Hochul Nets More Than $60K (Updated)

Updated from earlier:

The campaign of lieutenant governor candidate Kathy Hochul received $61,700 in contributions over the last 24 hours, records filed with the state Board of Elections show.

The political action committee of the Communications Workers of America contributed $19,500 to her lieutenant governor campaign account, while another PAC, the New York State Conference of IUOE donated $19,700.

An LLC with ties to prolific Cuomo donor Leonard Litwin donated $20,000, records show.

The contribution is part of the 24-hour notices required for primary campaigns, which began this week.

CWA is a founding union of the labor-backed Working Families Party. The WFP openly considered not endorsing Cuomo’s re-election, which would have deprived him of the organization’s ballot line.

In the end, Cuomo won the ballot line after pledging to help Democrats take full control of the state Senate and helping to enact a host of liberal measures.

The contribution to Hochul’s campaign account comes as she is making a renewed push in her primary campaign against Tim Wu, a Columbia University professor.

The state Democratic Committee released a 3-minute YouTube video featuring Hochul touting her liberal credentials and she appeared in a radio interview on The Capitol Pressroom. Hochul is making five different campaign stops in western New York as well.

Meanwhile, a mailer from the state Democrats also features Hocul prominently, while reminding voters to back the Cuomo-Hochul ticket on Sept. 9.

Wu Envisions ‘Public Advocate’ Role For LG

Fresh off his endorsement from The New York Times on Thursday, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Tim Wu was in Albany to criticize former Rep. Kathy Hochul’s record in the House of Representatives.

Wu, speaking at a news conference, railed against Hochul’s votes on a range of environmental measures in Congress, which he said were favored by the Republican leadership.

He added the Times endorsement was a major boost to his candidacy.

“We’re excited, we’re enthusiastic, it’s been a big shot in the arm for the campaign,” Wu said.

Hochul defended her voting record in a YouTube video released by the state Democratic Committee on Thursday, and later addressed the criticism in radio interview on The Capitol Pressroom.

But Wu says he and his running mate, gubernatorial hopeful Zephyr Teachout, are more aligned with the Democratic base in New York who will vote on Sept. 9.

Wu knocked both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Hochul for not agreeing to debates.

“I think they’re making a mockery of democracy, if the democratic process here,” Wu said. “They’re trying to pretend there’s not a primary — that’s been their strategy the entire time.”

After the news conference, Wu walked across State Street to attend a labor rally being held on the steps of the Capitol facing the Al Smith Building.

Speaking to reporters there, Wu pledged to “breathe new life” into the office of lieutenant governor.

“I can serve as a public advocate. My whole life, I’ve put the interests of the public first,” Wu said, adding that Hochul is “going to play the traditional, lackey-like position of lieutenant governor, which in my view is the waste of a constitutional position that the public needs in Albany.”

There is the chance that Wu wins his primary, but Cuomo is victorious in his, setting up a situation in which the Columbia professor is the lieutenant governor to someone who didn’t want him on the ticket.

The result would be reminiscent of Gov. Mario Cuomo’s experience with his first lieutenant governor, Al Del Bello, who was the preferred choice of New York City Mayor Ed Koch during the 1982 Democratic primary.

“I remain very confident and aspect that with the support of a raising movement Zephyr Teachout will pull off the upset of the century — it’s been a short century — but the upset of this century and beat Andrew Cuomo,” Wu said. “That will be the main story.”

And if she doesn’t win, but he does?

“I anticipate it will be a challenging relationship, but I’m prepared to stand my ground,” Wu said.

Hochul Says Support For SAFE Act, Second Amendment Not Inconsistent

Former Rep. Kathy Hochul, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s choice for lieutenant governor, said in a radio interview Thursday morning that her support for Second Amendment rights is not inconsistent with backing the SAFE Act, the controversial gun control law the governor championed last year.

When she represented a heavily Republican congressional district, Hochul received the backing of the National Rifle Association.

But after acknowledging this year she backed the measure, gun-rights advocates called for the NRA to rescind the endorsement.

And yet, The New York Times cited her support from NRA when endorsing Tim Wu’s candidacy for lieutenant governor.

Hochul, interviewed on The Capitol Pressroom, said upstate New Yorkers have a different relationship with firearms.

