Jan 23rd - 3:02 pm
You could argue the Manhattan GOP got burned twice last year with its Lincoln Day Dinner.
First Donald Trump agreed to headline the event, which elevated the annual get-together considerably, since the real estate mogul was deep into his flirtation with a potential White House run.
The Donald backed out of headlining the dinner after he decided to stick with reality TV and leave presidential politics to the (so-called) professionals.
Manhattan GOP Chairman Dan Isaacs, who said Trump had put the party in an “awkward position,” secured Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who had the time had not yet announced his own White House bid, as a replacement on June 14.
Two months later – almost to the day – Perry announced his national campaign in South Carolina. He was the flavor of the month for a while, but his verbal gaffes – what was that third federal agency he wanted to abolish again? – and poor showing in the Iowa caucuses caused him to drop his bid last week and throw his support behind former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
That was a disappointment to Isaacs, a Perry supporter who said he had offered to assist the erstwhile campaign with fundraising and organizing but was rebuffed.
For this year’s Lincoln Day Dinner, which will be held on Feb. 23, Isaacs is playing it safe and sticking closer to home. Here’s the “save the date” email he sent out over the weekend:
“Last year New York County went ‘national’ with Governor Rick Perry as the Honored Guest at our Lincoln Day Dinner. However, as Tip O’Neill once said ‘all politics is local,’ and this year we are pleased to be honoring Congressman Bob Turner, whose historic election demonstrated the resurgence of the GOP in New York City. ”
“Also being recognized are the Republican members of New York’s Congressional Delegation, whose cumulative victories in 2010 were unequaled anywhere in the United States. In addition to Congressman Turner we have also confirmed thus far Congressman Michael Grimm, Congresswoman Nan Hayworth and Congresswoman Ann Marie Burkle and hope to have the remaining members present as well.”
“This year’s dinner will be held February 23rd (yes it is actually being held in February) at the Women’s National Republican Club and it promises to be a great evening. Invitations will be going out next week. If you should have any questions, comments or suggestions please let me know.”
Jan 20th - 2:54 pm
Mary Beth Murphy, the SRCC-backed Republican town supervisor of Somers who unsuccessfully challenged Greg Ball in 2010, received $8,000, according to the most recent campaign filing.
Republican spokesman Scott Reif said the money was used to help retire Murphy’s campaign debt.
“This payment was to assist Mary Beth Murphy in retiring the remaining debt from her campaign,” he wrote in an email.
The $8,000 transfer had to in part with the different contribution limits between a primary and general election campaign. Since Murphy didn’t make it the general election, she had to refund cash in excess of the primary contribution limit to some of her donors.
Ball, of course, went on to win the seat vacated by the now-incarcerated Vinnie Leibell, who made a quixotic run for county executive even though he was under investigation by the federal government at the time.
The always colorful and unpredictable Ball was clearly not the choice of the Senate Republicans, but after winning the campaign he’s more or less been a good soldier for the conference.
Other transfers of note: $25,000 to Sen. Jim Alesi, a Monroe County Republican who voted for same-sex marriage, but is considered a top target of Senate Democrats.
Jan 19th - 10:49 am
Via spreadsheet meister Bill Mahoney of the New York Public Interest Research Group, here’s a look at the latest campaign finance top lines.
And as Mahoney points out, of the 54 Senate lawmakers who have filed so far, Republicans are outraising Democrats by a 5-to-1 margin.
It’s not unusual for the GOP in the Legislature to fare better, but this year those numbers are highlighted after the four Republican senators who voted for same-sex marriage legalization benefited from the support of deep-pocketed donors.
Jan 18th - 3:08 pm
On the same day the NYPD sent officers in riot gear to oust Occupy Wall Street protestors from the Lower Manhattan park where they had been camped out for over two months, the park’s owner and its affiliate made sizable contributions to the state Democratic Party.
Zuccotti Park’s owner, Brookfield Properties,and its affiliate, Bookfield Financial Properties LLC, each cut a $50,000 check to the state Dems’ housekeeping account on Nov. 15, according to the party’s Jan. 15 financial filing. Brookfield Financial sent another $10,000 about a month later on Dec. 12.
It’s not unsual for Brookfield et al to make campaign contributions. Former Assemblyman Michael Benjamin posted a detailed list of the firms’ political donations last October, and found they had spread a considerable amount of cash around – including to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2014 re-election campaign ($15,000) and his AG campaign ($10,000).
