Nick Reisman

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NY-22: Oswego County GOP Backs Tenney

Republican former Rep. Claudia Tenney on Friday was endorsed by the Oswego County GOP committee as she seeks to regain her seat in the House of Representatives.

Tenney lost her bid for a second term last year to Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi. President Donald Trump easily carried the district in 2016.

“The Oswego County GOP Committee is proud to enthusiastically endorse Claudia Tenney for Congress,” said county Chairman Fred Beardsley.

“Claudia has been a fighter for our region and Oswego County since day 1 and she is the only candidate in the race with the financial and political support to beat Anthony Brindisi next November. We are excited to work with her this cycle and know she will be successful in taking back this seat.”

The endorsement of Tenney by Oswego County Republicans comes as she faces, at the moment, a challenge for the nomination in a June primary against Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell, George Phillips and Franklin Sager.

“I am honored to have earned the endorsement of the Oswego County GOP Committee in my campaign for Congress this cycle,” Tenney said in a statement.

“Oswego County knows that we need a fighter in Congress, someone who will work with them to deliver results for our region. We won Oswego County by the largest percentage of any county in 2018 and I am looking forward to working with them again to win back this district in November.”

NY House Delegation Backs WFP

From the Morning Memo:

Members of New York’s House delegation on Thursday tweeted their support for the Working Families Party as the organization is fighting potentially for its future.

A commission determining the specifics of how publicly financed campaigns will work in state elections is also considering changes to how minor parties can retain their ballot status — a move that could threaten the WFP’s status, and others, of remaining on the ballot.

Under the plan floated by commission member and state Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs, parties would have to achieve a certain threshold number of votes every two years.

The current requirement for keeping ballot status is to reach 50,000 votes every four years for a line’s gubernatorial candidate. That threshold number of votes could also be increased.

Jacobs has defended the idea of stiffening the requirements, arguing legitimate political parties should not have trouble meeting the new threshold.

But the WFP is concerned the change is part of a broader effort to weaken the organization after it supported Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Democratic primary challenger Cynthia Nixon in 2018. Jacobs is a Cuomo ally.

“JUST SAY NO!” Rep. Anthony Brindisi posted on Twitter. “The plan to end the @NYWFP line pushed by the Public Financing Commission will disenfranchise thousands of voters across the state and hurt representatives that are fighting for working families.”

Added Rep. Grace Meng, a Queens Democrat and a vice chair for the DNC: “The Public Financing Commission’s plan to end the
@NYWFP line is unprecedented. Thanks to the WFP, Dems have won key victories in Congress and across NY. This plan helps conservatives and hurts Democrats and progressive policies.”

Rep. Antonio Delgado posted that an end to the WFP line “would tip the scales for special interests.”

“The Public Financing Commission should reconsider the current plan,” he tweeted.

Both Brindisi and Delgado ran on the WFP line and are Democrats representing potential battleground seats next year.

The commission is expected to release its final report next week. Lawmakers can either return to Albany for a special session before the end of the year to change it or the panel’s recommendations become law.

On Long Island, Dems Hope For Labor Boost With Ahearn

From the Morning Memo:

Democratic state Senate candidate Laura Ahearn, running for the seat held by longtime Republican Sen. Kenneth LaValle, is racking up a series of labor union endorsements in her bid.

Ahearn’s campaign on Friday is set to announce her backing from the Nassau-Suffolk Building Trades Council, a nod that has dovetailed with the backing of other unions, including the Steamfitters Local 638 and IBEW Local 25.

“The Building & Construction Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk Counties are pleased to inform you that we have endorsed your candidacy for State Senate in the 1st district,” said Nassau-Suffolk Building Trades Council President Matthew Aracich in the endorsement announcement. “Members of the Executive Board had extensive discussion, and when put to a vote, not a single voice raised opposition.”

The early days of Ahearn’s bid has seen some fundraising success. She has raised $70,886 so far a month into the campaign.

