Oct 17th - 8:43 am
The Buffalo News’ Susan Schulman has a great piece today on the evolution of Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Andrew Cuomo from the so-called “Prince of Darkness” and top enforcer for his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, to the calculating and uber-disciplined candidate of today.
The following recollection from Dave Hepp, a veteran Capitol watcher and former producer/reporter of the long-lost TV shot “Inside Albany,” struck me as particularly apropos, in light of the seven-way slugfest scheduled to take place at Hofstra tomorrow:
Hepp felt Andrew Cuomo’s sting when Mario Cuomo ran for re-election in 1986. “Inside Albany” was selected to host a candidate debate.
Rather than a one-on-one between the Democrat and Republican candidates, which “Inside Albany” wanted, the Cuomo campaign wanted every minor party candidate invited, even those viewed as marginal, Hepp recalled.
“One night, I was trying to watch the Giants Monday Night Football game, and the phone wouldn’t stop ringing. It was Andrew as the bad cop and Sandy Frucher (another Mario Cuomo aide) as the good cop. They would go at me, trying to wear me down to produce the debate the way they wanted the debate to be produced. They put a lot of pressure on me. He (Andrew) said something like, ‘David, you gotta understand, this is business. This isn’t personal.’ ”
“It was something right out of ‘The Godfather’,” Hepp said.
“Inside Albany” eventually bowed out, deciding not to host the debate.
After that campaign, Hepp said, he didn’t see Andrew Cuomo for a while. The governor’s son headed off to Washington, D. C.
Oct 17th - 8:33 am
The fallout continues from Rep. Maurice Hinchey’s altercation with Daily Freeman correspondent William J. Kemble prior to a debate last week, with the paper’s editor accusing the veteran Democratic congressman of lying about who started it.
In a statement provided by his campaign, Hinchey did not apologize for telling Kemble to “shut up” or for poking him aggressively in the chest (Kemble says the congressman put a hand on his throat, but I have no far located no one who witnessed that).
Hinchey also didn’t deny the incident, but blamed Kemble for it, saying he “rudely badgered” the congressman in an “attempt to evoke a reaction” and “took an aggressive step” toward him after videographers had turned their cameras off.
That is not, for the record, how a YNN shooter who was present that night described what had happened during an interview with myself and a YNN editor. By his recollection, it was the congressman who got aggressive with Kemble after the cameras were off, not the other way around.
Tony Adamis, the Freeman’s managing editor, did an extensive bit of reporting on this incident himself. (I know because I spoke to him Friday afternoon). He issued a statement to hotair.com supporting Kemble and taking Hinchey to task.
Oct 16th - 2:47 pm
Long Island Rep. Carolyn McCarthy is out with her first TV ad of the campaign, and, like many of her Democratic colleagues, is focusing on the economy and jobs.
McCarthy has been under fire of late, and an internal poll conducted by McLaughlin & Associates for her GOP challenger, Francis Becker, shows the two candidates in a statistical dead heat with the incumbent congresswoman’s favorable/unfavorable rating at a dangerous 34-52. (Consider the source on that, of course, and add salt accordingly).
McCarthy’s campaign reported raising $147,696 between Aug. 26 and Sept. 30, with a total of $744,582 on hand. Becker hasn’t yet filed her latest financial report with the FEC, causing the congresswoman’s camp to hit him for being “in violation of federal law.”
At the end of August, Becker reported having $24,745 on hand and $46,751 worth of debt.
Oct 16th - 2:35 pm
Sen. Chuck Schumer has received what I believe is the first formal endorsement in his re-election bid from Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro, a registered Conservative who crossed party lines to endorse the Democratic senior senator, just as he did for Andrew Cuomo two weeks ago.
“Staten Island has no stronger advocate than Chuck Schumer,” said Molinaro in a statement released by Schumer’s campaign.
“I offer him my support and enthusiastic endorsement for reelection to the United States Senate. Chuck Schumer works in a bipartisan way to deliver for his constituents on Staten Island and throughout New York.”
“Whether he is fighting for greater transportation options, preserving discount tolls for our residents, or making sure our local hospitals have the needed capacity to care for our residents, when I turn to Chuck for help, he’s always there. That’s why I am crossing party lines and wholeheartedly supporting his reelection.”
