Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/andrew-cuomo 2018-09-23T14:31:50+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com What's The [Data] Point? 3.1 miles, with Patrick Orecki of CBC 2018-09-21T04:00:00+00:00 2018-09-21T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7948:what-s-the-data-point-3-1-miles-mario-cuomo-tappan-zee-bridge Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/whats-the-data-point.jpg" alt="whats the data point" width="600" height="600" /></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What's The [Data] Point? Episode 54</strong><strong> -- 3.1 miles with Patrick Orecki of CBC [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]</strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/cuomo-bridge1.jpg" alt="cuomo bridge1" width="277" height="280" style="margin-right: 10px; float: left;" /></p> <p>There has been a lot of recent controversy around the new Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, which has replaced the Tappan Zee Bridge connecting suburbs north of New York City, related to finances and naming. It is one of Governor Andrew Cuomo's signature infrastructure projects and, according to experts, shows a number of positives about government. But, there are financial questions about paying off the bridge debt and what the toll will be (and when). For this episode of the podcast, we dig into the details of the construction of the bridge, the financing of the bridge, and more.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think: Ben Max of GG (<a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax</a>), Maria Doulis of CBC (<a href="https://twitter.com/MariaDoulis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@MariaDoulis</a>). Listen below or download wherever you get your podcasts!</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/503206659%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-4ZQ3a&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="175" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/whats-the-data-point.jpg" alt="whats the data point" width="600" height="600" /></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What's The [Data] Point? Episode 54</strong><strong> -- 3.1 miles with Patrick Orecki of CBC [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]</strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/cuomo-bridge1.jpg" alt="cuomo bridge1" width="277" height="280" style="margin-right: 10px; float: left;" /></p> <p>There has been a lot of recent controversy around the new Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, which has replaced the Tappan Zee Bridge connecting suburbs north of New York City, related to finances and naming. It is one of Governor Andrew Cuomo's signature infrastructure projects and, according to experts, shows a number of positives about government. But, there are financial questions about paying off the bridge debt and what the toll will be (and when). For this episode of the podcast, we dig into the details of the construction of the bridge, the financing of the bridge, and more.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think: Ben Max of GG (<a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax</a>), Maria Doulis of CBC (<a href="https://twitter.com/MariaDoulis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@MariaDoulis</a>). Listen below or download wherever you get your podcasts!</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/503206659%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-4ZQ3a&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="175" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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Max & Murphy Podcast: Primary Post-Mortem with Rebecca Katz, Top Cynthia Nixon Strategist 2018-09-19T04:00:00+00:00 2018-09-19T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7942:max-murphy-podcast-primary-post-mortem-with-rebecca-katz-top-cynthia-nixon-strategist Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/mxm-logo.jpg" alt="mxm logo" width="600" height="239" /></p> <p>Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette,&nbsp;and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits</p> <hr /> <p><strong>September 19, 2018 - Max &amp; Murphy Podcast: Primary Post-Mortem with Rebecca Katz, Top Cynthia Nixon Strategist<br /></strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/rebecca-katz-277.jpg" alt="rebecca katz 277" width="171" height="164" style="margin: 10px; float: left;" />Rebecca Katz was the chief strategist for Cynthia Nixon's campaign for governor. Katz, a principal at Hilltop Public Solitions and veteran of Bill de Blasio's 2013 campaign and 2014 City Hall, joined the show to recap and dissect the primary election between Nixon and Governor Andrew Cuomo, who prevailed by a wide margin against the first-time candidate. Katz described some of the strategies behind the campaign, working closely with Nixon, preparing for the lone Nixon-Cuomo debate, and much more.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax </a>and <a href="https://twitter.com/jarrettmurphy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@JarrettMurphy</a>. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts, under "Max &amp; Murphy," and listen to Max &amp; Murphy live on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. on WBAI radio, 99.5FM or wbai.org</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/502236807&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="175" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/mxm-logo.jpg" alt="mxm logo" width="600" height="239" /></p> <p>Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette,&nbsp;and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits</p> <hr /> <p><strong>September 19, 2018 - Max &amp; Murphy Podcast: Primary Post-Mortem with Rebecca Katz, Top Cynthia Nixon Strategist<br /></strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/rebecca-katz-277.jpg" alt="rebecca katz 277" width="171" height="164" style="margin: 10px; float: left;" />Rebecca Katz was the chief strategist for Cynthia Nixon's campaign for governor. Katz, a principal at Hilltop Public Solitions and veteran of Bill de Blasio's 2013 campaign and 2014 City Hall, joined the show to recap and dissect the primary election between Nixon and Governor Andrew Cuomo, who prevailed by a wide margin against the first-time candidate. Katz described some of the strategies behind the campaign, working closely with Nixon, preparing for the lone Nixon-Cuomo debate, and much more.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax </a>and <a href="https://twitter.com/jarrettmurphy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@JarrettMurphy</a>. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts, under "Max &amp; Murphy," and listen to Max &amp; Murphy live on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. on WBAI radio, 99.5FM or wbai.org</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/502236807&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="175" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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A Closer Look at Democratic Primary Turnout, Margins and Geography 2018-09-16T04:00:00+00:00 2018-09-16T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7936:a-closer-look-at-democratic-primary-turnout-margins-and-geography Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/cuomo_voting_2018_primary.jpg" alt="cuomo voting 2018 primary" width="600" height="338" /></p> <p>Gov. Cuomo voting in Thursday's primary (photo: @NYGovCuomo)</p> <hr /> <p>The Democratic gubernatorial primary between Governor Andrew Cuomo and Cynthia Nixon saw a significant surge in voter participation, but turnout still stood at only 27 percent of active registered Democrats.</p> <p>Compared to the 2014 primary election, when Zephyr Teachout challenged Cuomo, who was then seeking a second term, turnout more than doubled, according to preliminary numbers. And, turnout spiked slightly more in New York City than elsewhere. Specifically, 28 percent of registered Democrats in New York City voted in the 2018 primary while 24.5 percent voted outside of the city — 2.8 and 2.3 times as many voted in 2014, respectively, when around 10 percent of those eligible cast a ballot.</p> <p>“As far as the race for governor goes, turnout was greatly improved in the city and throughout the state. That was very impressive,” said Steven Romalewski, director of the Mapping Service at CUNY’s Center for Urban Research, in an interview Friday. “It wasn’t just a modest increase compared with the somewhat anemic turnout statewide in 2014.”</p> <p>“The number of voters went from 575,000 to 1.5 million,” he added. There were 5,621,811 million active registered Democrats across the state as of April 1, <a href="https://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/enrollment/county/county_apr18.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">according to</a> the State Board of Elections. Turnout was likely aided by a number of factors, including the high number of competitive races, including three statewide positions and the challenges to former members of the Senate Independent Democratic Conference and Democrats’ post-Trump awakening.</p> <p>Cuomo won this year’s primary with 978,138 votes to Nixon’s 512,585, as of the preliminary count, for 65.6 percent to 34.4 percent. In 2014, Cuomo received 361,380 votes (63 percent), and Teachout earned 192,210 votes (33.5 percent); comedian and activist Randy Credico picked up the remaining votes and about 3 percent.</p> <p>In Cuomo’s win, he captured broad support across the state, earning about 67 percent of the vote in New York City and 64 percent outside the city, with the exception of a few geographic regions. He performed particularly well in majority-black areas of the city, especially in the Bronx — he won 83 percent in the borough overall — Harlem, and Central Brooklyn. Nixon, for her part, received a good share of votes in whiter, gentrified parts of Brooklyn, competed better with Cuomo in Manhattan, where she earned 41 percent of the vote, her best borough, and the Queens waterfront, posting her best numbers, like Teachout four years ago, in areas of the city home to many white progressives. Nixon also performed fairly well in some upstate areas, such as Albany County, and also beat Cuomo in counties surrounding it, along with Tomkins and Lewis counties to its west and north, respectively.</p> <p>Turnout was so much higher that Nixon earned 320,375 more total votes than Cuomo did in 2014, but still won about the same percentage as Teachout did that year.</p> <p>Cuomo’s win was so solid, and the city’s share of the vote so significant, that the governor’s total votes from Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens eclipsed Nixon’s statewide total.</p> <p>The other two statewide Democratic primaries, for Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General, followed a similar pattern, with incumbent Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul again winning the party’s nomination and New York City Public Advocate Letitia James prevailing in a four-way Attorney General race with no incumbent.</p> <p>Specifically, James’ base was predictably in the city; Zephyr Teachout performed well in the Hudson Valley as well as parts of Brooklyn home to many white progressives, the Upper West Side, and Greenwich Village (places Nixon received a large share of votes); and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney performed best further upstate and in Western New York.</p> <p>In total, James won 40.6 percent of the vote, Teachout 31, Maloney 25, and Eve 3.4.</p> <p>Teachout’s and Maloney’s combined votes totalled 800,398 — 221,016 more votes than what James received, perhaps suggesting had only one of the candidates been in the race he or she would have had a strong chance. Given their similar voter base and James stranglehold on New York City, neither was likely to be able to pull off a victory given the other’s presence, as <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7930-teachout-maloney-battle-may-help-james-win-attorney-general-nomination" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Gotham Gazette last week reported looked likely</a>.</p> <p>In the Lieutenant Governor race Hochul unofficially received 733,591 votes, or 53.3 percent, to Williams’ 641,631 votes, or 46.7 percent.</p> <p>Williams received the lion’s share of his votes in New York City, particularly Brooklyn, where he is from and represents a City Council district. Twenty-six percent of his total votes were cast in his favor in Brooklyn, but he was defeated by Hochul nearly everywhere else save Manhattan, and Tompkins and Columbia Counties. In New York City, Hochul received more votes than Williams in the three other boroughs, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, and she did slightly better than Williams throughout most of the state.<br /> <br />Vote totals were slightly lower in both the Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor primaries than the race for Governor, as evidently some voters chose Cuomo or Nixon but left their ballots blank in one or more of the two other statewide races.</p> <p>In unofficial totals, 1,375,222 votes were counted in the Lieutenant Governor race and 1,428,418 votes in the Attorney General race, compared to 1,490,723 in the gubernatorial race, leaving roughly 115,500 who voted in the Governor's race but did not pick either of the major candidates in the Lieutenant Governor race (some may have done write-ins), and about 62,300 who did the same in the Attorney General race.