OFA Joins The NY Gov’s Race Fray

Organizing for America, the DNC arm that grew out of President Obama’s 2008 grassroots operation, is helping Democratic gubernatorial hopeful, Andrew Cuomo, by asking supporters to call New Yorkers and urge them not to vote for his GOP/Conservative opponent, Carl Paladino, “whose positions appear to be growing more extreme by the day.”

“In three weeks, New Yorkers will determine what direction this state will take. And their choice couldn’t be more stark,” OFA NYS Director Melissa DeRosa wrote.

“In the gubernatorial race, they’ll choose between Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who has served as a strong voice for New Yorkers and consistently taken on corruption in both government and the private sector, and Carl Paladino, a radical Republican candidate who is out of touch with New Yorkers – and whose positions appear to be growing more extreme by the day.”

“He has called for New York State police to enforce immigration laws ‘like they do in Arizona,’ has said that passage of health insurance reform would kill more Americans than were lost on September 11th, and has promised to transform New York state prisons into dormitory-style residences for welfare recipients where they could learn ‘personal hygiene.’”

And most recently, he said that he doesn’t want children to be ‘brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option,’ because, he says, ‘it isn’t.’”

The e-mail includes a link to an on-line tool that lets users make calls from their computer.

The Obama administration, as you’ll recall, has long been supportive of Cuomo, even going so far as to urge Gov. David Paterson last to drop out of the race and avoid acting as a spoiler that might possible allow the governor’s office to fall into GOP hands. (The concern at the time was ostensibly over Rudy Giuliani’s possible run, but that turned out to be unfounded, and Paterson ended up doing himself in – politically speaking – anyway).

When Obama came to the Capital Region soon after the story of his top aides efforts to get Paterson out of the way had leaked, his 10,000 megawatt smile and warm words for Cuomo did not go unnoticed.

Siena: Hall And Hayworth Nearly Tied In NY-19

Poll No. 2 from Siena confirms Democratic fears that Rep. John Hall is in trouble in NY-19, where he’s trailing his Republican challenger, Nan Hayworth, by three percentage points among likely voters – 46-43 – putting this race into a statistical dead heat.

The margin of error for the poll of 601 likely voters is +/- 4 percentage points. Both candidates are leading among voters of their respective parties, but Hayworth has a seven-point edge with independents – a key swing segment of the electorate.

Interestingly, she’s leading with men by 16 points, while he’s up 12 with women.

While voters are nearly evenly divided between the two candidates on most issues, Hayworth is viewed as stronger on taxes and the federal budget deficit in a district that favors repealing health care and retaining the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

When initially asked whether they are inclined to re-elect Hall, 40 percent said yes, but 48 percent – including 21 percent of Democrats and 50 percent of independents – said they would “prefer someone else,” according to Siena pollster Steve Greenberg.

As for the impact of the gubernatorial race, Democratic standard-nearer Andrew Cuomo is leading his GOP/Conservative challenger, Carl Paladino, 48-49. Unlike Hall, Cuomo is ahead with independents.

CD19 Oct10 Crosstabs

Duffy: Paladino An Offense Machine

Here’s Andrew Cuomo’s LG running mate, Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy, teeing off on GOP/Conservative gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino last night, basically saying that his apology for last weekend’s anti-gay remarks won’t hold water.

“I have listened to Mr. Paladino,” Duffy said. “I have listened to the comments. I don’t know if it’s possible to offend more people than have been offended in the last few weeks.”

“…We’re in the midst of a series of assaults in New York City and some of the discrimination issues that we see in the media, and then we have commentary come forth that I just find impossible to believe that somebody in this day and age could say those things.”

“…Apologies? I’m not sure. I didn’t hear the apology. Whatever’s said, people will take whatever is said, I’m sure, with a grain of salt. It just seems like every day there’s some new comment made that just ends up causing me and most New Yorkers just to shake their heads.”

Duffy also took issue with Paladino’s characterization of gay pride parades as “disgusting,” saying he is “proud” to have marched in them with his wife.

“I could pick any parade we have and I’ll bet somewhere along the line there’s something that happens that people disagree with,” the mayor said.

“It may be, you know, people intoxicated on the side or people that may say or do thing inappropriately. The bottom line is that as leaders part of our job is to show people that you support them…It doesn’t mean you agree with every single thing that happens.”

