Here And Now

Maybe voters aren’t really that angry after all?

….Or, maybe they are. The results of last night’s primaries don’t provide a clear indication.

Try here for more results.

It’s the year of the woman!

Bad news for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could be good news for Sen. Chuck Schumer.

The next round of budget extenders won’t include education spending cuts, but will include spending reductions on mental health and human services – plus a tax hike on cigarettes.

Gov. David Paterson’s tough approach seems to be working as budget negotiations got underway in earnest.

Newsday says Paterson should use the unprecedented tactic of embedding large portions of his budget into the extenders “as often as necessary.”

The Times gives Paterson some props, but is less-than-thrilled with the Legislature.

Could New York be the next Greece?
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There’s a limit to Gov. David Paterson’s toughness – he won’t put education spending cuts into the next round of budget extenders. (Assuming there’s no budget deal).

Bill Hammond says the next governor will owe Paterson “big time.”

Whatever happened to former Chief Judge Judith Kaye’s investigations of Paterson?

Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. is still singing the post-coup reform song.

Wayne Barrett wonders if NYC Comptroller John Liu is ready for primetime.

Councilman Al Vann isn’t running for district leader.

Kristin Davis does not approve of CNN’s potential hiring of Eliot Spitzer.

If Assemblymen Richard Brodsky and Sam Hoyt get their way, New York will be minus 129 authorities.

US Education Secretary Arne Duncan gave NY some props for its second “Race to the Top” application.

Rep. Peter King endorsed Gary Berntsen for the US Senate. (No link).

Interns and residents at St. Barnabas in the Bronx won the right to organize.

Chris Cillizza determines that most of the top 2010 races are in “Clinton country.”

Maggie Haberman chronicles another chapter in the book of the media mogul mayor and the media he loves to hate.

Sen. Chuck Schumer insisted a hedge fund tax in the latest version of the jobs bill won’t hurt NYC.

Tom Robbins notes the plethora of Italian-Americans on the GOP ticket.

Paladino praised Paterson.

Paterson: Open To ‘The B-Word’ As A ‘Closer’

Gov. David Paterson, who authored a Times OpEd entitled “Borrowing Our Way to Failure” less than two months ago, essentially panning the proposal of his own hand-picked LG in the process, today said he’s open to borrowing – as long as it’s a “last resort” used to close down budget talks.

“If borrowing become a closer, we certainly would consider it,” Paterson told reporters following a closed-door leaders meeting to which GOP leaders were not invited.

“But I just try to stay away from the b-word. I just do not want to use the b word at any point until we have made the realistic cuts.”

Paterson insisted he never really ruled out borrowing altogether, but was upset by the fact that borrowing “became the focus of the discussion that I think delayed the whole budget process by a month.”

(He rejected the suggstion that this was a snub to LG Richard Ravitch, who was the architect of the $6 billion borrowing plan, saying: “He threw out on the table what would be a limit on borrowing, but I think that just the way it all went, it’s no one’s fault, it just became an acceptance that there would be borrowing.”)
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‘Loose Cannon!’

Ahem. Apparently someone didn’t get Team Cuomo’s memo on keeping a low press profile.

Here’s Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy being downright contrite with the local media earlier today, apologizing for being AWOL after he was officially tapped to be the Democratic gubernatorial nominee’s LG running mate and promising to be back to his old accessible self going forward.

My favorite moment is when he refers to himself as a “loose cannon” – Bidenesque!

I am a big fan of this unfettered LG contender – (that invite to come on the show is still open, Mr. Mayor) – but something tells me this state of affairs might not last long.

Duffy vs. Lazio

Here’s some footage of Round II of Rick Lazio (campaigning in the Syracuse area) vs. Bob Duffy (at home in Rochester) on the whole double-dipping pension issue.

It’s interesting to see them cross swords – albeit it virtually – it seems to be that Lazio’s message of this somehow reflecting poorly on his opponent, AG Andrew Cuomo, is getting muddied in the whole debate over whether Duffy’s acceptance of his pension while also taking his mayoral salary is legal/appropriate etc.

Duffy is running for LG, remember. Lazio is running for governor.

