NY-22: Independence Party Endorses Babinec

The Independence Party on Thursday gave its nod to Republican businessman Martin Babinec in the 22nd congressional district race.

“Martin Babinec is by far the best candidate for Congress in the 22nd District,” said Independence Party Chairman Frank MacKay. “Upstate New York needs jobs and Martin Babinec has a record of creating real jobs, both on his own as well as helping others do the same.”

Babinec, a Little Falls resident, is the co-founder of StartFast Venture Accelerator, a firm that invests in startup companies in central New York. He’s also the co-founder of IntroNet Corporation, a software company.

“We need to rekindle the belief that a kid from Little Falls can still dream big and live that dream right here. That’s the mission, the hope and the spirit I will bring to this race and to Congress,” said Martin Babinec in a statement.

In addition to Babinec, six candidates are competing for the 22nd congressional district, which includes parts of the Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley regions of the state.

The seat is being vacated by Republican Rep. Richard Hanna, who retires at the end of the year.

Griffo Considers NY-22 Run

Add Sen. Joe Griffo’s name to the quickly growing list of Republicans considering a run for the NY-22 seat GOP Rep. Richard Hanna announced over the weekend he will be giving up at the end of next year.

“I am considering and exploring a candidacy for the 22nd Congressional District, and it is an opportunity that I will be discussing in the days ahead,” Griffo said in a statement. “I have already had conversations with people at the local, state and federal level, both in the public and private sectors, who are curious about my plans and who have encouraged me to consider it. I will continue to have these conversations with my family, friends and co-workers.”

Griffo noted that he has ample experience in the public sector, first as mayor of Rome, then as Oneida County executive and now (since he was elected in 2006) as a senator representing the 47th district, which encompasses all of Lewis County, most of Oneida County, and St. Lawrence County.

The senator said he has already talked with (unnamed) individuals at the federal, state and local level about a possible congressional bid. He did not provide a timeline for his decision, but said he’ll be reflecting on this option over the holidays, adding: “any decision I make will be based upon a number of important factors and conversations.”

One of those factors will likely be what his run would mean for his fellow Senate Republicans, who are gearing up for a re-match with the Democrats for control of the chamber in what’s shaping up to be a challenging year, thanks to the twin corruption convictions of two former top conference leaders – ex-Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous and ex-Majority Leader Dean Skelos – as well as a presidential election that will likely boost Democratic turnout in this Democrat-dominated state.

Thanks to the fact that the Senate and Assembly could never agree on a date on which to hold both the congressional and state primaries, those two continue to occur several months apart. (June and September, respectively). That means that Griffo could – theoretically – run for the House without giving up his Senate seat, though to do so would likely open him up for criticism by some non-legislative opponents.

So far, the only announced candidate for Hanna’s seat is Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, who unsuccessfully challenge the congressman in a GOP primary last year and had intended to make a second attempt at unseating him next fall.

Oneida County Executive Tony Picente has also been mentioned on the GOP side, along with Oswego County Clerk Michael Backus, Cortland County’s Catherine Bertini, and former Sen. Ray Meier. On the Democratic side, Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi has long been rumored to be mulling a run if Hanna didn’t seek re-election to a fourth term. The Post-Standard also noted that Oneida County Legislator David Gordon has said he’ll be forming an exploratory committee for a potential campaign.

UPDATE: Several people have noted that it’s unlikely Brindisi and Griffo would run against one another, since they have a good political working relationship. Another potential scenario: Griffo runs for congress, and then Brindisi runs for Griffo’s Senate seat, assuming Griffo vacates it.

Hanna Condemns Trump’s Muslim Proposal

Rep. Richard Hanna joined a chorus of Republicans on Tuesday in condemning the proposal by leading GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump to bar non-American Muslims from entering the United States on a temporary basis.

“Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the United States of America is un-American, ill-advised, dangerous and shows a profound lack of understanding of the U.S. Constitution,” Hanna said in a statement. “Such a divisive suggestion has no place in our national dialogue.”

Hanna added that the terrorist threat is “real” and backs reforms to the national visa waiver program along with enhanced law enforcement capabilities to check for potential terrorists.

“I also supported a measure in the House last month to halt the admission of refugees from Syria and Iraq until the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence certify that they do not pose a threat to our national security,” Hanna said.

Hanna’s comments come amid the early days of a primary challenge to his right flank from Republican Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, who earlier in the day knocked Hanna’s support of a proposal to block those on the “no-fly list” from obtaining a gun.

