Cuomo Releases Plans For Cuomo 2.0

After facing questions over his lack of a second term agenda, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign released a 245-page policy book on Thursday that outlines a series of issues he would seek to tackle in the next four years.

There are some new proposals in the book, including plans to hire a “chief risk officer” as well as plans to streamline the state’s licensing and regulatory

A broad swath of the governor lays out in the policy book, “Moving The New New York Forward,” has already been laid down by Cuomo during his re-election campaign, and the release of the book today seemingly acts as a summary of the provisions for term two.

Those proposals include a $500 million investment in broadband Internet access in rural upstate areas, the creation of an infrastructure bank, using $500 million from the state’s surplus to further provide incentives to local governments to consolidate and share services and the Global NY initiative, meant to promote overseas trade of state businesses.

His proposal for upgrading New York City airports JFK and LaGuardia is also detailed as well.

Other areas are ones Cuomo has proposed before, including the 10-point women’s agenda, which he first unveiled in 2013 and is running on as a key campaign issue.

Cuomo also makes a point of noting in the book he continues to back the public financing of political campaigns, a program that liberal advocacy organizations and labor groups have been pushing for over the last four years.

“The governor will continue to fight for the creation of public financing of elections,” the book states.

Election reform proposals include simplifying the state ballots and making it easier to vote. He also dusts off his support for lowered contribution limits for corporations, party transfers and housekeeping or “soft money” accounts.

Cuomo adds he backs the Dream Act, as well as a faster increase in the state’s minimum wage — two promises made to the Working Families Party in May when he received the labor-backed group’s endorsement. Nevertheless, Cuomo’s support for “further proposals” for a minimum wage hike — either on the local level through a state formula or to $10.10 is left vague.

“… the Governor remains deeply committed to pursuing further proposals that would expedite the increase or enhance the minimum wage going forward.”

He plans to replicate the “Buffalo Billion” economic development initiative in other upstate cities through the creation of the Upstate Revitalization Fund.

Cuomo would convene a local government summit to discuss “best practices” on reducing taxes.

Cuomo in 2010 got much more down in the weeds.

At the time, he released a series of policy-laden books with different subjects including agriculture, ethics and energy.

Moving the New NY Forward by Andrew M Cuomo by Nick Reisman

The Tom And Eric Show Hits The Road

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will hold joint campaign appearances in Nassau, Westchester and Orange counties on Friday as part of a GOTV effort.

DiNapoli and Schneiderman, Democrats both, have worked closely when it comes to investigating public wrongdoing, most notably on the case of William Rapfogel, the disgraced former head of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, now facing a prison sentence for siphoning funds from the charity.

Both the AG and the comptroller, too, have had a rocky relationship with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Over the last four years, Cuomo at times has sought to extend the reach of the governor’s office into territory formerly held by the attorney general’s office, which he himself occupied from 2007 through 2011.

In a questionnaire from Citizens Union, Cuomo’s campaign would not take a position on whether the AG’s office should be empowered to go after public corruption.

DiNapoli, meanwhile, was not endorsed by Cuomo in 2010 during a particularly difficult re-election campaign.

Since then, DiNapoli has been critical of aspects of the state’s finances, which has led to some interesting blow-ups between his office and the state Division of Budget.

Cuomo, who has not campaigned with the other two Democrats on the statewide ticket this fall, issued endorsements for both Schneiderman and DiNapoli at the state Democratic convention in May.

Both Schneiderman and DiNapoli lead their Republican opponents, John Cahill and Bob Antonacci respectively, by double digits, according to this week’s Siena College poll.

Gibson Releases 5th Ad of NY-19 Race, ‘Clear Choice’ (Updated)

Rep. Chris Gibson released his fifth TV ad of his re-election battle in NY-19 with his opponent, Sean Eldridge – a spot that seeks to highlight the main differences between the incumbent Republican congressman and the Democratic newcomer.

