Oct 29th - 8:53 am
From the Morning Memo:
A pair of ads from the independent expenditure committee Balance New York puts a focus on opposing the public financing of political campaigns.
The television ads are aimed at freshman Democratic Sen. Ted O’Brien of the Rochester area and Democratic candidate Justin Wagner, who is running for an open seat in the Hudson Valley being vacated by Republican Sen. Greg Ball.
“If they seize control of the state Senate, Ted O’Brien and his New York City allies want to impose a campaign finance system on the entire state, forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for their campaigns, costing us millions,” the ad’s narrator says. “So if you hate political ads now, just wait until Ted O’Brien and his New York City buddies make you pay for them.”
Linking upstate Democrats to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is a common theme for Republican opposition this year. De Blasio isn’t mentioned in either ad, but his image is seen next to O’Brien and Wagner.
It’s no secret that de Blasio would like a Democratic-controlled for Senate. And while he backs public financing statewide, de Blasio wants Democrats in charge for more practical reasons — namely to push through home rule legislation (and not have to rely on Gov. Andrew Cuomo).
Balance New York is just one of several independent expenditure groups that has been blanketing the airwaves and filling mailboxes this campaign season.
The group has been funded by the Washington, DC-based Republican Leadership Committee, as well as hedge-fund manager Paul Singer and StudentsFirstNY, a group that supports charter schools.
In Wagner’s district alone, the group is spending $485,000 on television, plus $120,000 on mail. Republican Terrence Murphy, a Yorktown councilman, is vying to keep the seat in GOP hands.
In the 55th Senate district, Balance New York is spending a combined $380,000 on TV and radio, plus $70,000 on mail. Republican Rich Funke is competing to unseat O’Brien.
During the most recent fundraising period, the group spent $649,957 after raising $840,000. It has $575,693 in cash on hand.
Oct 29th - 8:51 am
From the Morning Memo:
The race for the 46th Senate district in the Mohawk and Hudson valleys is already one of the most expensive.
And it is drawing a lot of outside attention.
Tkaczyk, a freshman lawmaker, has been blasted by Republicans for having help from Friends of Democracy, a super PAC funded by Jonathan Soros, the son of liberal financier George Soros that is bent on creating a system of publicly financed campaigns.
George Soros himself has maxed out to Tkaczyk this month, as did a second son, Robert Soros.
Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is focusing on a handful of upstate Senate races this year, and the 46th district is no exception.
Now the Tkaczyk campaign is pushing back against the outside spending criticism, pointing to Amedore’s support from the Real Estate Board of New York, which is pouring thousands into an IE campaign called Jobs For New York.
Her campaign is pointing to votes Amedore took as a state assemblyman, including against bills aimed at helping mortgage-paying homeowners, as being on the side of wealthy landlords.
“George Amedore’s priorities have nothing to do with the needs of the 46th Senate District and his extremist record proves where his true loyalties lie,” said spokesman Jim Plastiras. “When he had to choose between helping struggling middle class families and businesses or working against them, George voted every time to benefit his own interests and his wealthy real estate friends in New York City. George Amedore should be ashamed of himself.”
Oct 29th - 8:32 am
From the Morning Memo:
The so-called “regular” Senate Democrats entered this election cycle at a financial disadvantage, trailing the Republicans by several million dollars, though – for the first time in years – they were debt free.
That was largely thanks to the fundraising efforts to DSCC Chair Mike Gianaris, of Queens, who has personally kicked in $135,000 to the conference kitty since last January.
A number of Democrats who don’t have to worry about re-election this fall (either because they face weak challengers or no challengers at all) are contributing their campaign cash to the effort to win back the majority.
That includes Sen. Andrea-Stewart-Cousins, who (assuming the current state of affairs holds, which isn’t actually a safe assumption) could become majority leader, depending on how things shake out on Nov. 4. The Yonkers lawmaker has given the DSCC $127,500 over the past 10 months.
