‘Team Player’ Reed Focuses On Congressional Races

Republicans at the daily breakfasts of the New York delegation have pushed the unlikely chance of Donald Trump wining the heavily Democratic state.

But Rep. Tom Reed took a different track on Tuesday speaking to the delegation on Wednesday morning, placing a special emphasis on the state’s GOP House members.

“In 2009, the United States House of Representatives, New york had two Republicans,” Reed said. “Now it has nine. That’s a testament you and I thank you to that.”

The redrawing the state’s congressional boundaries in 2012 by a federal judge created a host of battleground congressional districts on Long Island and in upstate New York.

While a Republican still has a difficult time winning a presidential race in the state, New York is a battleground for control of the House of Representatives.

Many of the congressional candidates running in top-tier races in New York, as well as GOP incumbents, are staying away from Cleveland this week.

Reed, however, spoke of a Trump win as beneficial to House Republicans and their agenda.

“With Donald J. Trump as our president,” Reed said, “we will be able to enact the policies and the program that I’ve been working with Paul Ryan on.”

And that starts with pushing Republican victories in key swing districts this fall: GOP candidates are defending seats in central New York, the North Country, the Hudson Valley and on the eastern end of Long Island.

“I’m a team player,” he said. “We’re going to help out our fellow Republicans.”

Reed has expressed reservations when it comes to Trump’s rhetoric, but sidestepped a question on whether he believes Indiana Gov. Mike Pence can moderate the tone of the debate from the campaign.

“We have expressed concern bout the tone and rhetoric and we’ll continue to do that as a events so warrant,” he said. “But my whole role in trying to be part of this process is to be a positive voice. We have to focus on the American people.”

In Cleveland, County Execs Eye 2018

From the Morning Memo:

While the buzz in Cleveland is about who will win the White House, a different buzz was taking place at a restaurant just down the street from the convention hall, where two potential candidates for governor held court: County executives Rob Astorino and Marc Molinaro.

“I think that’s kind of open-ended,” said Astorino, the Westchester County executive.

“You know, everything formally happens in 2018 and we’ll see where the world is at that point. But I’m certainly leaving the door open. If anything, everything we’ve said in 2014 is coming to light now.”

Astorino ran for governor two years ago against Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo. While he didn’t win, Astorino says he remains proud of the campaign and, should he run again, wants more aggressive fundraising.

“I wouldn’t have changed anything other than the fact I wish we had more money back then, truthfully, because it came down to getting our message out and being able to answer his lies and attacks,” he said.

Republicans remain excited by their bench coming up in 2018, which includes businessman and 2010 comptroller candidate Harry Wilson. Carl Paladino, the gubernatorial nominee in 2010, is also considering another run for governor.

One candidate has already taken himself out of the running: Rep. Chris Gibson, a Hudson Valley lawmaker who retires from Congress this year and heads to a teaching job at Williams College.

Astorino may face a challenge for the Republican nomination from Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro. Both men held a meet and great at the GOP convention with New York Republicans.

“Marc and are good friends and have been for a long time now,” Astorino said. “He and I both make each other laugh. We’re both county executives who understand how difficult it is to deal with what the state is heaping on us.”

Molinaro, too, was complimentary of Astorino, even if they may be rivals for the Republican nod.

“Rob and I are great friends,” Molinaro said. “I think our position is work hard, make the rounds, crisscross the state, get to know the people, and really try to inspire New Yorkers.”

Molinaro is also considering a run for governor, saying he cares deeply about both the Hudson Valley and the state.

“I’ve spent everyday in my adult in public office because I care deeply about the people I serve,” he said. “If there’s an opportunity to improve the quality of life and condition for New Yorkers, and I can provide leadership, I’m going to consider it.”

Astorino and Molinaro would face a steep climb if they run statewide, given the Democratic enrollment advantage in New York. Republicans haven’t won statewide since 2002 and hold one final lever of power: the state Senate.

“Obviously runnning statewide as a Republican is difficult just because of the numbers,” Molinaro said, “but I believe at some point New Yorkers are going to say enough is enough.”

