Attorney General

Q Poll: Election? What Election?

The big-picture takeaway from today’s Q poll: Most New Yorkers are simply not focused yet on the fall elections…and, particularly when it comes to the race to replace AG Andrew Cuomo, they’re not clear who they might support when – and if – they start paying attention.

The big winner in the five-way Democratic AG primary was “don’t know”, with a whopping 81 percent of poll respondents who are enrolled members of the party choosing that answer when asked a generic “who will you vote for” question.

When asked to choose between the five contenders, 73 percent still said they didn’t have a favorite, while 11 percent picked Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice.

Five percent selected Assemblyman Richard Brodsky and four percent went with Sen. Eric Schneiderman. Eric Dinallo and Sean Coffey received 2 and 3 percent, respectively. Three percent said they won’t bother voting at all.

Interestingly, most New Yorkers – 51 percent – think the AG’s office is plenty powerful when it comes to fighting Albany corruption, which runs counter to the positions of several of the candidates, who say the office needs to be beefed up so they can adequately go after bad lawmakers.

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Pro-Schneiderman NYC Council Members Hit Rice On Voting

Two NYC Council members who support Sen. Eric Schneiderman for AG, Brad Lander (Brooklyn) and Melissa Mark-Viverito (East Harlem/Bronx), released a letter slamming Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice for her 18-year lapse in voting.

The Democratic duo, who serve as co-chairs of the Council’s Progressive Caucus, note Rice was living in a swing state (Pennsylvania) during the crucial 2000 presidential election and failed to vote for then-VP Al Gore.

“To explain this decision, you have used the excuse that ‘like a lot of young adults early in their professional lives, I failed to see the political significance of casting a ballot,'” the lawmakers wrote. “However, let us be clear: you were not a young person at this time, but a 35-year-old practicing attorney.”

“In all candor, if you could not see the “political significance” in voting for Al Gore over George Bush, one of the most destructive presidents of all time, then we have serious reason to question your judgment and commitment to core progressive values.”

“What was it that made such a decision so difficult? Did you fail to see the political significance of Bush’s promise to appoint anti-choice judges, his obsession with Iraq, or his commitment to eroding civil liberties?”

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Coffey Praises Donovan For Eschewing Indys

Sean Coffey, who has repeatedly said he thinks its inappropriate for any AG candidate to accept the endorsement of either the Independence or Working Families parties while they are under investigation, just released a statement praising his potential GOP opponent, Staten Island DA Dan Donovan, for ending his bid for Row C.

“I’d like to step across party lines for a moment and commend Dan Donovan for taking a principled stand on rejecting the Independence Party’s potential nomination,” Coffey said.

“No candidate for attorney general should seek or accept this line while it is under investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office on allegations of misconduct and corruption.”

“I was the first candidate in this race to remove myself from consideration and encourage all of my Democratic opponents who have not yet done so to do the same.”

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Donovan Takes A Pass On Indy Line

The lone Republican candidate for attorney general is saying thanks, but no thanks to the state Independence Party “at this time.”

Staten Island DA Dan Donovan sent a letter to Indy party chairman Frank MacKay saying he is no longer interested in being considered for the nomination.

Donovan cited the allegations of misconduct by MacKay related to his position as chairman (he didn’t note anything specific, but The Post’s Dave Seifman has been relentless in his coverage of party cash being sent to benefit MacKay’s wife’s former computer firm and people associated with it).

“As the Richmond County District Attorney, it is my sworn duty and obligation to fully investigate any claims of wrongdoing,” Donovan wrote.

“In order to preserve the integrity of my office and the integrity of any possible investigation undertaken, given your role in our investigation, I hereby remove myself from your consideration for the Independence Party’s nomination.”

This is an interesting move by Donovan, particularly since MacKay is an ally of Mayor Bloomberg, the DA’s most prominent supporter.

In fact, it was a big contribution by Bloomberg that was used to hire a veteran Queens GOP operative and longtime political volunteer for the mayor, John Haggerty, that got the Indys in trouble with the Manhattan DA.

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Schneiderman’s 100th Endorsement (?)

….is from Jumaane Williams, a Brooklyn Democrat former community activist and one of the freshman members of the NYC Council who was helped to victory last fall by the Working Families Party.

I jumped the gun on this yesterday, accidentally giving 100th endorser status to actor Alec Baldwin. But this morning’s announcement from the New Democrats of Western New York might have bumped Williams from his perch. But it’s all sort of an engineered milestone anyway, no?

