Oct 8th - 11:50 am
Former President George H.W. Bush has made a rare foray into New York politics by endorsing Michael Grimm, the GOP congressional hopeful who is trying to oust Democratic Rep. Michael McMahon in NY-13.
According to the Grimm campaign, the ex-president personally delivered his nod at his Kennebunkport, Maine home.
“As the Commander-in-Chief at the time when Michael served our country in combat, liberating Kuwait in the first Gulf War, I am very pleased to endorse Michael Grimm for Congress in New York’s 13th Congressional District, Bush said in a statement released by Grimm’s campaign.
“Michael’s dedication to service as a U.S. Marine and as an FBI special agent exemplifies the type of commitment and integrity we need in Washington. Michael Grimm has the experience and proven leadership needed to get our economy back on track to create jobs and keep our nation safe.”
The Grimm campaign noted that Bush was the candidate’s “commander-in-chief” and also was director of the CIA when Grimm was an undercover agent.
During the primary, Grimm’s repeated touting of both his military and FBI service in political mailers and TV ads was an issue with both organizations.
UPDATED: The McMahon campaign’s response appears after the jump.
Oct 8th - 11:43 am
I’m not sure what to say about this, other than to say…Here’s Roger Stone, commenting on Carl Paladino’s odd “prowess is legendary” remark about Andrew Cuomo during last night’s three-minute TV ad:
“Carl Paladino’s Italian. I think might have been a compliment. As far as I know Andrew Cuomo is single has been single since 2003. I think that was a compliment. I mean, he moved on to the agenda. I would like to see him spend more time now just focusing on the issue differences between he and Attorney General Cuomo.”
For the record, while Cuomo has not remarried since his divorce from Kerry Kennedy, he’s not single, either. He has been dating Food Network star Sandra Lee for five years, and the couple lives together in Westchester.
Oct 8th - 11:24 am
Former state Comptroller H. Carl McCall has endorsed Tom DiNapoli’s quest to retain the statewide post he once held, saying his fellow Democrat has done an “extraordinary job…to restore ethics, integrity and trust to this office.”
“Tom DiNapoli is truly a turnaround specialist: He’s risen to the occasion and changed the Comptroller’s Office, from top to bottom,” McCall said in a statement released by DiNapoli’s campaign. “He has been there to steer the ship through these difficult times and he deserves our support.”
McCall then teed off on DiNapoli’s Republican opponent, Harry Wilson, saying he has “based his entire campaign for Comptroller on smearing the integrity of a dedicated public servant.”
Oct 8th - 11:01 am
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s campaign did not waste time in capitalizing on the admission by her GOP opponent, Joe DioGuardi, that he is not, in fact, currently a practicing CPA even though he has made that line on his resume a central focus of his campaign.
DioGuardi told Newsday’s Tom Brune he let his CPA registration lapse and only re-registered Tuesday after officials told him he had to if he wanted to keep touting his credentials.
In addition, Gillibrand’s campaign debunked DioGuardi’s claim that he would be the first CPA in the US Senate if elected, noting Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi already has that covered.
What’s more, he wasn’t the first CPA ever elected to the House. Alabama Rep. Ronnie Gene Flippo, who was elected the decade before DioGuardi, holds claim to that particular bragging right.
Gillibrand’s campaign sent out this clip of DioGuardi making his CPA claims during an interview in the wake of his Sept. 14 primary win.
Oct 8th - 10:50 am
“Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough issues a warning to AG Andrew Cuomo today, saying he should change his media strategy or risk harsher-than-usual treatment from the Capitol press corps when and if he becomes governor.
“Andrew Cuomo, you’re being too clever by half,” Scarborough said.
“The media always wins…If Andrew Cuomo knows what he’s doing, if he’s as a smart as you say he is, he’s going to start reaching out to the New York Times, to the New York Post, to the New York Daily News, to the local stations around here. Because if he doesn’t, the second he becomes governor, they’re going to take him down. Am I not right?”
Time’s Mark Halperin, who was on the show today, responded: “”A hundred percent. It’s amazing to me that a guy that smart doesn’t see it.”
The ironic thing is that Cuomo reaches out plenty – just not on the record, generally speaking. As the Times’ Nick Confessore wrote recently, the candidate has a bad habit of micromanaging his campaign, and that extends to handling reporters.
That was back on Sept. 28. He hasn’t done any extended sit-downs since.
He has been making more public campaign appearances, but with very short notice (most likely to avoid what happened in Harlem, when he was overrun by Charles Barron supporters and forced to scuttled a Subway meet-and-greet), and generally has been a heck of a lot less accessible to the media than Paladino.
I’m not sure that Cuomo changing his strategy now would help him much with the press if he gets to Albany. Eliot Spitzer was pretty accessible during the 2006 campaign, and that didn’t do him much good once he became governor. Then again, his steamroller approach made him his own worst enemy.
Oct 8th - 10:32 am
GOP/Conservative congressional nominee Randy Altschuler, who won a three-way primary for Row B on Sept. 14, has a new ad that attacks his general election opponent, Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop, for being too close to the woman Republican challengers love to hate: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The 30-second spot, entitled “On Our Side”, was produced by Cold Harbor Films and is scheduled to start airing this weekend. Here’s the script:
Randy Altschuler: I’m Randy Altschuler and I approve this message.”
Announcer: Politician Tim Bishop. (Tape of Bishop speaking): “It’s about letting people know who’s side we’re on.”
Announcer: “Ok. Tim Bishop sides with Nancy Pelosi 9 percent of the time voting to cut $500 Billion from Medicare. Worst of all, Bishop headed home to campaign, failing to extend tax cuts for the middle class … putting Suffolk families at risk for a $2600. a year tax hike.”