Other members of the conference who have been contributing to the case include a number of the usual suspects – Manhattan Sen. Liz Krueger ($40,000, though she also is giving to individual candidates through her No Bad Apples PAC), Brooklyn Sen. Daniel Squadron ($48,000), Albany-area Sen. Neil Breslin ($50,000), and Bronx Sen. Gustavo Rivera ($30,000, he can afford to be generous after winning the September primary).
Coming in at No. 3 on the giving list is a new face – freshman Democrat, Manhattan Sen. Brad Hoylman, who ponied up $52,000.
Hoylman, who won a primary in 2012 to replace retiring Sen. Tom Duane in the chamber, has been an outspoken reformer intent on trying to re-make the conference and help it shed its post-coup reputation for corruption and dysfunction.
The fact that all but one (conservative Bronx Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr.) of the key players from the 2009 leadership crisis are gone has been a big selling point for the Senate Dems as they seek to re-take control of the chamber.
Of course, the Republicans are trying their best to remind voters of the downstate-dominated conference’s short-lived and rocky tenure in the majority.
Oct 29th - 8:29 am
From the Morning Memo:
A poll conducted by the Global Strategy Group for Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney shows the Democratic congressman with a 6-point lead over his Republican opponent, former Rep. Nan Hayworth, heading into the final stretch of their re-match in NY-18.
According to this poll of 401 likely voters, Maloney is leading Hayworth 46-40 with 14 percent still undecided, even though Election Day is right around the corner.
The poll was conducted Oct. 21-23, and Maloney’s campaign – as is standard operating procedure at the congressional level – only shared a portion of the poll results. (At the state level, it’s an all-or-nothing proposition when it comes to making poll data public).
Voters’ opinions of Maloney’s job performance were largely positive, 47-35, and his favorable/unfavorable rating was 44-29.
Hayworth’s favorable/unfavorable rating was 39-41.
Only 30 percent of voters believed she would be able to working with members of both parties on behalf of the Hudson Valley, while 43 percent said Maloney is able to cross party lines to get things done.
Bipartisanship has been a big focus in this race, with Maloney touting the support he has received from a number of local GOP elected officials – especially state Sen. Bill Larkin – in the closely-divded district.
Hayworth released an internal poll of her own this week, which, not surprisingly, does not concur with the findings of Maloney’s survey.
According to the Public Opinion Strategies poll conducted Oct. 23-25 of 400 likely voters for Hayworth’s campaign, the NY-18 race is a dead heat, with each candidate receiving 42 percent of the vote, and a third party candidate, Scott Smith, getting 3 percent.
The Global Strategy poll billed this race as a “two-way contest” between Maloney and Hayworth.
A ballot test that did not include the third party candidate was still a 44-44 tie, according to the Public Opinion Strategies poll, suggesting neither is either helped or hurt by the presence of a contender with no money or name recognition. (Smith is running on the self-created “Mr. Smith for Congress” line).
Both polls have a 4.9 percent margin of error.
According to Hayworth’s poll, the former congresswoman “has the momentum” as Election Day nears, as she was down eight percentage points in a September Siena poll, (50-42, with 8 percent undecided).
Siena is about to release a second poll of this district, so we’ll get yet another assessment of the race before voters head to the ballot box for, as candidates like to say, the only poll that really matters.
Oct 29th - 6:09 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City.
At 7:10 a.m., Chemung County Sheriff and GOP LG candidate Chris Moss appears live on “First News in the Morning” on WIBX 950 AM, Utica.
At 7:15 a.m., former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, now president of Washington investment consulting firm Greenspan Associates LLC, speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations; 58 E. 68th St., Manhattan.
At 9 a.m., Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins is a guest on Radio Woodstock, 100.1 FM.
Also at 9 a.m., SUNY chancellor Nancy Zimpher delivers keynote address for SUNY’s 4th annual Critical Issues In Higher Education conference at The New York Times Center, 242 W. 41st St., Manhattan.
At 9:15 a.m., US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and NYC Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg deliver keynote speeches to open an annual workshop titled “Transforming Access, Mobility and Delivery in Cities: Turning Knowledge into Action,” Ford Foundation, 320 E. 43rd St., Manhattan.