Anyway, here’s what Williams had to say about his candidate of choice:

“As his progressive record demonstrates, Eric Schneiderman will be an attorney general who will fight for equal justice, economic fairness and the civil rights of every New Yorker.”

“Eric is the candidate who has championed the issues that matter to my community, such as increasing the minimum wage and ending the Rockefeller Drug Laws that devastated our state for decades.”

“As an activist, community leader, lawyer and lawmaker, Eric has stood for the hardworking people of this state in the face of injustice and I believe he will not stop fighting for justice as attorney general.”

WNY Dems Endorse Cuomo/Duffy, Schneiderman, DiNapoli

The New Democrats of Western New York, which bills itself as an organization “dedicated to advancing a 21st Century Progressive Agenda,” has unanimously endorsed AG Andrew Cuomo and his running mate, Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy, as well as Sen. Eric Schneiderman to suceed Cuomo as AG and state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

The most interesting point here is the in-roads Schneiderman has been making in the Buffalo area, where he picked up the support last week of Sen. Antoine Thompson, the Hispanic Alliance of Western New York, and the local affiliates of Citizen Action, 1199/SEIU and the United Auto Workers.

In a crowded field of five strong Democratic candidates for Attorney General one stood head and shoulders above the rest: Eric Schneiderman, said New Dems president and Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz.

“The next attorney general should be a person not afraid to use the powers of that office for the betterment of our state and country. Eric Schneiderman has proven throughout his career that he is a strong advocate for progressive values and protecting the common good. The New Democrats of WNY and I are proud to endorse his candidacy.”

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Alec Baldwin For Schneiderman

Actor and lefty activist Alec Baldwin is announcing his support for Sen. Eric Schneiderman’s AG bid this morning, saying he believes the Manhattan Democrat will provide “big progressive solutions” for the state’s many problems.

“We need an independent, gutsy Attorney General – that’s why I’m proud to endorse lifelong progressive Eric Schneiderman,” Baldwin said in a statement released by the Schneiderman campaign.

“Eric’s always been on the right side of the issues, from protecting the environment to fighting for marriage equality and reproductive freedom, and I know he has the character and the tenacity to stand up and deliver the real change our state needs.”

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Two Debates, Two No-Shows For Rice

If Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice is indeed too busy with her day job to debate her four Democratic AG opponents, it’s news to the New York Democratic Lawyers Council.

The NYDLC, whose AG candidate forum I’ll be moderating this evening at Cardozo Law School, informs me that Rice confirmed she would be attending the event and then abruptly changed course two weeks ago.

“The campaign said they had a scheduling conflict and that she had a different evening event, but was trying to work it out so she could do both and would let us know, so we moved her status to unconfirmed,” the staffer said.

The organization’s communications coordinator, David Stonehill, said he made a last-ditch effort to find out if she was coming by reaching out to last night to her campaign manager Jeff Stein by e-mail. He received no answer.

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Bishop For Rice

Rep. Tim Bishop today announced his endorsement of fellow Long Islander, Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, in her quest to succeed Andrew Cuomo in the state attorney general’s office.

“District Attorney Rice is exactly what we need in government today: tough, progressive, thoughtful and able to build consensus across the state in order to solve everyday problems,” Bishop said in a statement released by Rice’s campaign.

“All New Yorkers can have confidence in District Attorney Rice’s judgment and I’m proud to stand with her as she runs for attorney general.”

Bishop is billed by Rice’s campaign thusly:

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HTC For Schneiderman

The 80,000-member New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council (AKA as HTC) is the latest labor union to throw its weight behind Sen. Eric Schneiderman’s AG bid, with union President Peter Ward saying the Manhattan Democrat “stands out as the clear choice to bring justice to the working people of this state.”

“As a lawyer, lawmaker and activist, Eric has never wavered in his commitment to protecting consumers, working for quality jobs and taking on tough fights on behalf of the women and men of New York,” Ward continued in a statement released by Schneiderman’s campaign.

“Eric Schneiderman will be a smart, progressive Attorney General who will always stand up for what’s right.”

“This was a field of many good candidates, all of whom courted us assiduously. But in the end, Eric Schneiderman rose above the rest as someone who will be a fantastic Attorney General, and we are ready to activate our considerable resources and man-power to make that happen.”

So, this is not entirely a shock, although I’m told the competition for HTC’s nod was fierce, with both Assembylman Richard Brodsky (who fought for a labor nod in the public authorities reform bill) and Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice battling extremely hard for the endorsement.

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