Priebus Just 5 Votes Away

Reince Priebus is now just 5 votes away from being the next RNC Chair, after the 6th round of voting.

Here is the tally:

Priebus – 80
Anuzis – 37
Cino – 34
Wagner – 17

Last round, Cino had 40 votes. So it seems that her support is now on the decline. That said, the votes have been fluctuating a lot, so you never know what is going to happen.


Law enforcement officials have photos of Arizona shooter Jared Loughner posing with a Glock while wearing nothing but a red g-string.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has reportedly rescinded the State Police raises put in place by his predecessor, former Gov. David Paterson.

Cuomo will attend the Rev. Al Sharpton’s MLK Day event, along with a host of other Democratic elected officials.

Cuomo to the crowd in Watertown: “I have power over the Legislature when they look at me and they see you behind me. That’s when they respond. You’re the big guy standing behind me.”

Cuomo’s campaign committee is raising cash for the upcoming budget battle.

Tomorrow is the two-year anniversary of Flight 1549′s crash-landing in the Hudson River.

NYC Schools Chancellor Cathie Black’s answer to overcrowding: “Birth control.” (A spokesperson later said this was an offhand joke and the chancellor was sorry if she offended anyone).

The Committee to Save NY hired a lobbyist, Allison Lee, a lobbyist at DKC who once worked for Cuomo at HUD.

The committee, which has been criticized for its lack of transparency, revealed the names of its board members.

Mayor Bloomberg predicted the Jets will make it to the Superbowl.

Dennis Mullen is out as head of ESDC but had a statement of appreciation read to him on Dec. 16.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said Gabrielle Giffords is the most nonpartisan person she’s ever met.

Next year’s budget deficit could grow to $11 billion, according to state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

Cuomo didn’t seem to take kindly to the suggestion that he might learn a thing or two from NJ Gov. Chris Christie, who, like Cuomo, has a fiscally conservative message and is taking on public employee unions. Asked today if he thinks there might be some lessons for him in Christie’s experience, Cuomo replied curtly:

“I’ve spoken to the governor a couple of times. I’m a new governor and I look forward to developing a relationship with him.”

Steele Out, Backs Cino (Updated)

RNC Chairman Michael Steele is bowing out of the race for his party leadership post after failing to gain sufficient votes to retain his title after three rounds of balloting.

Steele is at the microphone now, I’m told. Onondaga County GOP Chairman Tom Dadey informs me he got a standing ovation. UPDATE: Steele asked all of his supporters to back the New York candidate, Maria Cino.

The results of Round IV saw Cino improve her standing:

Priebus 58
Cino 29
Steele 28
Wagner 28
Anuzis 24

(There was also one write-in, but apparently that vote wasn’t counted).

If all of Steele’s supporters back Cino and her votes hold, she’ll still fall short of the 85-vote threshold needed to clinch the chairmanship. But she’ll be a heck of a lot closer.

Aborn Enters Gun Control Fray

Richard Aborn, former President of the Brady Campaign and the current President of the Citizens Crime Commission of NYC, is engaging in a little pushback of this morning’s Times story that suggested there is little chance of movement in Washington on gun control measures, despite a renewed focus on the issue following last Saturday’s Arizona shooting.

Aborn compared the current political landscape to the “hostile” environment he encountered in 1994 when advocates managed to win successful passage of landmark gun control legislation.

“We beat the odds in 1994 and achieved common sense gun control despite a hostile Congress and we can do it again,” said Aborn, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for Manhattan DA in 2009.

“The current political landscape is nearly identical to the one we encountered previously, and there is no reason to think that we can’t be successful. This horrible tragedy, and future ones, can be avoided by renewing the ban on high-capacity magazines now.”

In the fall of 1994, the Brady Campaign pushed the successful passage of the ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines. Gun control advocates argue the Tucson tragedy might have been avoided had Congress renewed the ban in 2004.

Next Tuesday, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, a Long Island Democrat, plans to introduce a bill to ban the sale of high-capacity magazines to civilian gun owners.

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Medicaid Redesign Meetings Announced

The New York State Medicaid Redesign Team has released the dates of upcoming meetings across the state. This comes just one day after the committee met for the first time to solicit ideas from industry stakeholders on how to overhaul the expensive and ever-growing sector of the state’s health care system.

As expected, the first two public hearings will take place in Western New York.

Wednesday, January 19
Roswell Park Cancer Institute – Buffalo

Thursday, January 20
National Museum of Play at The Strong – Rochester

Thursday, January 27
Baruch College – New York City

Thursday, January 27
Bronx Community College – New York City

Friday, January 28
Hofstra University – Long Island

Wednesday, February 2
SUNY New Paltz

Thursday, February 3
SUNY Adirondack Community College – Queensbury

Cino Dropping In RNC Chair Vote

Republicans have completed their third round of balloting in the RNC chair election, and things aren’t looking good for Buffalo native Maria Cino.