Cuomo has said he’ll be running for a third term and has a pretty big deterrent in the form of a $19 million war chest.

Q-Poll: Voters Skeptical Of Upstate Economy And Ethics Reform Efforts

While a majority of voters consider corruption to be a “very serious” problem in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s job approval rating is holding steady, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday morning.

The poll found 56 percent of voters believe corruption remains a top problem for the state government to tackle, while 31 percent believe it is a “somewhat serious problem.”

At the same time, most voters — 50 percent to 38 percent — are skeptical that lawmakers and Cuomo will do anything to improve ethics measures in Albany. The legislative session ended in June, and lawmakers aren’t expected back to the state Capitol before Election Day in November.

Meanwhile, a plurality of voters, 48 percent to 36 percent, believe the current elected leadership is unable to pass new ethics reforms.

Nevertheless, Cuomo’s job approval rating is holding steady at 50 percent, with 40 percent disapproving. This is little changed from an April survey, when Cuomo was given a job approval rating of 51 percent to 38 percent.

A plurality of voters, 33 percent, give Cuomo a “B” grade for the job he’s doing as the state’s chief executive. Only 13 percent give him an “A” grade, while the same percentage give him an “F” rating.

By a margin of 48 percent to 36 percent, Cuomo is viewed as being part of the problem when it comes to corruption, the poll found.

On the upstate economy, meanwhile, voters are split as to whether Cuomo’s efforts will be successful: 38 percent of say his policies will work, 39 percent believe they won’t.

The skepticism is broadest among upstate voters themselves, with a 53 percent to 34 percent margin saying Cuomo’s revitalization efforts will fail.

Only 29 percent of upstate voters rate the economy as “good” while 40 percent believe it’s not so good. Twenty-eight percent rate the economy upstate as poor.

The poll of 1,104 New York voters was conducted from July 13 through July 17. It has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Here And Now

Good morning from Day Three of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland! The state Republican delegation breakfast kicks off at around 8 a.m. and is due to feature speakers John Catsimitidis and Rep. Tom Reed.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and has an event later today.

Schedule:

At 7:45 a.m., Comptroller Tom DiNapoli will speak to the Dutchess Chamber of Commerce, Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel & Conference Center
40 Civic Center Plaza, Poughkeepsie.

At 10 a.m., Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney tours Takasago International Corporation, 114 Commerce Drive South, Harriman.

Also at 10 a.m., Rep. Paul Tonko will tour the new engineering building at UAlbany’s Downtown Campus, Schuyler Building, 135 Western Avenue, Albany.

At 10:15 a.m., Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will make an announcement at Tessy Plastics, 7474 State Fair Boulevard, Van Buren.

At 10:30 a.m., Gov. Cuomo will make an announcement at the Jacob Javits Center, Room 1A14, 38th St., New York.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Assembly Charles Lavine and Sen. Todd Kaminsky will announce a push for new ethics legislation, 55 Front Street
Rockville Centre.

At noon, Hochul will meet with small business owners in downtown Lyons, beginning at 26 Church St., Lyons.

Also at noon, tenants and housing activists; local residents; workers; members of the campaign targeting the Real Gentrifiers of NYC, 1 Dekalb Avenue at Fulton Street, Brooklyn.

Also at noon, Comptroller DiNapoli speaks to the Orange County Chamber of Commerce, Villa Venezia, 2257 Goshen Turnpike, Middletown.

At 1:30 p.m., Maloney tours President Container, 290 Ballard Road, Middletown.

At 3 p.m., Maloney tours GTI Graphic Technology, 211 Dupont Avenue, Newburgh.

At 5:30 p.m., Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan will launch City Hall on the road, Arbor Hill Community Center, 50 Lark St, Albany.

Headlines:

Donald Trump was officially nominated for president by the Republican Party on Tuesday night, with New York’s delegation putting him over the top.

Trump received the nomination alongside his family and three of his children spoke at the second night of the convention even as Republicans aren’t necessarily unified.

New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox credits New York with putting Trump over the top in the nomination process itself.

