The Weekend That Was

Rick Lazio went negative on Carl Paladino, saying he doesn’t think New York can “afford govern by insult.”

Lazio and Paladino have more in common than you might think.

Paladino hopes to make in-roads on Lazio’s home turf on Long Island with the help of Tea Partiers.

Paladino sent out an anti-Albany mailer that smells like garbage. (Really).

Both GOP candidates have third party lines that enable them to stay in the general election regardless of what happens Tuesday.

The GOP has a lot riding on these primaries and what happens in their aftermath.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani will campaign with US Senate hopeful David Malpass tomorrow at the 77th and Lexington 6 train Subway stop. (No link).

Giuliani said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s actions indicate he’s “more interested in confrontation than in healing.”

Rauf said the debate over Park51 has been “hijacked by radicals” on both sides.

Newt Gingrich thinks President Obama’s 2008 victory was a “wonderful con.”

House GOP Leader John Boehner is open to letting the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire.

More >

Diana Taylor To Campaign With Saujani

Mayor Bloomberg’s long-time girlfriend, Diana Taylor, is going all-out for Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s primary challenger, Reshma Saujani, by campaigning tomorrow with the political newcomer tomorrow at the 86th Street and Lexington Avenue 6 Train Subway stop .

Maureen White, former finance chair of the Democratic National Committee and one of Saujani’s most enthusiastic supporters, will be rounding out the trio.

Taylor has personally contributed to Saujani’s campaign and praised her “great command of the issues” and said she’s “exactly the kind of person we need to have running for congressional office.”

Taylor, a Republican who took a pass on running herself this fall, but has made no secret that she both thought of doing so (in a challenge to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand) and might yet enter the political realm she has heretofore left to her significant other, pledged to help Saujani in whatever way she could in the election and has been serving as an unofficial campaign advisor.

NYFG, Lazio, Paladino Hit Cuomo On WFP (Updated)

Well, that didn’t take long.

New Yorkers for Growth, the conservative political action committee that has launched a crusade against the Working Families Party, and GOP/Conservative gubernatorial hopeful Rick Lazio are out with duel statements slamming AG Andrew Cuomo for agreeing today to accept the endorsement of the labor-backed party and run on its line in November.

“Albany insider Andrew Cuomo’s decision to align himself with a fringe group that embodies everything that is wrong with Albany is yet another arrogant decision that will lead to his rejection by voters this November,” Lazio said.

“The Working Families Party is a out-of-touch group that opposes a hard property tax cap, real pension reform, and a spending cap that New York families and businesses desperately need.”

And from NYFG spokeswoman, former Larchmont Mayor Liz Feld:

More >

Women In Defense Of Rice

A group of women who have endorsed Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice’s AG bid released a statement slamming Sen. Eric Schneiderman for going negative on his opponent in what they called an “attempt to distort District Attorney Rice’s record of accomplishment (that) is shameful and uncalled for.”

The statement, signed by Gloria Steinem, NOW-NYS President Marcia Pappas, former NYC Comptroller/Congresswoman/Brooklyn DA Elizabeth Holtzman, former state Criminal Justice Services czar and Denise O’Donnell Assemblywoman Grace Meng, reads as follows:

“Dstrict Attorney Kathleen Rice is a bold and progressive legal advocate who has excelled as the manager of a modern prosecutors’ office and as an advocate for equality and family-friendly workplace policy.

“Five years ago, District Attorney Rice defeated a 31-year Republican incumbent who served as a national spokesperson for the anti-choice movement.”

“District Attorney Rice appointed the first two women executive prosecutors in the office’s 112-year history. She eliminated a decades-old gender pay gap and started a progressive flex- and part-time workplace policy for men and women in need of a non-traditional work schedule. ”

“Nobody in this field can match Kathleen Rice’s record of fighting for women and nobody in this field will make a better attorney general for New York families than Kathleen Rice.”

“On Tuesday, we will be one giant step closer to electing the first woman attorney general in New York State history. By taking this historic step, we will also be electing the candidate most capable of doing this important job and most capable of fighting for New York families.”

“State Senator Eric Schneiderman’s surprising, disappointing attempt to distort District Attorney Rice’s record of accomplishment is shameful and uncalled for. Instead of distorting District Attorney Rice’s record, State Senator Schneiderman should focus on his own record and the differences between his experience as an Albany legislator and District Attorney Rice’s experience as a legal advocate for women and families.”

