NRCC Hits Airwaves With Anti-Maffei Ad

The National Republican Congressional Committee has been ramping up its spending in New York in recent weeks, buying air time on behalf of GOP candidates in several contested House races.

Today, the committee is adding NY-24 to its list.

The first ad in $1.2 million worth of air time reserved in the district by the NRCC to assist John Katko, the former prosecutor challenging Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei, is going up today, and will run through the election.

You can view the ad here, and here’s the script:

“Announcer: The definition of a Washington politician – Dan Maffei. Maffei used our tax dollars like his own. Giving his Washington staff $200,000 in bonus pay right after losing re-election.

Now Maffei is back at it, voting to allow first class travel for Congress.

John Katko’s different. He took on violent gangs and crooked cops. Earning bipartisan praise for putting families first.

John Katko for Congress.”

After Teachout-Wu Loss, No Endorsement By PEF

Also from the Morning Memo:

The Public Employees Federation went out on a limb prior to the primary and endorsed the insurgent team of Teachout and Tim Wu – the only labor union to do so.

Now that the primary is over and Team Cuomo-Hochul has emerged victorious, PEF is joining several other unions in sitting out the general election, declining to pick a favorite between the Democratic ticket and the Republicans, Astorino and his running mate, Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss.

“I don’t foresee that the Public Employees Federation will do an endorsement in the general election,” union President Susan Kent said during a CapTon interview lat night.

“I think we looked at all candidates prior to making our recommendation for the Zephyr-Wu ticket, and I think now that the primary’s over we will not be making an endorsement.”

“This wasn’t about ‘find a candidate to run against the governor,’” Kent insisted. “This was about Zephyr and Tim, who were candidates that matched up with us very well and our members were excited about it…This was really something that was really a positive movement for candidates that were aligned very well with our goals.”

Four years ago, PEF broke ranks with its fellow public sector unions – CSEA and NYSUT – and backed Cuomo for governor. This time around, Cuomo is running without the support of all three, and he doesn’t have the backing of the AFL-CIO, either.

Kent said the union’s focus will now move to contract negotiation preparation, noting that PEF has to return to the bargaining table next year – a year ahead of its fellow public sector unions.

I asked Kent if she’s concerned that Cuomo (assuming he’s re-elected in November) might retaliate against PEF for its support of Teachout-Wu.

“I’m not going to choose to believe that because the governor cannot get his own way with absolutely everything that he would be someone who would take that out at the contract table,” Kent replied. “…that’s not something I would put up with, as a union president.”

Business Community Hedges on Cuomo

From today’s Morning Memo:

Four years ago, the state Business Council broke with tradition and made an endorsement in the governor’s race for the first time in its 30-year history, backing then-state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic frontrunner, over his Republican challenger, Carl Paladino.

The decision, made while Ken Adams (now a member of the Cuomo administration) headed the Council, wasn’t that big of a stretch, despite the fact that the business community traditionally trends toward the Republican side of politics.

Paladino, despite his own considerable prowess as a businessman, wasn’t considered a viable candidate. His strategy of bringing a baseball bat to Albany to more or less blow up the establishment didn’t sit terribly well in the risk-averse business world.

But this time around, things are different.

The state’s business community has fared fairly well under Cuomo – perhaps not as well as its members would have liked, and too well in the eyes of liberals, which arguably makes things about even.

This year, however, Cuomo’s rhetoric has taken a decidedly leftward turn – especially given his public support of a full Democratic takeover of the state Senate.

All the talk of progressive policies like another minimum wage hike and establishment of a public campaign finance system and a formal fracking ban makes business leaders very nervous.

Also, the Republican challenging Cuomo in the November election, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, is no Carl Paladino, though he is unknown and under-funded and highly unlikely to win.

So that puts the business community in a bit of a fix.

Should they back Astorino, whose policies are more in line with their way of thinking, compared to this new, progressive version of Cuomo (provided his words aren’t just empty campaign promises)? Or should they play it safe, politically speaking, and either remain neutral or support Cuomo outright?