UPDATE: Benjamin (no relation, by the way) emails:
“It may be coincidental that the filing listed the donations on the date received which happened to be the same day that the police evicted the OWS encampment. I say that because my treasurer would list a contribution on the day it was received, not the date on the check (sometimes the same day as a fundraiser). If the check was hand-delivered to the State Committee on Nov. 15, then they are all idiots.”
To which I say: That’s very true, but even if the money came before Nov. 15, it came at the height of the OWS movement while the Democratic Party was stressing out over how to handle the Occupy movement at the risk of angering deep pocketed Wall Street donors. Still seems like an ill-advised move to have accepted this cash, whenever it came in, and then record its arrival on Nov. 15.
Some Democrats outright declared solidarity with OWS. The DCCC did, and didn’t get any love in return from the protestors, who subsequently demonstrated outside a high-dollar fundraiser the committee held to benefit 15 House members seeking re-election this fall – including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (even though the Arizona congresswoman, who’s still recovering from her near-fatal head wound, hasn’t said yet if she’s running).
The Democratic Party has $142,893 in its housekeeping account and $105,477 in its regular campaign committee. It outspent what it raised for the latter committee, laying out $119,947 and bringnig in $110,183. The party still owes $87,207 to several contractors, but did pay back $30,000 worth of loans made to its biggest supporter and chairman, Jay Jacobs.
Interestingly, the state party spent $2.2 million during the last election cycle – all of which went to support candidates running on Long Island, where Jacobs also charis the Nassau County Democratic Party. There were, of course, other local races going on elsewhere in the state – including a fairly hot county executive county in WNY, in which Democratic former County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz ousted GOP incumbent Chris Collins.
Jan 18th - 1:37 pm
DCCC Chairman Steve Israel today announced the races that have qualified for the first slate of the so-called Red to Blue program in the committee’s “Drive for 25″ campaign to win back the House this fall.
Eighteen candidates got top Red to Blue billing, which makes them eligible for financial, communications, grassroots, and strategic support. Their races will be highlighted to Democratic donors across the country to help expand their donor bases.
The DCCC was quick to point out this is the earliest the Red to Blue program has been implemented in an election cycle. Since taking over the committee from Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen after the Democrats lost the majority in the 2010 midterms, Israel, who hails from Long Island, has instituted an aggressive campaign to take back the House. He managed to wipe out the DCCC’s $19 million debt ahead of schedule and is now focused on the fall elections.
Only one of Israel’s fellow New Yorkers made the Red to Blue cut: Former Rep. Dan Maffei, who is trying to win back his old seat in NY-25 from the Republican who forced him out of it in 2010, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle. Maffei isn’t the only Democrat in the race, however, Syracuse attorney Brianne Murphy is also running, although she’s seriously lagging in the fundraising race.
Israel did put two other New York House races – NY-19 and NY-13 – on a list of six “emerging races districts,” which means the Democrats are going to keep a close eye on those contests to see how they develop.
As of yesterday, there are now three Democrats vying for the right to challenge GOP Rep. Nan Hayworth, who might yet face a primary challenge from Sen. Greg Ball in NY-19.
In NY-13, Democrat Mark Murphy, a (recently resigned) former aide to NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and son of ex-Rep. John Murphy, is formally announcing today that he plans to challenge GOP Rep. Michael Grimm.
Jan 17th - 5:08 pm
The political action committee of the four-member Indepedent Democratic Conference raised $224,207 through contributions over the last six months and has more than $213,000 in the bank, according to the Board of Elections financial disclosure form.
The PAC, first reported here, was formed with the possible duel purpose of protecting the incumbent lawmakers and even recruiting new members to the fold.
The IDC has a prodigious fundraiser in its leader, Sen. Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, who formed the group a year ago after expressing dissatisfaction with Senate Minority Leader John Sampson, D-Brooklyn.
The IDC also includes Sens. Diane Savino, David Valesky and David Carlucci.
The group has largely kept to a policy-driven agenda through its “thought raisers,” but remains a thorn in the side of the remaining 25 Democrats in the Senate.
But the IDC has formed a noticeably tight alliance with Senate Republicans on several key votes, including a measure that would prevent independent redistricting for another decade, further frustrating Democratic lawmakers.
Among the more interesting contributors: Genting New York donated $5,000; the Yonkers Raceway PAC donated $2,500; the New York Gaming Association donated $4,000.
Jan 17th - 3:49 pm
Sen. Mark Grisanti has raised a whopping $246,687 since the November general election, the bulk of which came from deep pocketed donors who supported Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s successful push to legalize same-sex marriage in which the WNY Republican lawmaker played a key role.
