Bellone Holds Fundraising Advantage In County Exec Race

From the Morning Memo:

Democratic Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is maintaining a fundraising advantage over Republican challenge John Kennedy.

Bellone is heading into the final stretch of the campaign with $1.6 million in cash on hand, his campaign said.

Kennedy, the county comptroller and Republican challenger, is holding $235,415 after reporting have raised $153,095.

Bellone is running for a third term in a county won by President Donald Trump in 2016, but could be considered a key suburban bellwether for either party heading into the 2020 election.

Delgado’s Impeachment Support Leads To RNC Ad

From the Morning Memo:

Rep. Antonio Delgado last week became one of the first battleground House Democrats in New York to support an impeachment drive for President Donald Trump.

And the endorsement has drawn the ire of the Republican National Committee, which is airing a TV spot in the Albany media market slamming him for his support of impeachment, and urging constituents to call his office to oppose it.

It’s a sign that impeachment, at least for the moment, could still play a potent political role for either side over the coming months, even as Republicans and Democrats alike in their districts week have sought to keep the focus on more local-level issues facing voters.

The ad accuses Delgado of siding with progressive lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and preferring to hold “endless hearings” to investigate the president rather than trying to get something done in Congress.

The RNC’s ad is part of a broader national TV ad buy against Democrats in districts Trump carried in 2016 who are endorsing impeachment. Delgado last year unseated Republican Rep. John Faso.

Delgado’s campaign, in turn, is fundraising off the ad itself.

“We can’t let a tidal wave of negative ads drown out Antonio’s record of fighting for working families,” Delgado’s campaign said in a fundraising email. “We know this campaign has asked a lot of you lately, but it’s urgent that we respond right away.”

Earlier this week, Rep. Max Rose, a Democrat from Staten Island also elected from a Trump-friendly district, announced his support for impeachment.

Schumer Says He Wants A ‘Fact-Based’ Investigation Of Trump-Ukraine Saga

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in central New York on Thursday said he has urged Democrats in the U.S. Senate to “keep our powder dry” as impeachment talk swirls in Washington around President Donald Trump.

The New York Democrat said he supports a “fact-based” and “non-rhetorical” inquiry into the efforts of the president to have the president of Ukraine investigate the business dealings of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter in the country.

“The founding fathers — Jefferson, Madison, Washington — were most worried about foreign interference. So to have a thorough, fact-based, non-rhetorical investigation as to what happened is very called for,” Schumer said. “I’ve told my senators that they should keep our powder dry, that we should not come to conclusions, that we should listen to the facts and then we will all have to make decisions.”

The Senate would consider any articles of impeachment voted on and approved the House of Representatives in an impeachment trial.

Schumer held the unusual distinction of voting twice on a presidential impeachment in 1998 and 1999, when he served out his term in the House and took a U.S. Senate seat in 1999. In both instances, he voted to acquit President Bill Clinton.

Lawmakers To Hold Single-Payer Hearing In Rochester

State lawmakers next Thursday will hold a public hearing and news conference in Rochester to discuss the proposed single-payer legislation.

The measure, known as the New York Health Act, would create a single-payer system in the state. The bill did not gain a vote in either chamber of the Legislature, but has retained support among lawmakers, who have pledged hearings and broader review of the measure as federal proposals have been debated in the Democratic presidential nominating contest.

The Rochester hearing is the second one in a series of statewide events. More will be scheduled in New York City and the Hudson Valley. The previous hearing was held in Albany on May 28.

State lawmakers previously traveled this summer to Canada to review the country’s national health care system.

State Lawmakers Make New Push Highlighting Federal Gun Control

State lawmakers, locally elected officials and gun control advocates on Friday made a symbolic push for federal action on gun control, signing a panel from the original 1969 Woodstock stage in support for strengthening background checks and a red flag provision.

“We sent the message to Washington that Hudson Valley lawmakers at every level of government will not tolerate the carnage of another mass shooting or gun violence in our country,” said Sen. David Carlucci, a Democrat from the Hudson Valley.

“By signing the Woodstock stage panel, we stood in unity and in support of a country focused on its best days ahead, without deadly gun violence. I thank advocates, Moms Demand Action and Peace of Stage for their tremendous activism for safer communities.”

The event, also backed by groups like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, comes after state lawmakers this year approved legislation that included a state version of the red flag law, which is meant to take guns away from those deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.