According to the senator’s release, Molinaro endorsed Schumer at the site of the Eltingville Park and Ride, a project that the two worked together on to expand and accommodate the thousands of residents who park their cars to take buses for their commute to work in Manhattan every morning.
Schumer is running against GOP consultant Jay Townsend, who defeated Gary Berntsen in the Sept. 14 primary for Row B. (Both of them got onto the ballot at the state GOP convention) The Conservative Party endorsed Townsend prior to the GOP’s confab.
Oct 16th - 2:18 pm
Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Andrew Cuomo has released a hard-hitting new attack ad that slams his GOP/Conservative opponent, Carl Paladino, on the issue of choice, saying the Buffalo businessman would make women who are victims of rape or incest “victims a second time” by denying them access to abortion services.
Paladino has been under attack by abortion-rights advocates since expressing his extremely conservative opinion on choice on national TV shortly after his Sept. 14 GOP primary win. He also makes clear on his campaign Website that he opposes using public funds to “promote or perform” abortions.
Cuomo has been running ads that seek to contrast his own experience with Paladino’s and seek to turn the “Albany insider” attack back on his opponent by highlighting his campaign contributions and the fact that he has benefitted from Empire Zone tax breaks without creating many jobs.
This “Carl’s New York” approach is a new line of attack and one I expect we’ll see more of in the coming weeks…perhaps with spots that note the candidate’s desire to dramatically cut Medicaid, which Cuomo says would require the closure of hundreds of hospitals.
Oct 16th - 1:07 pm
A reader forwarded an e-mail from a fairly frantic-sounding Dan Cantor, executive director of the Working Families Party, announcing the labor-backed party wasn’t successful in getting a pre-Election Day decision in the so-called “double-vote” lawsuit it brought against the state Board of Elections along with the state Conservative Party.
UPDATE1: Cantor’s e-mail is a little confusing, but I’ve since been told the case hasn’t yet been decided, and won’t be until after Nov. 2. Instead, the judge declined to give the WFP the injunction it sought. The party is considering an appeal.
This is almost of bad as a loss, since the current policy is detrimental to the minor parties.
As things stand, voters who select the same candidate on two different lines on the paper ballots used by the new voting machine system will see their vote counted for the first party that appears on the ballot.
That is, of course, very bad for the minor parties. The WFP appears in Row E; the Conservative Party is on Row D (ironically, a spot the WFP has been trying to usurp for years now).
In the e-mail, Cantor called the judge’s decision “appalling,” adding: “This reminds us yet again that judges sometimes make decisions that have only a dim relationship to fairness (see, Florida 2000).”
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 - 12:40 pm
GOP congressional hopeful George Phillips, who is enjoying a surge of support, thanks largely to growing animosity on the right toward his Democratic opponent, Rep. Maurice Hinchey, is scheduled to make his first appearance at the Monday Meeting on Oct. 18.
Carl Paladino was originally scheduled to speak at the conservative confab, but had to change his plans in order to participate in the only debate his opponent, Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Andrew Cuomo, is likely to agree to prior to the Nov. 2 election.
That seven-way verbal slugfest is set to take place at Hofstra on Long Island and will be televised live upstate ONLY on YNN. (Shameless plug, sorry). I’ll be hosting a pre-game show after the debate, which starts ay 7 p.m. and lasts for 90 minutes, so the whole thing will end at the usual CapTon deadline of 9 p.m.
Phillips, who is making his second attempt at ousting Hinchey in NY-22, has gained national attention of late.
The PAC associated with former White House political mastermind Karl Rove, American Crossroads, is expected to spend some $300,000 on last-minute TV ads aimed at helping Phillips. Ron Lauder recently endorsed the GOP hopeful, as did former NYC Mayor Ed Koch.
Of course, Hinchey, a nine-term House veteran, isn’t doing himself any favors by telling reporters to “shut up” and poking them in the chest.
Randy Altschuler, another GOP congressional candidate who appears to be picking up steam, although he’s still trailing his Democratic target, Rep. Tim Bishop, in NY-1, according to a recent Siena poll, was supposed to appear at the conservative gathering Monday, but commitments in his district caused him to cancel.
A third GOP congressional candidate, Michael Grimm, who’s trying to unseat Democratic Rep. Michael McMahon in NY-13, is to appear Monday as well, although his name isn’t on the official schedule.
Oct 16th - 9:26 am
Just over two weeks to go…the sprint begins.
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.