“I knew everybody in Erie County who had a pistol permit,” she said. “Republicans had pistol permits, Democrats had pistol permits and members of the Working Families Party had pistol permits because it’s a cultural phenomenon here.”

She insisted that backing the SAFE Act wasn’t akin to opposing gun rights, especially the right to hunt.

“The SAFE Act is not inconsistent to the guns I just spoke about,” she said. “What the SAFE Act does it gets at something every reasonable gun owner wants to make sure occurs is that guns don’t get into hands of mentally ill people, they don’t get into the hands of criminals, and we do much more to get illegal guns off the streets in urban areas where they are plaguing our streets and killing our children.”

The SAFE Act was a package of gun control measures that ranged from addressing mental illness, gun crimes and even shielded gun registries from the state’s Freedom of Information Law.

But gun-rights groups have been especially concerned with the more infamous aspects of the legislation, including what is seen as an arbitrary limitation on the number of rounds allowed in magazine.

Astorino Campaign Releases ‘Dear Joe’ Debate Letter

Michael Lawler, the manager for Republican Rob Astorino’s gubernatorial campaign, has sent his counterpart, Joe Percoco, a letter formally requesting debates.

Lawler, in the letter, notes that Astorino earlier this summer had called for a series of regional debates with Cuomo, and adds the “offer still stands.”

From the letter:

“When asked about debates recently, the Governor stated that he will “leave that to the campaigns to work through and my campaign will be talking to my rivals’ campaigns and they’ll figure it out, I’m sure.” Based on his comments, I wanted to reach out to you directly and get the ball rolling. Several weeks ago, County Executive Astorino proposed that he and Governor Cuomo do a series of eight regional debates so that they may discuss the issues not only affecting New York State as a whole, but issues unique to the voters in each region. That offer still stands.

The letter comes after Cuomo, along with his running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul, were invited to a televised debate by Time Warner Cable News and NY1 with their primary opponents, Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu.

Neither Cuomo or Hochul committed to the debate invitations.

Cuomo debated in 2010 alongside a host of candidates in an event that devolved into a circus-like atomsphere. Astorino has said he does not want a debate that includes multiple candidates, just a one-on-one forum with him and Cuomo.

Letter to Joe Percoco by Nick Reisman

Katko: ‘No Regrets’ About Purchase, Theft of Gun

Republican NY-24 candidate John Katko said he has “no regrets” about purchasing a handgun that was subsequently stolen from his truck in 2000 and used in a hold-up and shootout that left two Syracuse men dead.

In a statement issued this morning in response to a Syracuse Post-Standard story about the 14-year-old incident, Katko said he bought the gun – a .40 caliber Glock semi-automatic pistol – as a security precaution against “very real physical threats” against himself and his family during the time he worked in the US attorney’s office. Katko noted he had permission to obtain the weapon and did so “at the urging of the United States Marshals Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

“Fourteen years ago I, too, became the victim of a crime,” Katko said. “My protective weapon was stolen from a locked briefcase concealed from view in my locked vehicle. I left the weapon in that vehicle as my wife and I felt uncomfortable taking it into an area church for a required meeting with other Onondaga County Foster Parent Program volunteers – c learly not an appropriate venue to be carrying a weapon of any kind.”

“This incident was fully investigated by the United States Department of Justice and the United States Marshals Service and no wrong doing was found. The stolen weapon was later recovered on a suspect in a double homicide; tests confirmed the weapon was not used in the commission of that crime.”

The Post-Standard story notes that Katko broke no state or federal gun laws, and he was not disciplined by the Justice Department after the shooting. “But a review of the case shows he likely violated federal policies for the safe handling and storage of government-issued weapons.”

Katko has repeatedly insisted the gun was in a locked case in his locked truck. A police report cited by the paper says Katko told police that the gun – loaded with nine rounds of ammunition – was in a green canvas bag that was stolen out of the truck along with his US Attorney’s Office ID card, personal checks and other papers.

Katko, who quit his job as a federal prosecutor to challenge Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei this fall, accused his “opponents” of rehashing this incident in an effort to impact his congressional run. He insists that “many relevant details” were left out of the Post-Standard story.

“People should know that I never back down from a fight,” Katko said. “And I will not allow this story to distract from the needs of Central New York voters regarding jobs, our economy, fairness, and failed leadership in Washington.”

