Gillibrand: ‘We Can Win’ In NY-26

ICYMI: Here’s Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand making a plea on behalf of Democratic NY-26 candidate Kathy Hochul at a reception in Manhattan yesterday at which the junior senator received NARAL’s annual Champion of Choice award.

While other high-profile Democrats (like, say, Gov. Andrew Cuomo) are keeping their distance from this race, Gillibrand is all in for Hochul. She recently endorsed the Erie County clerk, and sent her supporters a fundraising appeal on Hochul’s behalf and said yesterday that she will be in WNY the weekend before the May 24 special election to do some in-person campaigning.

Gillibrand invoked what some are calling the NY-23 theory – that a Tea Party candidate (in this case, Jack Davis) will siphon votes from the Republican favorite, Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, providing a path to victory for Hochul. If you believe the polls, it appears that’s exactly what’s happening.

“There are so many candidates that need your help,” Gillibrand told the NARAL audience yesterday. “Kathy Hocuhl’s election is this month….Let me tell you about this candidate. She’s running in Chris Lee’s seat. Do you know who Chris Lee is? He’s the guy who emailed that photo of himself, no shirt.”

“So, she’s running in that district. Its a very Republican district. Its been Republican for a long time. But it’s a three-way race and there is a Tea Party guy in the race that’s going to take the votes away from the Republican. So, if you want to get a House seat and you want to take back this House, get involved in that race. It’s just in a couple weeks. We can win that race.”

“And so if you get involved, if you send money, if you literally go up there and campaign on the weekend before the election- I’m going to be there, will you join me there? Please join me there. Those are things we can do, together.”

Cuomo Gains Ground With Republicans

Since pushing through a fiscally conservative budget that slashed health care and education spending, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has experienced a surge of popularity among Republicans, a new YNN-NY1/Marist poll shows.

While Cuomo’s approval rating among fellow Democrats and independents has remained essentially flat, his standing with GOP voters spiked a whopping 19 percentage points – jumping from 43 percent in January to 62 percent.

By contrast, 56 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of unaffiliated voters give Cuomo a thumbs-up while 55 percent and 42 percent, respectively, did the same when he first took office earlier this year.

Overall, 54 percent of registered voters statewide reported Cuomo is doing either an excellent or good job in office. This includes 10 percent who believe he is doing an excellent job and 44 percent who think he is doing a good one. He received a fair rating from 31 percent of voters while just 6 percent said he is performing poorly. Nine percent were unsure how to rate him.

There has been an increase among both Republicans and Democrats who believe Cuomo is making good on his campaign promises. (Recall those include closing the $10 billion budget deficit without raising taxes).

Sixty-seven percent of Democrats and 72 percent of Republicans have this view while 57 percent and 52 percent, respectively, thought this way in January. Independents opinion on Cuomo’s fulfillment of his campaign rhetoric has remained static at 55 percent.

While a majority of New Yorkers still perceive Cuomo to be a moderate, fewer view him to be a liberal, and slightly more voters think he is a conservative. In January, 55 percent described the governor as a moderate, 26 percent said he was a liberal, and 12 percent said Cuomo was a conservative. Eight percent, at the time, were unsure.

The numbers are now: 52 (moderate), 19 (liberal), 17 (conservative), and 12 (unsure).

These findings help explain why Cuomo’s post-policy agenda includes the legalization of same-sex marriage, which theoretically helps shore up his support among the liberal wing of his party.

Here And Now

Governor Andrew Cuomo begins his “People First” tour today at Noon in Syracuse.

Part of that is a push for marriage equality.

Gay rights advocates say marriage equality was a “distant notion” when they first organized years ago.

New ESDC Chair Ken Adams says the term Empire State has been “misleading for years.”

A federal appeals court has cleared the way for New York to collect taxes on cigarette sales on Indian lands.

The case looks like it will go to the Supreme Court.

The special election in NY-26 is getting national attention following Speaker John Boehner’s visit yesterday.

ICYMI: Democrat Kathy Hochul is leading in a poll commissioned by the liberal blog Daily Kos and SEIU.

US Senate Republicans look like they are going to pull back on the medicare cuts House GOP supported in Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, in part because of NY-26.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand plans to stump for Hochul in the final weeks before the election.

President Obama is going to roll out his immigration reform “blueprint” today in El Paso, Texas.