State Business Council spokesman Gary Hughes told me yesterday that whether the organization will choose a favorite in the governor’s race “hasn’t been determined at this time.” He didn’t provide much more in the way of specifics, and couldn’t give me a timeline.

It’s worth noting that Astorino is on the schedule to speak Thursday night at the Council’s annual meeting at The Sagamore in Bolton Landing next week – site of the infamous Paladino-Dicker smackdown.

Cuomo has received multiple invites to attend, but has no far not replied to a single one, Hughes said.

Other candidates – including Democratic state AG Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and their respective GOP challengers, John Cahill and Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci – are all scheduled to attend.

It’s worth noting that the Council didn’t announce its support for Cuomo in 2010 until early October, so there’s certainly still plenty of time for it to act this year.

Also, Cuomo didn’t attend the Council’s 2010 conference, sending his running mate, then-Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy, in his place.

The organization that represents the state’s small businesses, NFIB, hasn’t weighed in on the governor’s race yet, either.

NFIB released its legislative endorsements yesterday, and its state director, Mike Durant, came onto CapTon to discuss the list.

On the governor’s race question, he said:

“We have a major concern with the governor’s agenda for the next four years with the Working Families Party, talking about minimum wage, talking about a progressive Senate.”

“We’ve seen today labor leaders feel like they’re owed favors now. (New York City Mayor) Bill de Blasio feels he has chits. And that should make the business community and taxpayers feel very concerned.”

“That said, it’s still on the table, we’re still looking at that race, and we hope to have a decision in the coming days.”

I asked Durant if he was concerned that backing Astorino would make him an enemy of the Cuomo administration. He (surprisingly) channeled the governor’s failed primary challenger, Zephyr Teachout, recalling her advice for anyone contemplating a run future run for political office: Be brave.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule. Sen. John Sampson told NY1 that the governor will be meeting with black elected officials from Brooklyn this afternoon in his Manhattan office to discuss education funding, raising the minimum wage and other issues.

At 9 a.m., GOP AG candidate John Cahill visits the new 9/11 exhibit at the NYS Museum, 222 Madison Ave., Albany.

At 9:30 a.m., a hearing is scheduled on the lawsuit challenging the ballot language for Prop. 1 – the redistricting reform constitutional amendment, 16 Eagle St., state Supreme Court, Albany.

At 10:05 a.m., Cahill is a guest on “Live from the state Capitol with Fred Dicker,” Talk 1300 AM.

At 11 a.m., New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters joins the Brooklyn and Staten Island district attorneys to announce fraud arrests; DOI’s offices, 80 Maiden Lane, 19th floor, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., a memorial service will honor the late poet, actress and civil rights leader Maya Angelou, Hillary Clinton is scheduled to attend and speak, Riverside Church, Riverside Dr. near W. 120th Street, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., Rep. Louise Slaughter will visit Action for a Better Community’s Clifford Avenue Head Start Center to celebrate the beginning of a new school year, 1772 Clifford Ave., Rochester.

Also at 11 a.m., a coalition of over 100 elected officials, housing groups, and community activists make an announcement about a new campaign to combat Airbnb and other illegal hotel operations in New York City, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 11:30 a.m., Green Party lieutenant governor candidate Brian Jones holds a press conference, steps of Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers St., Manhattan.

At 11:35 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on AM970 with host John Gambling.

At noon, Democratic state Senate candidate Anndrea Starzak holds a press conference, Broome County Courthouse, 92 Court St., Binghamton.

At 1 p.m., LG Bob Duffy speaks at Datto Inc.’s New York offices ribbon cutting ceremony, Rochester Institute of Technology, Center for Urban Entrepreneurship, Fourth Floor, 40 Franklin St., Rochester.

At 2:08 p.m., Astorino will be a guest on WCBS radio Eye on Politics with host Steve Scott.

At 3:15 p.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina joins NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to tour an after-school program, M.S. 255, Salk School of Science, 320 E. 20th St., Manhattan.

