Schumer For Schneiderman

New York’s senior US senator is poised to announce state Sen. Eric Schneiderman at the state Democratic Party HQ this afternoon, sources familiar with the event confirm.

The press conference at 461 Park Avenue South will take place at 1 p.m.

Schumer hasn’t made any formal endorsements in other statewide races yet, but he has indicated he’ll be supporting AG Andrew Cuomo for governor, and, of course, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who counts Schumer among her most significant allies and protectors (much to her detriment in the eyes of detractors like the NY Post). No word on when and if he’ll be backing state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

Schumer did not weigh in on the five-way Democratic AG primary, and, of course, neither did Cuomo. The AG has since formally backed the Manhattan senator, whom he was widely seen as opposing prior to the Sept. 14 elections.

Schumer likes to say that he doesn’t pick favorites in primaries, but he has a history of deviating from that when it suits him.

For example, he backed then-state Comptroller H. Carl McCall over Cuomo in the 2002 Democratic gubernatorial primary, and did so just hours before a so-called party “unity” event, earning him the ire of then-junior US Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Schumer waited until after the primary in 2006 to back Cuomo for AG. The relationship between Schumer and the Cuomo family has been up and down over the years.

One angle is that Schumer long eyed a run for governor, including in 1994 when Mario Cuomo decided to give it one last shot – with, as we know know, disasterous results (that was the year he lost to then-GOP Sen. George Pataki).

Schumer was thinking of running for governor in 2006, too, but took a pass to rise up the leadership ranks in Washington, where he is now widely viewed as a contender for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s leadership post – that is, if Reid loses his re-election bid.

Cuomo’s Day

Andrew Cuomo is back on the campaign trail today, with a scheduled book-ended by religion-related stops to woo more of the key traditional Democratic voting blocs.

The gubernatorial hopeful is starting his day at Brooklyn’s Brown Memorial Baptist Church, where he will be receiving a “significant” endorsement. (As usual, the press was given two hours advance notice of this event).

The pastor there, the Rev. Clinton M. Miller, is a protégé of the Rev. Calvin O. Butts III, the influential pastor of Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church.

The clergymen split over the 2009 mayor’s race. Miller backed NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson, while Butts backed Mayor Bloomberg, a recent Cuomo endorser, in his successful bid for a third term. (Fixed, thanks).

(The mayor systematically courted black church leaders to deprive his Thompson of their support, evening making a $1 million donation to the development corporation at Butts’ church).

Cuomo will then return to Manhattan to march in the 73rd Annual Pulaski Day Parade.

This afternoon, the AG will hold several closed-press meetings in Brooklyn with unnamed Jewish leaders.

Yesterday, as you’ll recall, Cuomo met with Latino leaders. After the meeting, he again pledge not to engage in gutter politics, but the leaders standing with him made no such promise. In fact, Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr. immediately went in the complete opposition direction, calling Carl Paladino a “straight and utter nut job.”

I have no idea what Cuomo’s rival is up today, although late last week he had returned to Buffalo and did just one TV interview (during which he returned to his claim to have proof of the extramarital affairs he accused Cuomo of having and then retracted). His campaign isn’t in the habit of releasing his schedule.

Weekend Open Thread

…is back. Have at it. Be well.

- LB

‘Mario Jr.’

Here’s the Paladino campaign’s latest fun-with-Photoshop flyer, which tries to cast Andrew Cuomo as little more than a mini version of his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo.

flyer_mariojr

“Andrew Cuomo claims he’ll clean up Albany – his hometown where he has played the Albany insiders game for decades,” the press release accompanying the flyer states.

“First, as the brutal campaign manager for Mario Sr.’s governors election where he denigrated the Gay community. Later, as an advisor to his father in the Capitol where he bullied opponents daily with threats and hollow promises. Now, as Attorney General, he takes campaign contributions from those he regulates and gives Democrat fat-cats a pass when they violate the law. Clean up Albany? Start with Cuomo.”

The Paladino campaign is obviously trying to change the subject and re-focus its message after an explosive – and confusing – several days marked by the candidate’s on-again/off-again allegations that Andrew Cuomo engaged in extramarital affairs while married to Kerry Kennedy and near-fight the Post’s Fred Dicker at the Business Council’s annual meeting in Bolton Landing.