The speech given by Donald Trump Jr. was especially well received last night, with him being considered the breakout star of the convention.

As one pundit puts it, Trump Jr. gave the speech “his dad never could.”

Most New York Republicans either shrugged or defended Melania Trump’s speech from Monday in which several lines appear to have been lifted from a Michelle Obama address in 2008.

Will New York Republicans ever return to dominance in a heavily Democratic state? They haven’t won statewide in nearly 14 years.

Melania Trump’s repetition of Obama’s remarks drew instant scorn from Democrats and Republicans alike, and turned what should have been a high point of the campaign into a major embarrassment.

Ex-NRA lobbyist Chris Cox gave an impassioned speech for gun rights at the RNC amid a backdrop of gun violence across the nation.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has been a conspicuous no-show at the Republican convention as he gears up for a potential run for president again in 2020.

On the street outside of the convention, it has been an occasionally tense scene, though major clashes with demonstrators and police is yet to occur.

In his address at the convention, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie attacked Hillary Clinton, asking the audience if she is “guilty or not guilty” of a variety of problems during her time as secretary of state.

Indeed, it seemed like Christie was auditioning to become the next attorney general in a Trump administration.

House Speaker Paul Ryan in his convention speech made a subtle push for unity within the fractious Republican Party and urged them to support the ticket of Trump and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

It was also a chance for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to strike an unlikely alliance with Ryan as top congressional leaders.

Queen was not happy Trump used their anthem “We Are the Champions” as his entrance music on the first night of the proceedings.

In all, Day Two of the RNC was an effort by the Trump campaign to turn the page after a messy first day in Cleveland.

And now a new problem at the convention: Norovirus!

Rep. Chris Collins’s loyalty to Trump could pay off with a post in the cabinet.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is pretty much ignoring the RNC festivities and is campaigning in Nevada ahead of her own convention in Philadelphia next week.

Amid all of this is the potential for a major shakeup at Fox News, where Chairman Roger Ailes may soon depart over a sexual harassment scandal.

Ailes, who built the cable news channel into a powerful conservative platform, allegedly harassed star Megyn Kelly a decade ago.

He is said to be negotiating his departure from the company, with the Murdoch family wanting him gone by the end of this month.

In non-convention news:

A midday crane collapse at the Tappan Zee Bridge will be investigated as to what exactly happened to cause the structure to fall on several cars on Interstate 87.

The collapse of the crane, understandably, was a shocking sight for witnesses near the bridge.

Gov. Cuomo says it’s a miracle no one was seriously injured in the accident, which snarled traffic along the Thruway.

Lanes at the bridge finally reopened several hours after the collapse.

All told, four people were hurt in the incident.

The crane collapse is the latest mishap to occur at the construction site of the bridge, which has seen fatal accidents since it began.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman traveled to Miami several times in the last year, using campaign funds to do so, records show.

Cuomo has been playing “Santa Claus” of sorts with grants awarded to revitalize struggling downtowns in small upstate cities.

In the Southern Tier, Cuomo announced a major investment from sporting goods retailer Dick’s, saying it will be a boon to the region.

Facing low poll numbers, a very large chunk of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s schedule — some 38 hours — is apparently being set aside for him to dial for dollars a year before he seeks re-election.

A new report finds any local replacement for the controversial Common Core education standards will likely be similar to the current standards themselves.

JFK Airport is removing artifacts from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks from a hangar as its prepared for aviation use once again.

Court of Appeals Chief Judge Janet DiFiore has assembled a task force to determine whether an overhaul of the state Constitution would benefit the judiciary.

A former city employee of Lockport testifies in court the then-mayor texted her for a nude photo.

The Buffalo Public Schools will turn to a familiar partner to help pull off the district’s new community schools program beginning in September.

The Rochester Police Department is backing off from a plan to have “two-badge” policing and keep one officer in a patrol car.

New rules are going into effect for testing for Legionella in New York to test for the bacteria in water systems.

The owner of an animal safari in western New York was trampled to death by his own antelope.

