TWC News/Siena College Poll: Gibson Lead Unchanged Over Eldridge

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.

CD191014 Crosstabs by Nick Reisman

Extras

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.

NYSUT Decries Cuomo’s Monopoly Comments

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.

Comptroller: Tax Collections Higher Than Estimated

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.

2014-15 Midyear Report by Nick Reisman

Cuomo Releases HV-Themed Ad

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.”

Grisanti’s Daughter Comes To His Defense

Sen. Mark Grisanti, who, like other Republican incumbents and first-time candidates across the state, is under fire from Democrats and their allies in women’s rights advocacy organizations for failing to support the full Women’s Equality Act, has tapped his daughter, Theresa, to defend his record.

A WNY SoP reader forwarded a robocall he received from Theresa Grisanti, (who I believe is 26), who insists her father has “been there for all women in New York State” and “will continue to fight for women’s equality” if re-elected on Nov. 4.

Grisanti, like his GOP colleagues, opposes the abortion rights plank of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act, but voted “yes” on the nine remaining planks when they were brought to the floor as stand alone bills. Nevertheless, the senator’s opponents – most notably NYSUT – have been casting him as anti-woman. Grisanti is one of a handful of Republicans in hotly contested districts targeted by a mailer paid for by NYSUT’s political arm that features a graphic image of a domestic violence victim.

Democrats like Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz have deemed the mailer “disgusting,” and called on Grisanti’s Democratic opponent, Marc Panepinto, to repudiate it. Grisanti himself has called for an apology. (So far, that has not been forthcoming; NYSUT remains unapologetic about the mailer, and Panepinto’s campaign has sought to distance the candidate from it, while also not decrying its existence).

Theresa Grisanti notes in her call that her father is running on the Independence Party line next month. He lost the GOP primary in September to attorney Kevin Stocker.

Here’s the robocall script:

“Hi, my name is Theresa Grisanti, and I’m calling to tell you about my dad, Mark Grisanti. He has always been there for me, and he has been there for all women in New York State.

My dad voted for women’s equality in Albany. He voted for equal pay for equal work. He voted to increase penalties for human trafficking, and he voted to make sure no women ever has to put up with harassment in the workplace.

I know my dad, and I can promise you, he will continue to fight for women’s equality.

I hope you will join me on Election Day, November 4th, and vote for my dad, Mark Grisanti, on Row 11 E. Thank you.”

Gibson Ad: You Don’t Know Eldridge

The latest ad from Republican Rep. Chris Gibson is short, but to the point: Democrat Sean Eldridge is is misleading voters.

The 15-second TV commercial — airing in the costlier New York City broadcast market — also includes a cameo from The New York Post’s Fred Dicker.

The spot contends that Eldridge is “running false ads on fracking” and reignites the carpetbagging charge that he moved to the 19th congressional district only to run for the Hudson Valley House seat.

Gibson even finds time in the spot to reference The New York Times profile that featured the expansive home Eldridge and his husband Chris Hughes share.

Here’s the script:

Narrator: Think you know Sean Eldridge?

Fred Dicker: Nobody really knows anything…

Narrator: Except he moved here to buy a district and is running false ads on fracking, leading our neighbors to ask “how can he expect to represent people he doesn’t know?”

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

A Siena College/Time Warner Cable News poll will be unveiled this evening taking a look at the race for the 19th congressional district.

Enviros File Suit Over Clean Water Loan

A coalition of environmental groups on Tuesday filed a lawsuit to challenge the state’s efforts to gain access to more than $500 million from a clean-water revolving fund to help pay for the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement.

The suit, filed in state Supreme Court in Albany, comes after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency denied the broad majority of the loan — $482 million — which state officials at the Public Authorities Control Board and later the Thruway Authority had approved over the summer.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration, which initially sought the $511 million loan as a key component to fund the bridge replacement, is appealing the decision.

Filing suit were environmental groups Riverkeeper, Waterkeeper Alliance and the Environmental Advocates of New York.

“The EPA took an important step in disallowing the brunt of this loan. However, Albany has vowed to appeal EPA’s decision,” said Paul Gallay, President of Riverkeeper. “The surest way to protect this vital funding source for its intended purpose is to make sure the Court has jurisdiction to enforce the Clean Water Act as necessary.”