Maggie Haberman has a smart take on how the Cuomo campaign is shifting to fight the moving target that is Carl Paladino and his anger, which includes this gem from the ever-quotable Baruch College Prof. Doug Muzzio:

“I have never seen, at this level (of major-party candidacy), such an unorthodox kind of campaign. It’s almost as if (Paladino is) running for a cable TV show rather than running for governor. There’s a difference between mad-angry and mad-crazy.“

This idea of the governor’s race-as-reality TV actually didn’t start with Muzzio. The Buffalo News’ Tom Precious used that analogy, too, as did Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins.

Bloomberg All In For Wilson

Mayor Bloomberg is putting his money where his mouth is with his preferred state comptroller candidate, GOP/Conservative hopeful Harry Wilson, maxing out to the candidate with just one month remaining in the campaign.

Wilson’s 32-day pre-general election filing shows a $37,800 personal contribution to the former hedge fund manager’s campaign by the billionaire mayor. The check was logged on Sept. 27 – about two weeks after Bloomberg formally endorsed Wilson.

Wilson also received $27,800 from Dan Doctoroff, a the former deputy mayor who departed the administration in 2007 to run Bloomberg LP.

Other contributors of interest/note: Democrat-turned-Republican supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis gave $8,000, Wilson’s fellow hedge funder Bruce Kovner and his wife, Suzanne, both maxed out at $37,800. Former MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow ($20,000 plus another $10,000 from two Kalikow-related companies); Andrew Saul, MTA Board Vice Chairman/father of Manhattan GOP Chair Jennifer Saul, ($5,000).

All told, Wilson raised $707,022 since the last filing and loaned his campaign another $500,000, which brings his self-funding total to about $3.2 million to date. He spent $1.3 million and has $2.6 million on hand.

Democratic state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s filing is not yet on-line, but his campaign released toplines late yesterday afternoon. They are as follows:

Opening balance: $1,795,329
Total receipts: $364,607
Expenses this period: $752,486
Closing balance: $1,407,449

And now, a shameless self-promotional plug: Don’t forget that the YNN/NY1 state comptroller debate will take place Monday at 7 p.m. It will be live. It will be aired statewide. It will be followed by a half-hour post-game show. Yours truly will be on the panel.

Times Praises Cuomo, But Pushes On Ethics And Gay Marriage

The Times, which has stepped up its pressure on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo, doles out considerable praise for his record as AG today, but also calls on him to speak out more on ethics reform.

The paper, which did not endorse Cuomo during the 2006 Democratic primary (it backed former NYC Public Advocate Mark Green), says the jury was out on the former HUD secretary even after he won the general election, defeating his GOP opponent, former Westchester County DA Jeanine Pirro, by a large margin.

It deems his record at HUD “mixed” and noted that his decision to take a job with developer (and his mega-campaign contributor/now campaign finance chairman) Andrew Farkas after he had been sued “raised questions about his judgment.” (Carl Paladino has made Farkas an issue of late, accusing Cuomo of accepting “a bribe” from him).

But Cuomo has apparently more put the Times’ concerns to rest.

“Over the last four years, Mr. Cuomo has exceeded expectations and laid nearly all of those doubts to rest,” the editorial states.

“He has taken on big fights and produced results, going after public corruption among fellow Democrats, keeping the pressure on Wall Street and producing other meaningful changes, most notably in student lending.”

“… A review of his record shows that Mr. Cuomo made the attorney general’s office one of the most effective public interest law firms in the country. He did so with less arrogance than his predecessor, Eliot Spitzer, putting to rest most fears about his own temperament.”

The Times is not, however, pleased with Cuomo’s virtual silence on same-sex marriage (the LGBT community isn’t thrilled by that, either, and isn’t really buying his pledge that he’ll make marriage “a priority” in his first year on the job if elected governor).

In addition, the Gray Lady would like to hear more from the AG on ethics reform and wishes he had found the means to push state legislators harder over the past four years, saying:

“Mr. Cuomo has shown no lack of energy as attorney general, but he will still have to double his efforts on ethics reform as governor. In the campaign’s remaining weeks, voters need to hear more about his plan to do that.”

This all reads to me like laying out the roadmap to an endorsement (not like the Times would ever dream of backing Paladino).

Cuomo Meeting With Latino Leaders

As he continues his push to shore up support in the Democratic base, Andrew Cuomo is meeting this morning with Latino leaders at the Nuyorican Poets Café on 236th Street.