NY-24 GOP candidate statement on use of stolen gun in armed robbery in 2000. by liz_benjamin6490

In Video, Hochul Touts ‘Progressive Record’

The state Democratic Committee on Thursday released a 3-minute video featuring former Rep. Kathy Hochul touting her liberal credentials in the House of Representatives and urging Democrats to support her and Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Sept. 9 primary.

The video dovetails with a mailer — again, sent by the Democratic committee — that features both Cuomo and Hochul and reminds Democrats of next months’ primary.

The video comes as Hochul faces Tim Wu, a Columbia professor, while Cuomo is being challenged by Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout.

The Teachout-Wu campaign have criticized Hochul for her stances on gun control, immigration and health care, saying they’re out of step with a Democratic electorate in New York.

The video comes as The New York Times on Thursday endorsed Wu, saying that Hochul’s record in Congress was too conservative, citing many of the examples the insurgent campaign has mentioned. The newspaper’s editorial board declined to endorse either Cuomo or Teachout in the governor’s primary (candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run separately in primaries).

But in the video today, Hochul notes that while she was elected in a Republican-heavy congressional district in western New York, she adhered to core Democratic values.

“In the most Republican district in the state of New York, I campaigned hard to fight the Paul Ryan-tea party budget that would have devastated Medicare. Against all odds, I won,” Hochul says in the video.

Hochul casts herself as someone who fought against big-time developers, big-box stores and telecommunications companies. She also quotes the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, a hero to liberals and the progressive movement.

At the same time, Hochul says she “narrowly lost re-election” to the district because she wouldn’t “turn my back” on President Obama.

“Now I find myself with the unique chance to return to my passion — fighting the underdog, challenging the status quo and using all my energy to once again embrace the words of Sen. Paul Wellstone: Politics is not about power, it’s not about money, it’s about the betterment of peoples’ lives,” she says in the video. “Believe me as someone who had a progressive record in the most Republican district in the state, I know these issues are not rewarded at the ballot box, but they are the morally right stance to take.”

In addition to being blasted out to reporters, the video was sent to Democratic party members.

Cuomo announced the selection of Hochul in May at the state Democratic convention.

Her candidacy was seen as an effort for Cuomo to burnish his re-election bid in western New York, an area he lost in 2010 to Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino.

Should Cuomo win his primary next month, but Wu defeat Hochul, the Democratic ticket would feature the incumbent governor and a running mate he doesn’t prefer — an unusual, but not uncommon thing to happen in state politics.

Troopers PBA Endorses DiNapoli

Democratic Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s re-election on Thursday was endorsed by the state Troopers PBA, the latest in a string of labor endorsements for the incumbent.

“I am honored to be endorsed by the PBA of the NYS Troopers. They represent the dedicated law enforcement professionals who keep our communities safe, often placing their own lives and safety at risk,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “The Troopers value the important work of the State Comptroller in moving New York forward. I am humbled to have their vote of confidence and welcome this great support of my campaign.”

DiNapoli faces Republican Bob Antonacci, the Onondaga County comptroller, this November.

Antonacci, who is participating in the public matching system for the comptroller’s race, has challenged DiNapoli to two debates. The DiNapoli campaign says it is considering the challenges.

In its endorsements, the PBA said DiNapoli has been an “independent voice in state government.”

“It is with careful consideration that the PBA is endorsing Thomas DiNapoli in the election for New York State Comptroller,” said PBA President Thomas Mungeer. Tom has worked hard to bring an independent voice to state government. His fight for accountability and responsibility in all facets of state government have brought positive changes for New Yorkers. The challenges facing members of the law enforcement community are greater than ever before, and we need individuals like Thomas DiNapoli in leadership positions to help officers better serve the residents of New York State.”
More than 6,000 active and retired, uniformed members of the New York State Police from the rank of Trooper through the rank of Major are represented by the PBA.

Hochul Hits Western New York

Former Rep. Kathy Hochul is back on her home turf today — campaigning in five separate events in western New York as she seeks to stave off a primary challenge from Columbia professor Tim Wu.

Hochul will appear in Cheektowaga, Niagara Falls, Lancaster and Buffalo on a tour of the area, along with a call-in to WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom.

