Eldridge Campaign Releases Two TV Ads

Democratic congressional hopeful Sean Eldridge on Tuesday announced his campaign will beginning airing a pair of TV ads in the Hudson Valley district.

The ads — one is called “Hear It From Me” and a second is titled “Independent Advocate” — serve the twin purposes of introducing the first-time candidate to voters and highlighting his role in the community, essentially pushing back on the “carpetbagger” claims Republicans have sought to make in the campaign.

“Before voters become inundated with outside attack ads, I want them to hear directly from me about who I am and where I stand on the issues that matter most to hard working families in NY-19,” said Eldridge in a statement. “In Congress, I will continue to be an advocate for small businesses in our region, for a woman’s right to choose, and for reforming our broken campaign finance system to reduce the influence of corporate money in Washington.”

Eldridge, a wealthy venture capitalist who is married to the co-founder of Facebook, acknowledges both his wealth in one ad while also showing he’s sought to establish roots in the area.

His money is spun into a positive: With the ability to self-fund, he is free of special interests (This is a veiled knock on Republican Rep. Chris Gibson, who Democrats have blasted for accepting funds from political action committees).

“I’ve been very fortunate in my life,” Eldridge says in the “Independent Advocate” ad. “My husband Chris was one of the founders of Facebook, so I have the independence to reject special interest contributions and to do what’s right: to fight for our environment, for a woman’s right to choose and to reform our broken campaign finance system.”

“Hear It From Me,” meanwhile, is meant to respond to some of the early criticism he’s been hit with by Republicans and the national press by highlighting his stances on issues.

“I live in the Hudson Valley because I love it, and I’m working to help make it better: investing in local small businesses to help them create jobs, advocating for a woman’s right to choose, and working to reduce the influence of special interest money in politics,” Eldridge says in the ad.

The race for the NY-19 is expected to be one of the costliest in the state and one more closely watched.

Republicans quickly responded to the ads.

“Sean Eldridge is right – people are going to hear a lot about Sean Eldridge,” said NRCC spokesman Ian Prior. “Like the fact that Eldridge talks about trying to get special interest money out of politics, while funding his campaign with millions from own profits he makes from the very corporations and industries that he criticizes. Or that Eldridge’s claim of creating jobs is based on a venture capital firm he set up just so that he could buy votes for his Congressional election. And people will definitely learn that Eldridge would have voted for Obamacare, against the bipartisan Farm Bill, and for a massive payroll tax hike on middle class families and small businesses.”

Cahill’s 2012 RNC Platform Role Questioned

Allies of Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman are calling on Republican John Cahill to explain his stance on key social issues, pointing to his role on a drafting committee for the 2012 Republican National Convention platform — part of an apparent effort him to the more conservative wing of the national GOP.

The platform two years ago at the RNC included opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage as well as an affirmation of Second Amendment rights.

In letter signed by Andrea Miller of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, Leah Gunn Barrett of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and Stonewall Democratic Club President Eunic Ortiz, Cahill is called on to either renounce the GOP’s 2012 platform or explain what steps he took to moderate the language.

“Anything short of an outright repudiation of the aforementioned platform positions is a clear sign that you are in fact too extreme for New York,” the letter states.

Cahill, a former secretary to Gov. George Pataki, has stated repeatedly that as attorney general he would not infringe on existing abortion rights in the state and supports same-sex marriage.

At the same time, Cahill just before officially announcing his campaign he is supportive of the Dream Act, a measure that would provide tuition assistance to undocumented immigrants and their children.

Republicans have argued social issues have little bearing in an attorney general campaign or for the office itself.

Cahill, in turn, has been hammering Schneiderman for his role in the Moreland Commission To Investigate Public Corruption and whether he knew of any meddling from the governor’s office and making the case the AG’s office can be one that is an advocate for education.

Cahill in many ways is running as a Pataki Republican — a proposition that worked successfully for three straight elections.

Schneiderman’s Democratic surrogates will likely continue to sound the theme that instead of being allied with the moderate wing of the party, he’s more in tune with Republicans nationally.

