Oct 18th - 11:57 am
Rep. Tim Bishop’s campaign is coming out swinging today against his GOP/Conservative opponent, Randy Altschuler, accusing the businessman-turned-politican of “outsourcing his dirty work to anonymous groups” that are now running attack ads against the Democratic congressman in NY-1.
At issue are two groups – the Virginia-based Alliance for America’s Future, which is one of several committees linked this cycle to Mary Cheney, daughter of former VP Dick Cheney; and 60-Plus Association – both of which are spending to boost Altschuler, and, thanks to the US Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case, not required to disclose their donor lists.
Bishop spokeswoman Audrey Kubetin said Alliance for America’s Future has “a suspicious relationship” with Altschuler’s campaign, noting it has spent half a million dollars on ads in NY-1 and isn’t investing in any other House race, although it has played in other races across the country.
Kubetin said Altschuler “needs to come clean and demand that this group either disclose its donors or stop trying to buy this election,” adding: “This group could be funded by Altschuler’s outsourcing cronies or foreign donors or criminal organizations. We just don’t know.”
A recent Siena poll showed Bishop with a solid 12-point lead over Altschuler, but operatives on both sides of the aisle have questioned that finding, insisting the congressman is actually in trouble.
He’s about to get a visit from VP Joe Biden, the Obama administation’s cheerleader-in-chief this campaign season, and is so far the only New Yorker scheduled to do so.
UPDATE: Altschuler campaign spokesman Rob Ryan responds: “It obvious, Tim Bishop is desperate. He can’t defend his record and so he’s throwing mud. He’ll do or say anything to divert attention from the fact that he voted to raise taxes 125 times or that he voted with Nancy Pelosi and her big spending polices 97 percent of the time. The voters are on to his act and he will lose this race.”
Oct 18th - 9:03 am
Right-to-Life leaders in NY-19 are urging their supporters not to support the GOP nominee in that district, Nan Hayworth, bur rather write in the name of the Tea Party candidate she defeated in the Sept. 14 primary, Neil DiCarlo.
In an e-mail, leaders of Lower Hudson Valley Right to Life Groups in Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, and Orange Counties accused Hayworth of supporting “all aspects of Planned Parenthood’s pro-abortion agenda on hundreds of issues with three exceptions.”
Hayworth has said she’s against allowing the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions, supports parental notification legislation, and opposes late-term abortions.
In addition, the Right-to-Life groups have targeted Hayworth’s husband, Scott, who is an OB-GYN and President of Mount Kisco Medical Group, accusing him of performing abortions in the part and lobbying for the Reproductive Health Act – a key focus of abortion-rights groups.
Scott Hayworth has insisted he doesn’t currently perform abortions, nor is the medical group that he heads an abortion clinic. But that hasn’t stopped the right from perpetuating this argument against his wife.
DiCarlo didn’t help matters by refusing at first to concede the GOP primary to Hayworth and then saying that he won’t be voting for her himself, telling supporters who “feel that neither candidate represents their concerns” to “write in a candidate of your choice” on Nov. 2.
A recent Siena poll showed Hayworth and Hall running neck and neck, with the Republican newcomer leading her incumbent Democratic opponent, 46-43. In a race that tight, every vote counts. If the right supports DiCarlo in sufficient numbers, it could cause enough of a split for Hall to eke out a victory on Election Day.
Oct 18th - 8:45 am
(ICYMI from my DN column this morning; second item)…The National Republican Congressional Committee is now involved to some degree in 10 House races in New York – an unusually high number for a Democrat-dominated state.
The NRCC decided over the past week to max out its coordinated expenditures in four New York districts, spending about $85,000 on TV ads to help each of the following GOP challengers: NY-1 (Randy Altschuler vs. Rep. Tim Bishop), NY-13 (Michael Grimm vs. Rep. Michael McMahon), NY-20 (Chris Gibson vs. Rep. Scott Murphy) and NY-23 (Matt Doheny vs. Rep. Bill Owens).
Remember: $85,000, which is just short of the legal coordinated expenditure limit (independent expenditures, which cannot be coordinated with the campaign, can far exceed that amount), goes a long way in an upstate district, particularly when it comes to air time, but not so much downstate.
