its ad buy for Jane Corwin.

Corwin has now loaned her campaign $1.96 million.

Corwin’s chief of staff, Michael Mallia, may have left the state after last night’s altercation with Jack Davis.

Does Cuomo’s teacher evaluation proposal give Bloomberg a bargaining chip with the UFT?

Mulgrew plays a words game with UFT members.

Mayor Bloomberg rejected the suggestion the runaway peahen was protesting the Bronx Zoo’s budget cut.

NYC Councilman Charles Barron won’t join the fray against Congress against Rep. Ed Towns is Kevin Powell wants to take another crack at him.

Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries is raising cash for his likely challenge to Towns.

Mitt Romney seems to have shot himself in the foot on health care.

Rep. Pete King saw Osama bin Laden’s photos and now believes “he’s definitely dead.”

Bid Laden didn’t consider VP Joe Biden worth targeting.

Mike Huckabee will announce his 2012 decision Saturday.

HSBC is keeping its HQ in Buffalo “for the time being.”

Who fared better from Cuomo’s Buffalo visit: Mayor Byron Brown or Assemblyman Sam Hoyt?

NYC Councilman Juumane Williams thinks Bloomberg needs more fiber.

Rep. Ryan Raises Cash For Corwin

Rep. Paul Ryan, whose Medicare overhaul proposal has become a flashpoint in the NY-26 special election, sent out an “urgent” fundraising appeal this evening on behalf of the Republican contender, Assemblywoman Jane Corwin.

Ryan is trying to raise $5,000 for Corwin through his PAC, Prosperity Project.

“This will come as no surprise to many of you, but the playbook the Democrats and special interests have been using to attack me is being used right now in New York’s 26th District,” the Wisconsin Republican wrote to his supporters.

“You know the drill: they spread all kinds of falsehoods about the Path to Prosperity and see what sticks. Jane Corwin needs our help.”

“…As the New York Times has pointed out, my budget plan is at the center of the campaign: ‘After leveling a barrage of attacks against the proposal put forth by Mr. Ryan, the Democratic candidate Kathy Hochul, has tightened the race considerably…’”

“I’ve told you all along that one of the goals of the Prosperity Project is to back up those who agree with us that Washington’s spending is out of control and we have to do something about it. Jane Corwin is one of those people. Let’s back her up. Let’s put our money where our mouths are.”

At the end of the email, Ryan assures his backers that Corwin isn’t shying away from his plan, in spite of the fact that the Democrats are trying to use it as a wedge issue in the campaign.

I’m not sure if this is going to help or hurt Corwin.

Certainly, it will add more fuel to this particular fire for the Democrats, although maybe anyone whose vote is going to hinge on the Medicare issue (note that 22 percent of NY-26 residents are senior citizens) already knows about it.

NYSUT: Tisch Response To Cuomo ‘Disturbing’

The state United Teachers union late this afternoon released a statement expressing their concern over what appeared to be Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch’s willingness to quickly incorporate the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s suggestions for revised teacher evaluation standards.

“Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch’s statement regarding regulations applicable to the Teacher and Principal Evaluation Law is extremely disturbing. Understandably, the opinion of the Governor’s office must be given great consideration. However, in this case, the Chancellor’s statement is clearly outside the scope of the legislation first proposed jointly by SED and NYSUT and signed into law.”

Cuomo earlier today released a letter sent to Tisch calling for sharper standards for teachers, which would incorporate both test scores and in-the-classroom observations in order to conduct teacher evaluations.

Tisch responded later that amended evaluation guidelines will be released including the governor’s suggestions.

But the union says Tisch’s statement is “clearly outside the scope of the legislation” first jointly put forward by the state Department of Education and NYSUT.

Here’s the full statement: More >

Jimmy McMillan, Tea Party Spokesman (!?)

Jimmy McMillan is loaning his visage and trademark “too damn high” slogan to a Tea Party-backed push for expanded oil exploration by appearing in a video proclaiming the evils of ever-escalating gas prices.

(H/t to Dave Weigel, who calls McMillan a “New York-based political anger-puppet” and marvels at his ability to outlast his atlotted 15 minutes of fame).

McMillan, as you’ll recall, insists he’s going to run for president in 2012 as a Republican. He even showed up at the CPAC back in February. As Weigel says, now we know why.