Letter to Cahill Re RNC Platform by Nick Reisman

Unshackle Upstate Announces Its Legislative Scorecard

The Rochester-based pro-business group Unshackle Upstate unveiled its legislative scorecards on Tuesday, with predominantly high marks awarded to Republican state lawmakers.

The group based its scoring on votes for the most recent state budgets and on key bills, as well as sponsorship of legislation.

Among the measures considered were the START-UP NY, the extension of the Brownfield tax credit program, repealing a notification requirement under the Wage Theft Prevention Act and opposition to extending collective bargaining rights to farmworkers as well as a paid-family leave measure.

Unshackle also looked at votes for measures that would expand rural broadband as well as require prompt issuing of regulations for the transportation of liquified natural gas.

Among the highest-scoring lawmakers were Republican Sens. Pat Gallivan and James Seward, who both received scores of 100.

The highest-scoring Democrat on the list was Sen. David Valesky, a Syracuse-area member of the Independent Democratic Conference, who was assigned a rating of 88.

The lowest-scoring members, all downstate members of the mainline Democratic conference, included Sens. Liz Krueger (37), Bill Perkins (40) and Toby Ann Stavisky (43).

These scores aren’t to be ignored, the group argues, pointing to voter surveys that show jobs and economic development are the top issues in the upcoming campaign season.

“Recent polling has shown that taxes and job creation are key issues for people across the state. Our 2013-2014 legislative scorecards accurately reflect which legislators have advanced measures that help taxpayers and job creators,” said Brian Sampson, executive director of Unshackle Upstate. “As we head into the election season, we encourage voters – especially in Upstate communities – to look at how their legislators performed over the past two years before they cast their vote.”

The full ratings can be found here.

The list of bills considered can be found here.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in the New York City area with no public schedule.

At 9 a.m., NYC Public Advocate Tish James attends a Federal Immigration Court migrant children screening, 26 Federal Plaza, Manhattan. (Media availability to follow).

At 9:05 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks at the “Getting Ready for Pre-K” Summer Professional Development Institute for Pre-K Teachers, Whitman Hall Auditorium, Brooklyn College, 2900 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn.

At 9:30 a.m., Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo will hold a press conference to protest the 24-hour eviction of residents who have been residing in a “cluster” homeless shelter, 941 Intervale Ave., the Bronx.

At 10 a.m., Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout is back in court, defending a lower court decision in her favor regarding Cuomo’s residency challenge, Appellate Division, Second Department, Monroe Place, Brooklyn. (Teachout and her LG running mate, Tim Wu, hold a press conference prior to the hearing).

Also at 10 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GIO gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will unveil a comprehensive jobs plan, Bob Carr 2.0 Printing and Mailing, 12 Hall St., Binghamton.

Also at 10 a.m.,Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp. President Marlene Cintron, Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr., state Labor Commissioner Peter M. Rivera and other officials mark the opening of a “New York Works” satellite office of the state Department of Labor’s Division of Business Services; Room 123, 851 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

Also at 10 a.m., NYC Councilman Andy King and NYCHA Chairwoman and CEO Shola Olatoye, joined by state Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, lead a tour of the authority’s Boston Secor Houses, as King discusses nearly $1.5 million in funding for projects to install security cameras and renovate the public housing development’s senior center and track and field; 3475 Bivona St., the Bronx.

Also at 10 a.m., Senate candidate/Dutchess County Legislator Sue Serino, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Yorktown Councilman Terrence Murphy and Carmel Supervisor Ken Schmitt hold press conference on pension reform, Carmel Town Hall, 60 McAlpin Ave., Mahopac.

At 10:15 a.m., Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul speaks at a Women’s Equality Party press conference, City Hall steps, 260 Broadway, Manhattan.

At 10:40 a.m., Astorino will be a guest on WNBF Binghamton Now with host Bob Joseph.

At 11 a.m., employees at El Diario join representatives of the Newspaper Guild of New York and the New York City Central Labor Council and others at a rally to end firings of union-represented workers at the newspaper, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 11:45 a.m., Onondaga County Comptroller and GOP state comptroller candidate Bob Antonacci attends the Auburn-Finger Lakes Region Rotary Club luncheon, Holiday Inn, 75 North St., Auburn.