At 4 p.m., Clinton speaks at the conclusion of a “Women and Girls Rising” conference that began Thursday and marks next year’s 20th anniversary of the U.N.’s “Fourth World Conference on Women” that took place in Beijing from Monday, Sept. 4, 1995, through Friday, Sept. 15, 1995; Ford Foundation, 320 E. 43rd St., Manhattan.

From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., National Action Network representatives and relatives of a 43-year-old Staten Island resident Eric Garner, who lost consciousness and died as NYPD officers attempted to arrest him on July 17, hold a vigil; 41 Bay St., Staten Island.

At 6 p.m., Astorino will attend the Feast of San Gennaro, Mulberry & Mott Streets between Canal & Houston Streets, Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., Astorino will be a guest on “Inside City Hall” with Errol Louis, followed by an 8 p.m. appearance on “Capital Tonight.”

At 7 p.m., Chemung County Sheriff and GOP LG candidate Chris Moss attends and delivers remarks at Schoharie County SCOPE Meeting, Carlisle Town Hall, 541 Crommie Rd., Carlisle.


The nation’s gathering war against a new upsurge in Islamic terror hung heavy over the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, stirring both anxiety and determination among those who came to ground zero to remember their loved ones.

Notably absent from the memorial ceremony was US Sen. Chuck Schumer. A spokeswoman said the senator he “had to be in Washington to pass his Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act – a huge priority of the 9/11 families – through the Judiciary Committee.”

This week, 150 miles north of Ground Zero, the Family Room — and a thousand stories of love and loss from 9/11 — has opened to the public for the first time, in an exhibition at the New York State Museum in Albany.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani admitted there were times he was “bluffing” on 9/11, holding it all together to provide a strong facade for shocked New Yorkers.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio defended President Obama’s plans for dealing with terror threats from the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and cautioned against deploying American ground troops.

De Blasio’s top aide, Emma Wolfe, will take time off from City Hall to help Democratic state Senate candidates in key districts – an effort to realize her boss’ desire to flip the chamber into Democratic control to help ease his progressive agenda through Albany.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo may be ready to put the Democratic primary behind him, but a filmmaker who shadowed his challenger, Zephyr Teachout, throughout her underdog campaign is working to edit hundreds of hours of footage into a documentary.

More >

TWC News/Siena Poll: Gibson Holds 24-Point Lead Over Eldridge

Republican Congressman Chris Gibson has a 24 percentage point lead over his Democratic challenger Sean Eldridge with less than two months until Election Day, according to an exclusive Time Warner Cable News/Siena College poll.

The poll found that Gibson, a two-term incumbent, would defeat Eldridge 57 percent to 33 percent. Meanwhile, Gibson enjoys a 57 percent favorable rating. Coincidentally, 57 percent of voters haven’t heard enough about Eldridge to form an opinion, despite his TV ads airing in heavy rotation.

Eldridge also has some work to do with members of his own party. The poll found 25 percent of Democrats back Gibson in the Hudson Valley district. And 60 percent of voters not enrolled in a party also back the incumbent Republican’s re-election.

Eldridge still brings a lot of money to the campaign: His husband is the wealthy co-founder of Facebook and the candidate himself is a venture capitalist as well as an advocate for the public financing of political campaigns.

The Gibson campaign has knocked the lack of ties Eldridge to the district, while Democrats have pointed to Gibson’s support from political action committees and have sought to tie him to the tea party.

Despite Eldridge’s troubles, the poll did find support for a variety of liberal issues.

Sixty-four percent support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants while also securing the nation’s borders. Sixty-seven percent back the so-called Buffett Rule for taxing millionaires and there is broad support — 67 percent to 21 percent — for increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Voters surveyed say they are split on preserving Obamacare, 44 percent supporting repealing and replacing it, and 45 percent opposing such an action.

And in a sign that voters aren’t thrilled with incumbents generally, 71 percent back term limits for members of Congress.

