Indys Back Wilson, Punt On AG

Two surprises out of the (very brief) state Independence Party convention at the Holiday Inn in Colonie, as per CapTon’s Kaitlyn Ross.

First: While the Indys backed Democratic AG Andrew Cuomo for governor (who stood with party leaders in Troy two weeks ago, but accepted their nod via teleconference today) and his preferred running mate, Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy, they crossed over to the GOP line to back Harry Wilson for state comptroller.

“Tom DiNapoli is a dear friend of mine; we love Tom DiNapoli, but when I met Harry Wilson, I said: This is the type of guy who should be in public office,” said Indy Chairman Frank MacKay.

“He’s fantastic. He’s suited for the job. It’s not a slight at Tom, it’s not an anti-DiNapoli vote or nomination, it’s a pro-Wilson vote”.

MacKay can say what he wants, but this is a blow to DiNapoli, who will only have two lines come November – Row A (Dems) and Row E (WFP) – to Wilson’s three (Row B, GOP; Row C, Indys and Row D, Conservatives).

It’s interesting that the Indys have done this. Although they have a history of backing Republicans in the state Senate, they generally back Dems statewide (they did do Jeanine Pirro for AG back in 2006, though…).
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Samuels Drops LG Bid

In a move that doesn’t come as a big surprise, Bill Samuels will announce this afternoon that he’s suspending his campaign for lieutenant governor to focus solely on his New Roosevelt Initiative PAC’s efforts to elect reform-minded state senators.

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Samuels, who announced his long-shot LG bid back in April, plans to un-announce this afternoon at a rally being held outside Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr.’s Mamaroneck home in mock celebration of the Senate coup’s one-year anniversary.

(Takeout sushi menus from the Bronx/Westchester Democrat’s favorite purveyor of raw fish will be distributed).

Espada is New Roosevelt’s first target. Jay Strell, a PR consultant who has worked with Samuels for some time, said the PAC will broaden his focus to include four or five other races. He declined to say immediately which incumbents will be in the crosshairs.

At one point there were two declared Democratic LG contenders – Samuels and Ramapo Town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence.
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Weekend Open Thread

Back by popular demand.

I can’t imagine what you all might have to discuss given the sleepy two weeks we’ve had.

Just kidding.

Have at it, and please remember: If you can’t be nice, at least be civilized.

LB

Extras

Mayor Bloomberg didn’t endorse Charlie Crist, but his media media consulting firm, SKD Knickerbocker, is working for the Florida governor’s US Senate campaign.

Assemblyman Keith Wright got into an argument with Bloomberg’s lobbyist, Micah Lasher.

Bloomberg and the Legislature managed to agree on an end to the requirement that homeless residents pay to stay in shelters.

Rep. Charlie Rangel will formally announce his re-election campaign this weekend.

Dan Donovan “fell in love” with former Bloomberg campaign manager Bradley Tusk, who is now working for the Staten Island DA’s AG campaign.

Lee Miringoff went to the Democrat and GOP conventions and came away convinced George Washington was right.

Rick Lazio accused AG Andrew Cuomo of trying to manipulate his way onto the Working Families Party line.

Manhattan BP Scott Stringer endorsed Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat for the seat Sen. Eric Schneiderman is vacating to run for AG. (No link).

David Malpass made an issue of the WFP line for his Democratic target, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Former Democratic state Sen. Marc Coppola will challenge freshman Republican State Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer.

UFCW Local 1500 endorsed Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice for AG.

There’s a Facebook page dedicated to gerrymandering.

The MTA broke the law when it laid off hundreds of station workers, a judge ruled.

Librarians are up in arms over proposed funding cuts in NYC.

The Manhattan Young Democrats will be marking the one-year anniversary of the Senate coup with a protest outside Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr.’s Mamaroneck home.

Judge Sides With Paterson On NY-29 Special

Republicans in NY-29 have lost their lawsuit that sought to force Gov. David Paterson to immediately call a special election to fill the seat vacated by disgraced former Rep. Eric Massa instead of his (extremely confusing) plan to hold one concurrent with the general election.

From US District Court Judge David Larimer’s decision:

“So, the issue now is whether this Court can mandate that the Governor call a special election forthwith, or at least sooner than the time selected by the Governor for holding the special election. Under the circumstances presented here, I do not believe that such a mandatory injunction against the Governor is warranted.”