At 10 a.m., Rep. Dan Maffei will welcome Rep. Joe Kennedy III to NY-24 for a tour of the Historic Tipperary Hill Neighborhood, (Stone Throwers Monument, Tompkins Street and Milton Avenue, Syracuse), followed by phone banking, (NYS Democratic Committee field office, 521 East Washington St., Syracuse).
At 10:15 a.m., GOP gubernatorial candidate and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino will be a guest on “Live from the State Capitol” with host Fred Dicker, Talk 1300 AM.
At 10:30 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks after helping to rebuild a Sandy-damaged home, 2924 Neptune Ave., Brooklyn.
Also at 10:30 a.m., Hawkins is a guest on WGXC, community radio for Greene and Columbia counties, 90.7 FM and streaming at http://www.wgxc.org.
Also at 10:30 a.m., Astorino will tour businesses affected by Sandy, starting at Curran’s Butchers, 239 Beach 116th St., Rockaway Park.
At 11 a.m., Cuomo highlights Superstorm Sandy recovery, 109 Fox Beach Ave., Staten Island.
Also at 11 a.m., Moss greets voters with Onondaga County Sheriff candidate Gene Conway, Stella’s Diner, 110 Wolf St., Syracuse.
At noon, the Commission on the Public’s Health System and SEIU Doctors Council sponsor a a “Rally for Respect and Quality Patient Care”; Woodhull Medical Center, 760 Broadway, Brooklyn.
Also at noon, de Blasio holds a press conference, Midland Beach Fishing Pier Boardwalk, 664 Father Capodanno Blvd., Staten Island.
Also at noon, Moss greets voters with state Comptroller candidate Bob Antonacci and Conway at the Onondaga Senior Center, 4834 Velasko Rd., Syracuse.
Also at noon, Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hocul speaks at the Cayuga Chamber of Commerce Business Luncheon, Cayuga Centers, 210 Osborne St. Annex, Auburn.
Also at noon, Astorino will hold a press conference with Long Island residents on an AARP study that shows 70 percent of baby boomers plan to leave NYS when they retire, Nautical Mile, Woodcleft Avenue & Suffolk Street, Freeport.
At 12:30 p.m., Astorino will be a guest on Long Island News radio with host John Gomez.
At 1 p.m., Moss greets voters with Antonacci and Conway at the Clay Senior Center, 4948 State Highway 31, Clay.
At 2:45 p.m., Moss tours North Star Orchards with Rep. Richard Hanna, 4741 State Route 233, Westmoreland.
At 3 p.m., Hochul tours Eastman Business Park with LG Bob Duffy and local leaders, 200 West Ridge Rd., Bldg 28, Rochester.
At 5 p.m., Astorino will attend the Grand Opening of Kennedy’s Restaurant after Sandy, 406 Bayside (Corner of Beach 215th Street and Rockaway Point Boulevard), Breezy Point.
Also at 5 p.m., Hawkins holds a meet-and-greet with supporters, Swallow Coffee, 433 Warren St., Hudson.
At 6 p.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosts a town hall forum on Ebola, at which representatives of the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene speak, 1040 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.
Also at 6 p.m., Moss attends and delivers remarks at the Otsego Republican Reception, Cooperstown Distillery, 11 Railroad Ave., Cooperstown.
Also at 6 p.m., Assemblywoman Deborah Glick holds an anti-fracking town hall, John L. Tishman Auditorium, University Center, 63 Fifth Ave., Room U100, Manhattan.
At 6:30 p.m., Hochul speaks at the Monroe County Democratic Party’s Annual Dinner with Rep. Louise Slaughter, Chairman David Garretson and local leaders, Rochester Riverside Convention Center, 123 E Main St., Rochester.
Also at 6:30 p.m., de Blasio delivers remarks at Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, Riverpark, 450 East 29th St., Manhattan.
Also at 6:30 p.m., Astorino will attend the Sandy Service of Remembrance, Boardwalk at Midland, Staten Island.