</p> <p>But while Nixon lost by a large margin, and fellow insurgents Teachout and Williams lost as well, the progressive energy appeared to have a massive effect down-ballot, as six candidates challenging former members of the Senate Independent Democratic Conference, a group of eight breakaway Democrats who caucused with Republicans in the state Senate, ousted the incumbents, and another insurgent, leftist candidate unseated another sitting senator representing part of the city.</p> <p>Challengers Alessandra Biaggi, Jessica Ramos, John Liu, Zellnor Myrie, Robert Jackson, and Rachel May defeated IDC Senators Jeff Klein, Jose Peralta, Tony Avella, Jesse Hamilton, Marisol Alcantara, and David Valesky, respectively. One-time IDC Senators Diane Savino and David Carlucci fended off their challengers. Five of the districts where the incumbent IDC senators were beaten are fully or mostly in New York City. Julia Salazar also beat Senator Martin Dilan, who is not an IDC member, in Brooklyn. The progressive energy did not push Blake Morris to victory over Senator Simcha Felder, a Democrat who is a member of the Republican conference.</p> <p>Turnout in those Senate primaries varied somewhat. Senate District 34, represented by IDC founder and former leader Jeff Klein, had 23.2 percent turnout for Biaggi’s win, while in District 22, where Salazar ran a scandal-plagued but winning race against Dilan, turnout was 24 percent. Biaggi won with an unofficial 53 percent to Klein’s 44.5 percent. She did very well in the western portion of the district, including Riverdale, while Klein did well in the eastern section, including parts that overlap with soon-to-be U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s district.</p> <p>Salazar, meanwhile, won with an unofficial 54 percent to Dilan’s 39 percent. She performed best in areas of the district that have seen widespread gentrification, like Bushwick, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint, while Dilan performed best in the comparatively lower-income eastern part of the district.</p> <p>Myrie beat Hamilton by roughly 20 points in District 20 in central Brooklyn and parts of Park Slope, relying heavily on votes from areas home to more white progressive. In Queens, Liu received 53 percent of the vote to Avella’s 47 percent, reversing the outcome of their 2014 primary race, and Ramos earned 55 percent of the vote to Peralta’s 45 percent.</p> <p>Jackson beat Alcantara on the west side of Manhattan with 53 percent of the vote to her 36 percent, while two other candidates combined for 5 percent. In that race, which includes parts of the always-active Upper West Side, turnout was an above-average 30 percent.</p> <p> </p> <p>Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max contributed to this article.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/cuomo_voting_2018_primary.jpg" alt="cuomo voting 2018 primary" width="600" height="338" /></p> <p>Gov. Cuomo voting in Thursday's primary (photo: @NYGovCuomo)</p> <hr /> <p>The Democratic gubernatorial primary between Governor Andrew Cuomo and Cynthia Nixon saw a significant surge in voter participation, but turnout still stood at only 27 percent of active registered Democrats.</p> <p>Compared to the 2014 primary election, when Zephyr Teachout challenged Cuomo, who was then seeking a second term, turnout more than doubled, according to preliminary numbers. And, turnout spiked slightly more in New York City than elsewhere. Specifically, 28 percent of registered Democrats in New York City voted in the 2018 primary while 24.5 percent voted outside of the city — 2.8 and 2.3 times as many voted in 2014, respectively, when around 10 percent of those eligible cast a ballot.</p> <p>“As far as the race for governor goes, turnout was greatly improved in the city and throughout the state. That was very impressive,” said Steven Romalewski, director of the Mapping Service at CUNY’s Center for Urban Research, in an interview Friday. “It wasn’t just a modest increase compared with the somewhat anemic turnout statewide in 2014.”</p> <p>“The number of voters went from 575,000 to 1.5 million,” he added. There were 5,621,811 million active registered Democrats across the state as of April 1, <a href="https://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/enrollment/county/county_apr18.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">according to</a> the State Board of Elections. Turnout was likely aided by a number of factors, including the high number of competitive races, including three statewide positions and the challenges to former members of the Senate Independent Democratic Conference and Democrats’ post-Trump awakening.</p> <p>Cuomo won this year’s primary with 978,138 votes to Nixon’s 512,585, as of the preliminary count, for 65.6 percent to 34.4 percent. In 2014, Cuomo received 361,380 votes (63 percent), and Teachout earned 192,210 votes (33.5 percent); comedian and activist Randy Credico picked up the remaining votes and about 3 percent.</p> <p>In Cuomo’s win, he captured broad support across the state, earning about 67 percent of the vote in New York City and 64 percent outside the city, with the exception of a few geographic regions. He performed particularly well in majority-black areas of the city, especially in the Bronx — he won 83 percent in the borough overall — Harlem, and Central Brooklyn. Nixon, for her part, received a good share of votes in whiter, gentrified parts of Brooklyn, competed better with Cuomo in Manhattan, where she earned 41 percent of the vote, her best borough, and the Queens waterfront, posting her best numbers, like Teachout four years ago, in areas of the city home to many white progressives. Nixon also performed fairly well in some upstate areas, such as Albany County, and also beat Cuomo in counties surrounding it, along with Tomkins and Lewis counties to its west and north, respectively.</p> <p>Turnout was so much higher that Nixon earned 320,375 more total votes than Cuomo did in 2014, but still won about the same percentage as Teachout did that year.</p> <p>Cuomo’s win was so solid, and the city’s share of the vote so significant, that the governor’s total votes from Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens eclipsed Nixon’s statewide total.</p> <p>The other two statewide Democratic primaries, for Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General, followed a similar pattern, with incumbent Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul again winning the party’s nomination and New York City Public Advocate Letitia James prevailing in a four-way Attorney General race with no incumbent.</p> <p>Specifically, James’ base was predictably in the city; Zephyr Teachout performed well in the Hudson Valley as well as parts of Brooklyn home to many white progressives, the Upper West Side, and Greenwich Village (places Nixon received a large share of votes); and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney performed best further upstate and in Western New York.</p> <p>In total, James won 40.6 percent of the vote, Teachout 31, Maloney 25, and Eve 3.4.</p> <p>Teachout’s and Maloney’s combined votes totalled 800,398 — 221,016 more votes than what James received, perhaps suggesting had only one of the candidates been in the race he or she would have had a strong chance. Given their similar voter base and James stranglehold on New York City, neither was likely to be able to pull off a victory given the other’s presence, as <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7930-teachout-maloney-battle-may-help-james-win-attorney-general-nomination" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Gotham Gazette last week reported looked likely</a>.</p> <p>In the Lieutenant Governor race Hochul unofficially received 733,591 votes, or 53.3 percent, to Williams’ 641,631 votes, or 46.7 percent.</p> <p>Williams received the lion’s share of his votes in New York City, particularly Brooklyn, where he is from and represents a City Council district. Twenty-six percent of his total votes were cast in his favor in Brooklyn, but he was defeated by Hochul nearly everywhere else save Manhattan, and Tompkins and Columbia Counties. In New York City, Hochul received more votes than Williams in the three other boroughs, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, and she did slightly better than Williams throughout most of the state.<br /> <br />Vote totals were slightly lower in both the Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor primaries than the race for Governor, as evidently some voters chose Cuomo or Nixon but left their ballots blank in one or more of the two other statewide races.</p> <p>In unofficial totals, 1,375,222 votes were counted in the Lieutenant Governor race and 1,428,418 votes in the Attorney General race, compared to 1,490,723 in the gubernatorial race, leaving roughly 115,500 who voted in the Governor's race but did not pick either of the major candidates in the Lieutenant Governor race (some may have done write-ins), and about 62,300 who did the same in the Attorney General race.</p> <p>But while Nixon lost by a large margin, and fellow insurgents Teachout and Williams lost as well, the progressive energy appeared to have a massive effect down-ballot, as six candidates challenging former members of the Senate Independent Democratic Conference, a group of eight breakaway Democrats who caucused with Republicans in the state Senate, ousted the incumbents, and another insurgent, leftist candidate unseated another sitting senator representing part of the city.</p> <p>Challengers Alessandra Biaggi, Jessica Ramos, John Liu, Zellnor Myrie, Robert Jackson, and Rachel May defeated IDC Senators Jeff Klein, Jose Peralta, Tony Avella, Jesse Hamilton, Marisol Alcantara, and David Valesky, respectively. One-time IDC Senators Diane Savino and David Carlucci fended off their challengers. Five of the districts where the incumbent IDC senators were beaten are fully or mostly in New York City. Julia Salazar also beat Senator Martin Dilan, who is not an IDC member, in Brooklyn. The progressive energy did not push Blake Morris to victory over Senator Simcha Felder, a Democrat who is a member of the Republican conference.</p> <p>Turnout in those Senate primaries varied somewhat. Senate District 34, represented by IDC founder and former leader Jeff Klein, had 23.2 percent turnout for Biaggi’s win, while in District 22, where Salazar ran a scandal-plagued but winning race against Dilan, turnout was 24 percent. Biaggi won with an unofficial 53 percent to Klein’s 44.5 percent. She did very well in the western portion of the district, including Riverdale, while Klein did well in the eastern section, including parts that overlap with soon-to-be U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s district.</p> <p>Salazar, meanwhile, won with an unofficial 54 percent to Dilan’s 39 percent. She performed best in areas of the district that have seen widespread gentrification, like Bushwick, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint, while Dilan performed best in the comparatively lower-income eastern part of the district.</p> <p>Myrie beat Hamilton by roughly 20 points in District 20 in central Brooklyn and parts of Park Slope, relying heavily on votes from areas home to more white progressive. In Queens, Liu received 53 percent of the vote to Avella’s 47 percent, reversing the outcome of their 2014 primary race, and Ramos earned 55 percent of the vote to Peralta’s 45 percent.</p> <p>Jackson beat Alcantara on the west side of Manhattan with 53 percent of the vote to her 36 percent, while two other candidates combined for 5 percent. In that race, which includes parts of the always-active Upper West Side, turnout was an above-average 30 percent.</p> <p> </p> <p>Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max contributed to this article.</p> The Real Story of Cuomo’s Dominant Primary Win 2018-09-16T04:00:00+00:00 2018-09-16T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7937:the-real-story-of-cuomo-s-dominant-primary-win Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/6083505660_2f75b5436c_z.jpg" alt="Glaser Cuomo" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Gov. Cuomo, right, &amp; Howard Glaser, the author, middle-left (Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Findley Lake, in Chautauqua County, on the western edge of the state, is about as far as you can drive from the Bronx and still be in New York State. It’s as close to Cleveland, Ohio as eastern Suffolk County is to the Grand Concourse. Chautauqua is a big county, land-wise, 1,100 square miles -- about 25 times larger than the Bronx. People in Chautauqua are spread out among rolling farmlands and lakes, about 132 residents in a square mile. The Bronx crams 34,000 souls into the same mile. Chautauqua is also about as white as you can get, 94 percent, while the Bronx is New York’s most-black county, with 430 out of every 1,000 residents. <br /> <br />You could argue that there are not two places in the state more separated by geography, racial makeup, culture, and politics. Yet, in last week’s Democratic primary, one thing joined, however briefly, midwestern Chautauqua and urban Bronx: they both delivered overwhelming electoral victory to Andrew Cuomo.<br /> <br />The Bronx went for Cuomo by over 80 percent, his highest margin in the state. Chautauqua delivered 64 percent for Cuomo, not quite the stratospheric number of the Bronx but an even higher percentage than Cuomo’s otherwise crushing margins in Brooklyn and Manhattan. <br /> <br />You could conjure up pretty much any other divide from this diverse state and the result would be the same. Nassau, the state’s richest county (median or family income), just about matched the poorest county (Bronx again) with 77 percent for Cuomo. Union households and non-union households were on the same track, according to Siena’s polling. And voters under 34 were actually more likely to vote Cuomo than voters aged 35-54, confounding conventional wisdom about where newly energized young voters would go (Cuomo won decisively across all age groups). <br /> <br />It’s no secret that Cuomo was backed by New York’s real estate community. But he was equally backed by tenants -- 80 percent of Bronx households are renters. He won those fed up with high taxes in Suffolk in almost equal numbers with tax and spend Upper West Side liberals. He won minimum wage workers in New York City and dominated among small business owners in the North Country, where small businesses represent over 90 percent of total businesses. <br /> <br />All of this in as high turnout a primary election as New York has ever seen. <br /> <br />So what to make of this absolutely dominant showing by Cuomo?</p> <p>Much of the post-primary press narrative went like this: "Cynthia Nixon lost but progressives won because she moved Cuomo to the left. Cuomo’s margin was due to Nixon being a flawed candidate and Cuomo’s significant outspending over Nixon.” <br /> <br />Those are nice and simple memes, but they don't explain the results in any way. The near run of the table by Cuomo suggests this: New Yorkers weren’t buying what Nixon was selling. <br /> <br />If anything, New York as a whole demonstrated that New Yorkers like their progressivism, but they like it tempered with fiscal reality, with experience, and the desire and ability to find common ground between Findley Lake and Pelham Bay. That’s not what Nixon was selling -- but its Cuomo’s whole brand. <br /> <br />Nixon’s poor showing can’t be explained by being outspent. Money counts most in elections when it’s used to define a lesser-known candidate or a barely-known opponent. The Cuomo-Nixon matchup was the polar opposite. Every primary voter knew exactly who Cuomo was and knew exactly who Nixon was. And Nixon’s campaign wasn’t exactly cash-strapped. Even in New York, $2 million is real money. Had she spent three times more and Cuomo spent a third of his final tally, the result wouldn’t have been significantly different. New York primary voters are as sophisticated as anywhere on the planet. To suggest that only 7 percent of African-Americans supported Nixon because they were duped by ads is insulting or worse. She got her message out and New Yorkers, across the board, rejected it. <br /> <br />Nor was she the ineffective campaigner that she’s widely been made out to be. Her performance in the debate was more than credible. She’s a gifted communicator who produced strong ads. And while her depth on specifics was clearly limited, she expressed a grasp of the issues that wasn’t significantly different from that of the average politician. Campaigns expose a candidate’s flaws, and this campaign was no different in showing both Nixon’s and Cuomo’s vulnerabilities. She made mistakes but nothing disqualifying, holding her own, especially for a novice campaigner. And New Yorkers still said ‘fuhgeddaboudit.’ <br /> <br />But perhaps the biggest myth of the primary is the “Cynthia Effect,” the proposition that Nixon pushed Cuomo left. She won by losing, goes the logic, because the specter of Nixon rallying activist Democrats forced Cuomo to adopt more progressive positions than he otherwise would have. The problems with this bit of conventional wisdom are manifold.</p> <p>First, the polling on Cuomo’s standing with the Democratic left has consistently shown this is his strongest base of support since he ran for governor in 2010. He didn’t need to move left to gain progressive support, progressives have been his for almost a decade. As Siena pollster Steve Greenberg told me in analyzing the post election results, “Liberals like him, they have always liked him, and they continue to like him.” So it’s not surprising Cuomo outperformed Nixon even among the most progressive wing of the party. Siena’s pre-primary poll gave Cuomo a commanding 65-24 lead among those Democrats who self-described as liberal. Cuomo polled identically with moderates, and only somewhat lower with conservative Democrats. In other words, a Cynthia Effect with no effect. <br /> <br />The argument that Cuomo’s support for progressive issues suddenly sprang out of nowhere only after Nixon announced her run is belied by the facts. Marriage equality in 2011, the gun restrictive SAFE Act in 2013, banning fracking in 2014, $15 minimum wage and paid family leave in 2016 — progressive touchstones brought home by Cuomo, all years before a Nixon candidacy was a gleam in the eye of the Working Families Party. <br /> <br />The outcome should also put to rest the internecine divide in the Democratic Party over the question of whether the path to victory for Democrats can rely alone on registering, rallying, and turning out progressives. The theory on the left has been that if the party focuses on turning progressives out in force, it can win without diluting purity of message by trying to win over moderates or, heaven forbid, conservatives. Thus, say some Democrats in the post-Clinton era, there’s really no need to reach out beyond the base, just turn out the base and sweet victory will ensue.<br /> <br />The Cuomo-Nixon primary is the highest profile race to blow that nonsense aside. Turnout in the primary was sky-high, shocking political pros from both ends of the party. Nixon, the “pure” progressive, scored a paltry share of that enhanced turnout. According to the Democratic left orthodoxy, those new voters we saw waxing enthusiastically in Brooklyn coffeehouses should have been enough to hand her a nomination. They weren’t, it wasn’t -- and it won’t ever be. Not in a state this diverse in political and cultural make-up. (And while typically a spike in turnout amid an influx of newly registered voters signals trouble for an incumbent, in this race it appeared to have only further bolstered Cuomo’s margins, another sign of Cuomo’s unusually broad coalition.)<br /> <br />By defining Nixon’s loss as purely a function of Cuomo’s political muscle or Nixon’s inexperience, members of the media, progressive leaders, and others take the wrong lesson from the results. No candidate from the Sanders/Warren/Nixon wing of the party has been able to equally appeal to black voters in Brooklyn, Latinos in the Bronx, moderates in the suburbs, blue collar whites in Buffalo, and farmers in Chautauqua. Without that ability, would-be progressive leaders are talking to themselves. They narrow their appeal while Cuomo, carrying a results-oriented progressive standard cabined by fiscal restraint, reached Democrats across the board.<br /> <br />It’s a big state where diversity of interests doesn’t end at the New York City border. The message for progressives out of this election is not to double down on talking to each other (hello, Twitter) but to talk to, listen to, and persuade the non-converted. <br /> <br />New Yorkers made a conscious choice to embrace Cuomo’s realpolitik progressivism and reject Nixon’s ‘progressivism only for progressives.’ Most importantly, you can’t win in New York, or for that matter in the nation, by utterly failing to win over black voters -- Nixon likely got less than one in ten African-American votes, a shameful showing. She likely picked up less than a third of women’s votes. These numbers should force some soul searching by progressive leaders. “Nixon won by losing” is a useful piece of self-delusion in the wake of utter repudiation. But it’s a complete misread of the lessons of Cuomo’s victory for a successful progressive coalition on a statewide -- or national -- basis.<br /> <br />***<br />Howard Glaser has served in executive positions in the public and private sectors for 35 years. He served as Director of State Operations in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s first term, and spent this past year teaching urban policy at Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/hglaser1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@hglaser1</a>.</p> <p>

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/6083505660_2f75b5436c_z.jpg" alt="Glaser Cuomo" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Gov. Cuomo, right, &amp; Howard Glaser, the author, middle-left (Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Findley Lake, in Chautauqua County, on the western edge of the state, is about as far as you can drive from the Bronx and still be in New York State. It’s as close to Cleveland, Ohio as eastern Suffolk County is to the Grand Concourse. Chautauqua is a big county, land-wise, 1,100 square miles -- about 25 times larger than the Bronx. People in Chautauqua are spread out among rolling farmlands and lakes, about 132 residents in a square mile. The Bronx crams 34,000 souls into the same mile. Chautauqua is also about as white as you can get, 94 percent, while the Bronx is New York’s most-black county, with 430 out of every 1,000 residents. <br /> <br />You could argue that there are not two places in the state more separated by geography, racial makeup, culture, and politics. Yet, in last week’s Democratic primary, one thing joined, however briefly, midwestern Chautauqua and urban Bronx: they both delivered overwhelming electoral victory to Andrew Cuomo.<br /> <br />The Bronx went for Cuomo by over 80 percent, his highest margin in the state. Chautauqua delivered 64 percent for Cuomo, not quite the stratospheric number of the Bronx but an even higher percentage than Cuomo’s otherwise crushing margins in Brooklyn and Manhattan. <br /> <br />You could conjure up pretty much any other divide from this diverse state and the result would be the same. Nassau, the state’s richest county (median or family income), just about matched the poorest county (Bronx again) with 77 percent for Cuomo. Union households and non-union households were on the same track, according to Siena’s polling. And voters under 34 were actually more likely to vote Cuomo than voters aged 35-54, confounding conventional wisdom about where newly energized young voters would go (Cuomo won decisively across all age groups). <br /> <br />It’s no secret that Cuomo was backed by New York’s real estate community. But he was equally backed by tenants -- 80 percent of Bronx households are renters. He won those fed up with high taxes in Suffolk in almost equal numbers with tax and spend Upper West Side liberals. He won minimum wage workers in New York City and dominated among small business owners in the North Country, where small businesses represent over 90 percent of total businesses. <br /> <br />All of this in as high turnout a primary election as New York has ever seen. <br /> <br />So what to make of this absolutely dominant showing by Cuomo?</p> <p>Much of the post-primary press narrative went like this: "Cynthia Nixon lost but progressives won because she moved Cuomo to the left. Cuomo’s margin was due to Nixon being a flawed candidate and Cuomo’s significant outspending over Nixon.” <br /> <br />Those are nice and simple memes, but they don't explain the results in any way. The near run of the table by Cuomo suggests this: New Yorkers weren’t buying what Nixon was selling. <br /> <br />If anything, New York as a whole demonstrated that New Yorkers like their progressivism, but they like it tempered with fiscal reality, with experience, and the desire and ability to find common ground between Findley Lake and Pelham Bay. That’s not what Nixon was selling -- but its Cuomo’s whole brand. <br /> <br />Nixon’s poor showing can’t be explained by being outspent. Money counts most in elections when it’s used to define a lesser-known candidate or a barely-known opponent. The Cuomo-Nixon matchup was the polar opposite. Every primary voter knew exactly who Cuomo was and knew exactly who Nixon was. And Nixon’s campaign wasn’t exactly cash-strapped. Even in New York, $2 million is real money. Had she spent three times more and Cuomo spent a third of his final tally, the result wouldn’t have been significantly different. New York primary voters are as sophisticated as anywhere on the planet. To suggest that only 7 percent of African-Americans supported Nixon because they were duped by ads is insulting or worse. She got her message out and New Yorkers, across the board, rejected it. <br /> <br />Nor was she the ineffective campaigner that she’s widely been made out to be. Her performance in the debate was more than credible. She’s a gifted communicator who produced strong ads. And while her depth on specifics was clearly limited, she expressed a grasp of the issues that wasn’t significantly different from that of the average politician. Campaigns expose a candidate’s flaws, and this campaign was no different in showing both Nixon’s and Cuomo’s vulnerabilities. She made mistakes but nothing disqualifying, holding her own, especially for a novice campaigner. And New Yorkers still said ‘fuhgeddaboudit.’ <br /> <br />But perhaps the biggest myth of the primary is the “Cynthia Effect,” the proposition that Nixon pushed Cuomo left. She won by losing, goes the logic, because the specter of Nixon rallying activist Democrats forced Cuomo to adopt more progressive positions than he otherwise would have. The problems with this bit of conventional wisdom are manifold.</p> <p>First, the polling on Cuomo’s standing with the Democratic left has consistently shown this is his strongest base of support since he ran for governor in 2010. He didn’t need to move left to gain progressive support, progressives have been his for almost a decade. As Siena pollster Steve Greenberg told me in analyzing the post election results, “Liberals like him, they have always liked him, and they continue to like him.” So it’s not surprising Cuomo outperformed Nixon even among the most progressive wing of the party. Siena’s pre-primary poll gave Cuomo a commanding 65-24 lead among those Democrats who self-described as liberal. Cuomo polled identically with moderates, and only somewhat lower with conservative Democrats. In other words, a Cynthia Effect with no effect. <br /> <br />The argument that Cuomo’s support for progressive issues suddenly sprang out of nowhere only after Nixon announced her run is belied by the facts. Marriage equality in 2011, the gun restrictive SAFE Act in 2013, banning fracking in 2014, $15 minimum wage and paid family leave in 2016 — progressive touchstones brought home by Cuomo, all years before a Nixon candidacy was a gleam in the eye of the Working Families Party. <br /> <br />The outcome should also put to rest the internecine divide in the Democratic Party over the question of whether the path to victory for Democrats can rely alone on registering, rallying, and turning out progressives. The theory on the left has been that if the party focuses on turning progressives out in force, it can win without diluting purity of message by trying to win over moderates or, heaven forbid, conservatives. Thus, say some Democrats in the post-Clinton era, there’s really no need to reach out beyond the base, just turn out the base and sweet victory will ensue.<br /> <br />The Cuomo-Nixon primary is the highest profile race to blow that nonsense aside. Turnout in the primary was sky-high, shocking political pros from both ends of the party. Nixon, the “pure” progressive, scored a paltry share of that enhanced turnout. According to the Democratic left orthodoxy, those new voters we saw waxing enthusiastically in Brooklyn coffeehouses should have been enough to hand her a nomination. They weren’t, it wasn’t -- and it won’t ever be. Not in a state this diverse in political and cultural make-up. (And while typically a spike in turnout amid an influx of newly registered voters signals trouble for an incumbent, in this race it appeared to have only further bolstered Cuomo’s margins, another sign of Cuomo’s unusually broad coalition.)<br /> <br />By defining Nixon’s loss as purely a function of Cuomo’s political muscle or Nixon’s inexperience, members of the media, progressive leaders, and others take the wrong lesson from the results. No candidate from the Sanders/Warren/Nixon wing of the party has been able to equally appeal to black voters in Brooklyn, Latinos in the Bronx, moderates in the suburbs, blue collar whites in Buffalo, and farmers in Chautauqua. Without that ability, would-be progressive leaders are talking to themselves. They narrow their appeal while Cuomo, carrying a results-oriented progressive standard cabined by fiscal restraint, reached Democrats across the board.<br /> <br />It’s a big state where diversity of interests doesn’t end at the New York City border. The message for progressives out of this election is not to double down on talking to each other (hello, Twitter) but to talk to, listen to, and persuade the non-converted. <br /> <br />New Yorkers made a conscious choice to embrace Cuomo’s realpolitik progressivism and reject Nixon’s ‘progressivism only for progressives.’ Most importantly, you can’t win in New York, or for that matter in the nation, by utterly failing to win over black voters -- Nixon likely got less than one in ten African-American votes, a shameful showing. She likely picked up less than a third of women’s votes. These numbers should force some soul searching by progressive leaders. “Nixon won by losing” is a useful piece of self-delusion in the wake of utter repudiation. But it’s a complete misread of the lessons of Cuomo’s victory for a successful progressive coalition on a statewide -- or national -- basis.<br /> <br />***<br />Howard Glaser has served in executive positions in the public and private sectors for 35 years. He served as Director of State Operations in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s first term, and spent this past year teaching urban policy at Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/hglaser1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@hglaser1</a>.</p> <p>

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Cuomo and Hochul Win Primaries, Again Form Democratic General Election Ticket 2018-09-14T04:00:00+00:00 2018-09-14T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7933:cuomo-and-hochul-win-primaries-again-form-democratic-general-election-ticket Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/cuomo_primary_podium.jpg" alt="cuomo primary podium" width="600" height="397" /></p> <p>Gov. Cuomo (photo: @andrewcuomo)</p> <hr /> <p>Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, won his party’s nomination for a third term on Thursday, after a bruising primary battle against actor and education activist Cynthia Nixon, who challenged him from his left. Cuomo won with about 65 percent of the vote against Nixon’s 35 percent. Joining Cuomo on the Democratic ticket is Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who won the party nomination over her own primary challenger, New York City Council Member Jumaane Williams. Hochul received 53 percent against Williams’ 47 percent.</p> <p>Thursday’s result was hardly a surprise, though turnout was much higher than four years ago. Cuomo consistently led Nixon in public polling over the last few months, and spent more than $20 million to beat back the insurgent first-time candidate, blanketing the airwaves with advertisements across the state. Nixon ran a far leaner campaign, spending barely $2 million as she attempted to unseat the incumbent, who was running on achievements of his two terms and his pledge to fight President Trump.</p> <p>Nixon touted her experience as a long-time activist on education, LGBT issues, and women’s reproductive rights as she sought to be the state’s first female and first openly queer governor. Though Nixon was hoping that a wave of progressive energy would carry her down what she had admitted was a “narrow path” to victory, relying mostly on digital and social media to get her message out, her lack of government experience hampered her electoral chances, as several newspaper editorial boards noted when they endorsed Cuomo for reelection.</p> <p>The power of incumbency and the support of the State Democratic Party, not to mention several prominent labor unions and wealthy donors, propelled the governor’s campaign. He has another $16 million at his campaign’s disposal for the general election, and will easily add millions more to his coffers. With New York home to two registered Democratic voters for every Republican, Cuomo is widely expected to&nbsp;prevail against Republican Marc Molinaro and smaller party challengers.</p> <p>Cuomo, by all accounts, took Nixon’s challenge more seriously than he did the 2014 challenge he won in the Democratic primary against Fordham Law professor Zephyr Teachout, who was briefly Nixon’s campaign treasurer before running for the Democratic attorney general nomination that she lost on Thursday. In 2014, Teachout pulled 33.5 percent of the vote against Cuomo’s 63 percent (Randy Credico received about 3.5 percent), almost exactly the same vote shares as Thursday’s primary. Teachout got a total of 192,210 votes that year to Cuomo’s 361,380; Nixon pulled 443,014 to Cuomo’s 833,616, with 86 percent of precincts reporting.</p> <p>Nixon ran an unabashedly progressive campaign, advocating a raft of proposals that she said Cuomo has refused to support or had done little to pass. She accused him of governing like a Republican, and for enabling the state Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference, which caucused with Republicans in the majority for years before rejoining their own party conference in April. Cuomo’s move to reunify the conference was largely attributed to Nixon posing a primary challenge. Most of the former members of the IDC lost their own primaries on Thursday in a rousing series of upsets.</p> <p>At an election night watch party hosted by the Working Families Party in Brooklyn, a packed room cheered Nixon as she took the stage. “We took on one of the most powerful governors in America,” she said. “It wasn’t easy.”</p> <p>Nixon claimed a measure of success, emphasizing how she pushed Cuomo to the left and shifted the state’s political landscape and said her campaign was part of an ongoing effort to take the Democratic Party from those too close to corporations and big donors. “We have changed what is expected of a Democratic candidate running in New York and what we can demand from our elected leaders...Ours isn’t just a symbolic victory. This campaign forced the Governor to make concrete commitments that will change the lives of people across this state,” she said.</p> <p>For his part, Cuomo put forth his marquee accomplishments, such as passing marriage equality, strict gun control measures, a $15 mimum wage program, paid family leave, and a multitude of infrastructure projects. He ran on his experience, government know-how, and early efforts to fight Trump with new laws and lawsuits, as well as programs to step in where the federal government has failed, such as Puerto Rico hurricane recovery. He tried to sidestep questions about corruption in his economic development programs and his mismanagement of the MTA.</p> <p>It was a rocky race at times for both sides. Nixon struggled to articulate an in-depth knowledge of issues at times or to clearly explain her policy plans, which were extensive. Cuomo’s campaign surrogates and spokespeople made light of her inexperience, at times using gendered language to denigrate her candidacy. Cuomo chose to focus his own attacks on Trump, pitching himself as the candidate best poised to stand firm against a Republican-led federal government.</p> <p>Nixon and Cuomo only faced each other once, at the sole televised debate in the race, hosted by WCBS at Hofstra University. Both sides proclaimed victory after the hour-long face off, though neither was given time to present a cogent vision and discussion of substantive policy issues was sparse.</p> <p>The last week of the race was its ugliest, with the Cuomo campaign scrambling to contain the fallout from two scandals in quick succession. In the first, more benign of the two instances, Cuomo announced the opening of the new span of the Governor Mario M. Cuomo bridge -- formerly the Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge -- only to reverse after safety concerns emerged about the old bridge that could have impacted the new one. Cuomo denied having sped up the opening for political purposes but a New York Times report cast doubts on the story.</p> <p>The second, more enduring scandal, extended from the weekend before the primary to the night before, over an 11th-hour mailer sent by the state Democratic Committee, which Cuomo controls, seeking to paint Nixon as anti-Semitic. Again, repeated denials from Cuomo and State Party executive director Geoff Berman that the mailer was a mistake and neither of them were aware of it didn’t seem to pass muster. On Wednesday, it emerged that the culprit was Larry Schwartz, a former top Cuomo aide and campaign advisor, who claimed the mailer was accidentally sent out without being properly proofread despite reported emails from another Cuomo campaign aide that undercut the denials.</p> <p>For the waning days of the primary, Cuomo avoided the press, jetting around the city and state without releasing a public schedule. On election night, the governor was in Albany while the state Democratic Party held a celebration in Manhattan.</p> <p>In the lieutenant governor race, Williams posed a credible threat to Hochul, with strong name recognition in Brooklyn, a borough with a concentration of Democratic primary voters. Polls showed them somewhat close though Hochul consistently had a lead. Williams sought to redefine the role of lieutenant governor, labelling his opponent a “rubber stamp” on the governor’s policies and failures. He said, rather, that he would act as a check on the governor.</p> <p>Hochul, an upstate Democrat, likely recognized her electoral weakness in the city and spent significant time courting African-American and Hispanic voters, essential to winning a statewide Democratic primary. At the same time, her campaign received criticism for her racially tinged attacks on Williams’ financial struggles, stemming from a failed business and large loans that he owed. Otherwise, she ran as a partner to Cuomo, touting her work on a task force on the opioid epidemic and economic development programs upstate -- often seeking to avoid discussion of the corruption scandals that have marred them -- and her advocacy for survivors of sexual assault.</p> <p>She also repeatedly pointed to Williams’ conservative personal positions on abortion and marriage equality. The Council member had to justify those opinions throughout the campaign, explaining that they are his own personally held views and that he has never and would never vote against the rights of women and the LGBTQ community.</p> <p>Williams similarly brought up Hochul’s own conservative past, including her relationship with the National Rifle Association and her outright opposition to granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, both positions on which she has distanced herself and expressed regret.</p> <p>In the November general election, Cuomo and Hochul will run on a joint ticket against Dutchess county executive Marc Molinaro, the Republican nominee for governor, and his running mate, Julie Killian, a former Rye City Council Member who recently ran unsuccessfully for state Senate, as well as the tickets of the Green and Libertarian parties, among others, like former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and her running mate, who have created their own independent ballot line.</p> <p>The general election is November 6.</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/cuomo_primary_podium.jpg" alt="cuomo primary podium" width="600" height="397" /></p> <p>Gov. Cuomo (photo: @andrewcuomo)</p> <hr /> <p>Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, won his party’s nomination for a third term on Thursday, after a bruising primary battle against actor and education activist Cynthia Nixon, who challenged him from his left. Cuomo won with about 65 percent of the vote against Nixon’s 35 percent. Joining Cuomo on the Democratic ticket is Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who won the party nomination over her own primary challenger, New York City Council Member Jumaane Williams. Hochul received 53 percent against Williams’ 47 percent.</p> <p>Thursday’s result was hardly a surprise, though turnout was much higher than four years ago. Cuomo consistently led Nixon in public polling over the last few months, and spent more than $20 million to beat back the insurgent first-time candidate, blanketing the airwaves with advertisements across the state. Nixon ran a far leaner campaign, spending barely $2 million as she attempted to unseat the incumbent, who was running on achievements of his two terms and his pledge to fight President Trump.</p> <p>Nixon touted her experience as a long-time activist on education, LGBT issues, and women’s reproductive rights as she sought to be the state’s first female and first openly queer governor. Though Nixon was hoping that a wave of progressive energy would carry her down what she had admitted was a “narrow path” to victory, relying mostly on digital and social media to get her message out, her lack of government experience hampered her electoral chances, as several newspaper editorial boards noted when they endorsed Cuomo for reelection.</p> <p>The power of incumbency and the support of the State Democratic Party, not to mention several prominent labor unions and wealthy donors, propelled the governor’s campaign. He has another $16 million at his campaign’s disposal for the general election, and will easily add millions more to his coffers. With New York home to two registered Democratic voters for every Republican, Cuomo is widely expected to&nbsp;prevail against Republican Marc Molinaro and smaller party challengers.</p> <p>Cuomo, by all accounts, took Nixon’s challenge more seriously than he did the 2014 challenge he won in the Democratic primary against Fordham Law professor Zephyr Teachout, who was briefly Nixon’s campaign treasurer before running for the Democratic attorney general nomination that she lost on Thursday. In 2014, Teachout pulled 33.5 percent of the vote against Cuomo’s 63 percent (Randy Credico received about 3.5 percent), almost exactly the same vote shares as Thursday’s primary. Teachout got a total of 192,210 votes that year to Cuomo’s 361,380; Nixon pulled 443,014 to Cuomo’s 833,616, with 86 percent of precincts reporting.</p> <p>Nixon ran an unabashedly progressive campaign, advocating a raft of proposals that she said Cuomo has refused to support or had done little to pass. She accused him of governing like a Republican, and for enabling the state Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference, which caucused with Republicans in the majority for years before rejoining their own party conference in April. Cuomo’s move to reunify the conference was largely attributed to Nixon posing a primary challenge. Most of the former members of the IDC lost their own primaries on Thursday in a rousing series of upsets.</p> <p>At an election night watch party hosted by the Working Families Party in Brooklyn, a packed room cheered Nixon as she took the stage. “We took on one of the most powerful governors in America,” she said. “It wasn’t easy.”</p> <p>Nixon claimed a measure of success, emphasizing how she pushed Cuomo to the left and shifted the state’s political landscape and said her campaign was part of an ongoing effort to take the Democratic Party from those too close to corporations and big donors. “We have changed what is expected of a Democratic candidate running in New York and what we can demand from our elected leaders...Ours isn’t just a symbolic victory. This campaign forced the Governor to make concrete commitments that will change the lives of people across this state,” she said.</p> <p>For his part, Cuomo put forth his marquee accomplishments, such as passing marriage equality, strict gun control measures, a $15 mimum wage program, paid family leave, and a multitude of infrastructure projects. He ran on his experience, government know-how, and early efforts to fight Trump with new laws and lawsuits, as well as programs to step in where the federal government has failed, such as Puerto Rico hurricane recovery. He tried to sidestep questions about corruption in his economic development programs and his mismanagement of the MTA.</p> <p>It was a rocky race at times for both sides. Nixon struggled to articulate an in-depth knowledge of issues at times or to clearly explain her policy plans, which were extensive. Cuomo’s campaign surrogates and spokespeople made light of her inexperience, at times using gendered language to denigrate her candidacy. Cuomo chose to focus his own attacks on Trump, pitching himself as the candidate best poised to stand firm against a Republican-led federal government.</p> <p>Nixon and Cuomo only faced each other once, at the sole televised debate in the race, hosted by WCBS at Hofstra University. Both sides proclaimed victory after the hour-long face off, though neither was given time to present a cogent vision and discussion of substantive policy issues was sparse.</p> <p>The last week of the race was its ugliest, with the Cuomo campaign scrambling to contain the fallout from two scandals in quick succession. In the first, more benign of the two instances, Cuomo announced the opening of the new span of the Governor Mario M. Cuomo bridge -- formerly the Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge -- only to reverse after safety concerns emerged about the old bridge that could have impacted the new one. Cuomo denied having sped up the opening for political purposes but a New York Times report cast doubts on the story.</p> <p>The second, more enduring scandal, extended from the weekend before the primary to the night before, over an 11th-hour mailer sent by the state Democratic Committee, which Cuomo controls, seeking to paint Nixon as anti-Semitic. Again, repeated denials from Cuomo and State Party executive director Geoff Berman that the mailer was a mistake and neither of them were aware of it didn’t seem to pass muster. On Wednesday, it emerged that the culprit was Larry Schwartz, a former top Cuomo aide and campaign advisor, who claimed the mailer was accidentally sent out without being properly proofread despite reported emails from another Cuomo campaign aide that undercut the denials.</p> <p>For the waning days of the primary, Cuomo avoided the press, jetting around the city and state without releasing a public schedule. On election night, the governor was in Albany while the state Democratic Party held a celebration in Manhattan.</p> <p>In the lieutenant governor race, Williams posed a credible threat to Hochul, with strong name recognition in Brooklyn, a borough with a concentration of Democratic primary voters. Polls showed them somewhat close though Hochul consistently had a lead. Williams sought to redefine the role of lieutenant governor, labelling his opponent a “rubber stamp” on the governor’s policies and failures. He said, rather, that he would act as a check on the governor.</p> <p>Hochul, an upstate Democrat, likely recognized her electoral weakness in the city and spent significant time courting African-American and Hispanic voters, essential to winning a statewide Democratic primary. At the same time, her campaign received criticism for her racially tinged attacks on Williams’ financial struggles, stemming from a failed business and large loans that he owed. Otherwise, she ran as a partner to Cuomo, touting her work on a task force on the opioid epidemic and economic development programs upstate -- often seeking to avoid discussion of the corruption scandals that have marred them -- and her advocacy for survivors of sexual assault.</p> <p>She also repeatedly pointed to Williams’ conservative personal positions on abortion and marriage equality. The Council member had to justify those opinions throughout the campaign, explaining that they are his own personally held views and that he has never and would never vote against the rights of women and the LGBTQ community.</p> <p>Williams similarly brought up Hochul’s own conservative past, including her relationship with the National Rifle Association and her outright opposition to granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, both positions on which she has distanced herself and expressed regret.</p> <p>In the November general election, Cuomo and Hochul will run on a joint ticket against Dutchess county executive Marc Molinaro, the Republican nominee for governor, and his running mate, Julie Killian, a former Rye City Council Member who recently ran unsuccessfully for state Senate, as well as the tickets of the Green and Libertarian parties, among others, like former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and her running mate, who have created their own independent ballot line.</p> <p>The general election is November 6.</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
2018 New York State Primary Results: Cuomo, Hochul, James Prevail While Senate Upsets Abound 2018-09-13T04:00:00+00:00 2018-09-13T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7931:2018-new-york-state-primary-election-results Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/cuomo-james-hochul.jpg" alt="cuomo james hochul" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p>(photo: @andrewcuomo)</p> <hr /> <p>Governor Andrew Cuomo won the Democratic nomination by a wide margin Thursday, with his running-mate Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul surviving a much closer race, Public Advocate Letitia James prevailing comfortably in a crowded Attorney General primary, and more than half a dozen upsets of sitting state Senators, including six of the eight former members of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC).</p> <p>Additionally, voter turnout was significantly higher than 2014, the last gubernatorial election year, perhaps owing to the combination of the number and intensity of the challenges to incumbents as well as the awakening spurred by the election of Donald Trump, which itself contributed to those challenges being waged.</p> <p>Cuomo, who spent more than $20 million in the campaign, defeated actor and activist Cynthia Nixon by about 30 percentage points; the governor seeking a third term earning more than 64% to Nixon’s 34.6%, with 96% of precincts reporting as of about 11:30 p.m. primary night.</p> <p>Hochul beat Williams by about 53% to 47% in what was a hard-fought Lieutenant Governor primary.</p> <p>James won the four-way Democratic primary for Attorney General, pulling in 40% to 31% for Zephyr Teachout, 25% for Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who will now seek reelection to the House of Representatives, and 3% for Leecia Eve.</p> <p>With the state party-backed candidates, including incumbents Cuomo and Hochul, winning those statewide primaries (Comptroller Tom DiNapoli was not challenged), perhaps the biggest storyline of the night was progressive upsets that occurred in state Senate primaries, including the complete demolish of the IDC, which had folded back into the mainline Democratic minority conference in April, in a deal brokered by Cuomo.</p> <p>The former leader of the IDC, Senator Jeff Klein, was defeated by Alessandra Biaggi in the Bronx and Westchester seat, despite Klein spending well over $1 million in the race.</p> <p>Other IDC races included Jessica Ramos unseating Senator Jose Peralta in Queens; Robert Jackson unseating Senator Marisol Alcantara in Manhattan; Zellnor Myrie unseating Senator Jesse Hamilton in Brooklyn; John Liu unseating Senator Tony Avella in Queens; and Rachel May unseating Senator David Valesky in the Syracuse area.</p> <p>Former IDC members who beat back challengers were Senator Diane Savino of Staten Island and Brooklyn, who defeated Jasmine Robinson, and Senator David Carlucci of Rockland, who defeated Julie Goldberg.</p> <p>In another upset, Julia Salazar unseated Senator Martin Dilan in Brooklyn.</p> <p>Senator Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat who has been part of the Republican conference, giving the GOP a one-seat majority, defeated challenger Blake Morris.</p> <p>In a Democratic primary to see who will take on Republican Brooklyn Senator Martin Golden in the general election, Andrew Gounardes defeated Ross Barkan.<br />There were far fewer storylines in Assembly races, but Catalina Cruz did unseat Assemblymember Ari Espinal in a Democratic primary in Queens. Democratic Assemblymember Brian Barnwell held off a challenge from Melissa Sklarz; As of Friday morning, votes were still being counted in the 46th Assembly district in Brooklyn where Mathylde Frontus is leading with 40.68 percent against Ethan Lustig-Elgrably, who has 39.75 percent of the vote; and Michael Reilly won the primary in the Republican Assembly stronghold on the South Shore of Staten Island, where no incumbent is running.</p> <p>Additionally, Nancy Sliwa won a three-candidate race for the Reform Party nomination for Attorney General.</p> <p>All of the primary winners will now move on to the general election, where a statewide slate of Republican nominees has been waiting -- the GOP strategically avoided any statewide primaries -- along with some minor party candidates. Along with the statewide races, the focus for the general election will be on which party can win the requisite seats to control the state Senate (the Assembly is overwhelmingly Democratic and will remain so), and battleground House races where New York swing seats could factor into whether Democrats can take control of that congressional chamber.</p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note- This article has been updated to clarify that Ethan Lustic-Elgrably has not been declared the winner in Brooklyn's 46th Assembly district. Votes were still being counted as of Friday morning.&nbsp;</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/cuomo-james-hochul.jpg" alt="cuomo james hochul" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p>(photo: @andrewcuomo)</p> <hr /> <p>Governor Andrew Cuomo won the Democratic nomination by a wide margin Thursday, with his running-mate Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul surviving a much closer race, Public Advocate Letitia James prevailing comfortably in a crowded Attorney General primary, and more than half a dozen upsets of sitting state Senators, including six of the eight former members of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC).</p> <p>Additionally, voter turnout was significantly higher than 2014, the last gubernatorial election year, perhaps owing to the combination of the number and intensity of the challenges to incumbents as well as the awakening spurred by the election of Donald Trump, which itself contributed to those challenges being waged.</p> <p>Cuomo, who spent more than $20 million in the campaign, defeated actor and activist Cynthia Nixon by about 30 percentage points; the governor seeking a third term earning more than 64% to Nixon’s 34.6%, with 96% of precincts reporting as of about 11:30 p.m. primary night.</p> <p>Hochul beat Williams by about 53% to 47% in what was a hard-fought Lieutenant Governor primary.</p> <p>James won the four-way Democratic primary for Attorney General, pulling in 40% to 31% for Zephyr Teachout, 25% for Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who will now seek reelection to the House of Representatives, and 3% for Leecia Eve.</p> <p>With the state party-backed candidates, including incumbents Cuomo and Hochul, winning those statewide primaries (Comptroller Tom DiNapoli was not challenged), perhaps the biggest storyline of the night was progressive upsets that occurred in state Senate primaries, including the complete demolish of the IDC, which had folded back into the mainline Democratic minority conference in April, in a deal brokered by Cuomo.</p> <p>The former leader of the IDC, Senator Jeff Klein, was defeated by Alessandra Biaggi in the Bronx and Westchester seat, despite Klein spending well over $1 million in the race.</p> <p>Other IDC races included Jessica Ramos unseating Senator Jose Peralta in Queens; Robert Jackson unseating Senator Marisol Alcantara in Manhattan; Zellnor Myrie unseating Senator Jesse Hamilton in Brooklyn; John Liu unseating Senator Tony Avella in Queens; and Rachel May unseating Senator David Valesky in the Syracuse area.</p> <p>Former IDC members who beat back challengers were Senator Diane Savino of Staten Island and Brooklyn, who defeated Jasmine Robinson, and Senator David Carlucci of Rockland, who defeated Julie Goldberg.</p> <p>In another upset, Julia Salazar unseated Senator Martin Dilan in Brooklyn.</p> <p>Senator Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat who has been part of the Republican conference, giving the GOP a one-seat majority, defeated challenger Blake Morris.</p> <p>In a Democratic primary to see who will take on Republican Brooklyn Senator Martin Golden in the general election, Andrew Gounardes defeated Ross Barkan.<br />There were far fewer storylines in Assembly races, but Catalina Cruz did unseat Assemblymember Ari Espinal in a Democratic primary in Queens. Democratic Assemblymember Brian Barnwell held off a challenge from Melissa Sklarz; As of Friday morning, votes were still being counted in the 46th Assembly district in Brooklyn where Mathylde Frontus is leading with 40.68 percent against Ethan Lustig-Elgrably, who has 39.75 percent of the vote; and Michael Reilly won the primary in the Republican Assembly stronghold on the South Shore of Staten Island, where no incumbent is running.</p> <p>Additionally, Nancy Sliwa won a three-candidate race for the Reform Party nomination for Attorney General.</p> <p>All of the primary winners will now move on to the general election, where a statewide slate of Republican nominees has been waiting -- the GOP strategically avoided any statewide primaries -- along with some minor party candidates. Along with the statewide races, the focus for the general election will be on which party can win the requisite seats to control the state Senate (the Assembly is overwhelmingly Democratic and will remain so), and battleground House races where New York swing seats could factor into whether Democrats can take control of that congressional chamber.</p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note- This article has been updated to clarify that Ethan Lustic-Elgrably has not been declared the winner in Brooklyn's 46th Assembly district. Votes were still being counted as of Friday morning.&nbsp;</p>
Cuomo Gives Limited Insight Into Third Term Agenda 2018-09-12T04:00:00+00:00 2018-09-12T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7928:ahead-of-primary-cuomo-gives-limited-insight-into-third-term-agenda Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/25607923588_ab257e6d2d_z.jpg" alt="25607923588 ab257e6d2d z" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(Photo: Mike Groll- Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)</p> <hr /> <p>As Governor Andrew Cuomo seeks a third term in office, facing actor and education activist Cynthia Nixon in the primary on Thursday, he has pitched himself as a man of action, a chief executive who gets things done with little regard for politicking. But as even Nixon acknowledges Cuomo as a heavy favorite and Cuomo remains the likeliest winner in November, the Democratic incumbent has largely run on his accomplishments, perceived, exaggerated, and real, while downplaying his actual tendency for political gamesmanship, and has proposed few new ideas about what he will deliver for the state if re-elected.</p> <p>Nor has Cuomo given much attention to even the long-standing policies and programs that he has supported in the past that would appear to form the foundation of a rationale for another term. His <a href="https://www.andrewcuomo.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">campaign website</a>, perhaps the easiest place for a candidate to outline his or her proposals, offers virtually no mention of forward-looking policy, instead touting the governor’s two-term record on several high-profile issues, like marriage equality, the minimum wage, and gun control.</p> <p>In their only debate of the race, hosted by WCBS, Cuomo and Nixon were not afforded time to give opening or closing statements to lay out their respective visions for the state -- a format that Cuomo is said to have held great sway over in agreeing to the one debate -- and Cuomo is notoriously averse to taking questions from reporters both at campaign and government events, though he does take a handful of questions after some appearances. He has done no sit-down TV or radio interviews to discuss his re-election bid, and has spoken with one print reporter at length, Chris Smith of <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/08/andrew-cuomo-new-york-governors-race.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">New York Magazine</a>. The governor has largely centered his pitch around fighting President Donald Trump.</p> <p>But in April, when Cuomo brought together a split Democratic conference in the state Senate, he came closer than he has since to articulating a legislative agenda for his third term, listing off priorities that he has long expressed support for but that he said Republican senators had shown they will not pass. A Cuomo campaign spokesperson said the governor typically outlines new proposals in his January State of the State address, which is a government event.</p> <p>Cuomo’s critics have derided him as a Clintonian centrist who has, for two terms, triangulated with Republicans and members of his own party to deliver a mixed record of achievement. He has undoubtedly ushered progressive policies through the state Legislature, such as marriage equality and significant gun regulations, while conceding to popular demand for others, including a $15 minimum wage program, paid family leave, and raising the age of criminal responsibility.</p> <p>But Cuomo has failed in the eyes of many progressives who say he has shown only performative support for their various priorities. The state’s campaign finance and ethics laws remain woefully anaemic, with Cuomo taking full advantage of loopholes and seeing top aides convicted of corruption; while voting and elections laws are considered archaic and even suppressive. The governor has not enacted speedy trial reform or done away with cash bail. Activists believe he hasn’t provided equitable funding for under-resourced schools and hasn’t paid enough attention to environmental justice issues. They critique him for largely ignoring a housing affordability crisis across the state, only paying attention to public housing when it fit his political needs, and channeling billions to economic development programs rife with corruption and conflicts of interest and showing lackluster results. He has also raised the ire of many on the left by not winning codification of the abortion protections of Roe v. Wade or the Dream Act, and hasn’t pushed for state-funded single-payer healthcare or driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.</p> <p>And perhaps the biggest black eye of all that cuts across political ideologies and allegiances, he has let New York City’s subway system fall into crisis while refusing to rightfully take ownership of the state authority that controls it.</p> <p>Cuomo has said he can achieve most, if not all of those agenda items in a third term if Democrats win full control of the state Legislature, which would require only a net gain of one seat in the state Senate (the Assembly is overwhelmingly Democratic). Here again, Cuomo has been criticized for tolerating -- some say enabling -- an eight-member rogue Democratic faction in the Senate called the Independent Democratic Conference that caucused with Republicans to either create or bolster the GOP majority.</p> <p>After years of insisting he was helpless to bring them back into the mainline Democratic conference -- and blaming Republicans for not moving legislation he says he supports -- he did just that in April, promising that New York can yet again be a progressive leader on legislation across the country once Democrats pick up more seats to get a numerical majority in the 63-member Senate. The Republican conference currently holds 32 seats including conservative Brooklyn Democrat Senator Simcha Felder, who Cuomo has also apparently left alone in his movement across the aisle.</p> <p>When Cuomo announced he had brokered the Democratic “unity” deal in April, wherein all involved pledged not to support primary challengers to the others, he provided something of an agenda for 2019, if not beyond, briefly rattling off priorities that he has long-backed but that he said Republicans senators had shown they will not pass.</p> <p>“We did a lot of good things in the budget, but there are also things that we didn't pass that we need to pass,” Cuomo said at the April <a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/video-audio-rush-transcript-governor-andrew-cuomo-senate-democratic-leader-andrea-stewart" target="_blank" rel="noopener">news conference</a> announcing the newly united Democratic conference that came just after a new state budget was agreed upon. “Child Victims Act, more gun safety, bail reform, the Dream Act, banning outside income, campaign finance reform, early voting - these are all progressive principles that were not passed in the budget and which we will not pass until we have a Democratic Senate.”</p> <p>In response to an inquiry from Gotham Gazette two days before the primary, Cuomo’s campaign provided a list of the items that make up his third-term vision, including proposals he has supported but failed to pass for years, including from his first term, and initiatives already under way that he plans to build on.</p> <p>They include voting reform (early voting, automatic voter registration and same-day voter registration); criminal justice reform (related to bail, discovery, speedy trials and asset forfeiture, closing Rikers Island, passing the Child Victims Act and legalizing the recreational use of marijuana); passing the DREAM Act; strengthening rent regulations; funding the MTA’s Fast Forward plan and passing congestion pricing; strengthening the Excelsior program to make college affordable; closing the per-pupil funding gap; ensuring access to quality, affordable healthcare; and ethics and campaign finance reform (closing the LLC loophole and banning outside income for legislators chief among them); gun control; and infrastructure.</p> <p>“The Governor has led the way in making New York the progressive capital of the nation — from $15 minimum wage to paid family leave to marriage equality to first-in-the-nation Excelsior Scholarship to the toughest and strongest gun laws in the country,” said campaign spokesperson Abbey Collins, in a statement to Gotham Gazette. “While Washington tries to take us backward, the governor will continue to build on this unmatched record of accomplishment by winning a Democratic Senate Majority to pass ethics, voting, and criminal justice reform, make college affordable, invest $150 billion in our infrastructure, strengthen our gun laws, protect immigrant families and achieve universal healthcare for all New Yorkers.”