Mar 13th - 3:10 pm
A reader sent this invitation to an upcoming fundraiser being held for Rep. Bob Turner at the home of former Manhattan GOP Chairwoman/National GOP Committeewoman Jennifer Saul Rich.
The event is scheduled for Thursday, March 29. Prices range from $1,000 a ticket to a commitment to raise $10,000.
I wrote that headline because this event was clearly put together prior to the congressman’s decision to throw his hat into the ring against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long, who is not at all happy about Turner’s latest political endeavor, is a member of the host committee. So is state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, who says he’s remaining neutral in what’s shaping up to be a multiple-candidate primary, is also on the committee.
The rest of the committee is made up of a number of usual NYS GOP suspects, including businessman Randy Altschuler, who is making a second attempt at unseating Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in Long Island’s NY-1 this fall. (He’s also facing a primary challenge for the second election cycle in a row from George Demos).
Also on the committee is former Giuliani administration attorney Juan Reyes, who was the preferred candidate of the Queens GOP to run for ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner’s seat in the 2011 NY-9 special election. Eventually, the GOP and Conservatives settled on Turner, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Feb 7th - 2:39 pm
Jim Tedisco. Dede Scozzafava. Jane Corwin. David Weprin.
New York voters have not been kind in recent years to state lawmakers who run for Congress, rejecting them in favor of political neophytes and often up-ending entrenched party strongholds in the process.
All of those failed candidates, three Republicans and a Democrat, are still members of the state Assembly, with the exception of Scozzafava, who passed up a re-election bid in 2010 to take a job with the Cuomo adminsitration. They also all ran in special elections, which have a habit of being completely unpredictable and bucking traditional voting patterns.
Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that Albany experience hasn’t been seen as an asset at the voting booth when legislators seek to move to the federal level.
Once upon a time, cutting your teeth in the Assembly chamber was viewed as good preparation for a House run. A few I can think of off the top of my head who went this route: Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. Brian Higgins, Rep. Louise Slaughter, Rep. Joe Crowley, Rep. Jerry Nadler, ex-Rep.-turned-Sen. Chuck Schumer, ex-Rep. Tom Reynolds, retiring Rep. Maurice Hinchey.
Assemblyman Rory Lancman, who has launced an exploratory committee for a potential run against Rep. Bob Turner (who never did Albany time) in NY-9 this fall, thinks things have come full circle. He doesn’t plan on running from his Albany experience. In fact, he’ll be running ON it.
“That was a different era when Albany was – justifiably – recognized as a place that didn’t work, and didn’t suggest that the people who worked in Albany really deserved higher office,” Lancman told me during an interview that will air on CapTon tonight.
“But this is a different Albany. Working with Governor Cuomo, we’ve gotten some tremendous things done in this state, as you know, in the past year. And people actually recognize state government in Albany as being effective and the state moving in the right direction.”
“If you compare that to Washington, Washington has certainly replaced Albany as the capitol of dysfunction. And I’m going to run on my record on the 19 laws that I’ve authored during my five years in Albany…I’m going to run as someone who went to Albany, was a part of cleaning it up, straightening it out, and I can do the same thing in Washington.”
Lancman isn’t alone in the whole Washington-makes-Albany-look-good line. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has used that one, too.
Dec 14th - 4:51 pm
Largely overlooked in this morning’s NYPIRG year-end lobbying report was the section on House members who have retained hired guns to represent them as their counterparts in the state Legislature mull how to carve up their districts, eliminating two of them in the process.
The latest member of New York’s congressional delegation to go this route is Rep. Kathy Hochul, who signed a contract with Bolton St. John’s on November 9.
The firm will be representing her for the next nine months at a cost of $5,000 a month, but she hasn’t reported paying anything yet.
Hochul’s WNY colleague, Rep. Brian Higgins, (NY-27), has so far spent the most on a lobbyist to represent his redistricting interests, dropping $55,086 on Pat Lynch, a former top aide to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Rep. Eliot Engel (Bronx/Rockland/Westchester) is next with $30,096 to Empire Strategic Planning Inc., which is former GOP Sen. Nick Spano’s shop.