Hochul, who represented a deeply conservative House district when in Congress, remains a better-known figure than Wu, whose candidacy on Thursday was endorsed by The New York Times editorial board.

But Wu, along with gubernatorial hopeful Zephyr Teachout, have criticized Hochul’s record in both Washington and the Erie County clerk’s office, pointing to her stances on immigration, gun control and the Affordable Care Act that aren’t in line with a broader Democratic electorate.

After she was picked to replace Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy on the ticket, Hochul said she backed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s gun control law — the SAFE Act — as well as the Dream Act, which provides tuition assistance to undocumented immigrants.

Her voting record in Congress, meanwhile, was reflective of the heavily Republican area she represented. Hochul has often cited House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s advice that she vote her district while in Congress (Hochul lost her seat to Rep. Chris Collins following a round of redistricting).

Hochul isn’t the first upstate Democrat to have to re-align her views to fit a broader base: Kirsten Gillibrand refocused her policies from taxes and gun control issues to women’s and LGBT rights issues.

After winning in two landslides statewide for her U.S. Senate seat, the emphasis on those issues appears to have been a success.

Nevertheless, the governor’s re-election team isn’t leaving much to chance with Hochul.

The state Democratic Committee — an entity Cuomo controls — has been mailing Democratic voters this week to remind them to vote in the Sept. 9. The flyers prominently feature Hochul’s image.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in the New York City area and Massachusetts today with no public schedule. (One of his twin daughters, Cara, attends Harvard University, where she’s a sophomore).

At 6:45 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on Fox & Friends, Fox News Channel.

At 7:25 a.m., Astorino will be a guest on AM970 The Answer with host Joe Piscopo.

At 8 a.m., Astorino will be a guest on “Talk of the Town” with hosts Mark Piersma & Frank Elias 100.7FM WUTQ.

At 8:45 a.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina delivers opening remarks at City & State’s 4th Annual Education Forum, CUNY Graduate Center – Proshansky Auditorium, 365 Fifth Ave., Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli hosts a breakfast reception with a major law enforcement union and residents, Holiday Inn Syracuse/Liverpool, 441 Electronics Parkway, Liverpool.

Also at 9 a.m., Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout and her running mate, LG candidate Tim Wu, speak at a public education rally, Village Gate Square, 274 Goodman St. N, Rochester.

At 10:30 a.m., Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul meets voters with LG Bob Duffy and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Alton’s Restaurant, 2550 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga.

At 11 a.m., Democratic NY-24 Rep. Dan Maffei will attend the State Fair. He’ll tour the Upstate Neuroscience Research Building at 1 p.m. His GOP opponent, John Katko, will also be on hand.

Also at 11 a.m., Duffy makes an announcement, Blue Bridge Financial, 535 Washington St., Suite 201, Buffalo.

Also at 11 a.m., AG Eric Schneiderman makes a public safety announcement, Binghamton Mayor’s Office, Conference Room, 38 Hawley St., 4th Floor, Binghamton.

At noon, Wu holds a press conference, Room 120, LOB, 98 State St., Albany.

Also at noon, public employee labor unions and advocacy groups hold a “Vote Your Dreams” rally against public corruption, West Capitol Park, Albany.

At 12:30 p.m., GOP AG candidate John Cahill holds a press conference about the Moreland Commission, 615 Erie Blvd. W., Syracuse.

Also at 12:30 p.m., Farina and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio make an announcement, P.S. 307, 209 York Street, Brooklyn.

At 1 p.m., DiNapoli speaks at the Firefighters Memorial Ceremony at the Veterans & 9/11 Memorial, New York State Fair, Syracuse.

Also at 1 p.m., Hochul tours downtown Niagara Falls projects with Mayor Paul Dyster, Robert Moses Parkway South and 4th Street, Niagara Falls.

At 2 p.m., DiNapoli presents unclaimed funds checks, State Comptroller’s Unclaimed Funds Booth, New York State Fair, Syracuse.

Also at 2 p.m., Hochul addresses Niagara County Democrats, 1412 Pine Ave., Niagara Falls.

Also at 2 p.m., Howie Hawkins, the Green Party nominee for governor, will tour the area around the Chemung County Landfill with local environmental advocates, meet at Riverside Cemetery, County Route 60, just East of Exit #58 on I86, Lowman.

