Jul 13th - 8:46 pm
Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter, the Bronx community activist who was (I believe) the first Democrat to announce a primary challenge to controversial Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr., has decided to end her candidacy just days before the petition and campaign finance deadlines, a local newspaper is reporting.
The Bronx News Network spoke to Pilgrim-Hunter, who said the main reason she had decided to drop out of the race was cash – or lack thereof. She has managed to raise just $30,000, while Espada had $300,000 on hand as of mid-January and told me yesterday he will report raising another $100,000 over the past six months.
“This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ll ever have to make,” Pilgrim-Hunter told the Bronx News Network. “In the interest of making sure that Pedro Espada is out of office, and also building power in my community, I’ve decided to withdraw.”
“…We did a really good job of fundraising,” she said, referring to the number of small donors in the community who gave to the campaign. “It wasn’t enough to be able to have an effective fight and win this race.”
Pilgrim-Hunter once told me she thought it would take $600,000 to defeat Espada.
She now wants to start a new group that will “recruit strong progressive leaders that can enter into all levels of government.” She didn’t mention anything about endorsing any of her erstwhile primary opponents, like, say, Gustavo Rivera, a former aide to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand who has been endorsed by Bill Samuels and his New Roosevelt Initiative PAC.
(For the record, Samuels called on Pilgrim-Hunter to drop out of the race, noting at the time the more narrow the field against Espada the better the chances are of ousting him).
Jul 13th - 8:33 pm
Only one of Sen. Eric Schneiderman’s Democratic AG opponents issued a statement in regards to his fender bender – Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice – which isn’t so surprising, since she and the senator are seen as the top two contenders in this race and have been trading insults (largely via press release) for some time now.
Here’s her statement:
“These are clearly very disturbing allegations. Like a lot of New Yorkers, we will be reserving judgment on the incident involving State Senator Schneiderman until all of the facts are made public.”
Schneiderman was on both “Inside City Hall” and “Capital Tonight” this evening to explain his side of the story. He told NY1′s Michael Scotto he accepts “full responsibility” for the incident, but took issue with the suggestion that his staffer, Rachel Kagan, was driving in an out-of-control manner. “This was someone pulling out of a parking space,” he said.
The senator said he had “no idea” about the accident until he noticed his own car’s fender was dented. He has spoken to the NY1 staffer whose car was damaged and promised to pick up the tab to fix whatever insurance doesn’t cover.
Jul 13th - 6:59 pm
Another development in the Sen. Eric Schneiderman car accident story, which just keeps getting stranger and messier.
NY1 has confirmed the driver of the car in which the AG hopeful was riding that hit another vehicle belonging to a station staffer, NY1 Executive Editor Melissa Rabinovich, and then drove away was Rachel Kagan, the niece of US Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.
After he was contacted by Rabinovich, Schneiderman called back and said he had “disciplined” the staffer in question.
Jul 13th - 6:03 pm
Posted by Liz Benjamin in [...]
AG Andrew Cuomo quietly received a state Board of Elections opinion that enables him to disclose campaign contributions right up to the July 15 filing deadline.
Sen. Chuck Schumer nominated Monroe County DA Mike Green for a federal judgeship.
Four of the five Democratic AG contenders (minus Sen. Eric Schneiderman, for obvious reasons) appeared at a press conference to call on the governor to sign a stop-and-frisk database bill into law.
Senate candidate/Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat upstaged the AG contenders with his own stop-and-frisk story.
The Empire State Pride Agenda released its first round of endorsements.
Jimmy Vielkind considers Gov. David Paterson’s last stand for Capital New York.
Gail Goode says she has collected more than 45,000 names to qualify for a primary ballot slot against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
NYC Councilman Jumaane Williams suggests – in jest – stop-and-frisking for Wall Streeters.
Sen. Chuck Schumer has a George Steinnbrenner resolution.
Pollster Lee Miringoff considers the Midterm elections and what Obama might do to help his party.
NT2 thinks Paterson should start his transition now.
The Paterson fan club.
RFK Jr. filed for divorce three days before his wife was arrested for drunken driving.
The late Sen. Tom Morahan’s district office will continue to remain open and provide services through the end of December. (No link).
Jul 13th - 6:02 pm
Sen. Eric Schneiderman’s campaign spokesman James Freedland released a statement slamming NY1′s report of the AG hopeful’s fender-bender outside the station last night as a “hit-and-run,” calling that characterization “nothing short of outrageous.”
“Last night when pulling out of a parking space, a staff member driving Eric Schneiderman’s car bumped the car parked in front of them,” Freedland said.
“The senator was in the passenger seat and did not believe that either his car or the car in front of his had sustained damage. He later discovered his car had been dented, and this morning was notified it had damaged the bumper and tail light of the other car.”
“He has spoken with the owner of the other vehicle, expressed his sincere apology, and offered to pay for all repairs. No injuries were sustained.”
Jul 13th - 5:34 pm
NY1 political director Bob Hardt just sent out the following ItCH alert for a story that will be airing at 7 p.m. tonight downstate and on “Capital Tonight” at 8 p.m. It’s pretty self-explanatory.