Tenney Knocks Hanna Over Restricting Guns For No-Fly List

Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney criticized Republican Rep. Richard Hanna on Tuesday for indicating he supported a measure that would restrict gun purchases for those on the “no-fly” list.

At the same time, Tenney knocked her primary rival for suggesting he differed with the Ulster County sheriff’s public call for those with concealed carry licenses to arm themselves in the event of a terrorist attack.

The twin criticisms come amid a rematch between Tenney, a Republican state lawmaker, and Hanna, a moderate GOP member of Congess who represents the 22nd Congressional district and a sign the contours of the race will likely hinge on the pitched national debate over security and gun control.

Tenney last month announced she would launch another bid to deny Hanna of the Republican nomination, her second effort after falling short in 2014.

Hanna’s comments came in a radio interview late last week and after the U.S. Senate failed to muster the votes to deny those on the no-fly list from gun purchases, a Democratic-led proposal that came after the San Bernardino terrorist attacks left 14 dead.

“The people on the no-fly list, for example, can get guns,” Hanna said in the interview. “That seems to me to be something we ought to be looking at.”

Tenney, in her statement, said the statement amounted to a call for more gun control and is opposed by the National Rifle Association, given the problems with the no-fly list.

“Many have wrongly appeared on this list including: journalists, U.S. representatives and even children,” her campaign said in a statement. “A report also found that 72 employees from the Department of Homeland Security are on the no-fly list. Removing your name from this list, even if it has been wrongly added, has proven to be nearly impossible. Stripping those who have been added to the no-fly list of their Second Amendment rights and consequently ignoring the Fifth Amendment of due process, is a misguided infringement on our constitutionally protected freedoms.”

Meanwhile, Hanna in the same interview said he didn’t “see the point” of having gun owners carry their firearms in the event of an attack, as called for by Ulster County Sheriff Paul VanBlarcum.

“In the wake of this week’s horrific terrorist attacks, the usual anti-gun politicians and now Richard Hanna want to take away Second Amendment rights first and ask questions later,” Tenney said. “It is wrong when leaders in Washington exploit these tragedies for political expediency.”

Santorum Robos For Tenney

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum is featured in a robocall from the Citizens United Political Victory Fund boosting Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney’s congressional primary against Republican Rep. Richard Hanna.

“Claudia is a principled conservative leader who’ll make a great member of Congress,” Santorum, a presidential runner up in 2012, says in the ad. “She’ll go to Washington to fix what’s broken, not join the club.”

Hanna, for his part, has had former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s endorsement in the form of a TV ad paid for by the American Unity PAC, a political action committee funded by Republican donors of same-sex marriage.

Tenney has sought to portray Hanna, who is moderate on social issues like same-sex marriage and abortion, as out of step with conservative voters in the district.

In the Santorum call, Tenney is portrayed as an independent conservative on issues like gun control and taxation.

“Claudia Tenney is a reformer,” Santorum says “She’ll be a breath of fresh air.”

In NY-22, Giuliani Endorses Hanna

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is endorsing Republican Rep. Richard Hanna in his GOP primary against Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney.

“America needs strong leaders more than ever,” Giulaini says in the 30-second ad. “That’s why I’m proud to endorse my friend, Richard Hanna.”

The ad was paid for by American Unity PAC, a super PAC funded by Republican donors who support same-sex marriage and gay rights.

The Giuliani spot, which is airing on cable and broadcast, is the third in a series of ads in the Hanna race, and the PAC is spending $700,000 in the primary campaign for TV, mail and targeted phone calls.

The ad comes four days before the primary with Tenney, who is running to Hanna’s right in the central New York congressional district.

Still, Hanna has received endorsements from groups traditionally aligned by conservatives, such as the National Rifle Association.

And Giuliani touts Hanna’s conservative economic credentials in the ad.

“He’s voted over and over to balance the budget, cut wasteful spending and defund Obamacare,” he says.

Super PAC Poll Shows Hanna Widening Lead Over Tenney

A pro-gay rights Super PAC that has heavily invested in Rep. Richard Hanna’s re-election bid has released partial results of two polls it conducted of the NY-22 GOP primary, which show the incumbent congressman widening his already significant lead over his challenger, Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney.

According to the polls conducted by Jan R van Lohuizen (former President George W. Bush’s pollster for his 2004 re-election) for the American Unity PAC, Hanna led Tenney by 52-31 among likely primary voters in early May, and by the end of the month was ahead 61-20.

