Last Night and What’s Ahead

Details on the latest political indictment out of Albany, plus an analysis with NYPIRG’s Bill Mahoney. Carl Paladino also talks about Rob Astorino and Tex. Gov. Rick Perry’s visit, while we also take a look at New York’s education system and infrastructure.



Full Show – 10.01.14

State of Politics LIVE – 10.02.14

Rallying Republicans: Carl Paladino Interview

Looking at Lawmakers: Bill Mahoney Interview

Raising Grad. Rates: Anthony Brindisi Interview

Rocky Roads: Rocky Moretti Interview

DCCC Releases Two Ads Knocking Katko

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has released a pair of TV ads knocking Republican congressional candidate John Katko over Medicare as well as his career as a prosecutor.

Katko is trying to unseat Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei in the 24th congressional district, which encompasses a large swath of central New York.

The ads from D-Trip appear to be part of an increasingly aggressive posture Democrats are taking against Katko.

In one spot, titled “Protect Who,” Katko is criticized for a past case involving a Republican mayor who had solicited sex with a minor, charging that he “cut a deal” for a shorter prison sentence.

“And Katko even agreed to a plea deal with a corrupt police officer accused of rape,” the script says. “Cutting deals with insiders. Letting sexual predators out early.

The material for this ad isn’t that new: DCCC’s oppo file lists both the police officer and mayor stories as “top hits” in an online dossier on Katko.

In a second commercial, called “Depend On It”, D-Trip alleges Katko won’t protect Medicare benefits if elected.

The commercials are to run on broadcast and cable TV starting this week.

Cuomo Says It’s Up To Debate Sponsors To Coordinate

Gov. Andrew Cuomo shrugged off questions about the one-sided negotiations between his campaign and that of his Republican rival Rob Astorino when it came to scheduling debates this month.

Over the weekend, the Cuomo campaign announced it had accepted two debate invitations: One in Buffalo featuring the governor, Astorino and the Green and Libertarian Party candidates that would be televised, and a second radio debate featuring just Cuomo and Astorino one on one.

Astorino rejected the debates, saying his campaign had not agreed to the structure and scheduling of the forums that the Cuomo campaign accepted.

As Zack Fink of NY1 reported, the behind-the-scenes discussions in email between Cuomo aide Joe Percoco and Astorino campaign manager Michael Lawler were one-sided, suggesting that Team Cuomo leapt at accepting two debates without consulting Astorino’s staff.

Time Warner Cable News and NY1 had invited both candidates to a statewide televised debate which went unanswered.

But Cuomo said on Thursday the questions over coordinating when debates take place is up to the potential sponsors (i.e., the media).

“I think it’s more up to the sponsors than anything else,” Cuomo said. “Different campaigns accepted different invitations. I think it’s really up to the sponsors. You have a whole wide-range of opinion here.”

Cuomo again reiterated that the two debates agreed to by his campaign was about balance.

“We tried to find the balance,” he said.

Astorino And Moss Co-Star In New Ad

Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino co-stars in his latest ad with his running mate, Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss.

The ad features both Astorino and Moss ins button-down shirts posed with their families.

Both candidates on camera urge viewers to not leave New York and to “give us for years in Albany, then decided.”

“We know about the high taxes, the job anxieties, and the federal investigation into Andrew Cuomo’s corruption,” Astorino says in the ad.

Moss responds: “It’s why we’re running.”

The 30-second commercial is multi-purpose: Introduce Astorino and Moss to New Yorkers, show their telegenic families and criticize Cuomo without seeming angry or down beat.

The ad follows the first statewide ad purchase from the Astorino campaign that faults Cuomo on the economy, especially in upstate New York.

The spot was criticized in some GOP circles for includning a better introduction to voters of Astorino, who lags behind Cuomo in polls as well as name recognition.

This commercial, instead, features a softer, residential setting and includes Moss, the only African-American running on a statewide major party ticket this year.

Families from Rob Astorino on Vimeo.

A Move To The Center, But Supporting Senate Democrats

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will hold public events for Senate Democrats in the coming weeks as his party tries to capture full control of the state Senate, a spokesman for the state Democratic committee said in an interview.

Peter Kauffmann, speaking on State of Politics Live this morning, said Cuomo continues to support Democrats taking full control of the Senate, a pledge he made upon receiving the endorsement of the labor-backed Working Families Party.

