Jun 2nd - 7:55 am
A succinct summation of yesterday at the GOP convention: “It was a solid showing for Harry and Gary.”
Gary Berntsen’s designation at the convention to take on Sen. Chuck Schumer was a win for the Tea Party (even though he faces a primary from Jay Townsend).
Berntsen called Schumer and President Obama “great appeasers.”
The “great unsettlement” at the GOP convention (as per John Faso) could help Rick Lazio today.
It’s do-or-die day for Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy.
Levy gets some support in a local battle from the Times.
State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long called state GOP Chairman Ed Cox’s float of a new third party “mind-boggling” and “irrational.”
VP Joe Biden is in NYC today. He’ll meet with Rep. Nita Lowey and then attend an event at the Brooklyn Bridge to tout the Recovery Act. (No link).
Biden helped Rep. John Hall (NY-19) raise campaign cash in Bedford yesterday.
Al and Tipper Gore announced the end of their 40-year marriage via email.
Jun 2nd - 6:58 am
This promises to be the most interesting – and, potentially, the most heated – day of the GOP convention. On the agenda this morning: The vote on the gubernatorial candidates.
According to the rules approved yesterday, and despite efforts by some candidates to change this order, the nomination vote will be held first, followed by the Wilson Pakula question.
Three of the contenders are enrolled members of the GOP: Rick Lazio, Carl Paladino and M. Myers Mermel. They need just 25 percent of the weighted vote to get onto the ballot. Steve Levy’s switch from Democrat to Republican doesn’t become official until after the fall elections, so he needs 25 percent on the first vote and 50 percent plus one on the second to achieve ballot status.
It still remains unclear (to me, anyway) if Levy has sufficient support to make the grade. He was insisting yesterday that he did. Lazio’s people were insisting that he didn’t. One thing is certain: There will be a furious vote-whipping operation by all sides on the floor today.
If Levy fails to get onto the ballot, state GOP Chairman Ed Cox’s hold on his leadership post will likely be further imperiled.
Jun 1st - 7:00 pm
Tipper and Al are getting separated.
Azi Paybarah has a new job.
Harry Wilson channeled Ronald Reagan.
Here’s VJ Machiavelli surfing State of Politics at the GOP convention.
State GOP Chairman Ed Cox was evasive on the whole independent party question.
Carl Paladino had a moment (a long moment) with Celeste Katz.
Add Paladino to the list of Republicans who want Cox gone.
Michael Harris catches NYC Councilman Dan Halloran misusing his official license plates outside the GOP convention.
There’s a leaders meeting – the third in so many weeks – tomorrow at 11 a.m. in the Red Room. (No link).
Veteran consultant David Garth enjoys a moment in the spotlight after so many years behind the scenes in NY politics.
The Kaye report on the WFP offered “neither a condemnation nor exoneration” of the party’s past, writes Eliot Brown.
Citing the concerns of the Bloomberg administration, former Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau bowed out of an oversight role of the FDNY.
Conservative gubernatorial contender Ralph Lorigo insists he’s not a placeholder.
A federal investigation has been opened into the BP oil spill.
Dan Collins finds AG Andrew Cuomo’s “new New York” agenda light on details.
State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long endorsed Michael Grimm in NY-13.
Jun 1st - 6:19 pm
GOP state comptroller nominee Harry Wilson is taking a media victory lap, sitting for back-to-back interviews with myself for “Capital Tonight” this evening and then with NY1′s Roma Torre.
Wilson had a very good day – perhaps the best any candidate will have here at the GOP convention. He was unanimously placed on the ballot via voice vote, since he has no opposition, freeing him up to focus solely on his Democratic target: State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
Wilson wasted no time in going for DiNapoli’s jugular, referring to him as the “unelected comptroller” (he was elevated to his post in 2007 by his former Assembly colleagues following former Comptroller Alan Hevesi’s guilty plea to a felony and subsequent resignation).
Wilson later referred to DiNapoli as “the wholly-owned candidate of State Street, not Main Street,” and said: “The Legislature wanted a lapdog, not a watchdog, and boy did they get one.”
Perhaps the harshest passage of his speech:
Jun 1st - 6:10 pm
Former CIA officer Gary Berntsen, who was a late add to the race against US Sen. Chuck Schumer, just forced a GOP primary against the Conservative nominee, consultant Jay Townsend, setting up the first intra-party – and inter-party – battle of the GOP convention.
Berntsen received 43.16 percent of the weighted vote to Townsend’s 37.58. *Note: Jimmy Vielkind at CapConf has additional numbers: Jim Staudenraus .83 percent; George Maragos 17.96 percent.
Since neither of them received 50 percent of the vote, the party has now moved on to a second round of balloting. If either of them hits that mark now, he will become the official designee (which offers little more than bragging rights).
This second ballot also offers another opportunity for a third candidate, most likely Maragos, the Nassau County comptroller, to get 25 percent and get onto the ballot. But so far, I’m not hearing much in the way of support for him.
