Can Republicans Diversify?

From the Morning Memo:

As the country becomes increasingly diverse, Republicans have staring down the barrel of a demographic shift that could deny them the White House once again.

Donald Trump’s rhetoric on immigration and his dalliance into the “birther” movement questioning the authenticity of President Obama’s citizenship hasn’t helped matters with Hispanic and black voters.

At the same time, a pitched debate is taking place across the country on the role of policing and how law enforcement interacts with people of color.

Still, New York Republicans are confident they can win on the issues when it comes to minority voters.

Republican Chairman Ed Cox in an interview Wednesday here in Cleveland pointed to Republican Gov. John Kasich’s success in the city as a sign the GOP can win urban voters.

“We are here in Cleveland where Gov. Kasich carried Cayoga County which is exactly the kind of county you’re talking about — just like New York City is,” he said.

As for policy, Cox pointed to the Republican Party’s support for education reform efforts that have put them at odds with politically influential teachers unions.

“We have a great message for the inner city minorities,” Cox said. “We have the high ground on the civil rights issue of our time — that’s good education. School choice, charter schools.”

Cox hopes to attract those voters who have been unsatisfied or in some cases hurt by traditional public schools — a slice of the electorate he hopes could make a difference in 2017 when Republicans hope to run a competitive campaign against Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“This is the last issue we need to crack in New York City and to do that we need to locate the voters who are really concerned and who will vote on charters, vote on parochial schools, vote on the problems caused by the strength of the teachers’ unions,” he said.

The Rev. Michael Faulkner, a black Republican running for mayor of New York, brushed aside the more pointed rhetoric about race that has been heard at the Republican National Convention.

“The problems of the black under class are the responsibility of the black middle class,” Faulkner said.

Faulkner was complimentary of Trump, insisting he was no racist.

“I think Donald Trump gets it. He understands business. He understands the way for a man to feel like a man is to help him prosper,” he said.

“He’s never been accused of not hiring somebody or not elevating somebody because of the color of their skin. He’s been accused of a lot of things, but not that.”

Here And Now

Good morning from the fourth and final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland! Donald Trump is expected to deliver his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination for president, wrapping up an unusual and unpredictable convention.

Republicans from New York at their daily delegation breakfast will hear from former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Rep. Peter King and the GOP legislative leaders, John Flanagan and Brian Kolb.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, is in New York City with nothing public planned as Democrats prepare to gather in Philadelphia next week fro the Democratic National Convention.

Your schedule:

At 9 a.m., the Republican delegation breakfast will hear from former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Renaissance Hotel, Cleveland.

At 9:30 a.m., elected officials, including Rep. Jerald Nadler, will call for the immediate termination of the Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) Design + Deliverability Competition, 4 World Trade Center, SW corner of Liberty Street at Greenwich Street, New York

At 10 a.m., Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will join Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez to Mark Launch of New Programs Connecting CNY Residents to Addiction Treatment Services, Prevent Network, 906 Spencer St., Syracuse.

At 11 a.m., Rep. Elise Stefanik will host another in a series of “Results Tour” campaign events focused on her record of results across the 21st District. City Park, across from the Queensbury Hotel, Glens Falls.

At 11:15, Hochul will highlight the expanded manufacturing operation at Matt Industries, 6761 Thompson Road, North Syracuse.

At 1:30 p.m., Hochul will make announcement about clean energy in New York, 191 Clinton St., Avon.

Your headlines:

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was booed at last night’s convention when the former presidential candidate declined to endorse Trump in his address.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence was formally nominated as Trump’s vice presidential running mate, but the remarks were overshadowed by the fallout from the Cruz address.

Pence’s remarks came after Cruz spoke, and the Indiana governor tried to strike a tone of unity at the convention.

Pence is being given the “uncomfortable job” of defending Trump in the general election as the vice presidential running mate.

Trump attempted (awkwardly, jokingly) to kiss Pence after his speech.

Carl Paladino on Ted Cruz: “It was a man destroying himself.”

Rep. Peter King called Cruz’s appearance “disgraceful” after he declined to endorse the Republican nominee for president.

The jeering at the convention appears to have been chiefly led by the New York Republican delegation, which is sitting right up front.

Trump himself on Twitter called the event “no big deal.”