Grisanti, who has voluntarily filed six financial reports with the state Board of Elections since September even though he didn’t run for re-election this year, started out with $72,642, spent $35,056 and now has $284,273 on hand.
The senator’s individual donors included: Charles McDonald, of Virginia, who maxed out at $16,800; former Giuliani administration Deputy Mayor Randy Mastro ($500); Cory Singer and his husband, Andrew Singer, who is the son of hedge fund manager and GOP donor Paul Singer ($16,800 each); Martin Geller, Mayor Blomberg’s accountant who frequently gives campaign contributions to candidates the mayor supports ($5,000).
Grisanti also received two $16,800 contributions from Intrust Wealth Management, based in Witchita, KA. The cash was directed to the senator by conservative Tea Party funded David Koch and his wife, Julie.
The senator transferred $24,000 to the SRCC. He should probably keep up the fundraising, since he’s a top target of the DSCC this fall. Although, it’s unlikely that Gov. Andrew Cuomo would actively campaign against Grisanti – or any of the other three Republicans who voted “yes” on gay marriage: Steve Saland, Jim Alesi and Roy McDonald – no matter how much the Senate Democrats want to flip the chamber back into their own hands.
As we’ve previously reported, Saland raked in more than $425,000 over the past six months, much of it coming from pro-gay marriage advocates – including the Kochs and the Singers (father Paul maxed out at $16,800 in the Hudson Valley Republican’s case, too).
UPDATE: A reader points out that 10 checks from individuals are for the double-max (primary & general) of $16,800. For each of those, only $10,300 can be used in a general election, so $65,000 of what Grisanti has is unusable in a general election.
Jan 17th - 12:03 pm
Republican Bob Cohen, who plans to run again for the seat his 2010 Democratic target, Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer, is giving up at the end of the year, has a healthy $210,221 on hand, according to his Jan. 15 financial filing.
Cohen didn’t stop fundraising after he came within several hundred votes of ousting Oppenheimer, taking in $112,817 since mid-July.
But he also still owes himself $135,000 from his unsuccessful campaign. Cohen’s surprisingly strong showing in 2010 and his ability to self fund make him a very attractive candidate for the GOP.
Assemblyman George Latimer, who is being mentioned as the likely Democratic candidate for Oppenheimer’s seat, has just $66,307 on hand.
Latimer raised just $60,881 over the past six months and spent $38,744. No doubt he would ramp up his fundraising considerably if he’s tapped by the Democrats to run in what is likely to be a key swing district in the re-match for the majority.
Jan 13th - 4:16 pm
The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee has $1 million in the last fundraising cycle and has winnowed its debt down to $1.7 million, their top line fundraising totals show.
The debt, nearly $3 million at one point, is the remainder of a bank loan and is not from unpaid bills owed to vendors, a Democratic spokesman said.
The campaign committee has $200,000 on hand.
DSCC Chairman Sen. Mike Gianaris, D-Queens, said they “exceeded all expectations.”
“Once again, Senate Democrats exceeded all expectations as we continue our inevitable march toward recapturing the majority in this year’s elections. In 2011, people from all over New York came forward to help us raise over $2 million in support of a more progressive agenda that will protect women’s rights, safeguard the environment and ensure that those who can most easily afford it pay their fair share. As we enter the election year, I look forward to continuing our success by supporting qualified progressive candidates in Senate districts from Buffalo to Brookhaven and everywhere in between.”
Update: And naturally the Senate Republicans respond with a few digs.
This from GOP spokesman Scott Reif:
“Until the Senate Democrats release their complete filing next week and we can see exactly what they are trying to get the public to miss by only putting out partial figures, we’ll reserve final judgment. However, it’s clear that the Senate Democrats are managing their campaign cash the same way they handled taxpayer dollars in their two disastrous years in the majority – - that’s why they are still deep in debt, spending more than they can afford, and have millions less in the bank than the fiscally-responsible Senate Republicans. All in all, it’s more evidence that Republicans will grow our majority and build on the tremendous accomplishments we’ve had this year.”
Jan 13th - 3:11 pm
Numbers-crunching poobah Bill Mahoney of the New York Public Interest Research Group has compile another one of his patented spreadsheets on campaign finance filers up until this point.
The deadline to file is usually Jan. 15, which happens to fall on a Sunday this year. In addition, considering that the following day is a federal holiday, (MLK Day) we probably won’t have a full picture of the campaign finance filings until Tuesday.
Mahoney also breaks out an interesting look at Dan Donovan, the GOP candidate for attorney general. Donovan, the Staten Island district attorney, is transferring money from his DA account to his AG account.
Here’s what Mahoney has so far: