Oct 7th - 9:02 am
A Public Opinion Strategies poll conducted for the NRCC of the NY-23 race found the GOP nominee, Matt Doheny, with a wide lead over Democratic incumbent, Rep. Bill Owens, in a hypothetical head-to-head match-up.
The poll was conducted Sept. 22-23 – long before Doug Hoffman decided to suspend his candidacy on the Conservative line and call on his supporters to support Doheny, who won the Sept. 14 GOP primary.
The poll, which questioned 400 likely voters and has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent, did not include Hoffman, even though his name will remain on the Nov. 2 ballot. It found Doheny leading Owens, 51-37, with the Republican candidate picking up some 68 percent of Hoffman’s voters.
Owens, who has held office since winning a special election last fall against Hoffman and Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, whose name was on the ballot even though she has been forced out of the race due to her moderate views, has a higher name recognition in the district. His favorable/unfavorable rating is 42-23, while Dohney’s is 37-15.
Thirty percent of voters said Owens deserves to be re-elected, while 47 percent said they think it’s time for someone new in the seat that had been held by the GOP for about a century prior to the Democratic newcomer’s election.
“Matt Doheny is well-positioned in this race to become the district’s next Congressman,” POS’ Neil Newhouse wrote in a memo to NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions.
“The district is strongly tilting toward the GOP, Owens has done little to coalesce his support, and Doug Hoffman’s departure from this race and full support for Doheny has boosted Matt into a double-digit lead. The stage is set for Matt to put this seat back in GOP hands.”
UPDATE: The DCCC forwarded the following response:
“When it comes to Upstate New York, it’s tough to take anything from the NRCC seriously. As Upstate New Yorkers learn more about Wall Street’s Matt Doheny and his history of laying off workers while helping executives land millions in bonuses, they’ll quickly realize he’s the wrong choice this November.”
Oct 7th - 8:26 am
Former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi turned himself into law enforcement authorities in Manhattan early this morning and is due to be arraigned at 9:30 a.m., a source familiar with the proceedings confirmed.
After his arraignment, Hevesi is scheduled to be in the courtroom of state Supreme Court Justice Lewis Bart Stone, who has handled all the criminal proceedings to date in AG Andrew Cuomo’s pay-to-play pension fund probe. When Hevesi issues his plea he is expected to also detail his involvement in the scheme before the court.
Last week, the Times reported Hevesi was in negotiations with Cuomo’s office for a plea deal that would require him to plead guilty to a second felony corruption charge and do time in prison.
At the time, Cuomo’s office said the deal was not yet soup, but also did not deny that talks with the former comptroller were in the works.
There has been speculation that Hevesi is willing to deal with Cuomo in hopes of protecting his sons – Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi and former Sen. Dan Hevesi – who have also be touched by the AG’s probe.
As you’ll recall, Hevesi has already pleaded guilty to a felony corruption charges in connection with the so-called Chauffeurgate scandal in which he misused state employees as aides to his ailing wife.
That plea came after the former comptroller won re-election in 2006, defeating his GOP opponent, former Saratoga County Treasurer Chris Callaghan, in spite of the ethical cloud that hung over him at the time and the dis-endorsement of then-AG/gubernatorial candidate, Eliot Spitzer.
AP is now reporting that Hevesi is expected to plead guilty to a felony corruption charge. It goes on to say Hevesi is accused of accepting rewards and gifts for official misconduct.
Oct 7th - 8:14 am
Democrat Mary Wilmot is about to go negative on her GOP target, Sen. Jim Alesi, with an attack ad that brands the veteran lawmaker as tax-and-spend Albany denizen who’s “part of the problem.”
This is notable for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the Republicans have been portraying the Democrats as tax-and-spend, downstate-controlled dysfunction mongers and casting themselves as the only thing standing between upstate and complete fiscal madness.
For the past two years, the Senate Republicans have been more or less voting in a bloc against spending bills, using the “no new spending, taxes or fees” line as an explanation.
Alesi wasn’t initially high on the Democrats’ target list, but they’ve become bullish on Wilmot of late, despite the fact that a Siena poll this week showed her trailing the senator by 20 percentage points.
Here’s the script of the ad, which expected to begin airing this weekend on WHAM, WROC, WHEC, and WUHG; a statement from DSCC spokesman Austin Shafran follows after the jump.
“In the last 18 years, Jim Alesi voted for 537 different tax and fee increases totalling $25 billion. His budget votes (from 1996 to 2008) doubled state spending and yet his campaign commercials say he’ll cut taxes and lower spending.”
“It’s the same Albany double talk that gave Monroe County the highest property taxes in America. Career politician Jim Alesi won’t solve the problem, he is the problem. Let’s send a message and fix Albany.”
Oct 7th - 8:09 am
Carl Paladino will take to the airwaves at 5:13 p.m. this afternoon to say…something…to New Yorkers.
Andrew Cuomo landed the state Business Council’s first formal gubernatorial endorsement in 30 years.
Tea Party funded David Koch and his wife have contributed big bucks to Cuomo’s campaign.
Fred Dicker says Cuomo was “wiping egg off his face” after getting caught on video calling embattled Assemblyman Vito Lopez his “good friend.”
Questions about Lopez’s residency are not new.
Of the $3.8 million Paladino has spent on his campaign as of Sept. 27, nearly $2 million has gone to companies he owns or controls – most to a company he set up to produce his own TV and Internet ads.
“If you believe in dictatorships, vote for him,” Cuomo said of Paladino.
Andrea Peyser thinks Cuomo is a shade of his former self and “pathologically determined not to piss anyone off.”
A 21-minute interview by the WSJ’s Jacobs Gershman of Paladino can be viewed here.
Paladino’s personal wealth and willingness to spread it around – even to the elected officials he denigrates – has made him a powerful political player.
Paladino’s wife, Cathy, is chairing “Democrats for Carl.”
Oct 7th - 7:18 am
A source close to Carl Paladino says the gubernatorial candidate is in “seclusion” preparing for his big three-minute televised speech at 5:13 p.m. this afternoon, during which he will speak directly to voters and try to repair the damage his angry-man approach has wrought since his surprise landslide GOP primary win on Sept. 14.
Paladino’s scheduled has been cleared and he will reportedly be taping his message at 4 p.m. He has purchased time on three stations in his hometown – WKBW (ABC), WIVB (CBS) and WGRZ (NBC) – but the spot will also be downloadable and likely carried by stations elsewhere throughout the state.
As I reported on CapTon last night, there is division in Paladino’s camp over what, exactly, he should say. He will not be dropping out of the race, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.
He has spoken on multiple occasions with Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards, the running mate Paladino inherited from his vanquished primary foe, Rick Lazio.
Edwards, a straight shooter who once proudly told me the state could use a little “bland” in its leadership after the upheaval we’ve seen in recent years, is reportedly sounding out party leaders to see what they think today’s message should be.
The candidate himself (not surprisingly) favors a forceful and defiant approach, while others – including GOP consultant Roger Stone, who has been quite vocal in his opposition to the Buffalo businessman’s personal attacks on his Democratic opponent, Andrew Cuomo – think it’s time to tone things down and re-focus on issues.
To be fair, Paladino has been trying to do just that, but he can’t seem to stop stepping on his message with angry outbursts, including the one following his Crain’s breakfast speech during which he called Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver a “criminal.”
I reported in my DN column Monday that there is mounting pressure from GOP leaders for Paladino to apologize for accusing Cuomo of stepping out on Kerry Kennedy when the two were married.
Now added to the mix is a call for the candidate to apologize to Silver, whom Paladino has made quite clear on numerous occasions that he really just can’t stand.
He has said the speaker belongs in Attica, suggested it was wrong for Erie County Executive Chris Collins to apologize for comparing the Orthodox Jewish Democrat to an anti-Christ and Hitler and stood by, smiling and nodding, while an ultra-Orthodox rabbi called Silver a “baby-killer.”
Even if Paladino does apologize, it’s unclear whether he would be able to reverse the slide he’s seeing in recent polls. Less than a month remains until the Nov. 2 election, and unless he really straightens out his act and spends a lot of money to convince New Yorkers he has done so, he really has no shot at victory.
Maggie Haberman has noted that Paladino isn’t really on the airwaves while Cuomo has been blanketing them since the primary. Also, she recalled the 2002 election when another of Stone’s candidates for governor, Independence Party founder Tom Golisano, who is Paladino advisor, reserved airtime very close to Election Day.
There was rampant speculation that Golisano might drop out of the race, improving the chances of victory for Democratic nominee, H. Carl McCall, over the incumbent Republican Gov. George Pataki. In the end, however, Golisano did not depart.
Oct 7th - 6:59 am
Today’s Q poll finds Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo has widened his lead against his GOP opponent, Carl Paladino, even though many New Yorkers identify with the Buffalo businessman’s mad-as-hell sentiments.
Cuomo is now ahead among likely voters 55-37, compared to 49-43 in a Sept. 22 Q poll conducted one week after Paladino’s surprise landslide win in the GOP primary. Cuomo has gained ground with independent voters, reversing Paladino’s 49-43 lead with this key bloc to creep ahead by five percentage points (47-42).
Forty-five percent of likely voters say they are angry and 42 percent say they are dissatisfied. Paladino’s candidacy has come to be synonymous with anger, and, according to the Q poll, he’s the choice of really pissed off people, leading Cuomo, 50-41, among that subset.
However, Cuomo isn’t far behind. He’s been trying to tap into his own inner angry man, but also portray himself as mature enough to channel that emotion into accomplishment in Albany, reminding voters in a new TV ad that anger is “not a governing strategy.”
“Lots of New Yorkers are fed up with state government,” said Q pollster Mickey Carroll. “Those who say they are angry go for Carl Paladino – but not by all that much.
“Attorney General Andrew Cuomo gets the votes of 41 percent of the angry people. Since Quinnipiac University’s last poll two weeks ago, it’s been a looney-tunes time for Paladino in the news media – one time in a face-to-face fight with a reporter – and it shows.”
