Aug 31st - 2:34 pm
State GOP Chairman Ed Cox got an earful in Western NY last week (AKA Paladino Country), where he traveled in hopes of building a donor base to help build a GOTV program to rival the effort already being set up by the RNC.
Cox, who is now backing the “credible” party designee, Rick Lazio for governor, scheduled a sit-down with Assemblyman Jack Quinn, who is viewed as a rising GOP star and one of the party’s best hopes at re-taking a Senate seat this fall (he’ll be facing off against whoever wins the 58th SD Democratic primary…(fixed)).
Imagine the chairman’s surprise when his breakfast meeting at Pano’s, a Buffalo diner eatery on Elmwood Avenue, was crashed by Quinn’s consultant, Brendan Quinn, and Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy (a Carl Paladino supporter), who said he had not received a heads-up from Cox about his impending visit.
“He told people he was out here to build a donor base for the state party and wanted to find 20 people in Buffalo to give $10,000 apiece,” Langworthy told me.
“We have a lot of our own interests out here separate from what’s going on in state committee….it’s not like we have the deep pockets of New York City. I didn’t find out about the meeting until several of my donors called me to say he had asked them for money.”
“…He’s downplaying the ability of the RNC to fund the Victory program,” Langworthy continued. “I think that’s nonsense. He says he needs to do his own program because the RNC is going to be underfunded so they’re not going to be able to support the things they started.”
Aug 31st - 12:22 pm
On the heels of an attack ad released yesterday by his GOP primary opponent, Matt Doheny, Doug Hoffman is out with a slam-spot of his own that plays up his Conservative Party support and hits Doheny on a number of fronts – from his position on earmarks to how he made his “millions.”
All this adds up, in Hoffman’s opinion, to a lack of “leadership”, which is, of course, what it’s going to take to lead the people of NY-23 (assuming he defeats the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Bill Owens, this time around).
Here’s the script of the ad, which started running on cable systems throughout the district today…and here’s a link to the backup documentation:
“It’ll take leadership to change Congress. But that’s not Matt Doheny’s idea. Ending wasteful earmark spending? Sorry. Doheny said everyone else should stop first.”
“One of us? Nope. He’s Wall Street millionaire whose firm invested in mortgages you had to bailout. Doug Hoffman has pledged to end earmark waste. A true conservative, he opposed the Wall Street bailout.Republican Doug Hoffman. The conservative choice.”
UPDATE: A response from the Doheny campaign appears after the jump.
Aug 31st - 9:11 am
Things are heating up in the 49th SD GOP primary, with East Syracuse Mayor Danny Liedka slamming his opponent, Andrew Russo, for his spotty voting record in a new YouTube video.
The Syracuse Post-Standard reported last December that Russo didn’t vote in any races between Nov. 5, 2001 – when he registered to vote – through 2008.
(As an aside: Is it something in the water in NY? What is it with all these candidates failing to vote?)
Russo, a concert pianist, said he had been out of the country for much of that time period. He said he had voted in 2006 by affidavit because he had moved to a new address, but there was no record of that at the Onondaga County Board of Elections.
Liedka said he had been hoping to run a positive campaign but feels the need to respond to “anonymous phone calls, the push-polling, the half-truths and the thinly-veiled threats directed at my supporters,” adding: “I’m nobody’s punching bag.”
He cast Russo, who has the support of local and Albany Republicans and has out-fundraised his opponent, as “the anointed candidate of the back-room bosses” who run the SRCC and accepted two turncoat Democrats – ex-Sen. Hiram Monserrate and Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. – into their ranks during the ’09 Senate coup.
Whoever wins the GOP primary in two weeks will go on to face Democratic Sen. Dave Valesky (who is already on the airwaves with his own campaign ad) in the November general. Here’s the Liedka video script:
“Andrew Russo registered to vote for nine years, but he never bothered to vote until 2009 – after he decided he should be our next senator. He said he was living mostly overseas. Well, Andrew, a lot of Americans spend time living overseas in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. They’re not playing the piano, they’re fighting for our freedom. But they make sure they vote. It’s called an absentee ballot, Andrew, and all you have to do is ask for one. Wherever you are. Andrew Russo. He doesn’t vote. He doesn’t care. On primary day, Sept. 14th, Danny Liedka, Republican for state senator.”
Russo’s campaign just sent this response from the candidate.
“It’s sad and unfortunate that Dan Liedka has once again decided to go back on his word and take his dead-end Senate campaign in a negative direction, rather than talk about the need to win back this seat from the New York City Democrats,” Russo said.
“Mayor Liedka has no money and no message, so it’s not surprising that he would stoop to this level. While I am doing everything possible to ensure a resounding victory on September 14, my focus remains on defeating tax-and-spend Albany incumbent David Valesky in November.”
Aug 31st - 8:43 am
Here’s another snippet from my illuminating extended interview with GOP gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino on “Capital Tonight” yesterday in lieu of a pre-primary debate between the Buffalo businessman and his opponent, Rick Lazio.
Paladino, who is not shy about sharing his controversial views, was unapologetic about saying Erie County Executive Chris Collins should stand by comments that compared Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (an Orthodox Jew) to Adolf Hitler and the anti-Christ and pledged to “take down” the Manhattan Democrat if he’s elected governor.
“(Silver) is one of these pay-to-play guys, and he is right involved in it,” Paladino told me.
“And yes, I will not be dealing comfortably with him at all. I will be dealing, hopefully, with representatives who are there to serve the people, and not to serve this feeding at the trough, which Mr. Silver is about. We are going to take him down. We are going to get rid of him.”
When I asked how, exactly, he intended to do that, noting that the Democratic conference, not the governor, selects the Assembly speaker, Paladino replied rather ominously: “We are going to make it very untenable for his caucus to keep him as their leader…Watch me. Strap in.”