“I’m excited and humbled by the early support our campaign has received from individuals, unions and organizations who want me to go to Albany to fight for Suffolk County families,” she said in a statement.

“I’ve dedicated my life to protecting and fighting for our most vulnerable through my non-profit, The Crime Victims Center, Parents for Megan’s Law, my law practice where I represent victims of violent crime, or the work I’ve done supporting and drafting local, state and federal legislation to strengthen community and victim’s rights and give law enforcement and prosecution the tools they need to succeed. I’m excited to take my experience to Albany to continue fighting for families and ensuring Suffolk County gets its fair share from Albany.”

Katz Names Transition Team For Queens DA

From the Morning Memo:

Melinda Katz on Friday is set to unveil her 31-member transition team as she is set to become the new Queens district attorney in January.

Katz has named Randall Eng, the former presiding justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department to serve as co-chairman of the effort. Christopher Renfroe, a former president of the Macon B. Allen Black Bar Association, will serve as co-chair as well.

Sharon Lee has been appointed the transition team’s executive director, serving on a volunteer basis.

The committee will create smaller working groups to focus on divisions and bureaus within the DA’s office ahead of the change in administration.

“I am proud and ready to lead a new dawn of justice in Queens,” Katz said in a statement.

“I am grateful to the co-chairs and the members of my transition team for their dedication to the people and families of our home borough. Justice has been denied as other counties in our state and across the country were at the forefront of reforming our criminal justice system. We will prove definitively in Queens that you can enhance safety and equality at the same time, in a way that is collaborative and benefits all of us.”

Katz won a closely watched and hard-fought Democratic primary against Tiffany Cabán, a former public defender who had the backing of progressive organizations and advocates.

The full list of the transition committee is after the jump. More >

Here And Now

Good morning! TGIF. It’s finally Friday. Here’s the news.

Happening today:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with nothing public planned.

At 8:30 a.m., Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will highlight efforts to close the gender pay gap. Hyatt Place. 5020 Main St., Amherst.

At 9:30 a.m., Lt. Gov. Hochul will break ground at the Albright-Knox expansion. Albright-Knox Art Gallery. 1285 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo.

At 10 a.m., New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will be live on WNYC.

Also at 10 a.m., state lawmakers will hold a hearing on aging issues in New York. Hearing Room C, Legislative Office Building Albany.

At 10:30 a.m., state lawmakers will hold a hearing on industrial development agencies and local development corporations. Assembly Hearing Room. 250 Broadway, 19th Floor, New York City.

At 11:30 a.m., Sen. Jim Gaughran and Nassau County officials will announce an effort to crack down on drunk driving during the holiday season. Sea Cliff and Locust Ave., Sea Cliff.

At 2:30 p.m., Lt. Gov. Hochul will deliver remarks at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport topping out ceremony. 4200 Genesee St., Cheektowaga.

At 6 p.m., New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will attend a vigil for Talasia Cuffie. Foch Blvd and Guy R. Brewer Blvd.

At 6:45 p.m., Lt. Gov. Hochul will kick off ice at the Canalside season opening. Ice at Canalside. Corner of Main Street and Marine Drive. Buffalo.

Headlines:

New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg has taken another step toward launching a Democratic bid for president.

The latest proposal from state Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs would add more requirements for minor parties to retain their ballot status, setting a threshold for votes every two years, but a final number of votes cast is yet to be determined.

The commission determining the future of the state’s campaign finance laws, including how publicly financed campaigns would work, is wrapping up its work.

Syracuse Police have made an arrest connected to new graffiti at Syracuse University that had been discovered on Wednesday.

After two weeks of growing tension between Syracuse University students and the administration, they’re trying to reach common ground.

Gov. Cuomo is considering the Brooklyn Bridge Park or Battery Park for the placement of the Mother Cabrini statue.

A Brooklyn state lawmaker had sought $100,000 in public funds for a think tank that doesn’t exist.