State Senator – and candidate for State Attorney General – Eric Schneiderman was involved in a hit-and-run accident outside the Chelsea Market on Monday night.
Schneiderman was a passenger in the car that was being driven by a staffer when it rear-ended a parked vehicle on Ninth Avenue and then drove away, according to an eyewitness account.
A mechanic estimated that the car, owned by NY1 Executive Editor Melissa Rabinovich, suffered about $3,000 worth of damage, including a broken rear bumper, rear panel and tail light.
Rabinovich only learned of the accident because a bicyclist witnessed the incident, recorded Schneiderman’s license plate number, and then remained on the scene until Rabinovich left work for the day and approached her car.
Schneiderman contacted Rabinovich only after she called his office Tuesday morning to ask him about what had happened.
“He told me that he had disciplined the staffer but he was also insisting that it was just a bump and not a moving violation. I told him: ‘Your car was moving and then you drove away. A total stranger realized that you damaged my car but you didn’t?’”
A spokesman for Schneiderman admits the incident occurred but insists that the senator did not realize that the parked vehicle had been damaged.
“He has spoken with the owner of the other vehicle, expressed his sincere apology, and offered to pay for all repairs,” said Schneiderman spokesman James Freedland.
Ironically, Schneiderman had just completed an interview on NY1’s “Inside City Hall” before the incident occurred.
Former State Comptroller Carl McCall, a Schneiderman supporter, called the incident a “terrible lapse of judgment.”
Jul 13th - 5:23 pm
Sen. Tom Libous told me during a “Capital Tonight” interview that the Senate Republicans are still holding out the slim hope that they might be able to change the minds of third party leaders when it comes to backing Assemblyman Jack Quinn in the 58th SD.
The Independence and Conservative parties have both endorsed Sen. Bill Stachowski’s Democratic primary opponent, Tim Kennedy, but Libous insisted there’s still time for the GOP to change that because the Wilson Pakulas won’t be filed for another several days.
“All is not lost yet,” Libous said. “Although the locals have endorsed, maybe there’s a chance.”
“…This week is a critical week for what they call the authorizations that are going to take place by the Independence and certainly the Conservative Party. They have until Thursday, so a lot can happen between now and then.”
“We have a good relationship with Frank MacKay, and certainly members of his party…We are as aggressive as our counterparts, the Democrats, in trying to secure other party lines – whether it’s Independence or Conservative – so we’re in here fighting, right up until Thursday.”
Jul 13th - 4:48 pm
Gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino jumped with both feet into the mosque issue during a “Capital Tonight” interview that will air this evening, although he insisted he did so only because the other candidates in the race started it first.
While Paladino was sitting for an interview with me in Buffalo (or rather, he was in Buffalo and I was in Albany), his LG running mate, former NYC Council Minority Leader Tom Ognibene, was in Manhattan to testify at the Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing on the mosque.
Ognibene and Paladino are arguing the mosque project is illegal – a violation of the Patriot Act, in fact – and are calling on US Attorney Eric Holder (not AG Andrew Cuomo) to investigation, insisting this is a federal, not state, issue.
You can catch the full Paladino interview at 8 p.m. and 11 :30 p.m. In the meantime, here’s what he had to say about Cuomo’s freedom of religon argument:
“I think Andrew Cuomo is trying to duck a very important issue to the American people. He came out and he had a statement to make so I am making a statement in response. Andrew, grow up! Understand what the responsibilities are of elected officials and do the right thing for the American people.”
Jul 13th - 4:40 pm
DC37, NYC’s largest public employee union, has again endorsed Queens Republican Sen. Frank Padvan – a top target of the Senate Democrats as they fight to grow their razor-think majority this fall.
“We are proud to give our endorsement to Senator Padavan for the 2010 election,” DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts said in a statement.
“Day in and day out, Frank is fighting for all working New Yorkers and their families. His unwavering support, independent leadership and straightforward approach to the challenges facing our City and State are needed today and for years to come.”
Padavan came close to losing his seat in 2008 when he was challenged by Democratic NYC Councilman Jim Gennaro, who initially mulled a re-match, but eventually decided to stay put. (DC 37 endorsed Padavan in that race, too).
Instead, former NYC Councilman Tony Avella, who lost a long-short mayoral primary challenge to then-NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson in 2009, has decided to take on Padavan.
Padavan has an ally in Mayor Bloomberg, who has long been a supporter of the veteran GOP lawmaker and appears inclined to continue to do so, even as he moves away from a policy of strictly contributing to the Senate Republicans in favor of backing individuals lawmakers on a case-by-case basis, regardless of their party affiliation.
Jul 13th - 4:17 pm
AG hopeful/Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, who rather memorably clashed with the Yankees over the tax breaks the team received for its new stadium, just released the following statement in response to the death of George Steinbrenner:
“George Steinbrenner’s public achievements were many, and his passing is a moment to acknowledge those achievements. His drive and energy created part of the permanent and indestructible skyline of the greatest city in the world.”
“He was a husband, father, grandfather and I’m sure all New Yorkers pause to offer condolences to the Steinbrenner family, as do I. Whatever may divide New Yorkers in the push and pull of public life we all share a commitment to bettering our community, and his passing is a reminder of how united we all really are.”