At noon, civic groups hold a virtual press conference to launch the “Vote Yes for Progress” push in favor of the redistricting constitutional amendment that will appear on the November ballot, register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/682726712586272002.

Also at noon, Sen. Tony Avella will unveil “Made in Queen” – a comprehensive six-point economic plan in order to boost employment opportunities and attract new businesses to the borough, Cascarinos Brick Oven Pizzeria, 14-60 College Point Blvd., Flushing.

At 12:30 p.m., Sen. Diane Savino and environmental advocates from groups discuss the Legislature’s passage of the “Community Risk and Resiliency Act” and call for the governor to sign it; parking lot across the street from Savino’s district office, 36 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island.

At 2 p.m., NYC Council members, inmate advocates and former guards and inmates from the city’s Rikers Island Correctional Facility discuss proposals for overhauling treatment of inmates at the jail; Urban Justice Center, 16th floor, 123 William St., Manhattan.

At 3:15 p.m., Astorino will continue his jobs plan unveiling tour, Buffalo Central Terminal, 495 Paderewski Dr., Buffalo.

At 4:30 p.m., Antonacci attends the Erie County Conservative Party family picnic, 299 Leydecker Rd., Buffalo.

At 5:30 p.m., Hochul campaigns at the W 72nd Street 1/2/3 Subway Station with Rep. Jerry Nadler, state Sens. Senators Brad Hoylman, Jose Serrano and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, Upper West Side, Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., Chemung County Sheriff and GOP LG candidate Chris Moss attends and speaks at the Erie County Conservative Committee Picnic, VFW Post 8113, Chicken Coop, 299 Leydecker Rd., West Seneca. (Astorino will also attend).

Also at 6 p.m., de Blasio delivers remarks at the Mayor’s Awards in honor of the Americans with Disabilities Act reception, Celeste Bartos Forum, New York Public Library, 5th Avenue and 42nd Street, Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., Antonacci attends the Buffalo Bisons’ baseball game, Coca-Cola field, Buffalo.

Headlines…

Republican Rep. Peter King and former Gov. David Paterson, Cuomo’s hand-picked state Democratic chairman, next week will join the stream of American politicians going to Israel to show solidarity against Hamas.

Labor sources said the AFL-CIO endorsement of Gov. Andrew Cuomo labor was blocked primarily by NYSUT and AFSCME – a parent organization of public employee unions.

“I find it hard to imagine that anything the unions are doing is ultimately going to make a big difference in a primary,” said Joe Mercurio, a Democratic political consultant. “This is going to be a turnout-driven election, and (Cuomo) has way more resources than (Teachout) does to generate turnout.”

Cuomo signed a new law designed to make life easier for U.S. service members. The measure eases certain educational and job related restrictions.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton called a graffiti exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York “outrageous.”

Bratton insisted that gun violence in NYC is at a historically low level and that the majority of shooting incidents are in the same areas that have been hot spots for decades.

A federal appeals court ruled that Erie County must unseal reports on jail conditions as part of its monitoring by the U.S. Department of Justice.

More >

Higgins Backs Kennedy In WNY State Senate Race

Congressman Brian Higgins is backing State Senator Tim Kennedy in his upcoming Democratic primary against Erie County Legislative Minority Leader Betty Jean Grant. While not completely unexpected, Higgins’ endorsement will likely be seen as an important vote of confidence for Kennedy.

“He’s been a refreshing voice in Albany and he continues to be very effective,” said Higgins.

Higgins backing couldn’t have come at a better time for Kennedy.  A recent dust up with Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and the Erie County Democratic Committee appeared to be giving Grant’s candidacy momentum.

“The Erie County Democratic Committee has a different opinion than other Democrats in this community,” Higgins said.

The South Buffalo Democrat told Capital Tonight’s Liz Benjamin that Poloncarz and the committee leadership have their “reasoning” for endorsing Grant, but he believes those reasons aren’t shared by other Democrats in Western New York.

“I think the best candidate will win and I think Tim Kennedy has demonstrated over a very short period of time that he can be a very effective, clear voice on behalf of Buffalo and Western New York,” Higgins added.