Some state legislators want New York to pull out of an immigration enforcement policy put forth by the White House.

Obama had two helicopters on standby in case something went wrong during the raid on bin Laden’s compound.

Mayor Bloomberg jokes that Ray Kelly would make a good president.
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Cuomo Met Privately With LGBT Leaders

Though he didn’t make any public appearances at the Empire State Pride Agenda’s rally for Equality and Justice today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and top aide Steve Cohen met privately with leaders in the LGBT community to discuss legislative strategy.

Most the leaders Cuomo met with are the top-ranking officials in the Empire State Pride Agenda, according to sources in the governor’s office.

Participating in the meeting: Co-Chair Louis A. Bradbury, Co-Chair: Marla Hassner, ESPA Vice Chair: Mark Siwiec, ESPA Treasurer: Norman C. Simon, Secretary: Paul Donaher, ESPA Board Member Pamela Barres, Board Member: Kathleen Hathaway, Board Member: Juli Owens and Executive Director Ross Levi.

Also in attendance was Emily Giske of Bolton-St. John’s, Betsy Ball and Kathrine Grainger.

Cuomo held a similarly quiet meeting back on March 9. The governor probably needs all the strategy sessions he can get. When Democrats controlled the Senate, a bill to legalize gay marriage failed 38-24.

Senate Republicans have said they are yet to meet to discuss the issue, but most say they are steadfastly opposed to legalizing same-sex marriage. Republicans hold a 32-30 majority.

Now advocates for same-sex marriage are trying to lobby fence-sitting legislators in both parties and are pushing the issue through New Yorkers United for Marriage, a coalition of advocacy groups. Cuomo himself fired off a robocall in support of the issue and will appear in Syracuse Tuesday to stump for the issue, including a tax cap and an ethics bill.

Though 32 votes are needed to approve a bill, it’s likely 33 or even 34 votes will be needed in order to provide padding to legislators in moderate to conservative districts.

State To Begin Collecting Indian Taxes ‘Immediately’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office says they’re going to start their plan to collect taxes on cigarettes sold on Indian reservations immediately following today’s federal court ruling lifting an injunction on the plan.

Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto sent this statement on the issue:

“As a result the U.S. Court of Appeals decision today, the State Department of Taxation and Finance has posted the regulations governing collection of sales taxes on cigarettes sold to non-tribal members. The state will begin enforcing the regulations immediately.”

The long-sought revenue source for the state has gone and back forth over the years. The last major attempt, made in 1997, resulted in members of the Seneca Nation setting tires on fire and cutting off traffic on Interstate 90.

This is new plan, approved last year and coupled with a hike in cigarette and tobacco prices, pre-taxes the cigarettes sold on reservations. Tribal members and reservation residents are exempt from the tax.

Sen. Michael Nozzolio, R-Fayette, Seneca County, said the court’s ruling was the right one.

“This is lifting of the temporary injunctions indicates that the collection can and should go forward,” he said.

Extras

It looks like Newt Gingrich is running.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has bumped ex-Gov. David Paterson yet again – this time on the LCA wall.

Der Tzitung apologized if its decision to airbursh Hillary Clinton and Audrey Tomason out of a bin Laden raid Situation Room photo was “seen as offensive.”

The paper backed Clinton when she was a NY senator and a presidential contender.

An investigation by the state DMV using facial recognition software led to the arrest of 46 commercial drivers, some of whom were MTA employees.

A Duke University study found hydrofracking is contaminating groundwater wells in Northern Pennsylvania and Utica with methane.
A Public Policy Polling survey for Daily Kos and SEIU shows Kathy Hochul up by four percentage points over Jane Corwin.

Mayor Bloomberg thinks NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly would make a “great president.”

A report from the NYC Economic Development Corporation shows a living wage mandate would stifle development, cost jobs and curtail private investment in the city for years to come.

Bristol Palin is getting a reality show.

The Progressive Democrats of WNY endorsed Green Party contender Ian Murphy in NY-26.

House Speaker John Boehner took no questions from reporters about Medicare during his brief trip to WNY.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is heading to WNY to help Kathy Hochul.

Protestors sharpened their teeth on REBNY in preparation for their May 12 march on Wall Street.

More proof (was more needed?) the Trump bubble has burst.

