Oct 29th - 12:14 pm
Mayor Bloomberg this morning floated a proposal that seems tailor-made to assit his current state comptroller candidate of choice, Republican Harry Wilson, saying there should be a legal requirement that New York’s top auditor and its governor have different party affiliations.
“What we really need is more independence,” Bloomberg told WOR’s John Gambling during the duo’s weekly radio show this morning.
“And all this stuff about independent candidates notwithstanding, it’s – nothing is – when people who are being judged shouldn’t be running the contest.”
“…Eleven out of the last 13 New York state comptrollers were from a party different than the governor. There should be a state law requiring you to be a different party because the comptroller is the watchdog for the governor’s Office. And you know, it would be good for the City as well.”
Oct 29th - 11:37 am
Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Warren Redlich is the target of one of the most extreme smear campaigns I’ve seen in 15 years of political reporting via a mailer that falsely labels him a “sexual predator.”
A number of readers have forwarded the mailer, which not only includes a large headshot of the Republican Guilderland Town Board member and reveals Redlich’s home address, but also urges recipients to “call the police” if they see him near a “public school,” “in your neighborhood” or “near your family.”
Apparently, that claim all grew out of a blog post Redlich wrote about Miley Cyrus and her risque photo spread, in which he said:
“Another take is the notion that men who find teenage girls attractive are perverts. If you look at literature like Shakespeare, and at some historical figures like Sir William Johnson (a prominent pre-revolutionary leader in New York), you get the impression that it used to be normal for men, even much older men, to be interested in teenage girls.”
A YNN employee received the mailer and was outraged by it, saying she believed it was a real sex offender alert and had been initially concerned about her kids.
Oct 29th - 9:38 am
Republican state Senate candidate Bob Cohen is gaining steam in the final days of the campaign, thanks to several high-profile endorsements of his bid to oust Democratic Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer in the 37th SD.
Cohen landed the support of Mayor Bloomberg earlier this week, and this morning was the lone Republican to receive a nod from the New York Times. The Gray Lady weighed in on four Senate races, saying it had found a “few good Albany candidates” worth supporting.
“A real estate executive and political newcomer, Mr. Cohen has promised to focus on straightening out the mess of a state budget,” opined the Times, which liked the fact that the candidate was willing to name US Sen. Jacobs Javits – “a voice of thoughtful moderation” – as his hero.
“He wants to cap state spending with adjustments for inflation, set long-term targets for Medicaid and schools, and eliminate ‘all V.I.P. tax credits to politically connected insiders.’ Mr. Cohen says he wants to work with both sides of the aisle, a revolutionary idea, especially in this polarized year. Senator Oppenheimer is a person of integrity, but she has too little to show for her years in Albany.”
Siena hasn’t polled this race, and until this week, Democrats had been telling me they felt Oppenheimer was fairly safe. The 26-year veteran lawmaker survived a tough challenge in 2008 from former Larchmont Mayor Liz Feld, and was believed to be well-positioned to defend her seat again this time around.
But the Democrats were nervous enough about Oppenheimer’s chances to spent $460,901 on her behalf – more than any other incumbent or challenger, according to the 11-day pre-general election filing. And Oppenheimer was nervous enough to pump $26,000 of her own money into her campaign on Oct. 27, the 24-hour notice list shows.
This campaign has already become rather dirty, with Oppenheimer launching an attack ad accusing Cohen of being a “slumlord.” The spot was later deemed unfair by the Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee.
Between these endorsements (Cohen also has been backed by former Gov. George Pataki) and the AEG mess, the momentum seems to be on Cohen’s side at the moment. But it won’t be clear until Tuesday night whether it was enough to put him over the edge.
Oct 29th - 9:16 am
How confident is Republican Tom Reed of a victory next Tuesday in his bid for the NY-29 seat vacated by disgraced former Democratic Rep. Eric Massa?
So confident that he’s giving away his campaign cash in the final days of the campaign at a time when most candidates are making desperate last-minute appeals.
Maggie Haberman reports this morning that the former Corning mayor gave $50,000 to the NRCC – a move a source called “selfless” and proof that Reed is a “team player.”
But Reed’s generosity didn’t stop there. He also gave $25,000 on Oct. 26 to the Senate GOP, according to the 24-hour notice list on the state Board of Elections Website. That’s a smart investment, since it would very much behoove Reed – the odds-on favorite to defeat Democratic nominee Matt Zeller next Tuesday – to have the Senate in GOP hands when the next round of redistricting takes place.
New York stands to lose two House seats when the lines are redrawn, and there has been a lot of speculation about which districts will be on the chopping block when the Legislature sits down to carve up the districts.