At 6:45 p.m., House Speaker John Boehner headlines a GOTV rally for NY-1 GOP candidate and state Senator Lee Zeldin, Portuguese America Hall, 1216 Portion St., Framingdale.
At 7 p.m., Hawkins holds a meet-and-greet with supporters, Arthur’s Market, 35 North Ferry St., Schenectady.
With less than a week until the election, the Ebola crisis once again has put Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s aggressive style on full display, drawing criticism, praise and national attention.
Offering the first detailed account of how New York’s quarantine order for travelers returning from West Africa will be put into effect, the Cuomo administration issued guidelines that go beyond federal recommendations but seek to allow people to choose where to spend their enforced isolation.
The father of a Connecticut third-grader filed a federal lawsuit saying his daughter has been unfairly barred from school amid fears she may have been exposed to the Ebola virus while in Africa.
Gov. Chris Christie has a simple message for the nurse quarantined in New Jersey over fears of spreading the Ebola virus if she decides to sue the state for being detained for more than 65 hours: “Whatever. Get in line.”
Christie called the Obama administration’s new guidelines for isolating those exposed to Ebola “incredibly confusing,” and defended the state’s stricter policy requiring quarantines for health-care workers exposed to the virus.
The question of costs has arisen after states scrambled to enact public policies in response to dozens of scares and the handful of confirmed Ebola cases in the US. Many say they will look to the federal government for assistance.
A Yale University graduate student who spent three weeks of volunteer service in Liberia and had no contact with Ebola patients is being quarantined in his apartment. He has been tested three times for the disease, coming up negative each time.
The NY Post “heartily” endorsed GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, saying he “offers a bold platform the Empire State desperately needs.”
Cuomo called a controversial mailing by the state’s teachers union that uses an image of a battered woman in a campaign to defeat Republican State Sen. Mark Grisanti “disgusting” and “outrageous”, adding: “Not only is it unfair to Grisanti and deceptive about Grisanti, but it also exploits the women’s equality movement.”
Bill Hammond says “Cuomo’s full-court press for women’s votes has grated on some feminists, including me, like fingernails on a blackboard,” but the effort nevertheless paid off, as the governor enjoys a wide lead in the polls with New York women.
With six days to go until Election Day, Cuomo is expected to visit the orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Borough Park late this afternoon, though the event is not on his public schedule.
Cuomo’s statements calling public schools “monopolies” that he plans to break in favor of charter schools have his critics up in arms. “It’s like his mouth exploded,” said New Paltz mom and special education teacher Bianca Tanis, who is a member of the group Re-thinking Testing: Mid-Hudson Region.
In the final days of this year’s legislative session, Cuomo left the Capitol, boarded a state helicopter and flew to Manhattan, where he spent an hour talking about education policy with a room full of billionaires at the Forbes 400 Philanthropy Summit.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio steered at least one massive donation from John Catsimatidis to an upstate Democratic committee that promptly funneled the money to two state Senate candidates — taking advantage of a huge loophole in campaign finance rules.
Oct 28th - 8:00 pm
With a week to go before Election Day, Republican Congressman Chris Gibson is on track to win a third term over his Demcoratic challenger, Sean Eldridge, according to an exclusive Time Warner Cable News/Siena College poll of the 19th congressional district.
The poll found Gibson leading Eldridge 58 percent to 35 percent — a 23 percentage point gap. That’s virtually unchanged from a poll released in September that showed Gibson with a 24-point lead. Meanwhile, Gibson enjoys a high favorable rating — 60 percent. Eldridge, a first-time candidate, has become better known, but 35 percent of voters hold an unfavorable view of him compared to 33 percent who view him favorably.
Gibson remains well liked among Republicans, with 78 percent supporting him. Democrats are split, but not by much: 41 percent hold a favorable view compared to 45 percent who do not.
Overall, 28 percent of Democrats poll said they would vote for Gibson, compared to 67 percent who side Eldridge.
Perhaps most problematic for Eldridge is a solid majority of voters have made up their minds in the race: 69 percent say they have made their decision, with no chance they’ll change their mind. Of those voters, 71 percent say they’re voting for Gibson.