Paladino To Bloomberg: ‘Mind Your Own Business’

To the list of elected officials slammed by the ever-impolitic GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino add Mayor Bloomberg.

“We’re going to send out a message for the whole country: New York is no longer a haven for the poor and disenfranchised and illegals,” Paladino said at a campaign event in Troy earlier today.

“Stay home, stay where you are. Our budget will be to serve the people of New York, not strangers.”

“…They’re the responsibility of the federal government, not the state government and when (Mayor) Bloomberg says, ‘Give us your poor America,’ I say to him, ‘Mind your own business Mr. Bloomberg, we’re not carrying your burdens.”

I’m not exactly sure what policy and/or comments of Bloomberg’s that Paladino is talking about here. I didn’t have the opportunity to follow up with him, because I missed this event. (Thanks to NY1′s Josh Robin for flagging these remarks and YNN’s Matt Hunter for catching the candidate in situ).

Paladino hasn’t been shy about discussing what he thinks of the state’s poor, suggesting, for example, that all welfare recipients should be forced to join what he calls a “Dignity Corps” to work and receiving training in everything from job skills to “personal hygiene” if they want to continue to receive public assistance.

Also today, Paladino hosted an event at the Albany Crowne Plaza at which he was endorsed by a host of Tea Party groups, including (as per his campaign manager Michael Caputo):

Grand Island TP, Broome TP, CSA, Westchester TP, Mohawk Valley Patriots, Primary Challenge, OverTaxed Citizens
Pittsford TP, Dutchess 912, Fulton County TP, NNY912, Nassau-Queens 912 and Rally for America

WFP Goes All In For Cuomo (Updated)

The Working Families Party has decided to bite the bullet and endorse Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Andrew Cuomo – on his terms.

The labor-backed party released a statement this afternoon saying it would bow to the AG’s wishes and support his “New New York Agenda”, despite the fact that it contains proposals many (albeit not all) unions don’t like – most notably, a 2 percent property tax cap.

WFP Executive Director Dan Cantor said the decision was unanimous and was made in the interest of heeding Cuomo’s call for “shared sacrifice” (made in a recent DN OpEd) to get the state out of its fiscal morass.

“The Working Families Party is proud to announce it will be nominating Andrew Cuomo as our gubernatorial candidate,” Cantor said in a statement. “He’s clearly the right leader for New York. We will be fighting for his electoral victory in November and then fight for legislative passage of his New NY Agenda in January.”

“While some of our members have differed in the past on some of the specific issues in the New NY Agenda, the Executive Committee unanimously takes this position because we understand and accept Andrew’s point that this is a pivotal moment in the history of this state, similar to the 1975 New York City fiscal crisis, when leaders in the labor, civic, business and political arena must put aside their individual agendas for the good of the entire state.”

“We also believe we are fortunate to have Andrew Cuomo as a leader with the strength, experience and credibility to forge this unity, and assemble this coalition, at this critical moment. We stand proudly and steadfastly behind Andrew Cuomo and his plan for a New New York.”

Cuomo made it clear last week that the WFP’s acceptance of his agenda – in its entirety – was absolutely necessary for him to agree to run on Row E.

The AG released the following statement today:

More >

Schneiderman Retaliates

It’s an eye-for-an-eye as the Democratic AG primary comes down to the wire.

Following Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice’s release of a “comparative” (AKA “negative”) ad that slammed Sen. Eric Schneiderman for being a creature of Albany and sought to link him to Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr., the Manhattan lawmaker’s campaign is out with a hit of its own.

After Ms. Rice decided to tell lies about Eric Schneiderman’s record, we decided to tell the truth about hers,” said Schniederman campaign manager Emily Arsenault.

“While her smear campaign relies on character assassination and guilt by association, this response is based on established and objective facts. Rice was in fact a registered Republican, she did indeed lobby her senator to oppose the Rockefeller Drug Law reforms, and she absolutely did force part-time working mothers in her office to work full-time or quit. New Yorkers deserve better than, and on Tuesday they will get just that.”

The ad basically reiterates all the points laid out against Rice in Schneiderman’s mailer – she used to be a Republican, lobbied against reform of the Rockefeller Drug Laws, and told part-time working mothers in the DA’s office to either return to work full-time or not come back at all.

