Attorney General

Amsterdam News For Schneiderman

The Amsterdam News, the nation’s oldest continuously published black newspaper, has weighed in with the first newspaper endorsement of the AG’s race, backing Sen. Eric Schneiderman to succeed Andrew Cuomo has New York’s top attorney.

The editorial board has good things to say about all five Democratic AG contenders, but decided to go with the Manhattan lawmaker because “(he) has been a stalwart defender of the rights for our community.”

“As attorney general, Schneiderman says he will to bring real reform to the state. One of these reforms is an innocence unit within the criminal division that, when appropriate, will examine prior convictions to ensure that justice is done,” the editorial states.

“He will work to protect the environment and make sure that our water is safe, starting with preventing dangerous gas drilling upstate until the methods are proven safe. He will endeavor to protect the people of the state by reforming unfair market practices in the financial sector while, at the same time, ensuring faith in our own public sector.”

“His agenda is too numerous to go into in its entirety, but it is aggressive and ambitious. If anyone can accomplish these goals, it is Eric Schneiderman, and that is why the New York Amsterdam News endorses him for attorney general.”

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Women For Dinallo

A reader forwarded this invite to a “Women for Dinallo” fundraiser that will be held to benefit the Democratic AG hopeful on Sept. 7 in Manhattan – exactly one week before he faces off against his four primary opponents at the ballot box.

The host list includes: Dana Buchman, fashion designer; Jane Hartley, philanthropist/Obama fundraiser; Bethany Schumann-McGhee, Montgomery County Democratic Committee chairwoman;and Janice Weinman Shorenstein, founder of children’s non-profit Kids In Distressed Situations. (Among many others).

Yesterday Today, Dinallo released his “women’s rights agenda” to conincide with the 90th anniversary of women’s suffrage. The agenda is a five-point plan that includes: Fighting for workplace and financial fairness, protecting victims of domestic violence, combating sex trafficking, and protecting abortion rights/access to contraception.

Establishing a women’s committee and focusing on women’s issues a a pretty standard thing for candidates on both sides of the aisle. Women account for 51 percent of the population, after all, and they tend to show up at the voting booth.

In the Democratic AG primary, however, the focus on women’s issues have taken on a new importance since the field includes just one woman – Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice – and her four male opponents have been working hard not to cede the female vote to her.

9-7-10 Dinallo Women’s Invite

Air Rice: Running Against Albany ‘Corruption’

Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice has released her second TV ad in as many days, this one focusing on her pledge to clean up Albany by pushing to expand the power of the AG’s office to investigate public corruption.

The spot, entitled “Life”, debuted on Rice’s Facebook page this morning. It’s airing in the Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo media markets. No word on the size of the buy. As the 32-day pre-primary filing, Rice had $4.4 million on hand. So far, she and Sean Coffey are the only two AG contenders on the air.

Rice’s first spot, “No Pushover“, was a Law & Order-esque bio spot that focused on the face that she’s a tough woman – the first female DA elected on Long Island – in a male-dominated business.

Rice, who has argued that she’s better situated that at least two of her opponents – Sen. Eric Schneiderman and Assemblyman Richard Brodsky – to go after corruption in Albany because she’s an “outsider”, has called for amending the Executive Law so the AG doesn’t need gubernatorial approval to investigate state officials and also a change in the Election Law to empower the office to crack down on violations.

“(Announcer): “We obey the laws and pay our taxes. What we expect in return isn’t asking too much. reliable services. Honesty from public services. But we all know that’s not happening in New York.”

“(Rice): We all pay for corruption in Albany. With higher property taxes and substandard services. I’m Kathleen Rice. I’ll work to expand the attorney general’s power to investigate corruption and fraud, and if you cheat the taxpayers of New York, you should go to prison.”

WNY Stonewall For Schneiderman

The Stonewall Democrats of Western New York has followed the lead of its New York City counterpart and endorsed Sen. Eric Schneiderman for AG.

“We are so proud to support Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General,” said WNY Stonewall President Bryan Ball.

“From fighting for marriage equality to passing hate crimes and anti-bullying legislation, Eric Schneiderman is a lifelong progressive leader who has always been a strong voice for justice on behalf of all New Yorkers.”

“Even when it wasn’t politically popular, Eric has been on the right side of equality, and there is no doubt he will be an outstanding attorney general.”

Schneiderman has been working to lock down LGBT support for some time now, so this isn’t a big surprise.

However, this particular nod is noteworthy in part because one of the Manhattan Democrat’s AG opponents, Sean Coffey, caught some blowback recently when he decided to pick sides in the 58th SD primary, endorsing Sen. Bill Stachowski against Legislator Tim Kennedy.

Coffey had been hoping to use this endorsement as a means of pressuring another of the Democatic AG candidates, Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, on her tie to controversial former Erie County Democratic Chairman Steve Pigeon.

But the move backfired somewhat when WNY LGBT advocates noted that Stachowski had voted “no” on gay marriage. Coffey’s campaign shot back that there is “reason to doubt” Kennedy’s support for marriage because he has been endorsed by the Conservative Party.

Log Cabin Republicans For Donovan

Staten Island DA Dan Donovan, the lone Republican AG hopeful who has been slammed by Democrats and LGBT leaders for his position on gay marriage, received the endorsement today of the Log Cabin Republicans of New York State PAC.

“As the District Attorney of Staten Island, Mr. Donovan has a long and distinguished record of treating everyone equal under the law,” PAC Chairman Gregory T. Angelo said in a press release.

