Four Things To Watch On Election Day

From the Morning Memo:

It’s Election Day! Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. in New York statewide. Remember to go vote. It’s a vitally important way of having your voice be heard in our country governs itself. And since you’re probably an engaged citizen to begin with given you’ve come to this blog, remember to call a friend and bring them to the polls as well.

Here are four things to watch for today.

1. Democratic sweep.

Democrats are poised to gain total control of every chamber of the Legislature and statewide office this year for the first time since 2009-10, when the party had an ill-fated majority in the state Senate. That leadership from that time has completely turned over since. Republicans for the last 10 years have managed to cobble together a majority over the years with the occasional help of the now-defunct Independent Democratic Conference and currently with Democratic Sen. Simcha Felder, who sits with the Senate GOP. But convincing victories on Long Island, the Hudson Valley and even in several upstate seats could end the last lever of power Republicans hold statewide. Adding to that is a surge in Democratic enrollment in New York, making this blue state even bluer.

2. Who gets the most votes?

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is at the top of the ticket and, unless polling has been catastrophically wrong, he’s likely to receive a third term over Republican Marc Molinaro. But he’s also sharing the ticket with Democrats like U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, two proven vote-getters in statewide elections. At the same time, the top of the gubernatorial ticket is a relatively competitive one, given the three independent party candidates like Larry Sharpe of the Libertarians, Howie Hawkins of the Green Party and former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner running on the Serve American Movement ballot line. All have the potential draw protest votes from both Cuomo and Molinaro. Nevertheless, turnout is expected to be far higher than the 30 percent or so in 2014.

3. Senate watch

As Republicans seek to hold their majority, the most competitive races are relatively crammed into two areas of the state: Long Island and the Hudson Valley. Suffolk and Nassau counties in particular have been longtime GOP strongholds, with Republicans at their most powerful when they have won a clean sweep of the so-called “Long Island 9” — all of the districts in those two counties. Democrats last made significant in-roads on Long Island in the 2008 campaign, winning key races in Nassau and Suffolk counties to break up the Long Island 9. Democrats dashed it again with the victory of Sen. Todd Kaminsky in a special election to replace the scandal-scarred former majority leader, Dean Skelos. But if this is a true wave year for Democrats, its possible the party will have successes in additional races higher up in the Hudson Valley, Capital Region and central New York.

4. Will New York flip the House?

There are a handful of competitive House races around the state this year, partially by dint of President Donald Trump’s unpopularity or the unpopularity of the incumbent. Rep. Chris Collins is seeking re-election to his heavily Republican House seat amid insider trading charges. Democrats are trying once again after several failed attempts to flip the 19th district in the Hudson Valley. If Republicans want to hold the House of Representatives, they’ll have to notch victories in New York to do so.

Flanagan Blasts Cuomo, Defends Golden

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan blasted Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday in a phone interview, insisting Republicans would retain control of the chamber and that the down-ballot races would hinge on state and local issues, not President Donald Trump.

Cuomo in Brooklyn earlier in the day appeared with Democratic state Senate candidate Andrew Gounardes, Golden’s opponent. Speaking with reporters after the rally, Cuomo said the race wasn’t about Golden, but about Trump’s record and rhetoric.

“This isn’t about Marty Golden. They are carrying Donald Trump’s message,” the governor said. “They’re not in charge. This is led by the top. They’re carrying the Trump agenda,” Cuomo said. “He is the dictator — Trump — of the Republican Party. So it doesn’t really matter what Marty Golden thinks.”

Flanagan in the phone interview said Cuomo’s attack on Golden was hypocritical.

“I am incredulous and it’s beyond belief the hypocrisy that’s coming from the governor,” he said. “The governor wants to talk about everyone else except his own record. The arrogance that it doesn’t matter what Marty Golden thinks is unbelievable.”

He called Cuomo’s criticism “unwarranted” and “undeserved”

“That’s unmitigated gall,” he said. “I’ll work with Marty Golden any day of the week. He’s a superb public servant.”

The Brooklyn Senate race is one of a handful of battleground Senate districts around the state, with many of the contests playing out on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley, as well as a race in central New York.

Republicans hold a one-seat majority in the chamber with the aid of Brooklyn Sen. Simcha Felder, a Democrat who conferences with the GOP.

And the campaign for the seat, long eyed by Democrats as a potential pickup opportunity, has become increasingly heated.

