Aug 16th - 1:19 pm
GOP guberntorial hopeful Rick Lazio’s 32-day pre-primary filing is up on the state Board of Elections Website, and it offers some insight into why the former Long Island congressman is blowing through campaign cash like nobody’s business.
As has been previously reported when the campaign released its toplines, Lazio spent more than he raised over the past month, bringing in just $230,987 and sending out $319,491. He has $600,317 on hand.
The bulk of Lazio’s spending – $145,359 – is (yet again) on consultants. He’s got no fewer than 10 of them on the payroll, by my count.
The most expensive by far continues to be Arthur Finkelstein, ex-Gov. George Pataki’s onetime political mastermind, who made $41,106 from the Lazio campaign over the last four weeks alone.
The next most expensive consultant is an outfit called Engagelogic, which is a New York-based company that does Website development. Lazio spent $25,000 on this firm.
The campaign’s biggest supporters are Lawrence and Susan Kadish, big Long Island-based GOP donors who dropped $75,000 in Lazio’s coffers since July 15.
Aug 16th - 1:06 pm
As expected, the AFL-CIO has pulled its support of some incumbent state senators – both Republicans and Democrats – to signal its disappointed over their support on a number of key issues, most notably the property tax cap and the SUNY empowerment plan.
But the 2.5-million member federation did not turn its back completely on incumbents, choosing in the end to back more of them than it abandoned.
According to a labor source present for the vote this morning, 18 Republican lawmakers received the AFL’s nod, while 13 received no endorsement. Sen. Bill Larkin was initially in the latter category, but managed to eke out a nod when the votes were cast.
Twenty-two Democrats were endorsed, while eight were penalized. AFL members debated overturning some of the “no endorsement” recommendations on Senate President Malcolm Smith, Deputy Majority Leader Jeff Klein, and Sens. Darrel Aubertine, Dave Valesky, Velmanette Montgomery, Bill Stachowski, Brian Foley and Dan Squadron, but that effort was defeated in the end.
The AFL is holding off on making a decision in three races until after the September primaries. (I assume there’s going to be a press release sometime later today, at which point I’ll update with more specific information. The convention is closed to the press).
The federation did make decisions in two Democratic primaries, opting to back Gustavo Rivera against Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. and Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat over District Leader Mark Levine in the fight for the seat Sen. Eric Schneiderman is vacating to run for AG.
Aug 16th - 12:33 pm
While trolling through the 32-day pre-primary filings appearing on the state Board of Elections Website, I noticed a strange transfer of close to $23,000 by Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson to another committee whose name did not sound familiar.
On July 19, Sampson sent $22,927 from his Senate campaign committee to something called “John Sampson – Justice For All”, which doesn’t show up anywhere on the board’s site.
Aides to Sampson said the committee in question dates back to the Brooklyn Democrat’s failed 2005 bid for DA. (He was one of three challengers who attempted – without success – to oust incumbent Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes).
The money Sampson transferred was used to cover outstanding debts for mailers and office equipment, according to the aides. (The filing for the local committee isn’t on-line because the race pre-dated a chane in state law that now requires all local candidates to file at the state level).
Aug 16th - 12:02 pm
Here’s the analysis of a poll conducted for the New Roosevelt Initiative by Red Horse Strategies that reveals Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. is likely to survive the Sept. 14 primary if it remains a three-way race.
As I reported in the DN this morning, the establishement – including New Roosevelt, the WFP, SEIU 1199, the state Democratic Party leaders and others – are lining up behing Gustavo Rivera, a former aide to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
But the third Democrat in the race, attorney Dan Padernacht, is so far rebuffing attempts to push him out of the race, thus improving Espada’s chances of winning next month.
“I’m really not giving much credence to their polling,” Padernacht told me.
“A select few people are trying to pick the candidate and have the power within their own hands. That’s completely contrary to democracy.”
Aug 16th - 11:47 am
NYC Councilman Charles Barron is heading up the Thruway (OK, actually, he’s taking the train) to file more than 43,500 signatures at the state Board of Elections to create an independent “Freedom Party” line on which he plans to run as a protest candidate for governor this fall.
That’s close to three times the 15,000-signature threshold, which the Brooklyn Democrat says is proof that he has widespread support – and not just downstate where he is best known.
According to Barron, his supporters collected names in every one of the state’s 29 congressional districts and passed the 100-name limit in 23 of those (the requirement is at least 100 in 15 districts, so candidates can’t just stand on a single busy street corner in NYC and get onto the ballot).
Barron, who hopes to receive at least 50,000 votes on the Freedom Party line, establishing a new third party that will have automatic ballot status in the 2014 elections, told me the vast number of signatures he has amassed should serve as the equivilent of a political “no trespassing” sign to any of his detractors.