“Cuomo moves into a double-digit lead,” Carroll added. “After the dust settled from Paladino’s big primary win, the big switch was in the independent vote – a small edge for Paladino two weeks ago turns into a small edge for Cuomo this time.”
Paladino’s unfavorables outweigh his favorables, 49-33, with just 15 percent saying they don’t know enough anout him to have an opinion. That’s another big drop from the Sept. 22 poll, in which the numbers were on the positive side – 36-31 – with 31 percent saying they hadn’t heard enough yet to say one way or the other.
Voters have a favorable opinion of Cuomo, 53-34, and believe he has the right personality to be governor, 67-24.
“Paladino’s ‘angry man’ style gets a lot of attention, but he comes up negative on the personality test,” Carroll concluded.
“Less than a third of New Yorkers think he’s right for the governor’s job. Two- thirds say Cuomo is ‘Mr. Personality.”
Oct 6th - 7:22 pm
NARAL Pro-Choice NY has ended its stalemate with the Senate Democrats and announced its endorsement of 24 incumbent senators after receiving an assurance from Leader John Sampson that he will bring the Reproductive Health Act to the floor for a vote next year – assuming he maintains the majority.
NARAL’s Kelli Conlin broke the news during a CapTon interview and admitted her organization is taking a gamble by agreeing to help the Democrats in their quest to retain control of the chamber.
She also jokingly admitted NARAL’s luck hasn’t been so great on this particular bill (it was slated to come up for a vote the day after the infamous Senate coup and subsequent 31-day stalemate of 2009).
There are a few senators missing from the list – Sen. Brian Foley, who is facing a stiff challenge from Republican Lee Zeldin, for example. But Conlin said NARAL endorsed him in 2008 and likely will again, but hasn’t yet received his completed questionnaire.
The group declined to endorse challengers facing two GOP senators – Roy MacDonald and John Bonacic – because those Republicans have been “good on choice,” she said.
Oct 6th - 6:40 pm
Gov. David Paterson is not taking kindly to Carl Paladino’s suggestion that he influenced the governor’s tough approach during the budget battle earlier this year, issuing the following statement from his spokesman, Morgan Hook, in response to the Buffalo businessman’s claim earlier today that he’s “weak”:
“Carl Paladino hides his lack of knowledge behind personal attacks. Governor Paterson has spent his entire time in office doing everything in his power to protect the fiscal integrity of New York State.”
“It is astonishing that Mr. Paladino pretends he had some influence on the historic action taken by Governor Paterson earlier this year. Of course, this is not the first time Mr. Paladino has inserted himself into historic events in which the players don’t recall his participation.”
“Perhaps he will next suggest that he – and not Captain Sullenberger – landed the plane in the ‘Miracle on the Hudson,’ or he will appear in the sequel to the movie ‘Zelig’.”
Oct 6th - 6:10 pm
Hillary Clinton insists she has “absolutely no interest and no reason for doing anything other than just dismissing these stories” about her replacing Joe Biden on the 2012 ticket.
It’s not hard to see why Democrats would find the idea of an Obama-Clinton ticket appealing.
A Carl Paladino puppet makes a cameo in this Tea Party spoof video.
NT2 thinks Paladino missed his moment.
Haley Barbour and Newt Gingrich have endorsed Michael Faulkner against Rep. Charlie Rangel.
Howard Wolfson made some trouble for himself on the homefront by saying “Democrats are in big trouble” this fall.
LGBT elected officials endorsed state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
The Paterson administration upped the ante with the Senecas.
State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs disagrees with friends in the labor movement, but isn’t ready to write them off just yet.
Azi Paybarah measures voter enthusiasm via lawn signs.
Rep. Peter King said Paladino is “scaring off people” and has 10 days to turn his campaign around.
The state’s fiscal woes have taken a toll on the Adirondack Park.
The governor suggested a fix for the AIDS rent cap bill he vetoed.
NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn assures young people who are gay that “things do get better.”
The Lake George Mirror endorsed Rep. Scott Murphy.
The investment performance of the NYS pension fund lagged behind that of other retirement plans with more than $5 billion in assets over the past five years, Bloomberg News reports.
Former Gov. George Pataki endorsed Randy Altschuler in NY-1. (No link).
OGS settled with Dell for $3.9 million. (And farewell to OGS Commissioner John Egan, who, after 50 years of service worked right up to the last bell today).
Oct 6th - 5:36 pm
Republicans are sounding off on Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney’s decision to cross party lines and endorse Democrat Andrew Cuomo for governor, with some particularly harsh criticism coming from the new local chairman, Tom Dadey.
“Joanie’s decision today is likely to sadden many Republicans who have supported her in her own electoral pursuits and may even feel that she has let them down,” Dadey said.
“As county executive she may believe she is doing what is in the best interest of the Onondaga County residents. Republicans across the state should look at this endorsement for what it is: A distraction.”
Mahoney has broken ranks with the party in the past, but not this drastically. In 2007, GOP leaders endorsed Dale Sweetland for county executive, and she successfully forced a primary, going on to win the general election and become the first woman to hold her post.