Not surprisingly, the most important issue of the campaign is jobs (33 percent of voters), followed by Social Secutiy/Medicare (17 percent) as well as health care (15 percent).

Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, an early endorser of Eldridge, posted low numbers in the NY-19. Sixty-percent of voters have an unfavorable opinion of Cuomo, compared to 30 percent who have a favorable view.

Matched up with his Republican opponent, Rob Astorino, Cuomo leads 39 percent to 36 percent.

The poll, conducted from Sept. 4 and between Sept. 7 and Sept. 9, surveyed 609 likely voters. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

CD190914 Crosstabs by Nick Reisman

In Brief, Citizens Union Backs Redistricting Language

An amicus brief filed this week in state Supreme Court by the good-government group Citizens Union backs the ballot language as proposed by the state Board of Elections that would change the state’s redistricting process.

The ballot language is being challenged in court under the theory that it is overly confusing and misleading.

Groups like Common Cause agree, pointing to the ballot language describing the proposal as creating an “independent” body to oversee the drawing of new legislative boundaries, but is actually appointed by the state Legislature.

But the fight over the ballot language is splitting good-government groups. Citizens Union and the League of Women Voters argue that the ballot language is an accurate representation of what the the constitutional amendment would do: Remove the process from the Legislature’s hands and put it under the control of a new entity.

“The proposed constitutional amendment is a comprehensive piece of legislation with several interrelated elements that work together to create reform,” Citizens Union wrote in its brief. “The Petitioners chose to focus the court’s attention on just one provision, the establishment of an independent redistricting commission, ignoring two crucial components of the amendment, a provision that makes it unconstitutional to draw district lines to favor incumbents, a particular candidate or a political party, and a provision that establishes a wide range of procedures to ensure an open public process for arriving at a redistricting plan and an expedited legal review for its citizens.”

Disagreement over the redistricting amendment has been brewing since March 2012, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature struck a deal: Cuomo did not veto lines drawn by state lawmakers, and they agreed to adopt a constitutional amendment to change the process ahead of the next round, 2022.

Voters will have the amendment before them in November.

Court arguments challenging the language are due to be held on Friday in Albany.

Complaints over loaded language in ballot referendums are nothing new.

Just last year, good-government advocates and gambling opponents complained that the language for an amendment to expand casino gambling in New York was overly rosy of the benefits of approval. The amendment was approved.

Final Amicus Brief Leib v Walsh (2) by Nick Reisman


Gov. Andrew Cuomo believes the terror threat faced by New Yorkers is worse today than it was 13 years ago.

Former Gov. George Pataki said it is “really disappointing” that high-profile Republicans are not rallying behind GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino.

Cuomo and his girlfriend Sandra Lee participated in a 9/11 memorial motorcycle ride.

The duo rode the governor’s Harley Davidson Electra Glide that bears the number “56.” (He’s the 56th governor).

Cuomo spent $60.62 on each vote in Tuesday’s primary. Zephyr Teachout (who ended up with more than a third of the vote) spent $1.57.

Chris Churchill: “(T)he best explanation for Tuesday’s surprise is this: Many upstate voters can’t stomach the governor’s bullying and impolite style.”

Sen. John Sampson learned on Twitter that the governor would be backing his (unsuccessful) primary opponent.

Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell, chair of the Corrections Committee, is on a tour of upstate prisons. (It’s the 43rd anniversary of the Attica uprising).

Former Assemblyman Nelson Castro received no jail time for his guilty plea to perjury charges, but was sentenced to two years probation.

The Catholic League won’t participate in next year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade because parade organizers reneged on a promise to permit a antiabortion group to march.

Tim Wu on political reporters: They “look like other reporters but they have a poisonous sting.”

Kathy Hochul acknowledged her erstwhile primary opponent by name for the first time on Twitter.

About 35,000 E-Z Pass customers who entered the state Thruway northbound from Route 17 in Woodbury, Orange County, were overbilled for nearly a month.