Poloncarz ‘partially’ blamed Kennedy, and his financial support of a Progressive Political Action Committee for Democratic losses at the polls last fall.  Poloncarz said the PAC Kennedy donated $100,000 to supported challengers to candidates who were running on the Democratic line for the Erie County Legislature.

Kennedy’s camp claimed Poloncarz support of Grant was political retaliation for Kennedy shedding “needed light on major deficiencies within Erie County government.” Specifically, what a Kennedy spokesman called problems in Erie County Child Protective Services.

AFL-CIO Backs Dems In Key Races, Backs Liu

The AFL-CIO concluded its day of endorsements Monday afternoon, backing a slate of state legislative candidates and incumbents, including Democrats running for re-election in key battleground races.

The umbrella labor group also gave its nod to former city Comptroller John Liu, who is running a primary challenge against Queens Sen. Tony Avella, a member of the Independent Democratic Conference.

But in a nod to the IDC, the AFL-CIO endorsed the rest of its conference, including Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein, a Bronx Democrat who is being challenged in a primary next month by former Councilman Oliver Koppell.

The union also backed three incumbent Senate Democrats who considered among the mainline conference’s most vulnerable: Sens. Cecilia Tkaczyk, Terry Gipson and Ted O’Brien.

No endorsement was made in the second Senate district, where Democrat Adrienne Esposito and Republican Tom Croci are vying for the seat being vacated by GOP congressional candidate Lee Zeldin.

“Our members want a state that prioritizes the creation of good, long-term jobs and strong investment in the public services all New Yorkers rely on,” said AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento. “But, that only happens if we elect the right candidates to office. Union members from throughout the state will work together in a coordinated effort to ensure that our endorsed candidates, and in turn an agenda that puts workers and their families first, are successful on election day.”

Extras

US Attorney Preet Bharara told the New York Times: “I have no interest and desire to seek political office…Now or ever.”

At least 105 jobs are being lost at Remington Arms in Ilion as part of the gun maker’s plans to move two assembly lines to Alabama.

While several members of Congress have called for a federal prosecutor in the death of Eric Garner in NYPD custody, Mayor Bill de Blasio believes Staten Island DA Dan Donovan is capable of leading the investigation.

An agenda distributed to labor activists who gathered at a Manhattan hotel today for the AFL-CIO convention did not include anything about the governor’s race.

Morning Joe included Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a report on “governors in trouble,” and discussed his transparency problem.

NRCC Chairman Greg Walden is coming to Syracuse tomorrow, but so far does not plan to campaign in public with John Katko, the GOP NY-24 candidate.

Hillary and Bill Clinton will return to Iowa next month as headliners for the 37th Harkin Steak Fry.

LG Bob Duffy tweaked NJ Gov. Chris Christie on Twitter.

Donald Trump charged the Rev. Al Sharpton with fanning the flames in Ferguson, Missouri, saying that causing controversy is a “cottage industry” for  the MSNBC host.

Sharpton called out Hillary Clinton, Christie and other potential 2016 presidential candidates for keeping quiet on the situation in Ferguson.

A mega-developer looking to build a $750 million casino resort in Orange County has been repeatedly accused of racial discrimination in other states.

“ Tim Russert country” (Western New York) is not to blame for David Gregory’s “Meet the Press” failure.

The state is routing $340 million in funding to expand full-day pre-kindergarten programs for nearly 37,000 children. The lion’s share of that cash is going to NYC.

Sen. Liz Krueger donated $2,000 from her campaign to Sen. Tony Avella’s primary challenger, John Liu, despite a detente between the mainline Democratic conference and the IDC.

Why is the Environmental Defense Fund spending big to help re-elect GOP Rep. Chris Gibson?

Democratic NY-4 candidate Kathleen Rice called on her Republican opponent, Bruce Blakeman, to join her in endorsing a federal minimum wage increase.

A couple NYC Council members blamed Norman Seabrook, the president of the correction officers union, for stonewalling reforms at the violence-plagued Rikers Island.