He then went on to reiterate his pledge to shut down the government unless the Legislature passes an on-time budget. He pledged to make ample use of the governor’s line-item veto power and “take away the money” to do away with what he calls “the ruling class.”
Aug 31st - 8:07 am
Today’s Q poll reaffirms that the majority of New Yorkers – 71 percent – would prefer to see the backers of a mosque/Islamic center proposed for construction near Ground Zero voluntarily relocate the project to a less sensitive site in deference to the wishes of some 9/11 victims’ family members.
At the same time, voters agree by a 54-40 percent majority that the constitutionally protected freedom of religion grants the developers the right to build wherever they wish. That sentiment is overwhelmingly shared by voters across party and regional lines.
Seventy-one percent of those polled said the Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner, AG Andrew Cuomo, should investigate the financing of the controversial project – even though fundraising has not yet begun in earnest. Even Democrats say 65-25 percent that Cuomo should look into the mosque’s financing.
That’s a victory for Cuomo’s GOP/Conservative opponent, Rick Lazio, who has been repeatedly calling for the AG to probe the project’s funding. (In fact, he’s talked about little else for weeks now). Cuomo has said he’ll look into a criminal case, if one develops, but also insists Park51 is about religious freedom and should be built.
Aug 30th - 6:17 pm
Here’s the latest attack launched by NY-1 hopeful Chris Cox on one of his two GOP primary opponents, Randy Altschuler, in the form of an ad that reiterates all of the self-funding businessman’s negatives: He outourced jobs, he used to be a Green Party member, there’s a big gap in his voting history.
The ad will appear on News12 Long Island, FOX News, CNN, TNT, and The Discovery Channel, according to the Cox campaign.
Most of the mudslinging as the primary draws ever closer has been between Altschuler and Cox, which leads me to believe someone out there has some polling data that shows George Demos trailing. Also, recall that Altschuler has the much-coveted Conservative Party line, while Cox is trying to lay claim to the conservative mantle.
Aug 30th - 5:17 pm
GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino told me in an extended “Capital Tonight” set to air this evening that he does not believe President Obama is a practicing Christian “in his heart.”
That comment came in response to a question I put to the Buffalo businessman during a mock lightning round, which we would have done in a two-man debate – had Paladino’s primary opponent, Rick Lazio, agreed to participate. I later asked him to elaborate, which sparked this exchange.
CP: “I think it’s part of the theater of Mr. Obama. I’m not quite, I’m not saying he’s anything else, but I think Mr. Obama is about himself. I think any religious beliefs that he advocates are part of the theatre to make himself look better to the American people.”
LB: “So, you’re not specifically saying that he is not a Christian. You just don’t believe him when he says he’s a practicing Christian?”
CP: “I don’t believe he… No, I think he worships himself. He’s a very condescending person.”
The topic of Obama’s faith has been on the front burner since an Aug. 19 Pew poll found one in five Americans believe the president is a Muslim – an increase from 11 percent in March 2009 – and 43 percent had no idea what religion he practices at all.
A Newsweek poll last week pegged the number at one in four.
This caused the White House to send out a statement reiterating that Obama “is a committed Christian, and his faith is an important part of his daily life.”
In an NBC interview with Brian Williams that will air tonight, the president said:
“The facts are the facts…There is a mechanism, a network of misinformation that in a new media era can get churned out there constantly… I can’t spend all of my time with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead.”
Aug 30th - 4:58 pm
Things are getting ugly in the North Country, where GOP congressional candidate Mott Doheny is out with an attack ad that accuses his primary opponent, Doug Hoffman, of profiting from his campaign in NY-23.
Reporters (at least those outside the district) were alerted to the existence of the ad by the Hoffman campaign, which sent out a press release slamming the spot and calling it a “a desperate attempt by Matt Doheny to save his floundering campaign.”
Hoffman campaign spokesman Rob Ryan called on Dohney to apologize for “hurling mud” and take down the ad.
Aug 30th - 11:48 am
Republican/Conservative US Senate hopeful Jay Townsend has released a lengthy Web video/manifesto that lays out his platform on everything from charter schools (he’s in favor) to “military weakness” (he opposes) to government spending (he thinks “restraint” is the name of the game).
It’s nothing either surprising or eath-shattering, but does underscore exactly how underfunded both Townsend and GOP primary opponent, Gary Berntsen, are vis-a-vis their Democratic target, Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is sitting on $23.8 million worth of campaign cash.
Neither Townsend, who had $13,089 on hand and $91,519 in debt as of the end of June; nor Berntsen, $63,979 on hand and $50,000 in debt; has yet run a single TV ad. (Come to think of it, I haven’t seen any Web ads from Berntsen at all).
Schumer, of course, hasn’t felt the need to either advertise or engage in any other way with either of his opponents in advance of the Sept. 14 primary. Why should he? He’s not only blowing them away in fundraising, but also has a widening lead over them in public opinion polls.
The Townsend video script appears in full after the jump.
Aug 30th - 7:52 am
Two of the Republican NY-1 candidates, Randy Altschuler and Chris Cox, are trading barbs over a pledge required by the state Conservative Party that its chosen contender remain in the race all the way through the general election.
Cox, who is battling in court to mount a long-shot OTB challenge for the Conservative line to Altschuler, the party’s nominee, slammed his opponent in a press release last week for refusing to say he would support the winner of the Sept. 14 GOP primary – regardless of the outcome of that race.
Asked at a Smithtown Republican Committee meeting whether back the primary winner if that person is not him, Cox said he replied: “I will support the Republican candidate. I always have and I always will.”
Altschuler, according to Cox, replied that he is in a “bit of a different situation here,” having signed a pledge to the Conservative Party that he would stick out the race through November.