Rep Joe Crowley (NY-7, doing double duty as the Queens Democratic chairman) hired Brian Meara, who also has a close relationship with the Assembly Democratic leadership, paying him $21,677 to date.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (NY-4) retained Brown & Weinraub and has so far paid the firm $10,206. Rep. Richard Hanna, (NY-24) the only Republican in this group, is represented by former Senate GOP aide Mike Avella, paying him $7,500.
As you’ll recall, won a special election back in May in NY-26 – a long-held GOP district. (She replaced Chris Lee, who was forced to resign after a Craigslist sex scandal, and defeated Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, who came into the race the frontrunner, but was felled – more or less – by the fight over Medicare reform).
Hochul’s victory was a big political score for the Democrats, who immediately set about putting their newest member front-and-center to help solidify her support in WNY in advance of the 2012 election. But speculation started almost immediately about whether her district could be targeted for elimination by state lawmakers.
The Democrats are determined to protect her, which is not good news for Higgins, who was on the wrong side of former Assemblyman Michael Bragman's failed coup attempt against Silver. Also not good for Rep. Louise Slaughter, (NY-28), whose potential retirement is a constant source of speculation that was just kicked up a little higher by a Buffalo News report last weekend about her dismal attendance record.
The Republicans, meanwhile, want to protect their newest member, Rep. Bob Turner, who, interestingly, doesn't have a lobbyist. (Yet?) Turner's win in Democrat-dominated NY-9 was huge for the GOP, and not so great for Crowley, who has very much wanted to get rid of the piece of his district that's in the Bronx and end the constant worry that he might be primaried by a Latino/a.
The latest talk has been of a change that would force a potential primary between Queens/Nassau County Reps. Gary Ackerman and McCarthy, which would explain why she's got a lobbyist.
The delegation is getting increasingly antsy about redistricting, which is moving ahead (via LATFOR) even though Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pledged to veto any plan that isn't put forward by an independent commission. Silver met last month in D.C. with the state's House Democrats and told them to have their requests in by the end of the year.
Dec 14th - 1:17 pm
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is knocking Rep. Bob Turner after reports surfaced that he may challenge U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand next year, rather than try to stick it out in his Brooklyn House district that may or may not exist next year.
From the D-Triple-C:
“A self-described ‘panderer’ facing a steep uphill battle for re-election, it’s not shocking that Congressman Bob Turner is already running away from his job in the House after only a few months,“ said Josh Schwerin, Northeast Press Secretary at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “For somebody who claims not to be a career politician, Congressman Bob Turner sure spends a lot of time trying to find jobs for himself and not for his constituents. New Yorkers will reject Congressman Turner’s extreme agenda of ending Medicare while protecting tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires no matter what office he is campaigning for at the time.”
Turner, who replaced the disgraced Anthony Weiner in an upset special election, is clearly public enemy number one of Democrats here and in Washington. It’s possible his seat will be carved up next year in the coming round of redistricting, when New York is due to lose two seats.
Still, talk of Turner taking on Gillibrand, who is running again in 2012 for a full 6-year term, may be more of a political empty threat, according to a blog that covers Jewish political news.
Mr. Turner is looking to warn the Albany bosses that they should not dice and slice him out during redistricting. If yes, the signal is ‘Turner will be willing to use the broad support he gained in the Special Elections just months ago to build an effort to upset Gillibrand next year; a Senator of whom only 41% in a Marist poll a month ago said did a good or excellent job.’
So far the only Republican officially in the race challenging Gillibrand is Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos.
Dec 7th - 4:35 pm
Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch may have settled things with President Obama over Israel, but that isn’t stopping him from headlining an upcoming fundraiser for Rep. Bob Turner – the freshman GOP congressman he helped elect to former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s Brooklyn/Queens seat.
As you’ll recall, the veteran Democrat crossed party lines this fall to help Turner in the Democrat-dominated and heavily Jewish NY-9 after Weiner’s Twitter scandal-induced resignation.
Koch has a history of helping Republicans – particularly when it comes to Israel, on which he is especially Hawkish. In this case, he hoped to send a message to Obama about his disappointment with the White House’s “open hostility” to the Jewish state.
After Turner’s election, Koch quickly bestowed an early endorsement on Obama after his UN speech. (The former mayor was also invited to the White House – an invitation he readily accepted.