The episode laid bare the deep divisions of the Republican Party at the convention and Trump himself even appeared at the back of the convention hall to seemingly egg on the crowd.

“Ted Cruz knows exactly what he’s doing.”

Cruz is actually joining the majority of the Republican contenders for president, all vanquished by Trump, who did not endorse the nominee.

Cruz lost the support of a western New York man who had organized the Republican candidate’s presidential campaign effort in the state.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, who is considering a run for governor, won’t say if he’s endorsing Trump for president.

Robert Trump was a no-show at a joint event featuring Molinaro and Rob Astorino near the convention hall in Cleveland.

U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long in her battle against Sen. Chuck Schumer sees inspiration in Donald Trump’s presidential bid.

How the RNC is bringing two rival TV reporters together (hint: Very strong air conditioning at the Q).

Sen. John DeFrancisco wearing a cool hat.

Hillary Clinton is narrowing her search for vice president, with the hope of having someone with national security experience on the ticket.

The finalists for Clinton’s pick appear to be Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner raised eyebrows when she helped pay the way to the DNC for Bernie Sanders delegates.

In non-convention news:

A congressional committee has granted the Cuomo administration an extension in turning over documents related to their response to the Hoosick Falls water contamination crisis.

Howard Glaser, a former top aide to Cuomo, also received a $200,000 “balloon mortgage” from a politically connected lender who provided a loan to Joe Percoco as well.

The collapse of a crane on the Tappan Zee Bridge has prompted a review of traffic diversion plans after the incident snarled rush-hour commuting.

Despite lanes reopening on the bridge, traffic problems are still possible.

Through an executive order, Cuomo has extended a worker exploitation task force to combat abuses such as wage theft.

The editorial board of the Rochester D&C is calling for a change to policing in Rochester.

The Rochester woman who was seen in a viral video being arrested during a Black Lives Matter protest shares her side of the story.

Some jailed teens on Rikers Island have earned up to $1,000 for good behavior.

As they battle to keep control of the state Senate, Republicans are facing a series of departures from veteran lawmakers, top staff and a rising star.

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is being criticized by some who say she is too deferential to the NYPD and Mayor de Blasio.

The city of Ithaca is strengthening laws against swimming in its natural gorges.

The city of Rye is gearing up for a legal battle over proposed changes to the Westchester County-owned Playland amusement park.

Gannett, the largest newspaper chain in the country, is making a renewed push to buy Tronc, formerly Tribune Publishing.

Syracuse-based Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is closing its Chicago location.

Former Gubernatorial Candidate Golisano Supports Donald Trump

A billionaire former gubernatorial candidate could be looking to give Donald Trump a boost in New York this fall. That wouldn’t be news if we were talking about Carl Paladino, one of Trump’s biggest supporter, but it was actually Paychex founder and CEO Tom Golisano who brought up the GOP presidential candidate Wednesday evening.

A reporter in Rochester asked Golisano, who ran for governor on the Independence line in 1994, 1998 and 2002, if he would ever consider getting back into politics.

“I’m just an observer from this point on although, I don’t know, maybe Mr. Trump needs some help in New York. We’ll see,” he said.

Of course, Golisano was chuckling as he made the comment. His influence these days is also a bit more limited, now that his permanent residence is in Florida.

The former Buffalo Sabres owner said he hasn’t formally endorsed any presidential candidate but plans on voting for Trump. As for the Republican National Convention, he said so far he’s been impressed.

“I’ve been watching the GOP convention. I’ve found it very interesting, very entertaining and I think there’s an enlivened spirit I’ve seen the last few days,” Golisano said.


The formal program on Day 3 at the RNC convention in Cleveland is (ostensibly) all about Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who will accept the nomination to be Donald Trump’s vice presidential running mate.

Pence will be introduced by one of the men he (ahem) trumped in the veepstakes, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who will be joined by is wife, Callista.

Delegates will also hear this evening from another Trump progeny, Eric; as well as three of the men Donald Trump defeated in the GOP primary: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (who is speaking via a pre-taped video), and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; among others.

The theme of the night is “Make America First Again,” though these themes have been only loosely addressed for the past two nights, so it’s unclear exactly how that figures into this evening’s program.