Golden at a rally this weekend warned of recently released parolees being able to vote in the election, though no evidence has surfaced of parolees being a danger to voters in the primary elections.

“Think about the people who will die because the governor wanted people to vote,” he said.

Senate Republicans are facing a range of crosscurrents to protect their majority, including heavy spending by super PACs funded by organized labor groups, a president who is unpopular with a majority of New Yorkers and a sharp increase in Democratic enrollment.

But Flanagan believes the battle over the state Senate will be decided candidate-by-candidate.

“I think things have trended in our direction,” he said. “Now this is about turnout. We get our base out, we’ll be in good condition. I’m confident we’ll be able to do that.”

And he expects to still be able to work with Cuomo should he win a third term and Republicans hang on to the majority.

“I know when to govern and I know when to be involved in politics,” he said. “We have absolutely demonstrated that we know how to lead and we know how to govern.”

Updated: Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for Cuomo, responded.

“We know john is having a really bad couple of weeks, but this public temper tantrum is just embarrassing, especially for him and his members,” he said.

Giuliani Endorses, Robocalls For Farley

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Monday endorsed Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chele Farley in her bid to unseat incumbent Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand.

Giuliani, now President Donald Trump’s attorney handling the special counsel investigation, also recorded a robocall for Farley.

“Chele Farley has experience negotiating business deals and will work with President Trump to get a better deal for New York,” he says in the call. “Her qualifications and experience will make her a great Senator who will put New York first.”

Giuliani had one point considered running for the Senate seat Gillibrand now holds. He dropped his bid for the seat in 2000 in what would have been a marquee matchup against Hillary Clinton after a prostate cancer diagnosis and a high-profile divorce.

Gillibrand was appointed to the seat in 2009, replacing Clinton, who had joined the Obama administration as secretary of state. She won a special election in 2010 and a full term in 2012.

“With a lack of affordable housing, an exploding homeless population and a crumbling transit system, New York is at a dangerous tipping point. Mayor Giuliani knows that we need a Senator in Washington whose only priority is working for New York,” Farley said in a statement. “Thank you, Mayor Giuliani, for your generous endorsement, everything you have done for New York and your continued service to our country.”

NY-22: Trump Jr. Makes Final Push For Tenney

From the Morning Memo:

President Donald Trump’s son will appear in the 22nd congressional district on behalf of Rep. Claudia Tenney as she faces a competitive re-election fight against Democrat Anthony Brindisi.

Donald Trump Jr. is the third member of the First Family to make an appearance on Tenney’s behalf in recent months. In October, Tenney campaigned with Eric Trump. Earlier this year, she received a visit from Ivanka Trump.

On Saturday, Tenney campaigned with White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

“President Trump and his family have been huge supporters of my campaign because we are working together to rebuild the economy, strengthen our country and give the people of our district a voice in Washington,” Tenney said. “I look forward to welcoming Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle to the Mohawk Valley on Monday night for an election eve rally.”

Tenney has been a stalwart support of the president, who headlined a fundraiser for her in Utica this summer.

Trump has a 53 percent job approval rating with voters in the district, according to a Spectrum News/Siena College poll last month.

But Tenney herself a high unfavorable rating with voters, the poll found.

Brindisi, a member of the Assembly, has not focused on Trump much during the campaign.

“Campaign events like this are exactly the kinds of things you would expect from a Washington politician more concerned about playing politics than reaching out to her constituents,” Brindisi said in a statement.

“While Claudia Tenney is holding another closed campaign event, I’ll be touring the district visiting five counties, meeting with the people I hope to represent, and making the case that I’ll be an independent voice working for them.”

The race in the district, which stretches from the Mohawk Valley to the Southern Tier, is considered one of the most competitive in the country this year.

Molinaro Camp Fundrasies Off Siena Poll

From the Morning Memo:

Republican Marc Molinaro’s campaign is not deterred by the 13-percentage point deficit in the Siena College poll released on Sunday.

After all, he’s closed a 22-point gap from several weeks ago. Plus, a poll just before Election Day in 1994 showed Mario Cuomo leading George Pataki by 16 points.

“That’s right! We are even closer,” Molinaro’s campaign said in a last-minute fundraising email on Sunday afternoon. “We can win this race with your help, your energy — your commitment.”

Any new money would likely be too late for a TV spot. But the 11th hour donations could lead to added digital spending and target voters directly.

Molinaro through the weekend has been comparing his campaign to the underdog challenge by Pataki, who would go on to upset the incumbent governor’s father that year.