This change of heart has not dampened Koch’s support for Turner, apparently. He’s headlining a Dec. 19 event for the congressman along with Democrat-turned-Republican donor and supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis.
Also on the host committee: State GOP Chairman Ed Cox, state Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long, Manhattan GOP Chairman Dan Isaacs, and a number of prominent Republican donor types.
It has been widely speculated that Turner would be a short-termer because NY-9 would be eliminated in the redistricting process that is costing New York two House seats. But everything I’ve heard indicates that’s not, in fact, the case. The GOP is very interested in protecting Turner, who was hailed as a conquering hero after his special election win.
The latest scenario I heard today during the down time chatter in the Capitol hallways is Reps. Gary Ackerman and Carolyn McCarthy could be forced into the same district, which might lead to quite a primary battle – assuming they both run.
Sep 30th - 12:39 pm
Bill O’Reilly, the GOP consultant who served as spokesman for Rep. Bob Turner’s surprisingly successful campaign in NY-9, blogged in praise of Turner’s predecessor, ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner, calling the former congressman a “mensche” for keeping secret a meeting with his replacement that took place at a Kew Gardens diner earlier this week.
While it was Weiner’s “Twitter indiscretions” that cost him his Brooklyn/Queens seat, he was the picture of discretion when it came to the meeting, according to O’Reilly.
The get-together, called so Weiner could update Turner on the projects he had been working on for his former constituents, was held in “strict confidence,” O’Reilly noted, but could very easily have been leaked with a single well-placed anonymous phone call.
“He traveled out to his former district from Manhattan, where he now lives, because he cared enough to do it,” O’Reilly wrote. “There could be no other reason for his action, and it showed character.”
“I have a laundry list of philosophical disagreements with Mr. Weiner, but I am struck by his graciousness in meeting with Mr. Turner – a man from the opposite political party who ran against him in 2010 – to help Congressman Turner better hit the ground running.”
Call Mr. Weiner what you want, but I call him a mensche today for what was supposed to be a quiet, unnoticed gesture. So now it’s leaked. Whoops!
In my eyes, this shows class on two sides here. Yes, Weiner took the time to help the man who now holds the seat he was forced to give up in disgrace, keeping the meeting on the down-low even though it would have helped improve his image.
But O’Reilly, a loyal Republican, gets points, too, for giving credit to a guy the GOP really had no use for – until he provided them with a chance to show up President Obama and his fellow Democrats.
NOTE: In case you’re unfamiliar with this Yiddish term, a “mensche” is “a person of integrity and honor.”
Sep 27th - 1:18 pm
Those of you who have been following the on-again, off-again fight for control of the Queens GOP between the Haggertys and Party Chair Phil Ragusa might be asking yourselves: So, what else is new?
Because, really, what has this never-ending battle been but a series of intrigues and legal battles?
Anyway, it looks like both sides are calling in the big guns in advance of
tonight’s Wednesday’s dueling chairmanship votes – one that will see Ragusa re-elected to another two-year term, the other resulting in the election of former NYC Council Minority Leader/2005 NYC mayoral contender and 2010 LG candidate Tom Ognibene.
The two factions are each insisting that their election will be the the legitimate one, insisting the other is an invalid sham.
It’s a safe bet the whole mess will end up in court – again – assuming someone doesn’t get a court order to prevent one of the meetings (likely the one being held by the Ognibene crowd) from occurring in the first place.
In the meantime, there’s a lot of furious politicking going on. It pits Ognibene and his allies – the Haggerty brothers, Bart and John (yes, THAT John Haggerty), and NYC Councilman Eric Ulrich – against Ragusa and the Queens GOP establishment.
The Ognibene side is claiming the support of newly-minted Rep. Bob Turner, while accusing state GOP Chairman Ed Cox of getting involved in a local battle on behalf of Ragusa.
A source close to Turner admitted the congressman would likely prefer to see Ognibene in the chairman’s post, but insisted he’s not actively campaigning for the switch and has bigger things to worry about (like setting up a Congressional office), reasoning: “Why would we get involved in this fight until we see the headcount?”
Remember: Ragusa et al initially backed attorney Juan Reyes over Turner in the special election to fill former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s NY-9 seat, worrying that Turner was too close to Ulrich and Ognibene.