As he considers a bid for mayor, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer is distancing himself from a supporter who was once accused of visa fraud.

A bill that would bar former lawmakers from regaining office after felony convictions has gained new attention as Hiram Monserrate seeks an Assembly seat.

A third warning letter has been sent to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio raising questions over his 2020 presidential fundraising.

The charter school network Success Academy rejected a space proposal by City Hall officials for a Queens middle school.

The Nassau Interim Finance Authority has given the OK to the county’s $3.1 billion budget for 2020.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has vetoed 28 new county posts in the 2020 budget.

Albany Medical Center has been included on a deadly fungus list, but risks at the facility may be minimal.

State elected officials are stepping up their opposition to a Connecticut toll plan that would ding New York drivers.

New York’s property tax rebate program may be in its final year.

Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball are meeting Thursday in Dallas to begin face-to-face negotiations of the Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA) that ties the two systems together.

Catholic Health confirms it is cutting about 200 positions, with at least half coming from voluntary staff buyouts.

Schools in Buffalo want to recoup $1 million they believe was overpaid to charter schools.

The Monroe County Board of Elections is tallying up the absentee ballots and affidavits from the election earlier this month.

The Brooklyn House of Detention and the Eric M. Taylor Center at Rikers Island, home to more than a thousand detainees combined, will soon close their doors.

In coordinated press conferences across New York state on Thursday, district attorneys and law enforcement officials delivered a warning: They say it is incumbent upon them to tell New Yorkers about the potential for more dangerous streets when bail reform kicks in Jan. 1.

Flanked by more than 50 law enforcement leaders from nearly every agency in the Capital Region, and some from as far away as the Canadian border, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple lent his voice to a chorus of opposition against upcoming changes to New York bail and discovery laws.

Street musicians were among the dozens of people drawn to the Coney Island boardwalk on a balmy November day. But while many enjoyed the beachfront, others worry the Army Corps of Engineers has not done enough to protect it after Hurricane Sandy devastated the neighborhood in 2012.

Democratic voters in New York are giving the thumbs up to Joe Biden’s bid for the Democratic nomination. But as pollster Steve Greenberg notes, with months to go before the April 28 primary, a lot can change.

An appellate court ruled Thursday morning that a criminal case against former Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove can be reinstated.

After months of debate and protests, Niagara Falls City Council has passed a garbage user fee.

In national news:

Fiona Hill, a former Trump administration advisor, testified fictional concerns about Ukraine influence pushed by President Trump aided Russia’s narrative in U.S. politics.

Conspiracy theories fueled President Trump’s push for an investigation of Democrats and also served to divide Americans.

Despite the unexpected boost by some witnesses for Democrats’ during the impeachment inquiry, Republican opposition continues.

In 2017, the Secret Service spent $250,000 at properties owned by President Trump.

Former Vice President Joe Biden argued with a protester at a campaign event who was demonstrating against deportation policies under the Obama administration.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been indicted on corruption charges.

Maryland’s school system has adopted a controversial redistricting plan.

From the editorial pages:

The Times Union writes there should be fixes to the state’s sex offender laws so that they are easier to follow and understand.

The Buffalo News blasted the Erie County Board of Elections for “gross negligence” in allowing a spending deficit to balloon.

The New York Post writes the impeachment hearings are a waste of time, and Congress needs to get to real work.

The Daily News writes that the federal government should downgrade marijuana from its status as a narcotic.

From the sports pages:

The Yankees are releasing oft-injured Greg Bird and Jacoby Ellsbury.

Amid Discrimination Cases, Cuomo Sees Through Line For Italian-Americans

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a radio interview this morning took wove several strands together: An exhaustive Newsday investigation finding widespread discrimination against minority home buyers on Long Island, racist graffiti at Syracuse University, the white supremacist and national organization the Proud Boys and discrimination leveled against Italian-Americans.