Two more districts – NY-22 (George Phillips vs. Rep. Maurice Hinchey) and NY-25 (Ann Marie Buerkle vs. Rep. Dan Maffei) – are also on the NRCC’s radar screen, but the committee is waiting to see what impact spending by outside groups like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads has on those races before it gets involved.
Oct 16th - 12:49 pm
Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Andrew Cuomo just announced his second state Senate endorsement of the campaign, this time giving his nod to Clarkstown Clerk David Carlucci, who is running against Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef for an open seat in the 38th SD.
“The time has come for a NEW, New York,” Cuomo said in a press release (boldface appears in the statement, not added by me).
“We need public officials that will clean up the waste and corruption in Albany and make government work for the people. As the next State Senator representing Rockland and Orange Counties, David Carlucci is the right person at the right time.”
“His energy and innovation as the Town Clerk of Clarkstown has proven that he has the experience and vision to move New York in the right direction. That is why I am proud to lend my support to a proven leader, and proudly endorse David Carlucci for New York State Senate.”
Cuomo decided not long ago to go all-in with the Democratic effort to retain the Senate majority. Last weekend, he endorsed Sen. Brian Foley, the Long Island freshman who is arguably the most endangered member of the conference. A recent Siena poll showed Foley running neck and neck with his Republican challenger, Lee Zeldin.
There hasn’t been any public polling yet in the 38th, where Vanderhoef was considered the early favorite for the seat left vacant by the death of the late Sen. Tom Morahan. (Fixed).
But Democrats tell me they’ve got internal polling that looks very good for Carlucci, who will be the youngest member of the Senate if he’s elected (but won’t break the record). Republicans insist their internals look good for Vanderhoef.
Either way, this is a race to watch on Nov. 2.
Oct 16th - 9:24 am
In making its endorsements for state comptroller and attorney general, the Times has split the baby, so to speak, throwing its support to a political newcomer and outsider – Republican Harry Wilson – in the first instance and then going with a veteran legislator – Democratic Sen. Eric Schneiderman – in the second.
The paper endorsed the former hedge fund manager in his quest to oust Democratic state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, saying that while the former assemblyman has been a “worthy caretaker,” New Yorkers have in Wilson the opportunity to “choose someone who knows finance and is not beholden to the Democrats in control in Albany.”
“That person is the Republican candidate, Harry Wilson, who helped turn around General Motors last year,” the Gray Lady’s editorial states.
“Mr. DiNapoli has made some helpful changes in the comptroller’s office in an effort to shield the $125 billion pension fund from political influence. He has also repeatedly warned about problems in the state budget. But he adopted a questionable plan from the pension fund, and he has failed to push hard enough to create public campaign financing for the comptroller’s office.”
“It is rare for someone of Mr. Wilson’s talents and expertise to compete for one of the most important and least glamorous jobs in state politics.”
This doesn’t come entirely by surprise, although the Times tends to support Democrats over Republicans in general elections.
Oct 15th - 1:29 pm
Here’s another ad from Democratic Sen. Dave Valesky, in which he attacks his GOP opponent, Andrew Russo, accusing him of having a “double standard” when it comes to taxpayer-funded grants to community groups.
Russo, who is running on platform of fiscal conservatism, has pledged not to accept any member item cash in his first year in office if he is elected this fall.
The Auburn Citizen reported the following this week:
According to information available on the National Endowment for the Arts website, a group started by Russo – Music Journeys, Inc. – has received $50,000 in grants since 2005. The NEA receives funding from the federal government and has been the subject of criticism for being wasteful.
UPDATE: A lengthy response from Russo appears after the jump.
Oct 15th - 1:15 pm
Amid widespread consensus that his campaign is rudderless (at best) and in complete chaos (at worst), Carl Paladino has added bulked up his staff in hopes of righting the ship heading into the final weeks of the governor’s race, a source familiar with the new additions confirmed.
On the political side, the Buffalo businessman has added two members of Gotham Management Group:
- Lynn Krogh, a former Pataki administration aide who worked until the bitter end with Paladino’s vanquished GOP primary foe, Rick Lazio, and was widely praised for her vote counting operation that blocked Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy from getting on the ballot at the convention.