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Coffey Protests

Sean Coffey, one of the five Democratic AG contenders, had a full day of labor-related events in the Capital Region today.

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He started off this morning by meeting local union leaders at the Clarion in Albany. He then went to meet with steel workers at a picket line outside Albany Medical Center, and wrapped up at Momentive Performance Materials in Waterford today to attend the “Rally for a Just Contract” for IUE/CWA 81359.

A Coffey campaign aide who sent this photo noted the candidate’s father was a union carpenter for 50 years. Coffey wears his father’s carpenter pin on his lapel almost every day. (He also has a small US Navy medal that I noticed while chatting with him at the Democratic convention in Rye).

Coffey also be stopping by the YNN studios to record an interview with me that will air on “Capital Tonight” at 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

He’ll be unveiling a stringent new legislative ethics proposal and also discussing his opposition to any AG candidate accpeting either the labor-backed Working Families Party line or the state Independence Party line, since both as under investigation.

HANYS Slams Paterson’s ‘BP Approach’ To Budget Extenders (Updated)

Gov. David Paterson has apparently included $775 million in cuts to state funding for health care services in his latest budget extender bill, making good on his pledge to try to force the Legislature’s hand on some of his proposed spending reductions.

State Budget Director Robert Megna is briefing members of the LCA this afternoon about Paterson’s latest between a rock-and-a-hard-place gambit.

(Recall that he tried the same thing with the furloughs, forcing the Legislature to choose between a government shutdown and approving a measure that turned out to be, according to US District Court Judge Lawrence Kahn, unconstitutional).

UPDATE: Rick Karlin has more details on this plan. Apparently, $391 million of the $775 million is estimated Medicaid fraud recouperation, which is really a moving target.

In the meantime, HANYS President Dan Sisto is making his displeasure crystal clear, accusing the governor of continuing his “BP approach” to addressing the state’s fiscal crisis, and insisting the cuts will result in lost health care jobs and some $1 billion worth of economic activity.

“We have a revenue shortfall in this state that has created a broader fiscal crisis. From a public policy standpoint, however, Governor Paterson’s ongoing reaction to the state’s crisis is no different from BP’s reaction to the Gulf oil spill,” Sisto said in a press release.

Instead of thinking through a comprehensive plan that will fix the problem the first time, he is simply rolling out one desperate idea after another in hopes that one might actually work. Like his furlough and layoff plans, this extender is just another version of ‘top kill.’ It’s another ‘junk shot’ and it won’t work.”

Levy’s Almost-LG

On the eve of the GOP convention at which the fate of his gubernatorial campaign would be (negatively) decided, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy had settled on an LG contender but wouldn’t reveal that person’s identity until after he was – or, as it turned out – wasn’t placed on the ballot.

Multiple sources confirm Levy’s pick was Chris Jacobs, a Republican Buffalo businessman who was former Gov. George Pataki’s last state Secretary of State.

One source with knowledge of Levy’s LG search cautioned that Jacobs was merely on the “short list,” but also did not deny that a press release announcing his selection had been typed up and was ready to go in the event that the party-switching county executive got the 50-percent-plus-one he needed for the Wilson Pakula.

“You can name almost every viable person in the state and (Levy) probably vetted that person,” the source insisted. “Not all of them said ‘no.’”

Many of them did, however, as I reported late last month.
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GOP Convention Slide Show

Some images from the past three days at the GOP convention in NYC.

Settling The ‘Status Cuomo’ Score

A reader tracked down an historical reference that proves Roger Stone was correct when he claimed the “status Cuomo” line originated not with Rick Lazio or Carl Paladino, but with Jack Kemp.

Here’s the pertinent excerpt from a 1986 Time article entitled “What to Make of Mario” (that’s former Gov. Mario Cuomo, of course):

“On average, each of Cuomo’s four budgets has grown by double the inflation rate; his 1986 budget is 30% higher than his 1983 budget. The number of employees on the state payroll has increased by more than 24,000 during his administration.”

“Notes William Stern, former head of the state’s Urban Development Corporation: ‘Mario believes in government activism. That means spending rather than cutting.’”

“Jack Kemp has dubbed the Governor “Status Cuomo.” Cuomo, says one official who left the administration, “never tackles real change.”