RIP former Vermont U.S. Sen. James Jeffords, who in 2001 tipped control of the Senate when he quit the Republican Party to become an independent.

It’s been business as usual for the Buffalo Sabres even though owner Terry Pegula and his wife, Kim, are in the thick of the bidding to become owners of the Buffalo Bills.

The U.S.Department of Health and Human Services has abandoned a controversial plan to open dozens of temporary shelters across the nation for immigrant children awaiting deportation.

AFL-CIO Back Schneiderman And DiNapoli, No Endorsement In Race For Governor

The AFL-CIO made endorsements of two statewide Democratic incumbents running for re-election, but declined to endorse in the race for governor, making the labor group the latest to not weigh in on the campaign.

The umbrella labor group on Monday backed Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, and later in the afternoon announced it was endorsing Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

“We are proud to support Eric Schneiderman’s reelection because New Yorkers need an Attorney General that works just as hard as they do,” said AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento. “The Attorney General has proven to be tenacious in holding unscrupulous employers accountable when they try to cheat workers of their wages and basic rights under the law. We look forward to continuing to work with Eric Schneiderman over the next four years to safeguard our state’s hardworking families.”

No such statement is expected to be made for incumbent Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, at least today.

The labor group hasn’t ruled out endorsing in the race for governor at some point later in the election season.

But with declining to weigh in on the race, the AFL-CIO joins a list of public-employee labor unions — The New York Stated United Teachers, the Civil Service Employees Association among them — that have declined to endorse Cuomo.

The Public Employees Federation, a labor union of 55,000 mostly white-collar public employees, endorsed Cuomo’s Democratic primary opponent, Zephyr Teachout.

Cuomo does have support from a number of private-sector labor unions and was able to secure the endorsement of the Working Families Party in May by marshaling the support of key, politically active unions like 1199 SEIU.

Unlike CSEA and NYSUT — which both sat out the governor’s race in 2010 — the AFL-CIO did endorse Cuomo’s campaign for governor at the time.

PEF also endorsed Cuomo four years ago, but after a leadership reorganization following a difficult contract negotiation with the administration, an endorsement for the governor’s re-election seemed highly unlikely.

AFL-CIO Passes Over NY-19

The AFL-CIO on Monday endorsed a host of Democratic candidates and incumbents running in key battleground districts in New York, but declined to take up an endorsement in the 19th congressional district race between Republican Rep. Chris Gibson and Democratic challenger Sean Eldridge.

The labor umbrella group also declined to endorse opponents of Republican incumbents Peter King on Long Island and western New York Rep. Chris Collins.

Rep. Richard Hanna, a Republican who fended off a primary challenge from Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney in June, does not have a Democratic opponent this fall and was not endorsed by the AFL-CIO.

“Critical issues like comprehensive immigration reform, the minimum wage, and infrastructure spending have languished at the federal level, and New York needs a strong delegation that will give Congress the kick start it so desperately needs. With our help on Election Day, our endorsed candidates will be that strong voice in Washington DC for New York’s hardworking families.”

Eldridge has rolled out a series of labor endorsements over the course of the campaign, including the influential Communications Workers of America.

But the lack of a nod from the AFL-CIO is at the least eyebrow-raising, given that the battle for the NY-19 is considered one of the more high-profile races in the state (Eldridge’s campaign had been critical of a poll from the AFL-CIO on transportation issues that showed him trailing Gibson).

‘Morning Joe’ Crew Questions Administration Email Retention

Welcome back, Gov. Andrew Cuomo: MSNBC’s Morning Joe today lumped the New York Democrat in with Republican governors around the country who face legal or ethical scandals.

The program included Cuomo in with a list of governors ranging from Rick Perry of Texas, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and New Jersey’s Chris Christie when discussing the list of governors under fire.

Perry, the most recent addition to the list, was indicted last week over a threat to veto funds to a county public corruption office after a district attorney refused to resign following a DWI arrest.

Cuomo remains under investigation for his handling of the Moreland Commission and his office’s involvement in blocking subpoenas from the panel.

The show also questioned the state’s policy of deleting unsaved emails after three months.

Host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, also mocked Cuomo’s used of the phrase “ipso facto.”