In fact, Nassau County GOP Chairman Joe Mondello, who nominated Maragos and controls the largest share of the weighted convention vote, just threw his support to Berntsen.
Berntsen brought along his own cheering section, mostly made up of Tea Partiers from Long Island, from what I could tell. They stood on the steps outside the Sheraton earlier today and cheered for him.
Berntsen started out in the crowded GOP race in NY-1 to take on Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop – that field also includes state GOP Chairman Ed Cox’s son, Chris – but changed his mind to focus on Schumer after Townsend was already in the race, leading some to wonder whether Ed Cox had a hand in that.
Jun 1st - 4:57 pm
Here’s another one of those “everything old is new again” pieces of political ephemera: The MalPass – a credential that provides entrances to US Senate candidate hopeful David Malpass’ hospitality receptions tonight and tomorrow at the GOP convention.
(Malpass, in case you’re having trouble keeping track, is one of three Republicans fighting for the right to take on Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, along with former Rep. Joe DioGuardi and former Long Island Legislator Bruce Blakeman).
As some of you old timers might recall, former Gov. George Pataki favored something similar – the Pataki Pass – for entrance to his events at both state and national conventions.
It stands to reason that Malpass would adopt a page from Pataki’s playbook, since Capitol Public Strategies, a consulting firm based in Albany and founded by a number of former Pataki aides, is working on Malpass’ campaign.
Jun 1st - 3:43 pm
Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa, who is so far the most prominent county leader to flip his support from Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy to the newest gubernatorial contender, M. Myers Mermel, told me the former LG candidate’s business acumen is what sold him.
Ragusa compared Mermel, a Manhattan real estate executive, to another wealthy onetime Republican who parlayed his private sector success into a political career.
“With all the dysfunction we have today, somebody like Myers can come in with a businesslike approach – just like Mayor Bloomberg did,” Ragusa said.
It’s interesting to hear Ragusa touting Bloomberg as a model, since the chairman was initially reluctant to give the mayor permission to run on Row B a third time last year. (He, along with his fellow GOP chairs, eventually relented – and were handsomely rewarded for it).
Jun 1st - 3:32 pm
Capital Region attorney and Libertarian candidate for governor, Warren Redlich, is trying to organize a coalition among some of his long-shot colleagues vying for statewide office this year.
So far, Redlich has joined forces with Martin Chicon, a US Senate candidate trying to run against Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Redlich says he’s willing to spend $5,000 on the petition process in hopes of getting on the ballot for the mid-september primary.
Redlich says if he can get others to sign on to his cause and match his investment, the pooled resources among the camps will make it much easier to collect the 15 thousand signatures needed to get on the ballot.
“It’s very clear that the (Republican) Party is weak,” said Redlich.
“Primaries decided by the people will make the party stronger, not by insiders deciding who’s on the ballot.”
Capital Tonight’s Kaitlyn Ross will have more on this story coming up at 8 p.m.
Jun 1st - 3:11 pm
Former US Attorney Michael Garcia provided plenty of red meat in his remarks at the GOP convention this afternoon, sounding a lot like a candidate for…well, something…although what – and when – is not exactly clear.
Garcia said this election cycle is coming down to two “essential points” – “good government and fiscal responsibility” – and insisted that the two are intimately related, and, in fact, “thrive off one another.”
“When spending is out of control, it covers up embezzlement ad theft and hides what is really happening with taxpayer dollars,” said Garcia.
Garcia suggested that corruption at a time of fiscal crisis is a “betrayal,” adding:
“Sadly corruption is a New York story. We used to be able to take some comfort in the fact that other states were worse off and more notorious. By comparison, at least we looked pretty good. No more.”
Jun 1st - 2:56 pm
In an exclusive interview with NY1′s Josh Robin today, former Gov. Mario Cuomo insisted his son, AG Andrew Cuomo, will have to fight his way into the office his father once held.
The ex-governor, once a national liberal icon who was considered a potential presidential contender, was denied a fourth term 1994 by then-GOP Sen. George Pataki.
Today, he warned against Democrats being too complacent, in spite of Andrew Cuomo’s double-digit leads i the polls.
“No, no, no, no, no. Nobody cruises. nobody cruises,” Mario Cuomo said. “Ed Koch was gonna cruise, and I was 38 points behind. Hugh Carey couldn’t possibly win in 75 against Howard Samuels. Nobody cruises.”
“The biggest factor in politics is probably the biggest factor in life, and that is coincidence – you’re in the right place at the right time. You didn’t plan to be there, you didn’t set it all up. And that’s what happens in politics.”
Mario Cuomo, who doesn’t often grant extended interviews, seemed a bit at odds with his son’s contention that unnamed “activists” will seek to divide the state, saying the national and local landscapes are different.
Catch the full interview on “Inside City Hall” at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. “Capital Tonight” will be airing some excerpts, too, at 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.