At the heart of the legal challenge to the loan is an effort from environmental groups to “invalidate” the state’s plan.

After federal officials denied most of the loan, Cuomo downplayed its importance to the overall bridge construction project.

A final price tag for the replacement bridge has not been set, but it is estimated it will cost about $3.2 billion.

Cuomo has said he plans to seek additional state and federal funds for the bridge project, but is yet to say conclusively whether any toll hikes will be necessary to pay for the project or what tolls on the new bridge will cost.

20141027 TZB Notice Verified Petition Complaint FINAL for e Distribution by Nick Reisman

Teachers, Gambling, Campaign Finance Dominate Lobbying Scene

The state teachers union led the way in lobbying state government over the first six months of 2014, according to a report released Tuesday by ethics regulators.

A report from the Joint Commission on Public Ethics found lobbyists spent a combined $109.8 million trying to influence state government — a 4 percent increase from the same time period in 2013.

The top spender from January through June was the New York State United Teachers union, which spent more than $2.6 million.

On the city-wide level, the United Federation of Teachers spent $718,306 on lobbying activities and compensation, making them rank sixth overall.

NYSUT often spends heavily on pushing education issues in the halls of the Capitol. This year was an especially busy one, given the fights over the implementation of the Common Core standards, as well as eventual alterations to how they impact students and later the state teacher evaluation law.

Coming in second was a coalition backed by gambling interests that opposes casino expansion, which spent $1.47 million.

And the Public Campaign Action Fund, an organization that supports the public financing of political campaigns spent $1.36 million. The push for public financing is becoming a perennial issue in Albany and one that’s currently being fought out at the ballot box. A political action committee that backs public financing, Friends of Democracy, is spending heavily on behalf of Senate Democrats to create a public financing program.

This past legislative session brought the creation of a public financing program, but only for the state comptroller’s race this year. Republican Bob Antonacci is participating in the program; Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is not.

Meanwhile, the Greater New York Hospital Association spent $1.1 million, with the bulk of that money going to direct compensation.

The top shop when it came to compensation for the first half of the year was Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, which posted $5.6 million in compensation and expenses. They were followed by Park Strategies, which posted $3.9 million.

The full data set can be viewed here.

There are 6,851 individual lobbyists registered with the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or about 32 lobbyists per Senate and Assembly district.

In SD-46, The Deluge Of Mail Continues

Voters in the 46th Senate district continue to receive an avalanche of mail from the campaigns of Democratic Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk and her Republican rival, former Assemblyman George Amedore.

All told, one household in the district received 15 mailers in recent weeks for the one state Senate campaign. The mail was paid for by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee as well as the state party, along with Republican state committee mail and labor-backed mailers.

A lot of the mail from the Democratic side focuses on Tkaczyk’s support for the full women’s agenda and bashes Amedore for not backing the full 10-point plan (He opposes the abortion plank that would codify Roe v. Wade in state law).

One mail piece from Amedore’s campaign, for instance, plays loose with the facts. The mailer claims Tkaczyk is “rolling out the red carpet to illegal immigrants” through backing the Dream Act as well as a measure that would allow undocumented immigrants voting rights and the ability to collect welfare.

Tkaczyk has voted in favor of the Dream Act, which would allow undocumented immigrants access to tuition assistance. But the claim that Tkaczyk supports Sen. Gustavo Rivera’s measure to allow undocumented migrants voting privileges in some cases as well as the ability to collect welfare is outright false. Tkaczyk in a statement back in September said she was opposed to the measure after The New York Post first amplified the “New York Is Home” bill.

A more truthful attack is one that paints Tkaczyk has having taken money from “NYC special interests” including Jonathan Soros’ super PAC that supports the public financing of political campaigns. That attack, of course, ignores the flood of money from the Real Estate Board of New York backing Amedore’s campaign.

In a more positive note, Amedore has a mailer geared toward seniors, with pledges to restore STAR rebates, scuttle an energy tax once and for all, and pump up funding for the EPIC prescription drugs program.

On the Democratic side, a mailer takes Amedore to task for backing tax hikes and education funding cuts, all of which were part of larger budget packages.

Here’s a sampling of the mail.