“Barring some dramatic, unforeseen event in the closing week of this campaign, the voters are clearly locked in,” Siena College pollster Steve Greenberg said.
Gibson’s lead comes despite a flurry of advertising on television and the radio from Eldridge’s campaign The ads have blasted Gibson for supporting hydrofracking and for campaign contributions his opponent says influenced his votes in Washington. But the ads have apparently had little impact.
Gibson, too, has spent heavily on ads knocking Eldridge as a carpetbagger, while the National Republican Campaign Committee has provided some attack ads as well.
Nevertheless, a plurality of voters — 40 percent — believe Eldridge is running the more negative campaign.
In the race for governor, incumbent Democrat Andrew Cuomo trails Republican Rob Astorino in the 19th congressional district 38 percent to 39 percent. Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins receives 14 percent of the vote.
It’s a reverse for Cuomo, who last month led Astorino 39 percent to 36 percent. Nevertheless, Siena pollster Steve Greenberg says that’s a reflection of the closely divided congressional district.
The poll of 727 likely voters in the NY-19 was conducted from Oct. 22 through Oct. 24. It has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.
Oct 28th - 5:18 pm
President Obama delivered an implicit rebuke to states that have imposed strict Ebola quarantine rules, warning they could undermine American efforts to counteract the spread of the virus.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo will get his second Clinton bump within the span of a week. Former President Bill Clinton will headline a rally for the governor in NYC Thursday.
The Cuomo administration has issued guidelines that go beyond federal recommendations but seek to allow individuals to spend their enforced isolation in a location of their choosing.
A Vermont resident recently returned from West Africa and entered voluntary quarantine, showing no signs of Ebola symptoms.
A spokesperson for NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said: “The City anticipates the costs of preparing for and treating Ebola will be significant – in the many millions…The City will be seeking federal assistance.”
How will Ebola impact the governor’s race?
Citing potential fraud, state Senate Democrats are considering going to court to try and keep all GOP senators from running on the Rob Astorino-created Stop Common Core ballot line.
As a state senator, Eric Schneiderman was a staunch supporter of the CFE case, now, as AG, his office is obligated to defend the Cuomo administration against essentially the same lawsuit.
Republican Virginia US Senate candidate Ed Gillespie pledges in a TV ad to oppose “the anti-Redskins bil.”
“The last time a Virginia Republican senate candidate (George Allen) actively promoted a racial slur, voters rightly rejected him,” said Change the Mascot spokesman Joel Barkin.
The House Majority PAC released a new TV ad slamming GOP Rep. Michael Grimm. The buy is $1.7 million, and the ad runs through Election Day.
New York was again ranked 49th in its business tax climate Tuesday by the Tax Foundation, even after the group earlier this month feted Cuomo for his tax policies.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is featured in a new ad from the Republican Party of Florida running across the Sunshine State.
Our NY-24 debate question on Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei’s baby made national news.
Even the metal detectors have been decorated for the Gracie Mansion Halloween open house.
Newsday endorsed GOP Sen. Lee Zeldin in NY-1, where he’s challenging Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop.
Cuomo ordered the lowering of flags on state buildings to half-staff tomorrow in honor of the 61 people who died in New York as a result of Hurricane Sandy.
The Buffalo School District has an Ebola plan.
US Sen. Chuck Schumer endorsed Madelyn Thorne, the Democrat challenging GOP Sen. Hugh Farley in the 49th SD.
Your political affiliation apparently dictates your taste in music.
Former Democratic LG candidate Tim Wu appears in an anti-Prop. 1 online video.
NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is engaged in a war of words with GOP Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.
A DailyKos blogger predicts Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins will cause Cuomo’s demise on Nov. 4.
NYSUT and Democratic Committee have launched separate, last-minute efforts to push for passage of a $2 billion education bond act.
Cuomo is becoming more vocal about his support for the $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act, but he’s not saying much about Prop. 1, the redistricting amendment he purports to back.
Amber Vinson, a nurse who fueled Ebola fears by flying to Cleveland after being infected by her dying patient in Dallas, was released from a hospital isolation unit.