Siena: Bishop Up 12 Over Altschuler In NY-1

The first of three congressional polls being released by Siena this morning finds an incumbent Democratic considered one of the GOP’s top targets this fall, Long Island Rep. Tim Bishop, with a solid double-digit lead over his GOP/Conservative challenger, Randy Altschuler.

Bishop is up 12 points – 51-39 – among likely voters. He’s also ahead by a margin of between five and 20 points on all key issues – the closest Altschuler comes is on the question of the federal deficit.

Otherwise, NY-1 voters viewed their incumbent representative as better on everything from jobs and health care to education and the war in Afghanistan.

Altschuler, a wealthy businessman who is largely self-funding his first-ever campaign, remains unknown to 23 percent of voters polled, but his unfavorables outweigh his favorables, 44-33. Bishop’s favorable/unfavorable rating is 50-41, with 9 percent saying they don’t know enough about him to have an opinion.

The Carl Paladino factor is hurting, not helping, Altschuler.

More >

Paladino Parses His Apology

In an exclusive one-on-one with CapTon’s Mike Whittemore at the Desmond last night, GOP/Conservative gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino said he’s sorry for his “choice of words” in the anti-gay speech he delivered last Sunday, but continues to stand by the sentiment behind them.

Whittemore noted that Paladino’s apology yesterday afternoon came after he had appeared on national TV shows and insisted he had no regrets about telling ultra-Orthodox rabbis in Brooklyn that children shouldn’t be “brainwashed” into thinking homosexuality is a “valid” lifestyle option.

“‘Im not saying saying that I would change the comments, OK? My comments were well-directed,” Paladino said. “I don’t think we should be teaching kids about it in school. Ok? Underage kids. I just don’t think so.”

“Adults? They’re adults and they can witness or see or experience anything they want. When it comes to issues of morality, it should be the parent teaching the children issues on morality.”

“The other question was, I believe, on the issue of brainwashing for education, OK. That was an inappropriate word. I don’t think children should learn.”

“I didn’t have to say ‘brainwashing,’ OK? It was too strong of a word. That was inappropriate. So yes, at the time I said that I stand strong on my comments, but my choice of wording, that’s what I’m apologizing for right now. My wording should have been better.”

Paladino also blamed the Cuomo campaign for the release of the unedited speech written for him by Rabbi Yehuda Levin, which he did not deliver in its entirety. That’s odd, because I was under the impressed the speech was handed out to reporters at the scene.

NOTE: As for the rather…unusual way this video starts. Well, I had nothing to do with that.

Another Undecided Republican

Republican leaders are continuing to struggle with how to respond to their explosive standard-bearer in the wake of his anti-gay remarks last Sunday, for which he has since “sincerely apologized.”

The choice is particularly difficult for moderates like Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward, an upstater who is perhaps best known for joining three GOP colleagues to vote “yes” on the same-sex marriage bill the first time it passed in the lower house in 2007 in a vote of 85-61.

Sayward, an observant Catholic, gave an emotional speech on the Assembly floor that day, describing how she had come to terms with the fact that her son, Glenn, is gay.

The assemblywoman has been a favorite with the Log Cabin Republicans ever since, and she was in Manhattan to attend the organization’s fundraiser last night, along with Paladino’s running mate, Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards.

Sayward told the Glens Falls Post-Star she might not vote for Paladino – and even might see her way clear to cross party lines and support Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Andrew Cuomo – because of his comments in Brooklyn, saying:

“I could not tell you today how my vote will come down…I really don’t know what I would do if the vote were held today. I just don’t.”

“But I think there is sufficient time out there for me to listen more. Certainly I hope Mr. Paladino comes out with some kind of platform that I can at least understand what he truly stands for. And the decision will be made at the appropriate time.”

Here And Now

Carl Paladino’s gay nephew, Jeff Hannon, said he’s “very offended” by his uncle’s anti-gay comments and hasn’t shown up at the Buffalo businessman’s campaign HQ since Sunday.

“I don’t want my face to be all over the newspaper over this,” Hannon told the DN.

Paladino’s campaign manager Michael Caputo took responsibility for failing to catch the most offensive parts of the speech prepared for his candidate by ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Yehuda Levin.

Levin will hold a press conference this morning to react to Paladino’s apology. (No link).

No sooner had Paladino apologized for one controversy, Caputo sparked another by calling Andrew Cuomo “a very experienced, very polished, very smooth, very oily kind of career politician.”