Team Trump is hoping, once and for all, to put to rest the dust-up over Melania Trump’s Day One speech, which lifted parts of Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech, thanks to a longtime Trump Organization staffer who took responsibility for the gaffe.

While we await the start of this evening’s festivities, here are some headlines to peruse…

Donald Trump arrived – via helicopter – in Cleveland today, and was met by his children; his running mate, Illinois Gov. Mike Pence; and several New York Republicans, including state GOP Chair Ed Cox and Long Island Rep. Peter King.

Meredith McIver, the in-house speechwriter for the Trump Organization, took responsibility for penning the Melania Trump address featuring uncanny echoes of a 2008 Michelle Obama speech, and said she offered to resign but Trump wouldn’t let her.

McIver lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and is a registered Democrat. She has been working for Trump since 2001 — and they’ve co-authored numerous books together for several publishers, including the 2004 hit, “Trump: How to Get Rich.”

Trump’s take (on Twitter): “Good news is Melania’s speech got more publicity than any in the history of politics especially if you believe that all press is good press!”

Thanks to the uproar caused by his wife’s convention speech, the pressure is on for Trump’s own speech tomorrow night to be bulletproof. The candidate’s chief speechwriter, Stephen Miller, reportedly has reassured colleagues that the text as prepared for delivery is wholly original.

Elmira native Eileen Collins, a retired NASA pilot and the first woman to pilot the space shuttle, will address the convention tonight as part of Trump’s “Make America First Again” lineup of speakers. He role has drawn some criticism from former NASA officials and others who think the candidate is anti-science.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, one of New York’s highest ranking Jewish elected officials, ripped into Trump as “dangerous, offensive and grossly uninformed” and someone who has given “explicit endorsement to anti-Semitic imagery.”

Veteran WNY political operative Michael Caputo is wistful about what might have been for him here in Cleveland if not for one ill-advised tweet.

Trump may soon call for the federal government to provide the nation’s 800,000 police officers with training in anti-terrorism intelligence gathering, according to former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

“I would bet my life, if you put me in front of 12 fair and decent Americans and you let me prosecute this case against Hillary Clinton, she would go to jail,” Giuliani, a part-time Palm Beach resident, told the Florida delegation this morning.

When Democrats gather in Philadelphia next week to crown Clinton as their presidential nominee, some of the party’s top U.S. Senate challengers won’t be there.

Protestors were arrested in Cleveland today.

Wendy Long, a long shot candidate who is trying to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer this fall, may be trying to out-Trump Trump.

Trump has not given up on the hope that he can persuade Ohio Gov. John Kasich to grace the stage of the Republican convention with his presence and, implicitly at least, his endorsement.

Following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that has ripple effects on government corruption cases nationwide, two Democratic state lawmakers from Long Island – Sen. Todd Kaminsky and Assemblyman Charles Lavine – are proposing a measure to strengthen existing state protections against government bribery.

This is Jessica Singleton’s last week as chief digital officer of the City of New York. She’s headed to Harvard Business School, and had previously delayed her application in order to continue working for the de Blasio administration.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said it would take “upwards of almost a year” for the department to put into action reforms promised as part of a deal with the mayor and City Council speaker that circumvented a package of police reform bills supported by a majority of the Council.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order to make permanent his Task Force To Combat Worker Exploitation, which is aimed primarily at protecting immigrant workers, permanent, and would also addressing the misclassification of employees.

Giuliani To Address NY GOP Delegation

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will address the New York Republican delegation breakfast on Thursday, the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Giuliani is headlining the final delegation breakfast which is also set to conclude Senate Majority Leader John Flangan and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb as well as Rep. Peter King.

Giuliani remains deeply popular among New York Republicans for his handling of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City as well as efforts at managing the city in the 1990s that included an economic turnaround.

The former mayor, who ran for president in 2008, gave a fiery address at the convention on Monday and has garnered controversy in recent weeks for his remarks critical of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Theme Of The Week: Trump Can Win NY

If there’s a singularly common refrain from the New York delegation breakfast here at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, it is this: Donald Trump can (and will) turn the deep blue state a shade of red.

At the moment, the proposition seems highly unlikely.

Democrats outnumber Republicans 3-to-1 in New York. Republicans haven’t won a statewide race since 2002. Hillary Clinton holds a double-digit percentage point lead in every poll of the state.