“This is the common thread of so much of what we see going on,” Cuomo said on Long Island News Radio.

“You put the Newsday investigation together with what’s going on in Syracuse University which has become a national story of racism on campus, harassment on campus and a hate group called the Proud Boys attacking me and Italians and Jewish people. You can connect the dots.”

Cuomo has in interviews over the last several weeks zeroed in on discrimination against Italians, a focus that sharpened after his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, was seen on a viral video angrily shouting at a man calling him “Fredo” — a reference to a character from The Godfather.

The Proud Boys this week had displayed banners calling Andrew Cuomo the character throughout New York City.

“Italian Americans, as long as they’ve been in this country they’re still discriminated against also,” Cuomo said on Thursday. “I fight against discrimination against anyone, anywhere.”

Cuomo last month in a separate radio interview on WAMC quoted a New York Times opinion piece about the historic discrimination facing Italian immigrants, using a racial slur that was quoted in the article.

It’s also informed his view of the Albany daily newspaper, The Times Union.

Cuomo has repeatedly pointed to a column by Times Union managing editor Casey Seiler on the origins of an Italian slur, arguing Cuomo is misstating it.

The governor has criticized Seiler repeatedly over the column. In one interview, Cuomo suggested Seiler was ignorant of discrimination against Italians because he is from Kentucky.

The paper reported this month Cuomo contacted Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie about votes the Assembly’s appointees on an ethics commission had taken around the time the panel was considering an investigation of the governor’s former aide, Joe Percoco. Both deny a phone call took place.

On Wednesday, after a follow-up story that contrasted the inspector general probe to the investigation of the “Troopergate” scandal, Cuomo senior advisor Rich Azzopardi on Twitter called former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno “another Italian-American target” (for those who need a refresher on the brouhaha that was Troopergate, Bruno, Eliot Spitzer and the Times Union, here’s a Times piece about it).

The “Fredo” uproar with Chris Cuomo, meanwhile, led The New York Post to depict Cuomo and his family as characters from The Godfather.

It’s a sore point especially for Mario Cuomo, who had denounced depictions of Italians as mobsters in popular culture. It was likely especially hurtful Mario Cuomo, when he bowed out of the race for presidency in 1992, he was depicted on Saturday Night Live by Phil Hartman. In a skit, Hartman-as-Cuomo said he wasn’t going to run because of “mob ties.”

The current governor today called it “a more subtle, socialized stereotype against Italian-Americans from mainstream institutions.”

“My father fought that imagery and stereotype all his life,” he said in the radio interview this morning. “It’s ignorant and it’s arrogant. It’s an ethnocentrism. It’s people who don’t understand people of other cultures and don’t care to.”

NY-21: Stefanik Releases Digital Ad

The re-election campaign of Rep. Elise Stefanik on Thursday released a digital ad highlighting George Conway’s tweet calling her “trash” and urging people to donate to Democratic candidate Tedra Cobb.

The tweet from Conway, a pundit and the husband of White House advisor Kellyanne Conway, led to a $1 million flood of donations in the past weekend for Cobb’s campaign.

The digital ad comes as Stefanik has played an increasingly prominent role in the public impeaching inquiry hearings in Washington as a staunch defender of President Donald Trump and as Cobb has launched her second bid for Congress this week.

The ad seeks to frame Cobb’s support from elite liberals. It’s an argument that seems designed to counteract Cobb’s own framing of Stefanik as a Washington insider.

Cuomo Says Other Options Available For National Grid

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a radio interview Thursday morning said utility National Grid has options to end a standoff with New York regulators.

The Public Service Commission has threatened to yank National Grid’s downstate franchise amid a dispute over new natural gas hookups in the New York City metropolitan area.

National Grid maintains a moratorium for new hookups is needed after the state declined to approve a new natural gas pipeline.

But Cuomo in the interview with Long Island News Radio said he’s open to discussing other options for the utility.