Astorino May Cut Convention Trip Short

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino may leave the Republican National Convention in Cleveland early after a crane collapsed on the Tappan Zee Bridge earlier on Tuesday.

“I’m going to look at what’s going on tonight,” Astorino said during a meet-and-greet gathering in Cleveland down the road from the convention hall. “I’ll make a determination whether I’ll have to go back tomorrow or not.”

The crane collapse shut down traffic on the bridge that crosses the Hudson River, connecting Westchester and Rockland counties.

The five-story crane was part of the ongoing adjacent construction project to replace the bridge. The collapse caused major delays on the bridge during the busy rush hour.

“When you see the actual crane and the damage and the damage to the roadway, it is really is nothing short of a miracle nobody was hurt,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said earlier this afternoon.

Astorino indicated the bridge situation remains primarily a state issue, though county officials remain available to provide assistance.

“We have our emergency services department and others working with the state as needed,” he said. “This is a state responsibility, but we’re there to help in anyway. We’re obviously effected by the traffic.”

He added: “I think the big thing is how did this happen and thank God there were minor injuries.”

Extras

We’re here at “The Q” (AKA the Quicken Loans Arena) in Cleveland, OH for Day 2 of the Republican National Convention. The action is scheduled to get underway shortly.

The theme of the night is “Make America Work Again,” and speakers include Dr. Ben Carson, a former presidential candidate; UFC President Dana White; U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; House Speaker Paul Ryan; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (also a former presidential contender); and two of the presumptive nominee’s children: Tiffany Trump and Donald Trump Jr.

Team Trump will be trying to right the listing convention ship after the plagiarism mishap of Melania Trump’s big speech last night, which dominated the news cycle today and was definitely NOT the narrative the campaign was looking for.

Also happening tonight: The roll call of states putting the candidate’s name into consideration, which will – we think – end with the formal endorsement of Donald J. Trump for president.

Of course, given yesterday’s floor fight in which an anti-Trump faction failed in its effort to force a vote on releasing delegates from the candidate to whom they were pledged during the primaries, it’s entirely possible that something unexpected is in the cards.

“Unexpected” is actually the unofficial theme of this unconventional convention, which the reality TV start-turned-presumptive presidential nominee promised would be anything but average. So far, he’s delivering, though it’s a safe bet things aren’t turning out quite the way he had hoped.

Here are some of the day’s headlines…

Donald Trump’s campaign blamed Hillary Clinton for the backlash to Melania Trump’s convention speech, as the presumptive Republican nominee’s wife faces accusations of plagiarism due to strong similarities between her speech and Michelle Obama’s convention address in 2008.

Even more than the candidate himself, Trump’s campaign chief, Paul Manafort, has emerged as the early star of the Republican National Convention.

RNC spokesman Sean Spicer quoted My Little Pony in a bid to prove Melania Trump’s speech did not plagiarize Obama’s remarks eight years ago.

New Jersey governor and former Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie said he didn’t think Trump was going to pick him to be his running mate, though he knew he was “close.”

Fast approaching her final decision on a running mate, Clinton appears to be looking closely at Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and Labor Secretary Tom Perez, a Buffalo native.

Several staffers from California in Cleveland for the Republican convention are reportedly being quarantined after falling ill from the norovirus.

President Obama won’t discipline HUD Secretary Julián Castro, who has been mentioned as a potential Clinton running mate, for violating a rule prohibiting federal officials from making personal political statements while in an official capacity.

Trump spent the night after Day One of the convention at home in Manhattan. (Helps to have a private plane at your disposal).

Clinton’s campaign is rolling out the red carpet for its top fundraisers at the convention in Philadelphia next week – including exclusive parties and panels with Bill and Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Eric Holder, and briefings from all of the senior campaign staff.

Georgina Bloomberg regrets not heeding her father’s advice and taking an accounting class when she went to college. She also said she has learned to be proud of her last name, but hated simply being seen as “someone’s daughter” when she was younger.

Cuomo announced DICK’S Sporting Goods, Inc., the nation’s leading sports and fitness retailer, will invest $100 million to build a regional distribution facility at the Broome County Corporate Park in Conklin.