</p> <p>Gun control may be the one area where Cuomo has consistently led the way. After successfully passing the SAFE Act in his first term, Cuomo proposed a red flag bill earlier this year, also known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill, that would allow courts to order the temporary seizure of firearms from individuals and the homes of individuals deemed a risk to themselves or others. He has also pushed for a ten-day background check waiting period and raising the age for buying a gun to 21.</p> <p>On some issues like recreational marijuana, Cuomo has been pulled to the left. Last year, Cuomo called marijuana a “gateway drug” but then, in January this year, he announced a task force to analyze the legalization of recreational use for adults. Though it came a few months before Nixon entered the race, some, including Nixon herself, have attributed the governor’s movement on the issue, which has since accelerated, to her primary challenge. &nbsp;</p> <p>“This is the classic tale of the third term,” said Douglas Muzzio, political science professor at Baruch College’s School of Public and International Affairs. “It’s the running for the third term playbook. After two terms, you’ve spent your energy and your thinking. You get most of the stuff done in your first term and then it tails off, and that was true of Governor [George] Pataki, it was true of the first Cuomo, it was true of Ed Koch [as mayor]. If you think of New York executives who have run for third terms, they haven’t been very successful third terms, and they’ve won them.”</p> <p>Cuomo’s biggest bet, however, is infrastructure, with a promised $150 billion five-year plan set to begin in 2019, apparently subsuming and adding to an ongoing $100 billion investment in infrastructure around the state that Cuomo has repeatedly touted. “We’re going to show the nation how to build a state that is the epitome of the infrastructure and transportation of the next century,” Cuomo said at a news conference last week, announcing the construction of a new entrance to Penn Station.</p> <p>“There are no new detailed policy ideas with some kind of numbers attached. And if there are discrete pieces, there’s no coherence to it, there’s no vision to hold it together,” Muzzio said.</p> <p>The inevitable result, he said, is voter fatigue. “You’ve run through all your ideas in the first two terms, and then on top of that, you’ve made two terms worth of enemies and people who are dissatisfied,” he said. “So the number of dissatisfieds rises dramatically and there’s an urge to throw the bums out, whether they’re bums or not. And it becomes an ‘anybody but’ election.”</p> <p>What remains to be seen, of course, is whether Cynthia Nixon has galvanized enough of that Cuomo fatigue, especially around the subways, and provided a vision to voters that will carry her to what would be one of the most shocking political upsets in history. Public polls, however questionable they may be, have shown a Cuomo blowout is likely on Thursday, though the governor has been at the center of several last-minute controversies and continues to spend millions to ensure victory.</p> <p>The Penn Station announcement was one of several Cuomo has held in recent weeks, and some, including his primary and general election opponents, have criticized him for holding a long series of recent government events to bolster his reelection. Case in point, on Friday, the governor held a grandiose event featuring Hillary Clinton to open the new span of the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge (called the Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee bridge before it was renamed this year) and just a day later, was forced to acknowledge that it would remain closed due to safety concerns arising from the old span. It opened late Tuesday night.</p> <p>Asked if Cuomo has presented a third-term vision, Ted Hamm, associate professor and chair of journalism and new media studies at St. Joseph’s College, said, “I think the short answer is ‘no.’”</p> <p>“I guess if you say that his infrastructure projects are his vision, then maybe you could make the case that he needs to see those through,” he added. “But given what happened with the Tappan Zee, who knows how he’ll politicize those projects. Also, he still hasn’t accomplished much with the subways as an essential infrastructure project...So if that’s his main vision, it’s got holes, particularly the subway.”</p> <p>“The Governor has given New Yorkers nothing to vote for,” said Lauren Hitt, a Nixon campaign spokesperson, in an email. “His whole campaign strategy has been to get them to see him as anti-Trump, which is tough considering he won't return the $64,000 Trump gave to his campaign - and the many other similarities between them.”</p> <p>Though Nixon is new to running for office, she has <a href="https://cynthiafornewyork.com/issues/">issued detailed policy platforms</a> on a raft of issues to make up for what she lacks in government experience, though she has at times stumbled in discussing the specifics or outlining the details of her vision when asked. Nixon’s plans also pull mostly from existing proposals, both before the Legislature and put out by various advocacy groups, though together they present an unabashed progressive direction for the state that the candidate has herself aligned with democratic socialism.</p> <p>“The Governor hasn't presented a plan to fix the subways, he refuses to hold hearings on sexual harassment, he won't support single payer, or promise to end cash bail. All these issues are so important to New Yorkers and progressives across the country, and he won't stand up for one of them,” Hitt added. (Cuomo has said he supports single-payer healthcare, also known as Medicare for All, but has insisted that it must be funded by the federal government rather than the state.)</p> <p>“In terms of policy, there’s no comparison, at least from a progressive perspective,” Hamm said. “You can get into the questions of how do we pay for this type of stuff, but that’s pretty much the case of what you have to do when you’re a challenger against a long time incumbent. The corruption stuff only goes so far politically. But she’s put forth the agenda of the progressive wing, the Bernie Sanders wing of the party.”</p> <p>Hamm noted, though that Nixon lacks the government experience that various editorial boards cited in endorsing Cuomo while acknowledging his failures. “Mr. Cuomo is flawed. When he allows petty enmity and political grievance to distract him from his commitment to public service, he is his own worst enemy. But when he confronts a real problem and gets down to work, he is a very capable governor,” the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/04/opinion/cuomo-governor-endorsement-new-york-times.html">New York Times editorial board wrote</a>. The board said Nixon’s “lack of experience in government or management of any sort do not inspire confidence that she could overcome the old guard in Albany to fulfill her promises and run the state.”</p> <p>Muzzio echoed that view, expecting that Cuomo will get reelected and govern as he always has. “Very strategically, very Machiavellian in the best sense of the word,” he said. “There’s this clear-headedness of the Machiavellian leader. Even though he often times has a fatal flaw -- It’s ego and paranoia...He’s a tough force to work for and he’s a tough person to deal with.”</p> <p>“His father once said, ‘You campaign in poetry and you govern in prose.’ And he is a master at his prose,” Muzzio said.</p> <p>But there are early signs that New York may not become the progressive bastion people expect if -- and it’s a big if given Republicans’ abilities to win state Senate seats -- Democrats are no longer hamstrung in the Legislature. Cuomo himself tempered those expectations when he was <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-pol-cuomo-senate-democrats-20180902-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">interviewed</a> by the New York Daily News editorial board, which endorsed him over Nixon. “It will still be hard,” he said. “Whoever is in the minority, it’s always easy to say ‘I’ll vote for that.’ But as we learned painfully, when the minority becomes the majority, they often change their tune.”</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Ben Max and Victor Porcelli contributed to this article.</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/25607923588_ab257e6d2d_z.jpg" alt="25607923588 ab257e6d2d z" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(Photo: Mike Groll- Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)</p> <hr /> <p>As Governor Andrew Cuomo seeks a third term in office, facing actor and education activist Cynthia Nixon in the primary on Thursday, he has pitched himself as a man of action, a chief executive who gets things done with little regard for politicking. But as even Nixon acknowledges Cuomo as a heavy favorite and Cuomo remains the likeliest winner in November, the Democratic incumbent has largely run on his accomplishments, perceived, exaggerated, and real, while downplaying his actual tendency for political gamesmanship, and has proposed few new ideas about what he will deliver for the state if re-elected.</p> <p>Nor has Cuomo given much attention to even the long-standing policies and programs that he has supported in the past that would appear to form the foundation of a rationale for another term. His <a href="https://www.andrewcuomo.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">campaign website</a>, perhaps the easiest place for a candidate to outline his or her proposals, offers virtually no mention of forward-looking policy, instead touting the governor’s two-term record on several high-profile issues, like marriage equality, the minimum wage, and gun control.</p> <p>In their only debate of the race, hosted by WCBS, Cuomo and Nixon were not afforded time to give opening or closing statements to lay out their respective visions for the state -- a format that Cuomo is said to have held great sway over in agreeing to the one debate -- and Cuomo is notoriously averse to taking questions from reporters both at campaign and government events, though he does take a handful of questions after some appearances. He has done no sit-down TV or radio interviews to discuss his re-election bid, and has spoken with one print reporter at length, Chris Smith of <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/08/andrew-cuomo-new-york-governors-race.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">New York Magazine</a>. The governor has largely centered his pitch around fighting President Donald Trump.</p> <p>But in April, when Cuomo brought together a split Democratic conference in the state Senate, he came closer than he has since to articulating a legislative agenda for his third term, listing off priorities that he has long expressed support for but that he said Republican senators had shown they will not pass. A Cuomo campaign spokesperson said the governor typically outlines new proposals in his January State of the State address, which is a government event.</p> <p>Cuomo’s critics have derided him as a Clintonian centrist who has, for two terms, triangulated with Republicans and members of his own party to deliver a mixed record of achievement. He has undoubtedly ushered progressive policies through the state Legislature, such as marriage equality and significant gun regulations, while conceding to popular demand for others, including a $15 minimum wage program, paid family leave, and raising the age of criminal responsibility.</p> <p>But Cuomo has failed in the eyes of many progressives who say he has shown only performative support for their various priorities. The state’s campaign finance and ethics laws remain woefully anaemic, with Cuomo taking full advantage of loopholes and seeing top aides convicted of corruption; while voting and elections laws are considered archaic and even suppressive. The governor has not enacted speedy trial reform or done away with cash bail. Activists believe he hasn’t provided equitable funding for under-resourced schools and hasn’t paid enough attention to environmental justice issues. They critique him for largely ignoring a housing affordability crisis across the state, only paying attention to public housing when it fit his political needs, and channeling billions to economic development programs rife with corruption and conflicts of interest and showing lackluster results. He has also raised the ire of many on the left by not winning codification of the abortion protections of Roe v. Wade or the Dream Act, and hasn’t pushed for state-funded single-payer healthcare or driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.</p> <p>And perhaps the biggest black eye of all that cuts across political ideologies and allegiances, he has let New York City’s subway system fall into crisis while refusing to rightfully take ownership of the state authority that controls it.</p> <p>Cuomo has said he can achieve most, if not all of those agenda items in a third term if Democrats win full control of the state Legislature, which would require only a net gain of one seat in the state Senate (the Assembly is overwhelmingly Democratic). Here again, Cuomo has been criticized for tolerating -- some say enabling -- an eight-member rogue Democratic faction in the Senate called the Independent Democratic Conference that caucused with Republicans to either create or bolster the GOP majority.</p> <p>After years of insisting he was helpless to bring them back into the mainline Democratic conference -- and blaming Republicans for not moving legislation he says he supports -- he did just that in April, promising that New York can yet again be a progressive leader on legislation across the country once Democrats pick up more seats to get a numerical majority in the 63-member Senate. The Republican conference currently holds 32 seats including conservative Brooklyn Democrat Senator Simcha Felder, who Cuomo has also apparently left alone in his movement across the aisle.