The ad, “Clear Choice,” is a sort of amalgamation of arguments Gibson has made throughout the campaign. It touts the congressman’s record in public office and paints him as a dedicated local family man, while also swiping at Eldridge, depicting him as an inexperienced carpbetbagger who has run a negative campaign fueled largely by the wealth of his husband, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes.

“Voters want a representative in Washington who they can trust. Chris’s lifetime of honorable service to his country and constituents in New York is a record we can be proud of,” said Gubson’s campaign manager Kevin Crumb. “Unfortunately, Sean Eldridge has shown that he’ll do anything to be elected to Congress – including district-shopping and spending millions of his personal fortune to misrepresent Chris’s record.”

Gibson has used this line of attack many times – including in the NY-19 debate that TWC News hosted yesterday and aired last night. (In case you missed it, you can find it here).

UPDATE: Eldridge’s campaign released a point-by-point rebuttal of Gibson’s ad, which spokeswoman Sophie Friedman, said proves the congressman is willing to “lie to his friends and neighbors” and continues his practice of “false, personal attacks against Sean.”

Team Eldridge notes that Gibson is a member of the “least productive Congress in history,” and therefore cannot honestly claim to be working hard on behalf of his constituents. It also points out that the congressman supports fracking and has received a 33 percent lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters.

What’s more, according to Eldridge’s campaign, Gibson has “refused to lead by example and speak out against the more than $5 million that has been spent by outside groups on his three bids for Congress.”

Here’s the script for Gibson’s new ad:

Female Narrator: “The story of Chris Gibson’s life of service starts here.

Male Narrator: But Sean Eldridge just moved here, filing to run for office before registering to vote.

Female Narrator: While Chris worked hard for us…

Male Narrator: Eldridge was deceiving you about Chris’ position on fracking, distorting Chris’s record of protecting our environment.

Female Narrator: Chris proposed to limit spending in this election.

Male Narrator: But billionaire Eldridge said no, supporting tax dollars paying for politicians’ negative ads.

Female Narrator: This election comes down to trust. The clear choice? Chris Gibson.

Chris Gibson: I’m Chris Gibson and I approve this message.

Balboni for Schneiderman (Again)

Former GOP Sen. Mike Balboni and his wife will host a fund-raiser for Democratic state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman next Monday at their Long Island home, according to an invitation sent out by the Nassau County Democratic Party.

The event, which costs between $1,000 (for individuals) and $10,000 (for hosts) to attend, will provide Schneiderman will a last-minute infusion of cash as he heads into the final days of the race with his GOP challenger, former Pataki administration official John Cahill.

Balboni and Schneiderman were once Senate colleagues, and the former senator – who refers to himself as a “lifelong Republican” – crossed party lines to endorse Schneiderman the first time he ran for AG in 2010 against GOP Staten Island DA Dan Donovan.

Balboni’s efforts on behalf of the Democratic AG could be viewed as a snub to Cahill. But the ex-lawmaker’s dalliances with Democrats date back a long way.

Balboni angered his fellow Republicans when he departed the Senate in December 2006 to accept a job offer from Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer, serving as the administration’s homeland security czar.

Balboni has long held his Long Island seat largely by force of personality (and incumbancy). Fueled by camapign cash that Spitzer, who was very interested in wresting control of the Senate from the GOP, the Democrats won the seat in a 2007 special election, elevating Democratic Nassau County Legislator Craig Johnson to the state legislative post.

Johnson won a full two-year term in the 2008 elections, but lost his seat in a very tight race 2010 to Republican Mineola Mayor Jack Martins, who is now in a hotly contested race with Democratic businessman Adam Haber.

Balboni remained in his post following Spitzer’s resignation due to a prostitution scandal, but tendered his resignation to Spitzer’s successor, former Gov. David Paterson, in January 2010, to take a job in the private sector. In 2012, he founded a consulting/lobbying firm – RedLand Strategies - that focuses on public safety, government relations, media management and business development.