At 2:30 p.m., Cahill holds press conference about the Moreland Commission, 207 Genesee St., Utica.

At 3 p.m., de Blasio holds a hearing and and signs Intro 449, Intro 292-A, Intro 6, Intro 148-A and Intro 441, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 4 p.m., Teachout and Wu hold a press conference on environmental issues, CyberCafe West, 176 Main St., Binghamton.

At 6 p.m., Hochul attends the Lancaster Democratic Committee’s annual steak roast, Bowen Road Shelter, 3937 Bowen Rd., Lancaster.

At 7 p.m., Hochul visits Buffalo Irish Center’s “Under the Tent Series” with Buffalo Comptroller Mark Schroeder, 245 Abbott Rd., Buffalo.

Headlines…

The New York Times endorsed Zephyr Teachout’s running mate, Columbia Law Prof. Tim Wu, over former Rep. Kathy Hochul for lieutenant governor, saying: “Albany needs an independent voice, someone who can bring fresh ideas to a very stale and often corrupt political culture. Timothy Wu is the one who best fits that bill.”

The paper cited Hochul’s “deeply troubling record on health reform, gun control and environmental deregulation,” said said while Wu (like Teachout) is inexperienced, not much experience is needed for the “feeble” job of LG.

When the WFP was still grooming Teachout for a possible run on its line, the party conducted a private poll to test how well an unknown, oddly named law professor might fare in a Democratic primary. They used the name “Teresa Woodstock,” and she got between 11 percent and 19 percent of the vote.

Five ways Teachout differs from Cuomo on key issues.

Outgoing LG Bob Duffy defended Cuomo’s record over the last four years after the New York Times refused to endorse him, saying the incumbent Democrat doesn’t take enough credit for his successes during the first term.

GOP NY-24 candidate John Katko had his own handgun stolen in 2000 when he was an ADA, and it was used in holdup/shootout that left two men dead.

Cuomo’s campaign promised to pay for his excursion to Israel this month. But the well-stocked re-election fund won’t cover the thousands of dollars associated with the State Police detail that provided round-the-clock security for the candidate.

New York State Fair attendance surged Wednesday, as more than 65,000 people attended throughout the day. Officials attributed that in part to concerts by Carrie Underwood and Joan Jett.

More >

Teachout Would Rather Talk About ‘Blowing The Whistle’ Than The Bills

So far Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Zephyr Teachout has focused her campaign on cleaning up corruption in Albany, education, and the economy.  But during a stop in Buffalo it became pretty clear she won’t be spending a lot time talking about the Buffalo Bills.

“I want to keep the focus on tonight.  I want to let everyone know why I’m here and that’s blowing the whistle, breaking the glass ceiling,” said Teachout.

Teachout was a guest of the Buffalo Teachers Federation Wednesday and met with the Buffalo media beforehand.  Teachout was asked several questions about the Bills and if the team needed a new stadium in Western New York.

“I have to look into it further. My biggest focus is on keeping the cost down and that in this area you don’t end up taking on too much of a burden.  So it all depends on cost as well as negotiating the best deal,” said Teachout.  

With the team up for sale and the NFL’s Commissioner repeatedly suggesting a new stadium was needed to keep the team in Western New York, there’s been little talk locally about anything else.  While the gaggle of reporters tried several times to get her to expand upon her initial answer Teachout stayed on message.

“They need their fans and I will be an advocate for all New Yorkers including the fans to make sure that the cost falls in the right place.  If you look at my whole career you’ll see I’ve always fought for an economy that works for all of us and what I look forward to hearing about is what people on the front lines are seeing,” Teachout said.

Governor Cuomo, who’s spent a great deal of his first term trying to win over Western New York, has made keeping the Bills here a central theme of his re-election bid.  Cuomo has been reluctant to commit taxpayer funds to a new stadium but said he would consider it if it was absolutely necessary.

When asked by one reporter if she may look at professional sports and the billions of dollars poured into it differently, Teachout insisted she’s a big sports fan.

“Sports is an important part of my life.  I was the New England Champion of cross country running and a state champion in track and I coached from time to time ‘girls on the run’ because I like to encourage young women to get involved in running.  And one of my core platforms is that we have to see a lot more support for sports in schools as well as arts, and music and counselors,” Teachout added.