“He is a man of integrity with a selfless commitment to uphold the rights of all citizens of this state, and we look forward to working with him when he becomes the next Attorney General of the State of New York in November.”

The Log Cabin Republicans were very involved in the lobbying effort last December to try to convince some GOP senators to vote “yes” on marriage – an effort that ultimately failed when the entire 30-member conference, joined by eight Democrats, voted “no” on the measure, killing the bill in the process.

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AG Donors Hedge Their Bets

Just how much of a toss-up is the race to replace AG Andrew Cuomo?

Well, consider this Excel spreadsheet compiled by NYPIRG’s Bill Mahoney that shows the number of donors who are giving to multiple candidates, with some even splitting their cash across party lines to give to one or more of the five Democratic AG contenders and also to the lone GOP candidate, Staten Island DA Dan Donovan.

This spreadsheet includes contributions made between Jan. 12 and Aug. 9 – the time reflected in the July and 32-day pre-primary filings.

All told, the candidates collectively raised a whopping $7,260,186 during that period. The amount given by donors who gave to more than one candidate is $774,000 – about 10 percent of the total.

Here’s a link to a spreadsheet on all of the pre-primary filings, including reports filed by gubernatorial hopefuls Rick Lazio and Carl Paladino.

Donors to Multiple AG Candidates

Duane For Schneiderman

Sen. Tom Duane, a Manhattan Democrat who was the first openly gay and (as far as I know) only HIV-positive member of the Senate, has thrown his support to his colleague, Sen. Eric Schneiderman, calling him “a true reformer and a tireless advocate for all New Yorkers.”

“From hate crimes legislation to civil rights and anti-illegal gun laws, to his steadfast leadership in the fight for marriage equality, Eric has distinguished himself as the single best candidate to serve New Yorkers as their lawyer,” Duane said in a statement released by Schneiderman’s campaign.

Duane is a late add to the list of senators backing Schneiderman. He is the lead sponsor of the same-sex marriage bill in the Senate (and took some heat last year after the measure failed to pass, since he had insisted all along that there would be sufficient support on the GOP side of the aisle to help push it over the top).

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Coffey Re-Airs ‘Justice’ (Updated)

Democratic Attorney General Candidate Sean Coffey is trying to fight fire with fire, going back up on the airwaves as his rival, Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, launches her first ad of the campaign season.

UPDATE from Liz: To be clear, this ad, ‘Justice’, was first released by Coffey back in July and is being recycled. His campaign says he’ll be on the air through the Sept. 14 primary, although not necessarily with his specific spot.

By pumping some $3 million of his own cash into his AG campaign, Coffey has brought himself within about $1.2 million of Rice, who had $4.4 million on hand as of the 32-day pre-primary filing.

None of the remaining three Democratic AG contenders (or the GOP candidate, Staten Island DA Dan Donovan) has close to that in the bank, which is why they’re husbanding their resources and declining to jump into this air war.

Coffey’s ad takes a subtle shot at his four Democratic challengers, painting Coffey as the only non-politician in the race and saying: “New Yorkers don’t need another politician seeking office; we need an Attorney General seeking justice.”

Rice: ‘No Pushover’

Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice is up with her first TV ad of the AG’s campaign, which plays up her gender, but also portrays her as a hard-nosed crime-fighter who’s tough enough to protect New Yorkers from all manner of ills.

The ad, which hits the airwaves today in NYC, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany, was released last night in a sneak-peak e-mail to Rice supporters with an accompanying e-mail that read:

“I want you to be the first to see the 30 seconds that will change this campaign.”

“Because of your generosity and support, tomorrow morning Kathleen will be the first attorney general candidate to hit the network airwaves across the state.”

“The ad, entitled ‘No Pushover,’ highlights Kathleen’s record as a tough and innovative prosecutor who has protected victims and gone after corrupt public officials and online sexual predators.”

The e-mail is also a fundraising appeal that asks supporters to help Rice keep the spot on the air by contributing and warns rather ominously that she will be the subject of attacks in the coming weeks “by career politicians and wealthy political insiders who will stop at nothing to make sure that our state’s next lawyer is a politician, rather than a career legal advocate.”

The spot has sort of a “Law & Order” feel to it and includes a slow-motion shot of Rice walking at a crime scene (complete with yellow tape!) along with dark-suited men and cops and also sitting at a long wood table in one of those quintessential legal offices.

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Brodsky Gets PEF

As the AFL-CIO members are meeting in Albany to determine their endorsements in the fall elections, a key public sector union – the Public Employees Federation – has announced its support of Assemblyman Richard Brodsky’s bid to replace AG Andrew Cuomo.

“Brodsky has always been responsive to his constituents,” said PEF President Kenneth Brynien.

“He has had an open door to hear the concerns of PEF members and has been a strong advocate for the needs of middle class families. He has proven himself an open and honest candidate and effective leader in the state assembly. We believe those qualities will help make him a strong Attorney General.”

PEF, which represents 58,000 professional, scientific and technical public employees, is the second-largest state workers union (the first is CSEA). Other labor supporters of the Westchester County Democratic lawmaker include DC37 and CWA.

The bulk of the so-called progressive private sector union support, which includes SEIU 1199, HTC and 32BJ, has gone to Sen. Eric Schneiderman, with RWDSU, UFCW Local 1500 and a number of the trades siding with Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice.

Brodsky is kicking off a four-county, nine-day upstate swing today.