Citing high security costs, Wright State University in Ohio is pulling out of its presidential debate scheduled for September 26, and the debate will move to Hofstra University on Long Island.

A crane collapsed on the Tappan Zee Bridge today, causing minor injuries and blocking all lanes of traffic on the busy span north of New York City.

University at Albany President Robert Jones is leaving the school to become chancellor of the University at Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – a post he described as his “dream job.”

Due to reports of shark sightings, stretches of Coney Island Beach have been closed and reopened “multiple times” today.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has a working workout almost every day at the Y in his old Brooklyn neighborhood, to which he is chauffeured from Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side.

Charging that automaker Volkswagen AG showed “total disregard for the rule of law,” state Eric Schneiderman announced that the state has filed a lawsuit against the company over its sale of cars outfitted with illegal “defeat devices” to beat emissions test and its alleged attempted cover-up of its actions.

New York City is one step closer to a year-round subterranean park now that the Lowline, a one-acre underground green space, has received a preliminary go-ahead from city officials.

With a personal-best fundraising performance, Republican Rep. John Katko has a significant financial advantage over Democratic challenger Colleen Deacon in the NY-24 race. He raised $522,491.19 in the second quarter of 2016.

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly reportedly told investigators this month that Roger Ailes sexually harassed her 10 years ago.

Ailes is departing the network and will receive at least a $40 million buyout.

One Benefit Of Conventions? The Networking

Later this afternoon, two potential rivals for the Republican nomination for governor in 2018 will hold a joint event at a restaurant here in Cleveland at the Republican National Convention.

The benefit for Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro is clear: All of the people they need to impress are in one spot.

“This is really an opportunity for them to be known by those outside of their area and for the party to get to know them,” said state Republican Committee Chairman Ed Cox.

Astorino and Molinaro are pressing the flesh at a meet-and-greet with Robert Trump, the brother of presumptive nominee for president Donald Trump.

Astorino is considering a second bid for governor in 2018, while Molinaro is also considering a statewide campaign that year as well.

Building a network takes money, but it also takes time and personal connections, especially in New York, a state both geographically and political diverse.

Republicans have been out of statewide office for the last 10 years and last won a statewide race in 2002, when Gov. George Pataki secured a third term.

Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo is expected to run for a third term two years from now and already has a formidable campaign war chest of more than $19 million in cash on hand.

Still, Republicans are confident 2018 could be their year.

“I think he’s definitely beatable,” said Erie County Chairman Nick Langworthy. “I’m very excited that we’ve got a real bench. We’ve got multiple people several years out looking at that race. You haven’t seen that in a long time from the New York Republican Party.”

In addition to Molinaro and Astorino, businessman Harry Wilson is considering a run for governor. Carl Paladino, the party’s 2010 nominee for governor, is also in the mix.

Langworthy, a Paladino booster, said that in order to win statewide, Republicans have to and can appeal to non-traditional voters, sort of like Trump.

“We can win statewide. We run a candidate a lot like Donald Trump is doing,” Langworthy said. “We have to go and find pockets of non-traditional voters. Donald Trump is appealing to people that if they have voted before, they probably voted Democrat — working class people in manufacturing.”

Katko’s 1st TV Ad Highlights Bipartisanship

Freshman Republican Rep. John Katko, whose race is widely viewed as one of the nation’s most competitive House contests, is out with his first TV ad of the campaign, which focuses on his ability to “work across the aisle to get things done.”

This is notable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that Katko’s district, NY-24, is fairly closely divided and has changed hands between the major parties over the past several election cycles, which means whoever the incumbent is needs NOT to hew too closely to the party leadership and orthodoxy.

In Katko’s case, that has translated this year into shying away from the GOP’s controversial presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump, while the Democrats try every way possible to make the bash billionaire businessman an anchor around the congressman’s neck.

Katko is among the many Republicans across New York and the nation who have opted not to make the trip here to Cleveland to attend Trump’s convention. He has said repeatedly – as recently as six days ago – that the presidential hopeful would have to significantly change his tone and lack of substance in order to win his endorsement.