There’s also an excerpt from the Times endorsement of Schneiderman in which the paper deemed Rice to have only a “limited” grasp of the challenges facing the AG. And then the spot goes on to highlight “progressive” Schneiderman’s record.

There’s also a robocall, which, as Maggie Haberman reported earlier today, has caused a Rice surrogate, RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum, to cry foul.

Koch To Endorse Former Monserrate Aide For Assembly

I received a press advisory earlier today informing me that former NYC Mayor Ed Koch will be traveling to LeFrak City tomorrow for a “walk through” and endorsement rally for Anthony Miranda, who is challenge Assemblyman Jeff Aubry in Tuesday’s primary.

“I applaud Anthony Miranda as a ‘Hero of Reform; for signing the three New York Uprising pledges,” Koch said.

“This year voters are counting on candidates to commit to specific reforms in advance, as Anthony has done. I look forward to working with him to see them swiftly implemented when he is elected. Anthony Miranda is the best choice for the people of the 35th Assembly District in Queens.”

Miranda, as you know, is a former staffer of expelled ex-Sen. Hiram Monserrate. The two go way back – they co-founded the the Latino Officers Association when they served in the NYPD together and also successfully sued the department for discrimination.

Aubry explained his decision not to sign Koch’s pledges to the DN’s Errol Louis thusly:

“My legislative record and public acts on behalf of my community speak louder than any pledge that I could sign. In my experience, I have found talk to be cheap.”

Louis is predicting Aubry gets re-elected because he’s an “honest pol” who has “toiled for years on prison reform,” adding: “He works hard and has developed a base of knowledgeable, active supporters.”

(It’s also worth noting that Aubry is following the lead of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who has also refused to sign Koch’s pledge and is now the only legislative leader in Albany not to do so).

The 35th AD race has taken a rather ugly turn of late, with a flyer circulating in the district that accuses Aubry of being pro-prisoner due to his championing of Rockefeller Drug Law reform.

Aubry isn’t shying away from his role as the original sponsor of the bill (actually, he pushed for full repeal, but never managed to get that far), sending out a campaign mailer that highlighted his work on the issue.

Rice’s First Newspaper Nod

Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice has landed the first newspaper endorsement of her AG bid from The Queens Tribune, which agreed with her assessment that only an Albany “outsider” can effectively clean up Albany.

“In a competitive field this newspaper finds difficulty in the transition from an Albany elected official to Attorney General, an office that needs to scrutinize the failing peers in the legislature,” The Tribune editorial states.

“Eric Schneiderman’s use of his Albany staff and the hit and run explicitly eliminates him in our eyes. While Richard Brodsky represents the Albany independence that we admire, after assessing all of the candidates our preference is Kathleen Rice, an established prosecutor.”

“The Queens Tribune endorses Kathleen Rice for Attorney General.”

Rice has made considerable inroads in Queens and enjoys the support of the borough’s Democratic Party chairman, Rep. Joe Crowley (whose clout has been hampered of late by a House ethics committee probe into his fundraising).

There are no outer-borough AG candidates among the five Democrats vying to replace AG Andrew Cuomo, and what a number of pollsters like to refer to as the “white, ethnic” vote – which might actually prove more useful in the general election than the primary – is up for grabs.

It was a blow to Rice that her hometown newspaper, Newsday, decided not to endorse anyone in advance of the primary (just like Cuomo!). The other major dailies split their support, with the Times going to Schneiderman, the DN to Eric Dinallo and the Post to Sean Coffey.

Bloomberg For Wilson

Mayor Bloomberg is poised to endorse GOP/Conservative state comptroller candidate Harry Wilson Monday, a source with direct knowledge of the mayor’s plans confirmed.

Bloomberg will be Wilson’s highest-profile endorser to date.

Though the record of ballot box success by candidates backed by the Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent mayor is spotty, his support will give the political newcomer Wilson something to point to in the face of the significant labor and institutional Democratic support enjoyed by his general election target, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

Wilson’s profile seems like a natural fit for Bloomberg: A successful former private sector guy (in Wilson’s case, hedge fund manager) who decides to try applying his real-world business acumen to impose order on the messy and internecine world of politics, which he professes to disdain while hiring a slew of veterans to navigate it for him.

Sounds a lot like Bloomberg, himself, no?

More >