The Buffalo Bills’ Sunday home opener at Ralph Wilson Stadium against the Miami Dolphins is sold out, and thus will be televised locally.

Assemblyman Michael Kearns is threatening legal action to get information from the state agency responsible for placing convicted sex offenders in a West Seneca neighborhood late last year.

Kiryas Joel is the youngest place in New York, with a median age of 11.4.

Cuomo and NJ Gov. Chris Christie announced a plan to collaborate on enhancing security preparedness and coordination in the New York-New Jersey region.

On the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani recalled the day he calls “the worst day in my life, and in some ways the greatest day.”

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton warned that ISIS is recruiting women as potential terrorists, to attack targets overseas and, potentially, in America.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli endorsed Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice’s NY-4 run.

VP Joe Biden will make a splash in Iowa with an official White House visit next week, just three days after Hillary Clinton basks in a major media spotlight there.

RIP William B. Wilmot.

Teachout: Still No Endorsement For Cuomo

While her now-former running mate Tim Wu has endorsed the Democratic ticket on Tuesday, Fordham Law School professor Zephyr Teachout isn’t quite ready to do that.

In an interview with Susan Arbetter on The Capitol Pressroom this morning, Teachout said is taking a wait-and-see approach as to whether she’ll back Cuomo’s re-election in November.

“I still have real concerns about the governor,” Teachout said in the interview, which was conducted jointly with Wu. “I really want to see what he does during the next campaign. We still haven’t seen the debate, we still haven’t heard him answer questions about Moreland.”

Teachout netted about 34 percent of the vote on Tuesday, a stronger-than-expected showing for the little-known, first-time candidate against the deep-pocketed Cuomo campaign.

Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino this week said he hopes Teachout supporters, presumably left-leaning Democrats, flock to his campaign.

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, too, is making a play for Teachout-Wu voters as well.

Wu, meanwhile, reiterated his support for the Cuomo-Hochul ticket in a Capital Tonight interview on Wednesday, saying that at the end, much less in common with Republicans.

“We were having a battle and now that the primary is over, I’m here to endorse the entire Democratic ticket and join the fight against the Republicans,” he said.

As to Cuomo’s non-engagement strategy with the primary, Teachout took issue with the lack of a debate.

“Maybe in a new media era the Rose Garden strategy doesn’t work,” she said. “I met a whole of voters who said, ‘Hey, he’s not debating you, that’s just weird.’”

Last Night and What’s Ahead

Tim Wu endorses the entire democratic ticket. Plus, Republican candidate for Lt. Gov says he’ll place priority on job creation over abortion law if elected. Plus, how much weight does the IDC really carry? Check out highlights from last night and a sneak peak of what’s ahead tonight:



Full Show – 09.10.14

Tim Wu Interview

Chris Moss Interview

Craig Johnson Interview

Following TZB Controversy, EFC Approves Loan Package For Water Treatment

The state Environmental Facilities Corp. on Thursday approved a package of low-interest and interest-free loans worth $370 million that would go toward improvements at 11 water treatment plants and facilities in New York City.

“The Environmental Facilities Corp. is pleased to assist New York City and 17 other local governments in their efforts to provide safe and reliable clean water systems, improving the environment and water quality, protecting public health, and creating jobs throughout the state,” said EFC President and CEO Matthew J. Driscoll.

The loans come after the EFC and a state board earlier this year approved a controversial $256 million loan package from a revolving fund traditionally used for sewage treatment to the state Thruway Authority in order to help pay for the construction of the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project.

The bridge construction loan was a controversial one among the environmental advocacy community, and some groups have weighed taking legal action and haved called for an investigation of the circumstances surrounding the loan by the Authorities Budget Office.

The Thruway Authority had originally sought a loan double the size of what was approved in July by the Public Authorities Control Board: some $511.4 million out of the revolving fund.

Business groups, too, were skeptical of the loan, believing it was being used in part to mask the source of funding for the bridge construction, which they fear will include system-wide toll hikes on the Thruway.