She finished third in the first round, according to the following results forwarded to me by Onondaga County GOP Chairman Tom Dadey, who is in the room to observe, not participate:

Priebus 45
Steele 44
Cino 32
Anuzis 24
Wagner 23

She held her own in the second round, losing ground a bit, but maintaining her place in the line-up:

Priebus 52
Steele 37
Cino 30
Wagner 27
Anuzis 22

By the third round, however, she had dropped to fourth place:

Priebus 54
Steele 33
Wagner 32
Cino 28
Anuzis 21

In order to win, a candidate must garner votes from 85 of the 168 RNC members. So far, no one has dropped out.

Report: President Reschedules Schenectady Trip

The Associated Press is reporting that President Obama has rescheduled his trip to Schenectady for next Friday, January 21st.

The visit was originally planned for Tuesday of this week, but was postponed after the tragic shooting in Arizona that killed 6, and injured 14 others including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

This will be Obama’s second trip to the Capital Region as President, and his 5th trip to upstate New York. His other stops were in Buffalo, Troy, and two trips to West Point.

WNY Delegation Sees Hope For UB2020

Democrats and Republicans, Senators and Assembly members came together in Buffalo today for a united press conference to highlight the importance of the UB2020 project. In total, more than 11 members of the Assembly and Senate attended the event, which was set up by Republican Senator George Maziarz and Democratic Assemblyman Robin Schimminger.

The project has several parts. First they need the legislature to allow the University of Buffalo to increase tuition at the school, and also give them more flexibility in how they spend money they raise. If they can get this to pass, they will be able to reinvest millions into building the school into a state of the art medical center.

The Senate passed the UB2020 bill back in 2009. But many Assembly Democrats have been resistant to the plan because they want to make sure tuition remains affordable.

The Western New York lawmakers who gathered today say this year will be different though, because they have a powerful ally in Governor Cuomo. Often outspoken Democratic Assemblyman Mark Schroeder was on hand for the press conference, and was asked what was different in the Assembly this year.

“I don’t know if anything is going to be different, except for the strength of the governor. The governor is very creative. And I would not be that concerned if the governor doesn’t put it in his executive budget. I don’t believe that is the end of the world,” Schroeder said.

“Because the speaker has made it clear that that has been a deal breaker in the past. So the Governor, being creative, and the governor trying to figure out a way to be successful may come up with some different solutions.”

Squadron Helps Haitian Amputee Profiled On CNN

We missed it earlier this week, but on the one-year anniversary of the Haiti Earthquake CNN did a profile piece on a Darline Bertil. She is a Haitian women who was trapped in rubble for 5 days. When she was finally rescued, she had to have one of her hands and most of her other arm amputated after the earthquake.

Bertil says handicapped people are shun in Haiti, so she was worried that she would not be able to find work. That’s where Senator Squadron comes into the story. Bertil’s doctor contacted him, and Squadron helped secure a visa for her, and her family to come to New York and live with family they already had here.

NY In The House At RNC Chair Vote

I just got off the phone with Onondaga County GOP Chairman Tom Dadey, who is in Washington, D.C. to watch this afternoon’s battle over the RNC chairmanship, and he said: “You can’t predict this.”

“A lot of these people are very independent,” Dadey said of the 168 Republican leaders who will be deciding the fate of the current chairman, Michael Steele, this afternoon.

“They’ve made their own money. They’ve done their own thing. They’re going to vote however they want.”

Dadey, who is not voting today (state GOP Chairman Ed Cox has a vote, as do the state’s two national committee members), is in Washington with Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy. The two were in town on unrelated business and decided to drop in on the RNC meeting to watch the show.

A cheat sheet of the field, compliments of Politics Daily’s Tom Diemer:

Steele is opposed by Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus (pegged as the frontrunner), former Bush administration official Maria Cino (endorsed by House Speaker John Boehner), Missouri’s Ann Wagner (the former ambassador to Luxembourg) and Saul Anuzis (former head of the party in Michigan).

Cino is a Buffalo native, and she’s supported by Cox and the eight GOP members of the NY congressional delegation. (They’re not at the RNC meeting because they’re attending a members-only retreat of House Republicans).

She’s considered a long-shot in today’s vote, although she told the Buffalo News earlier this week that if there’s at least two ballots today, she has a chance at winning.

(The paper has been covering this race very closely and is liveblogging the RNC meeting).

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