“Let’s discuss all the options, but there are other options also,” he said. “Let’s talk about all the options and let the people of Long Island and Brooklyn and Queens have a choice.”

At the same time, Cuomo doubts the moratorium on hookups is necessary for the utility, arguing the pipeline was simply a way for the company to bolster its presence in the area over the next 15 years.

“Don’t impose a moratorium to create a panic and crisis because you want a pipeline,” he said.

The escalating tensions with state regulators and National Grid will come to a head next week, when a deadline has been set to resolve the issue.

Moody’s this week in an analysis said the standoff has hurt the utility.

“Don’t foist upon the people your desire to have a pipeline because of your business interests for the next 15 years,” Cuomo said in the interview.

“To me, the moratorium was unnecessary and it is punitive to customers.”

Lovett To Become MTA Senior Advisor

From the Morning Memo:

Ken Lovett, a veteran former state Capitol reporter-turned-communications consultant is heading to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Lovett is set to become a senior advisor to MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye starting on Monday.

“I’m pleased to welcome Ken Lovett as Senior Advisor,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye in a statement. “Ken brings a wealth of experience to the MTA and will be an invaluable asset in navigating the intersection of state government, policy and transportation.”

Lovett, a Long Island native, is a former Daily News bureau chief, New York Post reporter and reporter for Ottaway News Service among other news outlets. Earlier this year, he left The News to become a senior vice president for communications and Albany director for Metropolitan Public Strategies.

“With the MTA at a crucial point in its long history, joining the organization at this time is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Lovett said.

“I’m excited to work with Chairman Foye and the entire dedicated and talented MTA team to help pass a critically important capital spending plan and implement congestion pricing to ensure we can undertake the needed improvements that will allow us to deliver a transit system the entire New York metropolitan region deserves.”

Amid Impeachment Inquiry, Republicans Seek To Pressure Swing Seat Dems

From the Morning Memo:

The clearest public indication yet that President Donald Trump sought the announcement of an investigation from officials in Ukraine and linked a White House visit to military aid was presented on Wednesday by Ambassador Gordon Sondland in an impeachment inquiry hearing.

But outside of Washington, in a congressional district the president handily carried in 2016, Republicans were knocking freshman Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi over the impeachment drive in D.C.

The appearance by Republicans, including GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy and former Rep. Claudia Tenney who is running again for the seat, comes as the party nationally is attempting to pressure Democrats in key districts over the impeachment issue.

The super PAC American Action Network is spending $7 million on anti-impeachment ads airing in swing districts, including the areas represented by Democratic Reps. Antonio Delgado in the Hudson Valley and Max Rose on Staten Island, as well as the Brindisi seat.

Trump won all three congressional districts three years ago.

Tenney, who is competing for the Republican nomination this June against Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell and Franklin Sager, has been a prominent Trump supporter.

The president flew to Utica to hold a fundraiser with her there, and Eric Trump campaigned with her in the final days of unsuccessful bid for a second term last year.

“Despite saying for months that he would not support impeachment, Anthony Brindisi turned his back on our community and joined his far-left donors and the Democrat establishment in Washington to vote to continue this impeachment process,” Tenney said.

“Anthony Brindisi and Democrats in Washington are obsessed with impeaching the President to distract from their record of accomplishing nothing for the American people and Upstate New York.”

Brindisi’s office has pointed to the relatively less headline-grabbing issues they say he’s focused on, including concerns of veterans and agriculture.

At the same time, Brindisi has voted to move the impeachment inquiry forward, but has added he wants to see the facts before voting on an impeachment bill itself.

“Congressman Brindisi is focused on working with Democrats and Republicans to get things done,” said Brindisi spokesman Luke Jackson.

“Whether that’s getting a trade deal with Mexico and Canada that works for family farmers, small businesses, and workers, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, or fighting for our Veterans, Congressman Brindisi is hard at work for Upstate New York.”