Defending Duffy

The Cuomo campaign is not taking GOP gubernatorial hopeful Rick Lazio’s “double-dipping” pension fund slam against LG contender Bob Duffy lying down, deploying multiple surrogates to defend the Rochester mayor’s honor and unveiling a “fact check” feature on its Website.

The first response came from state Democratic Party Executive Director Charlie King, who was installed by Cuomo long before the AG was even an official gubernatorial contender to act as the rapid-response attack dog so the campaign didn’t have to dirty its hands.

Response No. 2 came in the form of a press release from state Association of Police Chiefs Executive Director John Grebert who said Lazio’s comments “denigrate the service of all those who risked their lives as law enforcement officers.”
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Vanderhoef Hopes To Go It Alone

As has long been predicted, Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef is now officially a candidate for retiring Sen. Tom Morahan’s seat after beating out local legislator Ed Day for the GOP nod in a 114-221 vote.


Vanderhoef, who was 2006 gubernatorial candidate John Faso’s LG running mate, told me earlier today that he hopes to go it alone in terms of fundraising, even though he is the SRCC’s preferred candidate.

This is a recognition that the GOP finds itself in the unexpected position of defending four open seats – Leibell, Morahan, Volker, Winner – at a time when it needs to be spending its already diminished resources on challenges to incumbent Democrats if it hopes to win back control of the chamber.

“They have a number of seats they have to work on and invest in to capture the majority, which I firmly believe they have to do,” Vanderhoef told me.

“I plan to try to be as independent as I can to allow them to use resources in other places, although I’m not beyond turning to them for help if I need it.”

“…One of the benefits here is that I’m somewhat known in the county and the majority of the district, and I have a little money, so perhaps they don’t have to invest anything here – or, at least, not much. We’ve not discussed it, and we’ll pursue fundraising activities and try to make it work.”

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Skelos On The Coupniversary: They Wanted Power; We Wanted Reform

Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos continues to insist that the coup was well worth it, and then tries to turn things around by hanging expelled ex-Sen. Hiram Monserrate and Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. around the necks of the Democrats.

“There were a lot of positive things that occurred in terms of the structural operation of the senate in Albany, but also beyond that, the direction that the state was going, with taxes and spending, it was just becoming impossbile to stop and something dramatic had to be done….so positive things, I think did occur. Positive things that will last into the future.”

“…I would ask the Senate Democrats, who readily embraced Sen. Monserrate…and they essentially brought Senator Espada back through a conference action of making him the majority leader, which he continues to be the majority leader.”

“So the issue for us was stopping things that were happening and reform. The issue for them was bringing them back to power.

Sampson Marks The Coup: ‘For Every Setback, There Is A Comeback’

Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson, who was elevated to his current post because of the 2009 Senate coup, is marking the coupniversary with a Web video that is the ultimate example of making lemonade out of lemons.

Sampson tries to put the most positive light possible on the defection by Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. and (since expelled) ex-Sen. Hiram Monserrate that led to the month-long stalemate that froze NYS government (not to mention killing the whole July 4 holiday).

Even the background music is upbeat and happy….with a lull when Sampson takes a swipe at the Senate GOP for, as he puts it, blocking reform. He also invokes that whole line about the GOP being responsible for years of dysfunction prior to the Democrats taking control in January 2009.

WFP Takes A Pass On Espaillat

Much of the attention at this weekend’s Working Families Party convention in Buffalo centered on the statewide races (three out of five of which the labor-backed party chose to punt on, tapping placeholder candidates for governor, LG and AG), but decisions were made on a number of legislative races, too.

One of these, the 31st Senate District contest, was particularly interesting since it concerns the seat Eric Schneiderman is vacating to run for AG.

The WFP opted not to endorse anyone in the race for the moment, which is something of a blow to Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat, Schneiderman’s preferred successor.

I noted to WFP leaders that this seemed to add insult to injury to Schneiderman, who was considered the leading contender to land Row E until AG Andrew Cuomo got involved and reportedly urged the party not to pick a favorite until after the primary.

But WFP Executive Director Dan Cantor insisted the two races were completely unconnected, saying the only reason the party took a pass on endorsing in the 31st was because some of its affiliates have yet to weigh in on the race.
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