But Republicans remains persistent their first home-state nominee for president since Thomas Dewey can flip the state — thus helping them all over New York in key races.

Consider the big applause former House Speaker Newt Gingrich received when he spoke at the delegation breakfast on Monday: ““If we carry New York by the margin we should, we will have changed American history.”

Rep. Chris Collins chimed in, too: “New York is in play.”

Adele Malpass, the chairwoman of the Manhattan Republican Committee is holding media availabilities on the topic.

“Among other topics, she will discuss is the July 19th, Quinnipiac poll that shows a 12 point spread between Clinton and Trump in New York State,” according to an advisory.

Monroe County Chairman Bill Reilich offered a measured take, saying it could force Clinton to spend money in New York.

“It’s certainly a big boost. We believe New York will be in play,” said Monroe County Chairman Bill Reilich. “Donald Trump is a very popular individual, very moving. he reaches out to the middle class, he reaches out to many people. I think that puts New York in play. At the very least, it forces the opposition to spend some money here.”

Monroe County Democratic Committee Donates $5,250 Connected To Bid-Rigging Scandal

The Monroe County Democratic Committee has donated more $5,250 in campaign contributions linked to a local bid-rigging scandal. The committee made the contributions in three installments over the last four months.

An off-cycle report from the committee, posted on the New York State Board of Elections website Wednesday, showed the committee made one $2,000 donation in March and another in April to the Child Care Council in Rochester. The committee provided a copy of its July report Wednesday, showing it made a third donation of $1,250 in July.

The Monroe County Republican Committee contended earlier in the day that what happened to the money in question was still a mystery because MCDC failed to file its mandatory campaign finance report. Democratic Chairwoman Jamie Romeo said that’s not the case.

Romeo said the committee submitted its off-cycle report at the beginning of May and the July report was in by July 14, a day before the deadline. The chairwoman said there was a clerical issue, and it was the Board of Elections’ decision not to post the report immediately.

GOP Chairman Bill Reilich still contended the money should’ve been given back to the county, not a charity.

“Given the fact that the county and its taxpayers were the ultimate victims of this bid-rigging scheme, it is only right that the Monroe County Democratic Committee return the $5,250 of criminally implicated funds to Monroe County and its taxpayers,” he said.

Earlier this year, his committee returned more than $90,000 dollars in contributions connected to the same scandal.

“Rather than be sent back to fill the budget deficit of the outgoing Brooks Administration, MCDC made concerted efforts to make sure this small sum would have a positive impact in our community. Working with the Child Care Council we know these funds will be spent on services to working families,” Romeo said.

Derrick’s 1st Ad: Trump Right, Stefanik Wrong on TPP (Updatedx2)

Mike Derrick, the Democrat seeking to unseat Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik in NY-21, is taking an unusual approach with his first TV ad of the campaign, aligning himself with newly-minted Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on the Trans Pacific Parternship.

“I don’t support Trump, but he’s right that we need to stop the job-killing TPP deal, and take on both parties in Washington,” Derrick, a retired U.S. Army colonel, says in the ad.

Stefanik crossed party lines back in 2015 to vote in favor of the TPA (edited, see below), putting her on the same side of the issue as President Obama, who now finds himself at odds with the woman who is seeking to replace him, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

During the Democratic presidential primary, Clinton came under fire from her opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, for her past support of trade deals -including the North America Free Trade Agreement under her husband’s administration – which have been blamed for job losses in key swing states like Ohio, (which, of course, is where the Republicans are holding their national convention this week).

Clinton subsequently came out strongly against the TPP, although it took her a while to get to that point, opening her up to criticism from opponents on both the left and the right.

It’s interesting that Derrick is choosing to say that he sides with Trump – not Clinton – on the TPP. He’s clearly trying to appeal to disaffected Republicans and independents with this approach. NY-21 is a closely divided district that has changed hands between the two major parties several times over the past few election cycles.

Derrick hasn’t exactly caught fire with his campaign, though he has some time yet. The Democrats fielded a very weak candidate against Stefanik in 2014, Aaron Woolf. She easily defeated him, but was also helped by a strong showing by the Green Party candidate, Matt Funiciello, who is running again this year.