After a summer of mass shootings in which more than 100 people, there’s been a push for federal action on the issue.

“I am proud to join with gun safety advocates and my colleagues from state and local government to take a stand against gun violence,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

“Our nation has a gun violence epidemic, and nothing is being done in Washington to address this crisis. My Senate Democratic Majority took historic steps this year to combat gun violence and better protect New York communities. Now it is time for Washington to follow New York’s lead and pass common-sense policies like effective background checks, extreme risk protection orders, and other gun safety measures. New York will continue to lead the nation in the fight against gun violence, and I hope Washington leaders finally listen and act.”

Cynthia Nixon Makes Progressive Picks In Primary Endorsements

A year ago, Cynthia Nixon lost her primary challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a bid to the incumbent’s left flank.

Now in the last several days, the actress and public education advocate has endorsed progressive challengers in a pair of congressional primaries.

On Wednesday, Nixon backed Jamaal Bowman in his primary campaign against longtime Bronx-area Rep. Eliot Engel.

“Jamaal understands we need to invest in schools, not jails,” she says in a video posted to Twitter alongside Bowman.

On Thursday, Nixon backed Democrat Melissa Mark-Viverito, who has entered the increasingly crowded primary field for the district being vacated by Rep. Jose Serrano.

Nixon in a statement pointed to Mark-Viverito’s support for improving public housing and closing the Rikers Island jail.

This isn’t Nixon’s first foray into congressional primary politics. She backed the successful campaign in 2018 of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when she upset incumbent Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley.

New York AG, Brooklyn DA Sue Over ICE Courthouse Arrests

Two separate lawsuits against the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency meant to halt courthouse arrests of immigrants were announced Wednesday by New York Attorney General Letitia James and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.

The second suit is backed by The Legal Aid Society and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. Both were filed in federal court.

“The administration of justice and public safety are among the most important functions of the state, and I will be relentless in their defense,” James said. “When ICE targets witnesses and victims for arrests, it deters noncitizens and immigrants from assisting in state and local law enforcement efforts or protecting their own rights in court. This is a disastrous and dangerous break from previous policy and that’s why we are fighting to force them to end this practice.”

The legal challenges are meant to challenge the ability of ICE to make arrests in courthouses without a judicial warrant or court order in New York.

In one suit, filed by the attorney general and DA offices, officials assert the ICE arrests impede administration of justice in courthouses and negatively affect public safety. The second suit is seeking a permanent injunction on the halt of ICE’s courthouse enforcement on behalf of a domestic violence survivor who needed to appear in court for an order of protection and is not a citizen. The plaintiff feared the risk of an ICE arrest.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my career as a prosecutor, it’s that law enforcement can’t keep people safe without the participation of the communities we serve,” Gonzalez said.

“Over the past two years, numerous immigrant victims and witnesses have refused to come forward and assist in our prosecutions out of fear that they’ll be arrested in court by immigration agents, forcing my office to dismiss or reduce serious criminal cases.”

Brindisi Says He’s Taking A ‘Cautious’ Approach On Impeachment

In the weeks before he unseated Republican Claudia Tenney in a closely waged and watched congressional race, Democrat Anthony Brindisi preferred talking about local-level issues in the race.

President Donald Trump’s trip to Utica, in the heart of the district, to fundraise for Tenney, was considered white noise by the Brindisi campaign.

Now Brindisi is taking a similarly cautious approach on whether to support impeachment proceedings against Trump, who carried the 22nd congressional district with ease in 2016.

“I’m very cautious. I want to make sure I have the facts and the best information before I move forward and say I’m going to support impeachment or an impeachment inquiry,” he told Spectrum News’s Washington, DC bureau. “Right now we don’t have any of the facts.”

Brindisi is one of two Democrats (the other is Staten Island’s Max Rose) who defeated incumbent Republicans last year in Trump friendly territory. The impeachment drive is an added quandary to a Democrat representing a district with an otherwise reddish hue ahead of re-election next year, when the president is, presumably, once again at the top of the ticket.

The White House on Wednesday released a readout of the call between Trump and the new president of Ukraine, showing Trump asked his counterpart to investigate the business dealings of the son of his political rival, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Trump did not explicitly link foreign aid to the push for the investigation, but he did mention the support the U.S. has given the country.

Scores of House Democrats came out in favor of impeachment on Tuesday, including lawmakers who represent battleground districts like Antonio Delgado. But Brindisi indicated he was still yet to read the full readout of the call and wants to hear from top intelligence officials and the unnamed whistleblower who had first raised concerns.