Sep 21st - 3:38 pm
Forgive me if you’ve heard this one already, since I’m still digging out from under a barrage of email that accumulated while I took a sick day…
A reader forwarded a fundraising appeal sent Monday by Rep. Tim Bishop in which the Long Island Democrat says he was “disappointed” by his party’s loss in last week’s NY-9 special election, but “not entirely surprised.”
“The truth is that voters increasingly care more about leadership and less about partisanship,” Bishop continued. “It’s why Kathy Hochul won in a Republican district upstate and its why Bob Turner won in a Democratic seat in the heart of New York City.”
“It’s why six seats in New York State flipped from Democrat to Republican last November and its why with your support, I was re-elected in a district where 25,000 more Republicans voted than Democrats. It’s also why I need your help today to send a message before the crucial September 30 filing that we are once again prepared to succeed in this rocky political environment.”
“…As you know, I continue to be in the crosshairs of the Tea Party and shadowy groups like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, funded by a bottomless pool of money from anonymous donors. In early August, Crossroads GPS spent $250,000 in cable ads attacking my record.”
“If they’re spending that much money 15 months from Election Day, you can only imagine what next year will be like. The Tea Party and Karl Rove will continue to come after me, because I will never give in to their radical agenda. I will continue to be a strong voice to protect Medicare and Social Security.”
“I fill (sic) defend a woman’s right to choose and our environment. And I will fight to create jobs for middle-class families.
The reason I am a Member of Congress today is because in good times and bad, I have never spent a second taking my job for granted and I have supporters like you who don’t take our success for granted either. If you don’t want to see the Tea Party notch another victory, then I need your help.”
Bishop came close to losing his seat last year to largely self-funding GOP businessman Randy Altschuler, who has already declared his intention to run again.
Actually, the 2012 race is shaping up to be a double re-match. George Demos, who finished second in the 2010 NY-1 GOP primary, is again challenging Altschuler for the Republican line. This time, however, Chris Cox doesn’t appear interested in entering the fray, and most of the district’s Conservative, Tea Party and GOP leaders, who were split last fall, have lined up behind Altschuler.
Sep 16th - 10:18 am
An interesting story came out of Rep. Bob Turner’s interview with Curtis Sliwa this morning on 970AM in New York City.
Apparently, Turner couldn’t get a cab when he was leaving the US Capitol yesterday. It was raining, and Turner was with his wife, when Rep. Joe Crowley drove up and offered him a lift that Turner quickly accepted.
Of course, Rep. Crowley is also the Queens Democratic party chairman who basically hand picked the Democratic candidate David Weprin for the race, and took a lion’s share of the blame from Democratic insiders when he lost.
Upon hearing the news, Sliwa suggested Turner was taking his life in his own hands. “You got in the car? …You know you could have been floating in the Potomac? …He could have driven across the Potomoac and then they’d be searching for your DNA.”
During the interview, Turner also pledged that he will be running in 2012 no matter how his district is redrawn.
Sep 15th - 3:55 pm
White House spokesman Jay Carney strongly disagreed with Rep. Eliot Engel’s claim that President Obama’s Israel policy has caused him to lose support among Jewish voters – so much so that the Westchester Democrat wouldn’t be surprised if Obama sees a drop of 10 to 20 points among this key voting bloc in 2012.
This topic has been simmering for a while now, and was kicked up a notch after Rep. Bob Turner’s upset win in NY-9 Tuesday, which ex-NYC Mayor Ed Koch – successfully, it seems – sought to spin as a message from unhappy New York Jews to the Obama administration.
“As recently as last week, or the week before, the prime minister of Israel made an incredibly strong statement about the remarkable commitment, unshakeable commitment, that this president has to Israel’s security and the unprecedented assistance that this president has provided Israel,” Carney said. “…So, this President’s absolute commitment to Israel’s security is I think, demonstrated and unshakeable.”
“The fact is that he is committed to the process of trying to get the two parties to negotiate, get the two parties to go back to direct talks. Because he believes it is in the interests of Israel and in the interests of the Palestinian people to reach peace in a way that ensures Israel’s security and allows them to resolve their issues. That, in the end, will ensure that the jewish state of Israel survives and prospers.”