No word from the Derrick campaign about the size of the buy for this ad or the duration of time it will air. Here’s the script in full:

“Narrator: “Who’s right? Donald Trump, who says kill the TPP trade agreement, or Elise Stefanik, who supports it?”

Mike Derrick: “I don’t support Trump, but he’s right that we need to stop the job-killing TPP deal, and take on both parties in Washington.”

“I’m Mike Derrick. I approve this message, and in the 28 years I served in the U.S. Army, no one asked if I was a Republican or Democrat. I put service first. Did what’s right. And that’s what I’ll do in Congress.”

UPDATE: Stefanik spokesman Lenny Alcivar emailed a response to Derrick’s ad, calling it a “false” attempt to “deceive voters about Elise’s strong, bipartisan record of results for the North Country.”

He noted that Stefanik has never supported TPP, but did back TPA – Trade Promotion Authority, commonly known as Fast Track – which would enable the Obama administration to negotiate trade agreements based on predetermined objectives and priorities. Approval of the TPA was seen as essential to finalizing the TPP, a proposed trade agreement between the United States and 12 other nations.

“(T)he news citations used to support Mike Derrick’s blatantly false claim are about TPA, not TPP,” Alcivar said. “Either Mike Derrick doesn’t know the difference between TPP and TPA, or he knowingly misrepresented her position because he has no new ideas of his own.”

As for Stefanik’s position on TPP, Alcivar said she has long said she’s “talking to stakeholders on both sides,” and is continuing to do so.

UPDATE2: Derrick’s campaign has released a statement in response to the Stefanik campaign statement, basically accusing her of either flip-flopping on this issue or at least trying to have it both ways, asking: “Why would she vote to fast track its approval if she doesn’t support it?”

Paladino Hopes For Upstate GOP Leadership

Will the next Republican chairman in New York come from upstate?

That is the hope of Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, who told reporters on Wednesday in Cleveland he would like he next committee chairman to hail from closer to his neck of the woods.

“Generally, Republicans are from Long Island and upstate New York,” Paladino said. “But we have a leader from Manhattan. I think eventually we’re going to see  changes with the leadership, getting some leadership in the party from people who are more familiar with the values of upstate New York.”

Paladino insisted, however, that shouldn’t be him, though he has taken on an increasingly visible role in the state party apparatus after his run for governor in 2010 as the Republican nominee.

“I’m not a party leader,” he said.

Paladino made no mention of pushing for the ouster of Republican Chairman Ed Cox, but noted “at some point, Ed will move on and do other things.”

That will give upstate Republicans a chance to install one of their own.

An argument for a downstate chair of the party, however, is a big one for the GOP committee: Fundraising. An upstate chairman would likely have to have a network of donors they can point to who would help New York Republicans.

Onondaga County Chairman Tom Dadey earlier this year initially indicated he would run against Cox for the chairmanship, but dropped the bid before any voting took place.

“Our leadership has been questioned and I think there’s going to be a lot of changes in the state of New York,” he said.

Flanagan: ‘I Don’t Want To Assume Anything’ On 1199 Nod

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan in an interview on Wednesday said he isn’t taking for granted the support of 1199 SEIU amid reports the powerful labor group will back the GOP conference for continued control of the chamber.

“I don’t want to speak for 1199. They’re going to make independent determinations, they’re going to have their conventions and things of that nature,” said Flanagan, who is in Cleveland this week for the Republican National Convention. “So, I don’t want to assume anything. Any one of our members, myself included, we’re going to run on our record.”

The Times Union reported this week the labor union, which played a key role in pushing this year for boosting the minimum wage to $15, is preparing to back Republicans, who hold a narrow majority in the state Senate.

GOP incumbents are fending off challenges in battleground races in the suburbs as well as parts of upstate New York. Republicans are playing offense in a Westchester County race as well as in western New York.

Republicans ultimately backed the $15 wage plan in the budget, with the pay floor growing to that target in New York City and the suburban counties over the next several years.

Upstate, the wage grows to $12.50 and then is subject to a study of economic conditions.

Flanagan noted he’s worked well with 1199’s leadership in the past, but at the same time wants to continue courting additional labor groups.

“I’ve worked closely with George Gresham and Dennis Rivera and they are good people to deal with,” he said. “I’d love to have the opportunity to work with all people in labor, not just 1199. I think I’ve proven we can do that.”