After emerging from his Rose Garden following Carl Paladino’s landslide win in the Sept. 14 GOP primary and increasing concerns among some members of his party that his above-it-all strategy wasn’t resonating with key segments of the electorate, Cuomo met in Harlem with black leaders.

(A pre-meeting Subway stop meet-and-greet didn’t go so well, as you’ll recall. Cuomo gave up after being drowned out by boisterous supporters of NYC Councilman Charles Barron, the Freedom Party candidate for governor).

As Cuomo huddled with a group of advisors that included former state Comptroller H. Carl McCall (the man he challenged in the 2002 Democratic gubernatorial primary, hurting his relationship with the black community), Manhattan Democratic Chairman/Assemblyman Keith Wright and former NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson, Paladino’s campaign manager talked to Gerson Borrero about the GOP/Conservative nominee’s efforts to woo Latino voters.

Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., who isn’t the biggest Cuomo fan, hosted Paladino in the Bronx at a meeting of his Hispanic clergy group. (He issued a letter inviting Cuomo, too, but the AG didn’t bite).

The get-together went as well as can be expected for a guy who has a very conservative position about immigration, sent out racist e-mails and made a number of controversial statements about various ethnic groups. He was questioned at length, and Diaz Sr. reportedly told him:

“You are the only one of the three candidates for governor to give us the respect to show up here, and speak to us. If the other two candidates won’t respect us by showing up they must not want our vote.”

(At the time, Rick Lazio was still in the race).

Anyway, that pretty much sums up why today’s meeting is taking place.

Extras

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will raise campaign cash for Staten Island DA Dan Donovan’s AG bid on Oct. 25.

…Rudy Giuliani, Mayor Bloomberg, Ed Koch and George Pataki will be there, too.

Andrew Cuomo said the personal nature of the governor’s race “is why people are turned off.”

Cuomo also called Carl Paladino’s allegations “hurtful.”

NT2 notes that Paladino got a standing ovation at the Business Council.

Coming from Siena Monday: Polls of four more Senate districts (SDs 40, 49, 55, 58). (No link).

Paladino trotted out the Cuomo-as-zebra analogy.

Citing a “deep political insider” Larry Kudlow said Mayor Bloomberg will be the next Treasury Secretary.

That anti-Cuomo message-testing poll is still out there.

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins said the governor’s race reminds him of “Jersey Shore.”

Mayor Bloomberg said the Tea Party is “not a political movement.”

Eliot Spitzer is doing a lot of pre-show prep.

Spitzer on Christine O’Donnell: “Since when do you nominate a witch?”

Andy Card kept the Hillary Clinton-not-Joe Biden in 2012 speculation alive.

Elizabeth Green imagines an education conversation between Joe Klein and Mark Zuckerberg.

Rick Sanchez is potentially in trouble.

Rahm Emanuel called his departure from the White House “bittersweet.”

Schneiderman’s Sagamore Smackdown Humor

This one needs no explanation, although it’s a little hard to hear.

Sen. Eric Schneiderman, the Democratic AG nominee, opened his remarks at the Business Council meeting this morning by saying: “I want to start by assuring all of you: You are on my Christmas list.”

What makes this even funnier is the fact that he’s a Jew.

DioGuardi’s Patron

A Washington-based FEC watcher brought my attention to an interesting pre-primary independent expenditure made on behalf of former Rep. Joe DioGuardi, who won the three-way GOP contest on Sept. 14 and is now facing off against Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in the general election.

The Filangieri Society for Justice and Good Government spent just over $150,000 on DioGuardi’s behalf. The cash went to things like GOTV e-mails and postcards (with a pro-life message).

According to its Website, the Filangieri Society for Justice and Good Government is named for the 18th Century Neapolitan philosopher Gaetano Filangieri, who wrote “The Science of Legislation.” (Apparently, Ben Franklin was a big fan).

The Society “seeks to perpetuate the principles and values upon which our Republic was founded, which are ensrhined in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and were eloquently articulated by Franklin and the other Founding Fathers,” the site states.

So, who’s behind this outfit? Lawrence Auriana, a portfolio manager with Federated Investors. Interestingly, he doesn’t live in New York, but in Connecticut.

It looks to me like DioGuardi and Auriana have Albania in common. (Remember that DioGuardi formed the Albanian-American Civic League, which became an issue during the US Senate debate).

Apparently, Gillibrand isn’t the first New York Democrat Auriana has targeted. He also has gone after Rep. Gary Ackerman.