Three of the four legislative leaders have signed former NYC Mayor Ed Koch’s pledge to reform the redistricting process by handing over control to a nonpartisan commission. (The lone holdout, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, appears to be coming around on the issue – at least that’s what Koch told me earlier this week).
Koch insists he’ll be holding lawmakers to their pledges, running around the state shouting “liar, liar pants on fire” if they don’t. But even Assemblyman Mike Gianaris, who is sponsoring the nonpartisan redistricting commission bill, admits there’s some wiggle room there and concedes it might be impossible to completely remove politics from the process.
Oct 29th - 8:57 am
Former LG/gubernatorial hopeful M. Myers Mermel has launched a new 527 that aims to raise money for Republican candidates and has already netted more than $46,000 through a new Website, StandUpRed.com.
The site, which also includes a blog (basically an aggregator of pro-GOP news stories) and profiles of Republican candidates, is intended to be an alternative to the Democratic fundraising site ActBlue.com, Mermel said in a press release this morning.
“StandUpRed’s mission is to create opportunities for individuals to quickly identify New York State Republican candidates they wish to support and provide these donors with fundraising technology which is easy and efficient and allows them to recruit others with similar interests,” the release states.
“StandUpRed assists candidates by providing online fundraising technologies to the Republican candidates on the site, without any cost to them for the site development, maintenance, or donations. Also, the Website will not charge candidates for detailed listings of the candidates including biography, link to the candidate’s website, and contribution and fundraising portholes.”
Mermel raised eyebrows when he abruptly dropped his LG bid to join the gubernatorial fray shortly before the GOP convention. He failed to get onto the ballot, and threw his support behind former GOP nominee Rick Lazio, despite the fact that he had voted in favor of a primary between the ex-congressman and Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy.
Since then, Mermel has tried to help the party’s standard-bearer, Carl Paladino, organizing the Buffalo businessman’s first Manhattan fundraiser and contributing $21,000 to his campaign.
Oct 29th - 8:41 am
Carl Paladino’s campaign HQ in suburban Rochester was defaced by vandals who smeared custard on the windows and wrote the words “homophobe” and “racist” in the sticky mess.
Captain Robert Clien with the Brighton Police Department confirmed the incident with YNN’s Casey Bortnick, saying it had occurred early Wednesday morning. In addition, according to Clien, several phone calls that were “threatening in nature” were made to the Paladino campaign office.
“There was some campaign workers, or a campaign worker, who was there until about 2:00 a.m. and they expressed to us that they have received a number of phone calls potentially from the same person,” Clien said.
“But that hasn’t been determined yet, whether it was all from the same person or if there could have been other people involved as well. I can not confirm whether or not a specific death threat was made to him. Just threatening in general.”
Clien called the custard incident “very unusual,” and said the department usually doesn’t seen any election season incidents beyond some run-of-the-mill sign stealing.
“Obviously because of the nature of the campaign, maybe, this one is a lot more high profile than others in the past and that may have caused some tensions in the community, on both sides of the fence,” the captain said. “So, this is very unusual. ”
“I think anytime there’s a threat made and there’s potential damage to someone’s property, whether there a politician or just a member of the business community or just a resident, we have to take every threat seriously. We’ll do what we can to investigate any leads that come up and see if we can move forward with it.”
Clien noted there’s a 24-hour TOPS Market next door to the Paladino HQ on South Clinton Avenue, but it doesn’t sell buckets of custard like the one that was used here.
“If it’s a commercial-type bucket of pudding that someone would get there hands on we’re not sure,” he said.
“It’s a little unusual because it’s not something that you can buy in the supermarket. At least it took the means of being able to get your hands on the pudding and then decide, ‘This is what I’m going to do with it,’ versus using spray paint or some other type of available resource.”
There was no immediate comment from the Paladino campaign.
Oct 29th - 8:25 am
The TU reports this morning that Sen. Neil Breslin admitted he had been drinking the night he was pulled over by a State Police trooper and given a field sobriety test (which he passed), directly contradicting a Senate Democratic spokesman’s account of the incident.
From the story:
“I had a couple of glasses of wine. Period,” Breslin, D-Bethlehem, said. “If I didn’t think I was fine, I wouldn’t have driven.”
The senator spoke briefly before a Wednesday evening banquet for the Whitney M. Young Health Center. For a week, Breslin has declined to answer repeated inquiries about the details of the evening, when he was given a field sobriety test by a State Police officer and, as he said, drove himself home.
This week Breslin revealed that a state trooper administered a field alcohol breath test, but he refused to authorize police to share the results of that test or any other information with the public.