“The governor has made clear he supports Senate Democrats,” Kauffmann said. “He’s endorsed them and he’ll be following them with some public events and actions in the next several weeks.”

When asked if that means campaigning in battleground Senate districts for incumbents in tough races and challengers trying to unseat Republicans, Kauffmann said, “correct.”

Some of that coordination has already started: the state Democratic Committee and Democratic Senate Campaign Committee have paid for joint mailers in the Hudson Valley and on Long Island.

As Cuomo enters the general election season against Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino, he has sought to emphasis his record on fiscal issues, which is decidedly moderate: Spending restraint and a property tax-cap among them.

A new TV ad released by the Cuomo re-election campaign on Wednesday features an endorsement from Larry Rockefeller, a Republican support and donor to the governor.

Cuomo doubled down on the ad with reporters Wednesday, saying he’s campaigning like he’s governing, which is to say drawing in moderate members of the other party.

Cuomo’s comments on Wednesday seemed unlikely to have been uttered when he faced a spirited primary challenge from Fordham Law School professor Zephyr Teachout, who challenged him from the left.

I asked Kauffmann if the governor was moving back toward the middle now that he faces Astorino, a suburban county executive who has won in a Demcoratic-heavy area.

Kauffmann said the point of the ad was to draw a contrast between Cuomo and Astorino.

“He’s even far to the right of state legislators,” Kauffmann said of Astorino. “He hasn’t made many friends in New York state, so he imports people like Rick Perry to speak to his viewpoint. That’s what that ad was saying: He’s not your father’s Republican, he’s not a Rockefeller Republican.”

SUNY Adopts Cuomo’s Campus Assault Policy

The SUNY Board of Trustees on Thursday adopted Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to crack down on sexual assaults on New York college campuses that creates a uniform policy for handling reporting, training and confidentiality.

The plan comes following a renewed focus the problem of sexual assault on college campuses after The New York Times reported this summer on a particularly poorly handled case at Hobart and William Smith College in Geneva.

Colleges have been criticized for handling sexual assault and rape cases as bureaucratic matters, Cuomo said at a meeting of the Board of Trustees in New York City.

“Rape is a crime – this is not subject to a college campus determination or a college campus policy,” Cuomo said.

The plan includes a uniform definition of consent that is “clear, unambiguous” when it comes to sexual activity.

There is also an amnesty policy to encourage reporting of assault and plans to strengthen law enforcement training.

The adopted plan also includes a sexaul assault victims’ “bill of rights” that each SUNY campus adopts. The rights include informing victims they can report incidents to law enforcement and give them access to victim resources such as counseling, health and legal support.

And the new policy includes the adoption of a confidential and reporting protocol for all state university campuses in order to encourage prompt and accurate reporting.

Cuomo, who has three daughters, called the problem of campus crime, especially directed toward women, as a “personal” one for him.

Read Jeb Bush’s Fundraising Email For Astorino

As reported earlier by The Daily News, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has become the latest possible 2016 presidential candidate to help Rob Astorino’s gubernatorial campaign.

In a fundraising email released this morning, Bush points to New York’s poor showing compared to other states when it comes to taxes and business climate — key talking points from the Astorino campaign.

“A strong governor can make a tremendous difference in turning a state around,” Bush writes. “With pro-growth fiscal policies, a quality education system and lower taxes, there is no reason why New York cannot rebound as an economic powerhouse. We did it in Florida. You can do it in New York.”

It’s interesting that Bush would help Astorino considering the latter’s opposition to the Common Core education standards.

Astorino is running on a ballot line created by Republicans called “Stop Common Core” and has pledged to withdraw the state from the controversial standards.

Bush has been a strong proponent of Common Core, which has put him at odds with elements of the Republican Party opposed to the standards.

Earlier this week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry campaigned with Astorino on Long Island and later flew to Buffalo for a fundraiser with Carl Paladino, the party’s 2010 nominee.

Perry’s appearance wasn’t lost on Democrats, who tied Astorino to some of Perry’s conservative social positions.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, another potential 2016 contender, is also due to host a fundraiser with Astorino.

This comes as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has a strong public relationship with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has not campaigned or help raise money for Astorino, the county executive in Westchester.

Hoylman: Strip NFL Of Tax-Exempt Status

Manhattan Demcoratic Sen. Brad Hoylman proposed in a Daily News op/ed on Thursday stripping the National Football League of its tax-exempt status in New York.