“I’m troubled by the allegations and I think the American people deserve answers,” he said, adding, “I think some folks are very quick to jump on news reports without having all the details just yet.”

Will Impeachment Have Political Fallout For House Dems In New York?

From the Morning Memo:

Congressional Democrats from across New York endorsed moving forward impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

But what will the political fallout be for some of these lawmakers? It may be too soon to tell.

Rep. Antonio Delgado became the most prominent of the battleground incumbents to endorse an impeachment inquiry against Trump on Tuesday, pointing to the president’s admitted push to have Ukrainian officials investigate the business dealings of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Delgado said he was alarmed that Trump may have sought to tie foreign aid to the investigation.

“Having taken an oath of office before God and my fellow citizens to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, I can only conclude that Congress move forward with articles of impeachment,” Delgado said in a statement released through his office.

Delgado was soon joined by fellow upstate Democrats Paul Tonko, Sean Patrick Maloney, Joe Morelle, Tom Suozzi and Gregory Meeks in support of an impeachment inquiry.

Rep. Anthony Brindisi, a Democrat from the Mohawk Valley who unseated Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney last year in a district Trump handily won in 2016, hasn’t endorsed the impeachment inquiry.

Republicans, including State GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy, blasted their stance.

“They’re focused more on playing national politics and pandering to the extreme left in their own party than they are to face those bread and butter issues,” Langworthy said.

Democrats in Congress have become too beholden to firebrand progressives like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, figures who are popular with the progressive base, but less so with a broader electorate, Langworthy said.

“They want to derail this president’s agenda and focus on squarely on this,” he said. “This is not what the America people want, this is not what the taxpayers of New York state need and these members of Congress should be ashamed of themselves for joining this action.

Delgado represents a swing seat in the Hudson Valley, a district held by Republicans in the past and carried by Trump three years ago. The campaign arm of House Republicans called impeachment the political death knell for Delgado. But Morgan Hook, a consultant with the public affairs firm SKD Knickberbocker, disagrees.

“I think it’s the other way around,” Hook said. “I think Republicans all over the country are now going to have to explain why they will not vote for impeachment proceedings when the evidence is so clear that this administration has been corrupt from day one.”

And Hook says it’s too early to determine what will be on voters minds more than a year from now in the 2020 election.

“Frankly there’s just too much time, too much stuff can happen between now and then,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any way we know what’s going to be the number one issue for voters a year from now.”

NY-19: Delgado Endorses Impeachment Of Trump

Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado, a freshman lawmaker elected to a Hudson Valley House seat a year ago, endorsed the impeachment of President Donald Trump, saying in a statement released Tuesday morning that the move was warranted.

Delgado’s backing of moving forward with impeachment comes amid a growing chorus of House Democrats, including first-term lawmakers elected in formerly Republican-held seats, amid allegations the president withheld foreign aid for Ukraine while pressuring the country to investigate the son of his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

“The first responsibility of the President of the United States is to keep our country safe, but it has become clear that our president has placed his personal interests above the national security of our nation,” Delgado said in a statement. “The President has admitted to soliciting the Ukrainian president to investigate a political rival. In doing so, the President used the power of the presidency to pressure a foreign government to help him win an election.”

Delgado called the effort to have a foreign power investigate Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and his business dealings there is “an impeachable offense” on its own.

“And yet, even more troubling is the fact that prior to this conversation, the President instructed his administration to withhold military aid that Ukraine needed to fend off Russian aggression,” Delgado said.

“Having taken an oath of office before God and my fellow citizens to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, I can only conclude that Congress move forward with articles of impeachment.”

Delgado’s endorsement of impeachment is significant given the purple-ish hue of the district, once represented by Republicans like Chris Gibson. Delgado only a year ago unseated Republican John Faso in a costly and closely watched battleground race.

The 19th congressional district has long been considered a bellwether for either party’s prospects nationally.

The same year Faso was elected, 2016, Trump won the district 51 percent to 44 percent.

Delgado had cautiously navigated the calls for impeaching the president over the last year, voting against a resolution in support of the move in July following the release of Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 and the lengths to which Trump sought to stymie the investigation.

But Delgado’s endorsement of impeachment is perhaps reflective of the growing mood among Democrats, including moderate freshman in vulnerable districts ahead of next year’s election, that impeachment is a viable option.