In addition, Hanna’s favorability increased from 64 percent to 68 percent (within the statistical margin of error), while is unfavorability dropped from 23 percent to 14 percent. Tenney, on the other hand, saw her favorability decline from 41 percent to 26 percent, while the number of voters who had an unfavorably impression of her rose from 13 percent to 24 percent.

According to a source familiar with the results of these polls, Hanna’s numbers improved in the Binghamton and Utica portions of the district – two areas on which his TV ad buys have specifically focused, in part because the district lines changed significantly in the court-drawn congressional map used for the fist time in the 2012 elections.

NY-22 is a newly created district that stretches from Binghamton north to the Oswego area. Hanna is from the northern reaches of the district that was carved up in redistricting.

Tenney, who has considerably fewer resources than Hanna, is not on the air. But as she has moved around the district – and as the primary battle has taken on an increasingly negative tone, with the assemblywoman slamming the congressman, accusing him of being insufficiently conservative – her standing with NY-22 voters (according to these numbers) has dropped.

American Unity PAC, which supports both gay rights and “economic freedom,” recently dropped some $550,000 on an TV ad buy in support of Hanna – the largest independent expenditure to date in the NY-22 primary. The PAC plans to assist eight to 10 candidates in this election cycle, but the Hanna vs. Tenney fight is the only primary battle in which it is taking sides.

Hanna also has the Independence Party endorsement and ballot line, while Tenney has been endorsed by the state Conservative Party, but didn’t file enough signatures to get onto that party’s line in the general election. The Democrats are not fielding a candidate in Novemeber, so whoever wins the primary will effectively be the victor in the general election, too.

American Unity PAC poll, NY-22 by liz_benjamin6490

Hanna Touts ‘Conservative Solutions’

Rep. Richard Hanna, a moderate Republican who is facing a challenge on his right from Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney in the June 24 NY-22 primary, is launching a new TV ad that focuses on his fiscal conservatism – most notably, his vote in favor of repealing “Obamacare” and dislike of so-called “big government.”

In the wake of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s loss to a little-known and under-funded Tea Party primary challenger, ostensibly because he was not conservative enough on key issues – particularly immigration – incumbent Republicans tryign to fend off more conservative primary opponents must be feeling a little nervous. (Or so the House Democrats hope).

Tenney doesn’t have anywhere near Hanna’s resources. (I believe she isn’t on the air yet, while he has had several ads running to date). But she does have the support of the state Conservative Party (albeit not its ballot line, due to her failure to file a sufficient number of signatures), and has been railing against Hanna for what she says are his insufficiently conservative positions on a host of policy issues.

The 30-second ad, which was filmed at the Sweet Basil Diner in Barneveld, hits the airwaves tomorrow. The script is as follows:

“Our $17 trillion dollar debt threatens our national security and our children’s future. So I voted for a balanced budget, for real spending cuts and I voted to repeal Obamacare. Bigger government is the problem – not the solution. When I ran for Congress, I promised you I’d fight for fiscal sanity and conservative solutions and that’s what I’ll continue to do. I’m Richard Hanna and I approve this message.”

Paladino Fundraises For Tenney

Republican congressional candidate Claudia Tenney is getting some last-minute help in her primary campaign from Carl Paladino, the party’s 2010 gubernatorial nominee.

Paladino will headline a June 12 fundraiser for Tenney, with tickets for the event ranging from $50 to $100.

Tenney has an uphill challenge in taking on Republican Rep. Richard Hanna.

Tenney has argued Hanna is too liberal in Congress, but Hanna has lined up the support of conservative organizations like the National Rifle Association.

Hanna so far has declined to debate Tenney.

Democrats are not running a candidate against Hanna this fall, making the primary practically a winner-take-all situation. Hanna has the Independence Party ballot line.


NRA Backs Hanna For Re-Election

Rep. Richard Hanna, a Republican facing a primary challenge from GOP Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, was endorsed on Wednesday by the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund.

The endorsement comes as Tenney runs to Hanna’s right, charging that he is too moderate a Republican lawmaker in Washington.

The NRA, however, pointed to Hanna’s “A” rating from the firearms lobby and advocacy group.

“On behalf of our five million members across the country, the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) is proud to endorse Richard Hanna’s candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives,” said James J. Baker, Director of Federal Affairs for NRA-PVF.

Hanna, in a statement, called the endorsement from the NRA a “privilege” — and one that could help to shore up support in a primary campaign, which tends to draw more conservative-aligned voters.

“Gun ownership is not only a right enshrined in our Constitution, but a way of life for many of us in upstate New York,” Hanna said in a statement. “I will continue to work diligently at the federal level to protect our Second Amendment rights.”