Congrats to Newsday’s Sandra Peddie.

Boehner: NY-26 Comes At ‘Critical Time’

During a brief visit to WNY this afternoon, House Speaker John Boehner told attendees at a fundraiser for Assemblywoman Jane Corwin that the May 24 special election in NY-26 is coming at a “critical time” in Washington and offers Republicans the opportunity to re-establish the political edge they gained in the 2010 midterm elections.

“You know this special election comes at a critical time; Washington Democrats are hoping they can steal this election so they can continue to move this agenda which is more taxes and higher spending,” Boehner said.

“…We’ve got a chance to tell Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama that we want a different agenda. We can remind Washington of what they said last election by electing Jane Corwin in this special election here in New York.”

Boehner evoked the specters of the president and the California Democrat he relegated to his old minority leader post no fewer than three times during his brief (just over seven minutes) formal remarks.

This comes as Boehner is prepared to re-ignite the battle over the debt ceiling in D.C. by delivering a speech this evening at the Economic Club of New York that an increase in the amount the country can legally borrow limit should be accompanied by spending cuts that exceed that rise.

In his clearest statement to date on what the GOP wants in return for raising the debt ceiling, the speaker will say (according to early excepts released by his office):

“Without significant spending cuts and reforms to reduce our debt, there will be no debt limit increase. And the cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given. We should be talking about cuts of trillions, not just billions.”

Cuomo Plans ‘People First’ Kickoff

The “People First” road show featuring Gov. Andrew Cuomo, his cabinet and three big issues he’s pushing — gay marriage, a property-tax cap and an ethics overhaul — will be kicking off in Syracuse on Tuesday.

“Our entire team is going to travel the state to speak directly to New Yorkers about the issues that can move this state forward, and it begins in Syracuse,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We need to pass a property tax cap, ethics reform, and marriage equality during this legislative session. The clock is ticking, but when the people speak, the politicians will listen. We will assemble a broad coalition of New Yorkers to support this agenda and work tirelessly to get it passed in Albany.”

The governor will be speaking at Onondaga Community College at noon.

The effort to get these measures through the Legislature is similar to Cuomo’s tour in the lead up to the state budget. He has less than seven weeks to reach deals on all these issues.

However, unlike the budget process which gives the governor broad authority, Cuomo must break out his chess board if he wants to reach a deal on gay marriage in the Republican-led Senate and get the Democratic-controlled Assembly to approve his 2 percent tax cap.

He’s also threatened to enact a Moreland Commission to investigate the Legislature if he doesn’t have a yet-to-be introduced and written ethics bill approved.

Senate Votes To Ban Pretend Pot In NY

The Senate has acted on legislation that would ban synthetic marijuana-type products in New York. The Senate has already passed legislation that bans salvia divinorum, a decorative plant with hallucinogenic qualities similar to marijuana.

salvia

The bill, which passed today 59-1 (the no-vote being Sen. Tom Duane), takes the previous bill a step further and outlaws other near-drugs that are commonly referred to K2, Spike 99 and Spice.

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration has taken action on the fake drugs, making them illegal. However, the bill’s sponsor points out this ban is only a temporary measure imposed by the DEA.

“While I applaud the efforts of the federal government, it is important to enact a statewide law restricting the sale of synthetic marijuana to make sure that our communities are protected in the event that the federal ban is lifted,” said Sen. John Flanagan (R-Northport).

“These substances are dangerous, they are gateways to future and more expanded drug use and they should be permanently banned. That is why I am hopeful that the Assembly will join the Senate in passing this legislation.”

If signed into law, those convicted of knowingly selling or distributing synthetic cannabinoids would face a civil penalty of up to $500.

Today’s legislation, along with the salvia-ban bill, have yet to be taken up by the Assembly.

Trump Headlines Lincoln Day Dinner

Though his stock may be falling after President Obama released his long-form birth certificate, the Donald is still a sought-after public speaker.

Trump is scheduled to give the keynote address at the Lincoln Day Dinner in New York City. Also due to make appearances the $1,000-a-seat dinner are GOP Chairman Ed Cox and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

Trump is yet to formally announce whether he’ll run for president, but has said he would make a formal decision after his reality show “Celebrity Apprentice” finishes its season.

2011 Lincoln Day Dinner Invitation