There are difference, including robust fundraising by Pataki over Mario Cuomo and the Republican power structure led by then-U.S. Sen. Al D’Amato.

“Molinaro is an ultra-conservative anti-choice, anti-immigrant, NRA A-rated Trump mini-me,” said Cuomo campaign spokeswoman Abbey Collins. “Pataki was pro-choice, pro-assault weapons ban and outraised Mario Cuomo $25M-$12M in a Republican wave year. Otherwise, exactly the same.”

Molinaro did not vote for President Donald Trump in 2016, instead writing in former Rep. Chris Gibson.

Siena Poll: Molinaro Makes Up Ground, But Cuomo Still Holds 13-Point Lead

Republican Marc Molinaro’s candidacy has picked up support in the final days of the campaign for governor, but he continues to trail Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo by 13 percentage points, according to a Siena College poll released Sunday morning.

The poll found Cuomo leading Molinaro 49 percent to 36 percent.

But that’s a smaller gap than the 22 percentage point difference that existed between them in October, when Cuomo led 50 percent to 28 percent.

Seven percent of voters are still undecided. Cuomo is seeking a third term this year and the independent party candidates, Larry Sharpe, Howie Hawkins and Stephanie Miner, all received less than 5 percent of support in the poll.

A plurality of voters, 47 percent, believe the state is heading in the wrong direction, including 58 percent of independents. Meanwhile, 63 percent of independent voters have an unfavorable view of the governor.

Overall, Cuomo’s favorable rating stands at 45 percent to 49 percent unfavorable.

But in the five-way matchup, Cuomo continues to hold broad leads in New York City with 77 percent of the vote and among 55 percent of labor union households.

And he continues to hold support with a core set of Democratic and self-identified liberal voters.

The race is closer with suburban voters, where Cuomo leads Molinaro 44 percent to 41 percent. Upstate, Molinaro leads Cuomo by 10 percentage points, 46 percent to 36 percent.

At the same time, male voters are tilting toward Molinaro 45 percent to 41 percent. Cuomo continues to hold a wide lead with women, 56 percent to 28 percent.

The poll also suggests Republican voters “coming home” to Molinaro in the final days of the race.

Cuomo has for the last several months blanketed the airwaves and social media space with TV ads, both during his primary campaign as well as in the weeks since he defeated Cynthia Nixon.

Molinaro has not been able to muster a spending budget even close to what the governor’s campaign could afford.

In the race for the U.S. Senate, Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand is handily leading Republican challenger Chele Farley 58 percent to 35 percent.

Democratic attorney general candidate Letitia James, meanwhile, holds a 12-percentage point lead over Republican Keith Wofford, 49 percent to 37 percent, little changed from the 50 percent to 36 percent spread last month.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli also holds a wide lead over Republican opponent Jonathan Trichter, 62 percent to 25 percent.

The poll comes as Democrats on Tuesday expect to make gains in the state Senate and in key races for the House of Representatives. More than half of voters polled in New York want Democrats to gain control of both; independent voters are split, however.

The poll of 641 likely voters was conducted from Oct. 28 to Nov. 1. It has a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.

Sny1018lv Crosstabs Final by Nick Reisman on Scribd

SD-43: Jordan Endorsed by Detectives

The Republican candidate running for the seat state Senate District 43, Daphne Jordan, was endorsed by the Detectives’ Endowment Association, Inc.

Jordan is running to replace her boss, retiring Sen. Kathy Marchione in a Capital Region district.

“I am honored to receive the Detectives’ Endowment Association, Inc., endorsement and will always work with the courageous men and women of law enforcement who protect and serve. As Senator, I will work to support and strengthen law enforcement and ensure they have the resources needed to continue serving our communities and protect the security of all New Yorkers.”

The Detectives’ union represents 5,500 active and 12,000 retired NYPD detectives. Jordan faces Democrat Aaron Gladd in the general election on Tuesday.

NY-22: Trump-Aligned Group Releases Digital Ad

From the Morning Memo:

A group allied with President Donald Trump on Friday is releasing a digital ad in the hotly contested 22nd congressional district featuring the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr.

The ad does not specifically mention Rep. Claudia Tenney by name, but Trump in the ad urges voters to back Republicans running on the ballot in New York this year while touting the work of his father’s administration.

The ad comes as Tenney is locked in a neck-and-neck re-election battle against Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi for the district that stretches from the Mohawk Valley to the state’s Southern Tier region.