Aug 16th - 11:18 am
The latest fundraising appeal from Fight Back NY, the PAC created with the sole purpose of replacing senators who voted “no” on legalizing same-sex marriage with those willing to vote “yes”, comes in the former of a Web video starring actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
Ferguson, who plays one-half of the gay couple the TV show “Modern Family”, takes a light-hearted approach here, jokingly announcing his crush on, and plan to marry, actor Alec Baldwin, only to have his hopes dashed when someone off camera informs him that Baldwin is in fact straight.
Aug 16th - 11:02 am
The 2.5 million-member AFL-CIO has opted not to endorse two members of the New York delegation: Reps. Mike McMahon (NY-13) and Greg Meeks (NY-6), according to a source attending the federation’s convention at the Desmond in Colonie.
The McMahon decision comes as no big surprise. Labor soured on the Staten Island Democrat in a big way after he refused to change his “no” vote on the health care reform bill.
UPDATE: AFL-CIO spokesman Mario Cilento e-mailed to inform me that McMahon is not being endorsed “at this time”, which means the question is likely to be revisited at a later date and this is more of an effort to send a message of displeasure than anything else. Meeks is a definite “no endorsement”, and that’s final.
Meeks didn’t get the AFL nod in 2008, either, and has been at odds with labor since his “yes” vote on CAFTA. in 2005 (Another NY Democrat, Brooklyn Rep. Ed Towns, also voted “yes”, but has not been similarly treated).
Aug 16th - 10:45 am
As the AFL-CIO members are meeting in Albany to determine their endorsements in the fall elections, a key public sector union – the Public Employees Federation – has announced its support of Assemblyman Richard Brodsky’s bid to replace AG Andrew Cuomo.
“Brodsky has always been responsive to his constituents,” said PEF President Kenneth Brynien.
“He has had an open door to hear the concerns of PEF members and has been a strong advocate for the needs of middle class families. He has proven himself an open and honest candidate and effective leader in the state assembly. We believe those qualities will help make him a strong Attorney General.”
PEF, which represents 58,000 professional, scientific and technical public employees, is the second-largest state workers union (the first is CSEA). Other labor supporters of the Westchester County Democratic lawmaker include DC37 and CWA.
The bulk of the so-called progressive private sector union support, which includes SEIU 1199, HTC and 32BJ, has gone to Sen. Eric Schneiderman, with RWDSU, UFCW Local 1500 and a number of the trades siding with Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice.
Brodsky is kicking off a four-county, nine-day upstate swing today.
Aug 16th - 8:21 am
The Legislature will not return to Albany this week despite Gov. David Paterson’s call for lawmakers to come up with a plan for allocating $600 million in federal education aid passed by Congress last week.
(ICYMI, this is the second item in my DN column this morning. This is an extended version).
In true Albany fashion, each house is blaming the other.
A Senate Democrat insisted Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver nixed a return because he doesn’t want to give the governor the opportunity to bring up the NYSUT-hated property tax cap issue again – particularly not with the September primaries looming in which he stands to lose as many as a dozen majority members.
“Silver does not want to have that argument with his members and put them in harm’s way with NYSUT after the Senate passed the cap and the suburban and Long Island members are agitating to do the same,” a Senate source said.
A top Assembly Democrat trashed that claim, calling it “bullsh–”. He said said the real problem is Senate Democratic leader John Sampson’s inability to get all 32 of his members to come back to the Capitol and agree on anything.
Aug 16th - 7:49 am
President Obama’s comments about the mosque proposed for construction near Ground Zero nationalized a debate that was already percolating outside New York.
Rep. Peter King accused Obama of “trying to have it both ways” on the mosque.
Mike Lupica says the mosque isn’t about freedom of religion, which no one disputes, it’s about “the constituency of Sept. 11.”
Michael Gerson deems the president’s weighing in on the mosque “late” and “vacillating”, but not necessarily wrong.
A Hamas leader endorsed the mosque, but Sen. Chuck Schumer rejected the move, saying through a spokesman: “Hamas is a terrorist organization, and their views don’t deserve any weight on anything.”
Senate Democrats worry AG Andrew Cuomo’s anti-Albany message will result in the return of GOP control.
A poll commissioned by Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr.’s detractors finds a three-way primary benefits him. The third candidate, Dan Padernacht, so far is refusing to drop out.
A committee formed by Steve Pigeon to help Espada and the causes/candidates he supports has failed to report thousands of dollars worth of expenditures and contributions.
Rick Lazio will receive the formal endorsement of Westchester County Executive Rob Astornio today. (No link).
The AFL-CIO will announce its endorsed candidates today, and Cuomo is expected to get the labor federation’s nod – in spite of the neutrality of NYSUT and possibly other public unions. (No link).