Breslin said he had attended two events on the evening in question (Oct. 19): A fundraiser at a Central Avenue bar for Schenectady County Legislator Susan Savage, a Democrat who is challenging veteran GOP Sen. Hugh Farley, and a cocktail party at the Dale Miller restaurant for the Civil Service Employees Association.
Previously, Senate Democratic spokesman Austin Shafran had told both me and the TU that the senator was “absolutely” not drinking on the night he was pulled over. We had quite a back-and-forth about why the senator had been given a field sobriety test if he had given the trooper no reason to suspect that was necessary.
Breslin told the TU a completely different story, saying he had indeed indicated to the trooper that he had “a couple” of glasses of wine and then got in his car to drive home.
He said Shafran’s account of the incident, which the spokesman said he gave after speaking with the senator and members of his staff, was “absolutely wrong” and insisted he hadn’t wanted Shafran to speak for him in the first place.
The senator, who is running for his his eighth term against Republican Bob Domenici and Reform Party candidate Michael Carey, insisted: “I’ve told you the truth, I have nothing to hide. So let’s let it go at that, OK?”
Breslin refused to allow the State Police to release any information about his traffic stop. He also went to great lengths on Oct. 21 to avoid speaking to a YNN reporter camped outside his Capitol office for several hours, waiting behind closed doors while his staff informed the reporter he wasn’t present. The senator eventually spoke to the reporter, and gave him much the same account as Shafran had given to me.
Oct 29th - 8:05 am
Andrew Cuomo has ripped state government, calling it a “joke,” but he had no trouble giving campaign cash to Democratic organizations, many of which are run by state lawmakers.
Cuomo, a serious gearhead, says he plans to keep driving his collection of muscle cars (and a motorcycle) if and when he’s elected governor. But what about the security detail? “They will have to catch me,” he told the NYT. “I think security is overdone anyway.”
Carl Paladino described Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand as Sen. Chuck Schumer’s “little girl.”
Schumer is navigating a fine line between trying to help his friend, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, live through next Tuesday and maneuvering for his leadership post.
Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy says he’s fine with being the No. 2 to the man he calls his “soul mate.”
Paladino refused to discuss a NYT report on how he engineered the sale of his ailing aunt’s home to the woman who would become his mistress.
Cuomo is pummeling Paladino with NYC voters, 73-12, according to a new WSJ poll.
The same poll found Rudy Giuliani and the Rev. Al Sharpton are two pols New Yorkers would most like to see exit the public stage.
Paladino and Cuomo received The Onion treatment.
New York has the worst individual income tax, fifth-worst unemployment insurance tax and ninth-worst property tax, a new report found.
Oct 28th - 5:35 pm
No. Eliot Spitzer isn’t making a comeback this fall, no matter what the Oneida County Board of Elections might say.
Metroland endorsed Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins for governor.
The Queens Gazette endorsed GOP/Conservative Harry Wilson for state comptroller.
The AARP released its NY governor voters guide.
Local and county sales tax collections are up slightly, according to Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
ESPA’s PAC endorsed DiNapoli, praising him for taking “the lead in advocating for full equality, holding corporations accountable for the way they treat their LGBT employees and directing his agency to be among the first to fully respect the marriages of same-sex couples performed in jurisdictions in which they are lega.”
Assemblyman Vito Lopez hired a criminal defense attorney.
Mayor Bloomberg urged voters to call or tweet Election Day problems after the Sept. 14 “royal screwup.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is still trying to sell her Hudson house.
The Uniformed Firefighters Association and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association endorsed Sen. Eric Schneiderman.
Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson raised a lot of last-minute campaign cash.
Former NYC Comptroller Jay Goldin is endorsing Harry Wilson tomorrow in his office at the Empire State Building. (No link).
Azi Paybarah finds a Carl Paladino supporter on New Dorp Lane in Staten Island.
The Oneonta Daily Star endorsed Richard Hanna.
Bloomberg is headed to Rhode Island to boost gubernatorial candidate Lincoln Chafee.
Ground was broken for the Aqueduct racino. The Senate Democrats were nowhere to be seen.
Here’s Paladino defending the honor of his dog, Duke, against the evil New York Times.
Oct 28th - 5:15 pm
Who will shut off the lights at the end of the Paterson administration?
Gov. David Paterson just announced the departure of his long-suffering communications director, Morgan Hook, who is resigning effective Nov. 12 to assume that same title for SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and the University Administration.
“Morgan has been an invaluable member of my administration and I thank him for his counsel and tireless work on behalf of the State,” Paterson said in a press release.
“During Morgan’s tenure in my administration, he has worked closely with me and displayed incredible dedication. I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”