Trump remains popular in the district, with a Spectrum News/Siena College poll last month giving him a 53 percent job approval rating among likely voters.

Tenney this year has received aid from prominent members of the Trump family, including appearances with Ivanka and Eric Trump. The president himself traveled to Utica to fundraise for Tenney in August as well.

The ad from America First Policies is part of a broader get-out-the-vote effort the super PAC is spending $1.2 million on, appearing on sites like Facebook. Versions of the ad will be playing in key battleground districts in Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada and Tennessee in addition to the New York race.

Molinaro Receives Endorsement Of Builders And Contractors Group

From the Morning Memo:

The lobbying organization that represents merit shop contractors in New York endorsed on Wednesday Republican Marc Molinaro’s bid against Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo.

Molinaro’s endorsement from the Empire State Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors comes with less than week to go before Election Day.

The group pointed to the state’s tax burden, population loss and corruption issues that plague state government.

“The state of New York is at a crossroads. It’s mired in corruption, has some of the worst outmigration of any state in the country, and its tax burden strangles those that remain,” said Brian Sampson, the group’s president.

“What we need now, more than ever, is someone that will put politics aside and do what’s best for all New Yorkers. And that person is Marc Molinaro and we are proud to endorse him for Governor of this great state.”

Molinaro’s resume as a local government county executive in Dutchess was also touted, especially when it comes to tackling mandated spending issues.

“I want to thank Brian and the entire membership of the Empire Chapter of Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) for their trust. New York is at a crossroads and I am proud to stand together with the members of ABC as we chart a new path that will bring jobs and opportunity to hardworking families throughout our state,” Molinaro said.

Senate Republican Raise Alarm Over ‘AlbanyCare’

Republicans in the state Senate on Tuesday warned voters a Democratic majority in the chamber could lead to “AlbanyCare” single-payer health care, a focus on boosting school aid to New York City and tuition aid to undocumented immigrants.

All this, in turn, would lead to tax increases by a state government controlled by Democrats.

“Senate Republicans are the last bastion of hope for our taxpayers who cannot afford disastrous Democrat policies like AlbanyCare,” said Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan.

“Just one Democrat policy alone, government run health care, would bankrupt families on Long Island. Our Republican Majority will never allow this disastrous Senate Democrat tax bill to become reality. We will continue to be the voice that protects taxpayers by controlling spending and lowering taxes.”

And the state Senate itself is the last bastion of power statewide for Republicans in New York, who have been shut out of winning any statewide election since 2002.

With a week to go until Election Day, Republicans hold a narrow one-seat majority in the state Senate with the aid of Brooklyn Sen. Simcha Felder, a registered Democrat who conferences with the GOP.

Democrats argued the attack was little more than stoking voters’ fears before Election Day.

“This attack is nothing but GOP fear-mongering and scare tactics and is not based in reality,” said Mike Murphy, a spokesman for the Senate Democrats. “It is simple a Democratic Majority will not raise taxes. The truth is the Republicans are the only party that has raised taxes by eliminating the SALT deduction.”

The federal 2017 tax law did not eliminate the deduction of state and local taxes, known as SALT, but capped them at $10,000. Republicans in the state Senate backed legislation this year that was designed to soften the blow of the cap. Flanagan, the Senate majority leader, also said he opposed capping the deductions.

Democrats this year are pursuing seats in central New York, the Hudson Valley and in the traditional Republican stronghold that is suburban Long Island.

Longtime allies from real estate and charter schools backers have not swept into races to flood airwaves and mailboxes through costly super PAC campaigns. Meanwhile, labor unions have filled the void with independent expenditure campaigns targeting Republican incumbents seen as being at risk of losing re-election.

But a cudgel for Republicans has been warning of tax hikes under Democratic control.

Multiple candidates, including those who won primaries against the former members of the now-defunct Independent Democratic Conference, have announced support for the single-payer bill, known as the New York Health Act.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has backed a single-payer program on the national level, but has refrained from embracing the state-level version of the proposal. Earlier this year, Cuomo announced support for codifying aspects of the Affordable Care Act into state law.

At the same time, the competitive races for Democrats are in the suburban and upstate districts, whose constituents have socially liberal views, but likely flinch at tax increases. Several of the Democratic candidates running in competitive battleground districts, like Jim Gaughran and Sen. John Brooks, have focused on issues like property tax relief.

Republicans this year have also reiterated a push for a state spending cap set into law and making the limit on local property tax increases a permanent one.