- Andrew Abdel-Malik, who worked on former US Senate hopeful David Malpass’ unsuccessful campaign this past fall. Other credits include former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s failed 2008 presidential bid, as well as a stint at the RNC, the Bush White House and the House Republican Policy Committee.
- Vince Casale, who runs a Cooperstown-based consulting firm, The Casale Group, with his father, former Assemblyman Anthony Casale, who was helping Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci with his never-realized bid for statewide office earlier this year.
On the communications side, the following people have signed on:
- Kirk Bell. Worked with Paladino campaign manager Michael Caputo and his mentor, Roger Stone, on Jack Kemp’s 1988 presidential bid.
Apparently, both Bell and Johns are members of the Jefferson Ale Club, which has been described to be as a “secret society” of conservatives formed by a number of low-ranking Reagan appointees in the 1980s.
Oct 15th - 11:15 am
Staten Island DA Dan Donovan said today that he would consider recusing himself from cases connected to a hedge fund that, according to a NYT report, accounts for one in every four dollars worth of campaign cash he has raised for his AG bid.
During his weekly Friday morning call with reporters, Donovan reiterated that no one – not even deep-pocketed donors – would be given “special treatment” if he’s elected to be the state’s top attorney.
He noted that he has a history of recusing himself from cases that might pose a conflict of interest, pointing to the 2007 case involving the grandson of his former boss, ex-Staten Island BP James Molinaro.
I asked Donovan if he would recuse himself from any case that involved Elliot Management founder Paul Singer, who, along with four others tied to his firm, contributed $250,000 to the DA’s AG campaign during the first nine months of the year. Singer was encouraged to support Donovan by Mayor Bloomberg.
“We’d have to look,” Donovan replied, adding that he does not have a “personal relationship with Mr. Singer.”
Oct 15th - 8:40 am
Here are two ads, compliments of a reader, being run by GOP Sen. Tom Libous that try to turn the whole anti-incumbent wave on its head by playing on the traditional “they’re all bums, but our bum’s OK” sentiment that voters generally express in public opinion polls.
The only problem with that is it’s not holding true this year.
An August Siena poll found a majority of voters – 51 percent – said they would rather support an anonymous ‘someone else’ over their incumbent state senator. Republicans and independent voters were much more negative toward incumbents than Democrats, and upstaters and downstate suburban voters were much more negative than NYC voters.
These ads are also a little trite, employing some runn-of-the-mill stereotypes – a female race car driver and a “nice” biker – to illustrate than not all politicians are bad.
Oct 14th - 5:23 pm
Republican congressional candidate George Phillips, whose effort to oust veteran Democratic incumbent Rep. Maurice Hinchey has garnered national attention of late, told me without hesitation during a CapTon interview last night that he will definitely be voting for Carl Paladino on Nov. 2.
“I agree with his message on reforming Albany – one term for governor, trying to reign in the spending, taking on the career politicians in Albany,” Phillips said.
“I think he’s the man to do it versus Andrew Cuomo, whose had a record of just being involved in big government programs. HUD, in the years that laid the groundwork for the financial disaster…that put us in the bind that we’re in today. So, I do support Carl Paladino for governor.”
When I asked about Paladino’s controversial statements, his e-mails and allegations from Democrats that he is a racist, sexist, homophobe who should be denounced by all Republican candidates, Phillips replied:
“I’ve seen Carl Paladino around. I don’t believe he’s racist. I don’t think there’s anything that would suggest that he is – legitimate, legitimate evidence that would suggest that. I think he wants to shake up Albany.”
“This election is more than about Paladino or Phillips or the other candidates. It’s that people are sick of the mess in Albany, the mess in Washington. They’ve had enough. I think that’s why so many people went for Paladino in the primary. He still has a lot of support.”
It’s getting increasingly rare for Republican candidates to embrace Paladino so whole-heartedly. Several GOP incumbents are even now publicly saying they’re unsure if they’ll be voting for him in the wake of the anti-gay comments mess last weekend in Brooklyn.