The former senator has been mentioned from time to time as mulling a potential return to political life, but has so far restricted his efforts to raising campaign cash for other candidates. He

Earlier this year, Balboni, who has some clients who do business with the state, co-hosted a “Republicans for Cuomo” event at The Pierre Hotel in Manhattan, – an event for which tickets went for as much as $50,000 a head.

Balboni is not alone among Nassau County Republicans in his support of Cuomo. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano crossed party lines to not only endorse, but appear in a TV ad on behalf of, the Democratic governor this campaign season.

Meanwhile, Nassau County GOP Chairman Joe Mondello will be hosting a luncheon fund-raiser for Cuomo’s opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, on Monday – the same day as the Balboni event.

24-Hour Notices: Labor Comes In Big For Senate Democrats

The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee received a flood of donations on Wednesday from high-profile labor groups that support the conference’s takeover of the state Senate.

Filings with the state Board of Elections show the contributions range include $12,500 from the AFL-CIO and $50,000 from the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union.

The political action committee of the Theatrical Teamsters Local 817 contributed $6,000.

One of the largest contributions came from JSTD Madison LLC, which gave $102,300, records show.

The conference also received a $40,000 contribution from Stephen Silberstein, a California software magnate and Democratic Party booster.

All told, the mainline Democratic conference received more than $408,000 in contributions in a one-day period.

The money comes after a filing earlier this month showed the conference with $1.4 million in cash on hand, compared to the $2.8 million in the bank for the Senate Republican Campaign Committee.

With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, Democrats are trying to defend three seats upstate held by freshman Sens. Cecilia Tkaczyk, Ted O’Brien and Terry Gipson.

The conference is also trying to play some offense, including open seats in Suffolk and Westchester counties as well as trying to knock off GOP incumbent Jack Martins.

24-Hour Notices: Astorino Picks Up NRA Money

Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino’s gubernatorial campaign received a $5,000 contribution from the NRA Political Victory Fund, 24-hour notices show.

The national NRA has not spent much time investing in New York races, despite the widespread controversy among gun owners over the SAFE Act, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature gun control law from 2013.

Astorino, who is staunchly opposed to the SAFE Act, told reporters in Albany earlier today contributions were coming in following last night’s debate.

“We got a flood of donations after the debate last night online,” Astorino said. “They were very receptive to our message.”


Astorino Calls For Second Debate

Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino in Albany on Thursday renewed his call for a one-on-one televised debate, saying last night’s forum didn’t provide for enough airing of key issues such as the SAFE Act.

“I’m going to call for another debate right now,” Astorino said. “Let’s see if the governor has the guts to do that, the courage to do that. He has an obligation to the people to do that, because I think clearly last night what you saw 12 minutes for each in a very tightly formatted debate where there wasn’t a free flow of discussions, where there wasn’t follow up most of the time, and there were a lot of topics that wasn’t discussed at all and I think we need to have that kind of honest debate.”

Cuomo had agreed to the televised Buffalo debate, which also featured Green party candidate Howie Hawkins and Libertarian Michael McDermott.

Both Cuomo and Astorino largely ignored the minor-party candidates and instead traded blows with one another over the federal government’s housing settlement with Westchester County, as well as the Moreland Commission inquiry from the U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

Astorino took particular umbrage at Cuomo blasting his stance against the affordable housing settlement, saying it hurt minorities, with the GOP candidate accusing Cuomo of playing “the race card.”

But Astorino pushed back, saying the governor could be indicted for his office’s interference in the Moreland Commission’s work.

“He very well could have broken laws and many people think he did,” he said.

Cuomo’s campaign — without consulting Astorino’s camp — agreed to the Buffalo debate as well as a one-on-one radio debate in New York City.

Astorino insisted he did not regret turning down the radio debate.

“It needs to be televised and last night was the perfect reason why,” Astorino said.

A Siena College poll released this week showed Cuomo leading Astorino by 21 percentage points, but the governor’s favorability rating is slipping to its lowest level.

Astorino hasn’t gained much ground on Cuomo, but he insisted the tide is turning in his favor.