A plan by Erie County and Erie Community College officials to locate a new $30 million academic building in Amherst is being challenged in state Supreme Court by former County Executive Joel Giambra.
Vowing to break “one of the only remaining public monopolies,” Cuomo said he’ll push for a new round of teacher evaluation standards if re-elected.
Oct 28th - 4:56 pm
The state teachers union — which is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on behalf of Senate Democrats this cycle — is pushing back against comments Gov. Andrew Cuomo made to The Daily News editorial board that public education is a “monopoly.”
Cuomo in the meeting called for a revamped teacher evaluation law as well as encourage more competition from charter schools.
“I believe these kinds of changes are probably the single best thing that I can do as governor that’s going to matter long-term,” he said, “to break what is in essence one of the only remaining public monopolies — and that’s what this is, it’s a public monopoly.”
The comments were rebuked Tuesday afternoon by New York State United Teachers President Karen Magee.
“Public education is for the public good,” said NYSUT President Karen Magee in a statement. “It is not a monopoly. It is the centerpiece of our democracy and what makes our nation great. Reclaiming the promise of public education should be our singular focus. The governor’s comments are an unfortunate distraction from the serious conversation we must have in this state about addressing poverty, funding and real solutions that ensure that every child receives fair and equal to a high quality education.”
The battle between the governor and the state teachers union is nothing new, and as Jimmy Vielkind pointed our earlier, candidate Cuomo in 2010 made similarly critical remarks of teachers unions around the same point in the election season.
Oct 28th - 4:01 pm
A report from state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office found tax collections were $610 million higher than initially estimated, while the state’s finances are buoyed by $3.5 billion in one-time financial settlements.
The report examined the state’s financial situation six months in to the fiscal year, which runs from April 1 through March 31.
“Midway through the fiscal year, New York’s cash position continues to improve,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “Tax collections are outpacing projections and settlement revenue is boosting state coffers. In the short term the state’s fiscal outlook is positive.”
New York has benefited from an avalanche of settlement money, including $2.2 billion from BNP Paribas, as well as $715 million from Credit Suisse.
The report concludes that the state’s general fund ended September with a $8.1 billion balance — more than two times higher than initially projected at the start of the year.
Nevertheless, these funds are considered one-time resources and the state’s revenue position is not expected to be as good this time next year.
While the employment picture nationally and in New York has improved, trouble signs continue, including the current Wall Street dip.
“For example, volatility in the major stock-market indices may have negative implications for the financial sector, which drives a significant share of the State’s tax revenues,” the report found.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed to use the state’s surplus in part to strengthen government consolidation and shared service programs, as well as invest in infrastructure programs as well as more education spending. On the last point, Cuomo has added the stipulation that the added education spending will be targeted toward performance.
Oct 28th - 3:30 pm
A new television from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign goes hyperlocal, with a focus on the Hudson Valley.
Cuomo’s 30-second commercial takes credit for a variety of mid-Hudson Valley advances over the last several years, most recently the introduction of 3-D printing at SUNY New Paltz.
As in his of his ads, Cuomo claims he’s gotten “Democrats and Republicans to work together” as a photo of the governor along with former political rivals George Pataki and Carl McCall is seen.
The ad also makes mention of his “newly enacted plan” that will lower property taxes, though it’s unclear which program is being referred to.
It will be unsurprising if Cuomo releases other regional theme TV ads, though he’s already had Republican county executives Joanie Mahoney in central New York and Ed Mangano of Nassau release spots praising Cuomo’s work on behalf of their areas.
Here’s the script:
“The Hudson Valley economy struggled for years, and the state government was little help. But four years ago, Governor Cuomo started shaking up Albany, getting Democrats and Republicans to work together to lower taxes and create jobs, and his newly enacted plan will lower property taxes. Thousands of new jobs are underway, like at the new Tauro Medical School in Orange, the GAP distribution facility in Duchess, and 3D Printing at SUNY New Paltz. Reelect Governor Cuomo. He works for the Hudson Valley.”