Katko is facing off in November against Colleen Deacon, a political newcomer and former aide to U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who won last month’s three-way Democratic primary.

The ad is starting to air “immediately” on broadcast and cable TV across the district, according to the Katko campaign. No word on the size of the buy or the duration of time it will be on the air. Here’s the script…Katko himself is the narrator:

“Some say it’s the miles that make the man.

The experiences we have…the people we encounter.

I spent two decades as a federal prosecutor…and the last two years as Central New York’s representative in Congress.

We’ve had great success…passing more bills than any first term member from either party.
Working across the aisle to get things done right.

Because the best solutions to our problems come from right here…no matter how many back road trips it takes to find them.”

After Never Trump Fight, NY Republicans Stress Unity

It was around mid-afternoon on Monday when Onodaga County Republican Chairman Tom Dadey got a text: Get back to arena.

The movement behind denying Donald Trump the Republican nomination for president was making a last stand through forcing a roll call vote on the convention’s rules, part of a broader effort to free bound delegates.

“We had to move very quickly to get our delegates back in their seats,” said Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy. “We fought back hard.”

The push for a vote was noisy, but died quickly.

Still, it was a rare sight at a national convention in an era that has largely eschewed such messy moments for a more TV-friendly face to present to the nation.

On Tuesday morning, Trump supporters in New York insisted the party remained unified in backing the real-estate mogul and businessman for president.

“I do believe the Republican Party is unified on Donald Trump,” Dadey said. “I think the Never Trump folks are done. What we need to continue to do is unify around Donald Trump as the next president of the United States.”

A unifying force for Republicans, of course, is when Democrats officially nominate Hillary Clinton for president at their convention next week in Philadelphia.

“At the end of the day we’re all going to unified to defeat Hillary Clinton in November,” Dadey said.

Even for Republicans who initially didn’t support Trump, the moment left a bad taste in their mouths.

“That was just a last dying gasp. It was really a bad move,” said Rep. Peter King. “It was bad form, it looked bad and I’m glad it was put down and over with. The party is very much over with.”

Republicans were stressing unity and support for Trump throughout the delegation breakfast. At one point, Chairman Ed Cox noted he was the first state party leader to endorse Trump (some Republicans have grumbled this should have come much sooner).

“The key thing is he’s going to be the overwhelming winner tonight,” King said. “Those guys just hurt themselves.’

Long Not Fretting Being Behind In The Polls

The Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday showed U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer cruising to re-election over his little-known Republican challenger, Wendy Long.

But Long, who spoke to the New York delegation this morning at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, isn’t worried.

“I don’t think it bothers people that he’s behind in the polls and I’m behind in the polls,” Long said in an interview before her remarks. “I think they view this as a fight worth having and I think a few months from now we’re going to be turning this around.”

The poll, which showed Hillary Clinton leading Trump by double-digit percentage points, also found Schumer leading Long 60 percent to 28 percent.

Long has sought to link her own candidacy for the Senate to Trump’s bid for the presidency.

In her address to the state delegation, delayed a day after it was moved up for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and U.S. Sen. Bob Corker to appear on Monday, Long spoke of turning to the 10 Commandments for inspiration and that political correctness is “killing our Judeo-Christian culture.”

“How many of our problems would be solved if we followed the 10 Commandments?” she later added.

Four years ago, Long ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, losing by a historic margin at the time.

State Republican Chairman Ed Cox had spoken last year of recruiting a competitive candidate to run against Schumer, who is in line to become the Democratic leader in the U.S. Senate following the retirement of Sen. Harry Reid.

“She’s a great supporter of Donald Trump,” Cox said today. “Donald Trump feels he can carry New York. And if he can carry New York — she herself has great ability. She was a clerk on the Supreme Court, we’ll see how it works out.”

As for what Long thinks needs to be done to get some traction in the campaign against Schumer, she said the press needs to pay more attention.

“I think it means you guys need to be covering this race more,” she said.