“Today, he’s back on message and hopefully he stays on that message,” said Michael R. Long, the state Conservative Party chairman. “He is an unconventional candidate, there’s no question about that, and he’s never been involved in politics before.”

The Karlsburger Rav who skipped a meeting with Paladino last weekend was “deeply distressed” by the candidate’s anti-gay comments, according to his son. Other Orthodox leaders are speaking out, too.

Paladino was dogged by gay protestors on the campaign trail. More here and here.

The Buffalo businessman made money for years off space he rented to gay clubs in his hometown.

Ann Coulter stuck up for Paladino on FOX News.

State Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs didn’t accept what he deemed Paladino’s non-apology.

More >


“I definitely stepped on my message in the last two weeks, twice,” Carl Paladino admitted.

NYT readers are very angry with Paladino.

Democratic Rep. Bill Owens is touting his voting loyalty to…House Minority Leader John Boehner?!

Paladino is meeting with former Westchester County DA/2006 AG contender Jeanine Pirro to prepare for Monday’s seven-way debate.

Here’s Vanity Fair’s take on the NY governor’s race.

Mayor Bloomberg will campaign for nonpartisan redistricing reform in Florida.

Maggie Haberman wonders: Whither the debate between Sen. Chuck Schumer and Jay Townsend?

A federal judge issued a worldwide injunction on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

“Jewish money” is back in NY-13.

Rep. Paul Tonko is going the positive route.

Rep. Tim Bishop has a donor problem.

Democratic Assembly leaders are also (and again) urging candidates to denounce Paladino and call on their GOP opponents to do the same.

Bloomberg vs. Gillibrand on the food stamp soda ban.

Jews in the Catskills have turned against Rep. Maurice Hinchey.

Action on the property tax cap is unlikely to come this year.

The Orthodox Union clarifies: It did not endorse Sen. Eric Schneiderman for AG.

“Parker Spitzer” is helping to give CNN its worst average primetime ratings in 10 years.

Azi Paybarah wrote recently about the lawn sign barometer; here’s a cluster I spotted en route to the gym this morning. (Look at that “Cuomo/Duffy” right smack in the middle).


Carl’s Change Of Heart?

Apparently, Carl Paladino had an epiphany on the issue of civil unions sometime between Oct. 5 and today.

At the 9:30-minute mark in the video that appears below, in which the GOP/Conservative gubernatorial nominee is addressing Orthodox Jewish supporters, (I don’t believe the same group he spoke with this past weekend) he says the following:

“Until tonight, I didn’t really distinguish and comprehend the term ‘civil union’, but now I do. I fit that right in with the term of ‘gay marriage.’”

“…I don’t have one iota of respect for that, personally, and if the Legislature should pass a bill calling for gay marriage or civil unions I will veto it.”

Contrast that with the following statement in Paladino’s mea culpa from this afternoon:

“I am in support of civil agreements and equal rights for all citizens.”

“My position on marriage is based on my personal views. I have the same position on this issue as President Barrack (sic) Obama. I have previously stated I would support a referendum by New York voters. I have proposed Initiative and Referendum so New Yorkers can decide important issues like this.”

Three Lines For Gallivan In 59th SD

Former Erie County GOP Chairman Jim Domagalski’s name will appear on the ballot this fall, but far from the 59th SD he had once hoped to represent.

Instead, Domagalski will be running for a state Supreme Court judgeship in Kings County on the Conservative line, thus providing him with a vehicle to get off the ballot in the race for retiring Sen. Dale Volker’s seat and improving the GOP’s chances of holding the district.

The Conservative and Independence Party lines, which once belonged to Domagalski, have now gone to former Erie County Sheriff Patrick Gallivan, who defeated Domagalski in the Sept. 14 GOP primary.

Former East Aurora Mayor David DiPietro, who also lost on Sept. 14, remains in the general election on the Tea Party line. Cynthia Appleton, aa nurse from Wyoming County, is on the Democratic and Working Families lines.

Domagalski said he agreed to drop out of the race and be nominated fro a judgeship to avoid becoming a spoiler on Nov. 2, telling the Democrat and Chronicle: “In my view there was only one result that was going to happen there and the Democrat was going to win.”

However, he has declined to either endorse Gallivan or DiPietro or help them with fundraising.