“We’re coming down the homestretch now and feel good about where we’re going,” Astorino said. “Momentum is clearly on our side.”


19th Congressional District Debate

Time Warner Cable News hosted an exclusive debate between the two candidates vying for the 19th Congressional District. Republican incumbent Chris Gibson, who has been in office for two terms, and Democratic challenger Sean Eldridge met for their fourth and final debate on Wednesday. They tackled everything from Ebola to the economy and campaign finance. Liz Benjamin was host with Nick Reisman and Michael Scotto as moderators. Watch the full debate, no log-in required!

Watch Here >>

Skelos: Senate Dems Doing De Blasio’s Bidding

Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos railed against Democrats on Thursday for supporting the Dream Act, a long-sought measure for liberal state lawmakers that would provide tuition assistance to undocumented immigrants.

Skelos, in an interview on The Capitol Pressroom, said the Democratic support for the measure was a sign the conference was in the pocket of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has emerged as a boogeyman invoked by GOP candidates this fall, especially upstate.

“They all support giving illegals — people that are here illegally — free college tuition while 76 percent of the kids who are here get no free college tuition,” Skelos said in the interview. “They get student loans. That’s the difference what Republicans are saying. We’re talking about middle income families and these Democrats are taking the Bill de Blasio New York City talk that is giving people here illegally free college education.”

It’s no secret that de Blasio wants a friendlier state Senate and is backing an effort to give the party full control next year.

And Senate Republicans, too, are getting help from New York City-based interests, including former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Real Estate Board of New York.

But Skelos says there’s a distinction between liberal New York City support and Republican New York City support.

“The difference is we saw what happened when the Democrats were in the majority in 2009 and ’10,” he said. “They increased taxes by $10 billion, they imposed the GEA — gap elimination.”

Skelos is also bullish on the chances of Republicans running in key Senate races across upstate and Long Island, including Mark Grisanti, a Republican who lost his primary last month, but retains the Independence Party ballot line next month.

Grisanti is also getting some help from Bloomberg as well as allies of Cuomo, who have contributed to the New York League of Conservation Voters, which is backing his re-election.

In the interview, Skelos knocked Grisanti’s Democratic opponent, Marc Panepinto, for an election-law conviction.

“I think he’s going to win that race,” Skelos said. “He’s running against the Democrat who certainly has a tarnished background. We’re seeing it in the polls that he’s crashing and I think Mark is going to be very successful.”

Cuomo’s Off-Beat Response To Term Question

Is Gov. Andrew Cuomo becoming pre-occupied by his own mortality?

It certainly seems that way whenever he is asked about whether he’ll serve out a second, four-year term.

Behind the question posed by reporters is obvious: Cuomo is believed to be a potential presidential contender or could be plucked for a high-profile cabinet post in a Democratic administration come 2017.

Each time Cuomo has been asked about serving out a full term, he makes a joke about having a “heart attack” or dying in the middle of the term — seemingly an effort to throw the reporter asking the question off balance.

This has happened at least three times.

The governor at the Business Council’s annual meeting in September was asked about serving out his full term if re-elected by Gannett’s Jon Campbell.

Here’s the exchange:

Campbell: Governor if you’re re-elected in November, will you serve a full, four-year term.

Cuomo: What if I die?

Campbell: It’s a possibility, but do you plan on serving a full, four-year term?

Cuomo: Do I plan on it? Yes. But now you just lost the question when you put ‘planning on it.’

And it was posed to the governor in an interview last week with The Wall Street Journal’s Erica Orden. Again, the mortality issue was raised:

WSJ: Are you going to stay here for four years?

Cuomo: That’s what I hope to do. Unless I drop dead with a heart attack or take a plane to Italy and decide not to come back.

Finally, in last night’s debate, the full term question was asked by panelist Bob McCarthy of The Buffalo News. Guess how Cuomo responded?

“If I drop dead of a heart attack how does that count? Does that violate the pledge?”

After a beat, Cuomo said, “yes.”