The proposal, which follows calls on the federal level to do the same, comes after a series of highly publicized assault cases involving NFL players around the country.

The NFL’s headquarters is based in New York City and is in Hoylman’s district.

In the op/ed, Hoylman writes the state is losing out on “hundreds of thousands” of tax dollars due to the tax-exempt status that is usually reserved for trade organizations.

He writes that if the the league doesn’t start voluntarily paying corporate income taxes, state officials should take action themselves considering that calls on the federal level have met strong resistance.

“If the NFL doesn’t start paying corporate income taxes voluntarily, rather than waiting for Washington, Albany should strip the league of its nonprofit status,” Hoylman writes. “Nobody should be forced to support the NFL’s costly and bad behavior, least of all New York taxpayers.”

The full op/ed can be found here.

‘It’s A Neighborhood Thing’ For Domenic Recchia

Here’s a positive new ad from Democratic NY-11 candidate Domenic Recchia in a race that has becoming increasingly tense as the November election approaches.

“I was born and raised in this district and now I’m bringing up my own daughters here,” Recchia said in a statement. “I want my three girls and every other child in this community to have a representative that will fight for them, and that’s what this ad is about.”

“This is personal to me. This is my neighborhood, my family and friends and colleagues, who deserve a congressman who will put them first and fight for middle class tax cuts, raise the minimum wage, and support commonsense legislation like equal pay for equal work. I’m in this race because this Congress is broken and it’s time our community had a leader in Washington who won’t play party politics to make the situation worse, and is willing to sit down with officials on both sides of the aisle to fix it.”

A recent Siena poll found Recchia and his GOP opponent, Rep. Michael Grimm, separated by 4 percentage points. Grimm, who has been indicted on federal fraud and tax charges and remains under investigation for his campaign fundraising, is a top target for the Democrats, who believe the congressman’s legal problems make this a seat they have a good chance at picking up.

Attack ads and mailers have become the norm in this race, and just yesterday both candidates participated in a rather raucus forum at a senior center in Brooklyn.

“It’s a neighborhood thing. It’s not just standing up, it’s not backing down. That’s how I saved 4,000 city teacher jobs as City Finance Chair. Fought to put more cops on the street, and keep firehouses from closing. And I won’t back down on getting you the middle-class tax relief we deserve. And the Sandy relief and decent transportation system we’ve been promised, and promised and promised. It’s personal. And I’ll stand up to Republicans or Democrats if it means standing up for you. I’m Domenic Recchia, and I approve this message.”

Empire State Pride Agenda Endorses Grisanti

The Empire State Pride Agenda endorsed Republican Sen. Mark Grisanti on Thursday, the last sitting GOP lawmaker in the state Senate who supported the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2011.

Grisanti lost his primary last month to Republican Kevin Stocker, but retains the Independence Party ballot line and is moving forward with his general election campaign.

“We’re committed to securing a pro-LGBT State Legislature that finally will pass laws that will protect LGBT New Yorkers and our families,” said Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Nathan M. Schaefer. “New Yorkers overwhelmingly support LGBT equal rights. We’re proud to support those leaders who have stood with us and have demonstrated a commitment to advancing our community’s priorities.”

The endorsement of Grisanti was announced in a matter-of-fact way by ESPA, which also endorsed Sen. Joe Addabbo, a Queens Democrat who had initially voted against same-sex marriage in 2009, but became a “yes” vote in the lead up in the measure’s passage.

ESPA also endorse Democrat Jesse Hamilton, who is yet to say whether he will sit with the mainline conference or the Independent Democratic Conference.

Democrats are pushing hard for Buffalo Democrat Marc Panepinto, who Senate Republicans have attacked for a previous election-law violation.

Still, the Senate Republican Campaign Committee is yet to make a determination as to whether it will back Grisanti or support Stocker in the general election, which is now 33 days away.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is another outlier in this race: He told reporters on Wednesday in Albany he has yet to decide whether he will endorse Grisanti.

Cuomo supports the full Democratic takeover of the state Senate, but has said Grisanti’s situation is a complicated one for him considering his support for the marriage law.

The governor, a Democrat running for a second term, said this week he is also making a point of reaching out to moderate Republicans as he runs for re-election and his campaign released an ad featuring an endorsement from Laurence Rockefeller.

Adding more of a complication to the fight for the 60th Senate District, Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein reportedly met recently with Grisanti in Buffalo, raising the possibility of the former Democrat joining the IDC fold.