“Tim Bishop. Not on our side.”
A recent GOP poll showed Altschuler and Bishop neck and neck, but I haven’t seen any public polling of the race.
Oct 8th - 9:20 am
In the immediate aftermath of former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi’s guilty plea yesterday, his replacement, Tom DiNapoli, tried to separate himself from the AG’s pension fund probe by putting out a statement that slammed Hevesi and focused on the need for reform.
Shortly thereafter, Cuomo’s office issued itself own brief statement that cleared DiNapoli of any wrongdoing in the ongoing investigation. (It appears this might be the closest the comptroller will come to an endorsement by the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, so he’s trying to make the most of it).
DiNapoli’s office quickly sent an e-mail to reporters asking them to disregard his previous press release.
Several hours later, the comptroller finally put out statement No. 2, which, unlike statement No. 1, heaped praise on the AG and his staff for his “true public service in the pursuit of justice” and pledged to do everything possible to help Cuomo with his “diligent investigation” going forward.
DiNapoli’s second statement appears in full after the jump.
Oct 8th - 9:08 am
GOP comptroller candidate Harry Wilson isn’t letting up on his push for his opponent, incumbent Tom DiNapoli, to release his schedule even though AG Andrew Cuomo cleared his fellow Democrat yesterday of wrongdoing in the ongoing pay-to-play pension fund probe.
Even as he pivots to focus more on the contrast between his background and DiNapoli’s, Wilson is still insisting the comptroller has failed to be sufficiently transparent by refusing to fulfill his campaign’s FOIL request for DiNapoli’s calendar.
Wilson maintains that would demonstrate whether the comptroller held any questionable meetings with unlicensed placement agents seeking to do business with the pension fund – the focus of Cuomo’s investigation.
“Last I checked, all you have to do is print your calendar is press ‘print’ in Outlook and I assume that the gentleman who manages 2,600 people and consumes $380 million of taxpayer resources in the comptroller’s office every year has the ability to do that.”
Oct 8th - 8:45 am
Former VP Al Gore helped the Senate Democrats rake in a cool half million at a closed-press fundraiser in Manhattan last night, beefing up the majority conference’s coffers and it heads into the final weeks of a hotly contested battle for control of the chamber.
“Democrats continued to build on our substantial fundraising advantage – taking in $500,000 in one night at our event featuring former Vice President Al Gore,” DSCC spokesman Austin Shafran confirmed.
“With a $1 million cash on hand advantage, and having raised three times what the GOP raised last cycle, momentum is clearly on our side. We will continue to leverage our fundraising advantage and aggressively invest the resources necessary to win in November and expand our majority.”
The Democrats hope to further grow their cash advantage with upcoming events featuring US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and actor Ed Norton.
The annual fall gala took place at the Sheraton Towers and drew a small crowd of deep-pocketed donors. Reporters were not allowed to attend, but Shafran said a number of prominent Democrats were in the room, including: Former state Comptroller H. Carl McCall; Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Jerry Nadler, and Nita Lowey, State Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs, and Assemblyman/Bronx Democratic Party Chairman Carl Heastie.
The party’s standard bearer, AG Andrew Cuomo, was not on hand. But he has recently stepped up his efforts to help the Senate Democrats – and the party at large – transferring $1 million into the party’s coffers to help fund its unified statewide campaign and GOTV effort.
Incumbents in the room Thursday night included: Leader John Sampson, DSCC Chairman Jeff Klein, President Malcolm Smith, Liz Krueger, Neil Breslin, Eric Adams, Suzi Oppenheimer, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Martin Dilan, Craig Johnson, Toby Stavisky, and Kevin Parker.
Candidates on hand: Schenectady County Legislator Susan Savage, Mary Wilmot, Westchester County Legislator Mike Kaplowitz, Clarkstown Clerk David Carlucci, Gustavo Rivera, Assemblyman Mike Gianaris, Saratoga County Supervisor Joanne Yepsen, Francesca Carlow, and former NYC Councilman Tony Avella.
UPDATE: SRCC spokesman Scott Reif e-mailed a comment, which appears in full after the jump.
Oct 8th - 8:17 am
The latest Q poll shows all the statewide Democratic candidates with comfortable leads over their GOP challengers, bucking a national anti-incumbent trend seen to benefit the Republican Party.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has topped the magic 50 percent mark and now leads her challenger, former Rep. Joe DioGuardi, 55-34, compared to 48-42 in a September Q poll.
However, much like his party’s standard-bearer, Carl Paladino, DioGuardi leads among voters who describe themselves as “angry” or dissatisfied”, 59-29.
The ex-congressman’s biggest problem is that 61 percent of voters polled didn’t know enough about him to have an opinion, and the better-funded junior senator is already out with negative ads that seek to define DioGuardi as a big-spending and unscrupulous D.C. lobbyist. Gillibrand’s approval rating is 52-34, while her favorable/unfavorable rating is 49-24.
Sen. Chuck Schumer has a more than 30-point lead over his GOP challenger, Jay Townsend.
Sen. Eric Schneiderman is leading his GOP AG opponent, Staten Island DA Dan Donovan, 43-32, but 24 percent of voters are undecided and 39 percent say they might change their minds before Nov. 2. Neither candidate is terribly well known, with 75 percent saying they don’t know the Manhattan senator enough to have an opinion and 85 percent saying the same for Donovan.
In the comptroller’s race, Democratic incumbent Tom DiNapoli leads his Republican challenger, Harry Wilson, 49-31, with 20 percent undecided and 38 percent willing to switch sides before the general election. A whopping 90 percent said they don’t know who Wilson is, while 65 percent don’t know DiNapoli.