</p> <p>When Cuomo announced he had brokered the Democratic “unity” deal in April, wherein all involved pledged not to support primary challengers to the others, he provided something of an agenda for 2019, if not beyond, briefly rattling off priorities that he has long-backed but that he said Republicans senators had shown they will not pass.</p> <p>“We did a lot of good things in the budget, but there are also things that we didn't pass that we need to pass,” Cuomo said at the April <a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/video-audio-rush-transcript-governor-andrew-cuomo-senate-democratic-leader-andrea-stewart" target="_blank" rel="noopener">news conference</a> announcing the newly united Democratic conference that came just after a new state budget was agreed upon. “Child Victims Act, more gun safety, bail reform, the Dream Act, banning outside income, campaign finance reform, early voting - these are all progressive principles that were not passed in the budget and which we will not pass until we have a Democratic Senate.”</p> <p>In response to an inquiry from Gotham Gazette two days before the primary, Cuomo’s campaign provided a list of the items that make up his third-term vision, including proposals he has supported but failed to pass for years, including from his first term, and initiatives already under way that he plans to build on.</p> <p>They include voting reform (early voting, automatic voter registration and same-day voter registration); criminal justice reform (related to bail, discovery, speedy trials and asset forfeiture, closing Rikers Island, passing the Child Victims Act and legalizing the recreational use of marijuana); passing the DREAM Act; strengthening rent regulations; funding the MTA’s Fast Forward plan and passing congestion pricing; strengthening the Excelsior program to make college affordable; closing the per-pupil funding gap; ensuring access to quality, affordable healthcare; and ethics and campaign finance reform (closing the LLC loophole and banning outside income for legislators chief among them); gun control; and infrastructure.</p> <p>“The Governor has led the way in making New York the progressive capital of the nation — from $15 minimum wage to paid family leave to marriage equality to first-in-the-nation Excelsior Scholarship to the toughest and strongest gun laws in the country,” said campaign spokesperson Abbey Collins, in a statement to Gotham Gazette. “While Washington tries to take us backward, the governor will continue to build on this unmatched record of accomplishment by winning a Democratic Senate Majority to pass ethics, voting, and criminal justice reform, make college affordable, invest $150 billion in our infrastructure, strengthen our gun laws, protect immigrant families and achieve universal healthcare for all New Yorkers.”</p> <p>Gun control may be the one area where Cuomo has consistently led the way. After successfully passing the SAFE Act in his first term, Cuomo proposed a red flag bill earlier this year, also known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill, that would allow courts to order the temporary seizure of firearms from individuals and the homes of individuals deemed a risk to themselves or others. He has also pushed for a ten-day background check waiting period and raising the age for buying a gun to 21.</p> <p>On some issues like recreational marijuana, Cuomo has been pulled to the left. Last year, Cuomo called marijuana a “gateway drug” but then, in January this year, he announced a task force to analyze the legalization of recreational use for adults. Though it came a few months before Nixon entered the race, some, including Nixon herself, have attributed the governor’s movement on the issue, which has since accelerated, to her primary challenge. &nbsp;</p> <p>“This is the classic tale of the third term,” said Douglas Muzzio, political science professor at Baruch College’s School of Public and International Affairs. “It’s the running for the third term playbook. After two terms, you’ve spent your energy and your thinking. You get most of the stuff done in your first term and then it tails off, and that was true of Governor [George] Pataki, it was true of the first Cuomo, it was true of Ed Koch [as mayor]. If you think of New York executives who have run for third terms, they haven’t been very successful third terms, and they’ve won them.”</p> <p>Cuomo’s biggest bet, however, is infrastructure, with a promised $150 billion five-year plan set to begin in 2019, apparently subsuming and adding to an ongoing $100 billion investment in infrastructure around the state that Cuomo has repeatedly touted. “We’re going to show the nation how to build a state that is the epitome of the infrastructure and transportation of the next century,” Cuomo said at a news conference last week, announcing the construction of a new entrance to Penn Station.</p> <p>“There are no new detailed policy ideas with some kind of numbers attached. And if there are discrete pieces, there’s no coherence to it, there’s no vision to hold it together,” Muzzio said.</p> <p>The inevitable result, he said, is voter fatigue. “You’ve run through all your ideas in the first two terms, and then on top of that, you’ve made two terms worth of enemies and people who are dissatisfied,” he said. “So the number of dissatisfieds rises dramatically and there’s an urge to throw the bums out, whether they’re bums or not. And it becomes an ‘anybody but’ election.”</p> <p>What remains to be seen, of course, is whether Cynthia Nixon has galvanized enough of that Cuomo fatigue, especially around the subways, and provided a vision to voters that will carry her to what would be one of the most shocking political upsets in history. Public polls, however questionable they may be, have shown a Cuomo blowout is likely on Thursday, though the governor has been at the center of several last-minute controversies and continues to spend millions to ensure victory.</p> <p>The Penn Station announcement was one of several Cuomo has held in recent weeks, and some, including his primary and general election opponents, have criticized him for holding a long series of recent government events to bolster his reelection. Case in point, on Friday, the governor held a grandiose event featuring Hillary Clinton to open the new span of the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge (called the Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee bridge before it was renamed this year) and just a day later, was forced to acknowledge that it would remain closed due to safety concerns arising from the old span. It opened late Tuesday night.</p> <p>Asked if Cuomo has presented a third-term vision, Ted Hamm, associate professor and chair of journalism and new media studies at St. Joseph’s College, said, “I think the short answer is ‘no.’”</p> <p>“I guess if you say that his infrastructure projects are his vision, then maybe you could make the case that he needs to see those through,” he added. “But given what happened with the Tappan Zee, who knows how he’ll politicize those projects. Also, he still hasn’t accomplished much with the subways as an essential infrastructure project...So if that’s his main vision, it’s got holes, particularly the subway.”</p> <p>“The Governor has given New Yorkers nothing to vote for,” said Lauren Hitt, a Nixon campaign spokesperson, in an email. “His whole campaign strategy has been to get them to see him as anti-Trump, which is tough considering he won't return the $64,000 Trump gave to his campaign - and the many other similarities between them.”</p> <p>Though Nixon is new to running for office, she has <a href="https://cynthiafornewyork.com/issues/">issued detailed policy platforms</a> on a raft of issues to make up for what she lacks in government experience, though she has at times stumbled in discussing the specifics or outlining the details of her vision when asked. Nixon’s plans also pull mostly from existing proposals, both before the Legislature and put out by various advocacy groups, though together they present an unabashed progressive direction for the state that the candidate has herself aligned with democratic socialism.</p> <p>“The Governor hasn't presented a plan to fix the subways, he refuses to hold hearings on sexual harassment, he won't support single payer, or promise to end cash bail. All these issues are so important to New Yorkers and progressives across the country, and he won't stand up for one of them,” Hitt added. (Cuomo has said he supports single-payer healthcare, also known as Medicare for All, but has insisted that it must be funded by the federal government rather than the state.)</p> <p>“In terms of policy, there’s no comparison, at least from a progressive perspective,” Hamm said. “You can get into the questions of how do we pay for this type of stuff, but that’s pretty much the case of what you have to do when you’re a challenger against a long time incumbent. The corruption stuff only goes so far politically. But she’s put forth the agenda of the progressive wing, the Bernie Sanders wing of the party.”</p> <p>Hamm noted, though that Nixon lacks the government experience that various editorial boards cited in endorsing Cuomo while acknowledging his failures. “Mr. Cuomo is flawed. When he allows petty enmity and political grievance to distract him from his commitment to public service, he is his own worst enemy. But when he confronts a real problem and gets down to work, he is a very capable governor,” the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/04/opinion/cuomo-governor-endorsement-new-york-times.html">New York Times editorial board wrote</a>. The board said Nixon’s “lack of experience in government or management of any sort do not inspire confidence that she could overcome the old guard in Albany to fulfill her promises and run the state.”</p> <p>Muzzio echoed that view, expecting that Cuomo will get reelected and govern as he always has. “Very strategically, very Machiavellian in the best sense of the word,” he said. “There’s this clear-headedness of the Machiavellian leader. Even though he often times has a fatal flaw -- It’s ego and paranoia...He’s a tough force to work for and he’s a tough person to deal with.”</p> <p>“His father once said, ‘You campaign in poetry and you govern in prose.’ And he is a master at his prose,” Muzzio said.</p> <p>But there are early signs that New York may not become the progressive bastion people expect if -- and it’s a big if given Republicans’ abilities to win state Senate seats -- Democrats are no longer hamstrung in the Legislature. Cuomo himself tempered those expectations when he was <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-pol-cuomo-senate-democrats-20180902-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">interviewed</a> by the New York Daily News editorial board, which endorsed him over Nixon. “It will still be hard,” he said. “Whoever is in the minority, it’s always easy to say ‘I’ll vote for that.’ But as we learned painfully, when the minority becomes the majority, they often change their tune.”</p> <p>

***
by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Ben Max and Victor Porcelli contributed to this article.</p>
Get Ready to Vote in the Hochul-Williams Lieutenant Governor Primary 2018-09-11T04:00:00+00:00 2018-09-11T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7921:get-ready-to-vote-in-the-hochul-williams-lieutenant-governor-primary Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/hochul-williams-ltg-2.jpg" alt="hochul williams ltg 2" width="600" height="297" /></p> <p>Jumanne Williams, left, &amp; Kathy Hochul (photos: @JumaaneWilliams &amp; @KathyHochul)</p> <hr /> <p>New York City Council Member Jumaane Williams in January announced that he was running for lieutenant governor, posing a Democratic primary challenge to Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. While doing so, Williams took aim at both Hochul and her partner in government and running-mate, Governor Andrew Cuomo. Williams criticized from the left Cuomo’s policies and management, while saying that Hochul has done little to hold the governor accountable, and promised to if elected transform the role of lieutenant governor into something of a public advocate at the state level.</p> <p>Williams’ vision for the role is in stark contrast to Hochul’s. The incumbent, finishing her first term in the statewide post, argues that the lieutenant governor’s job is to work hand-in-hand with the governor. The two positions are decided together as a ticket in the general election, of course. But for primary nominations, candidates are selected separately by voters. So as Cuomo faces a challenge from his left by Cynthia Nixon, Hochul is attempting to fight off Williams, who has cross-endorsed with Nixon.</p> <p>Hochul is running on what she cites as a record of accomplishment over nearly four years working with Cuomo, who is seeking a third term. Cuomo’s first-term lieutenant governor was Robert Duffy. Along with a variety of policy achievements under Cuomo, Hochul also cites her work on several issues, including economic development and fighting the opioid epidemic. Williams is running on not only his vision to reinvent the role, but his record of activism and legislation in the City Council, especially on housing and criminal justice reform.</p> <p>Throughout the race, which appears to be wide open, (though a Siena poll released Monday shows Hochul with a 43-21 percent lead), with more than a third of likely voters undecided, the two candidates have attacked each other on several fronts, debated Cuomo’s record and outlines diametric visions for the office. Hochul and Williams participated in just one televised debate, hosted by Manhattan Neighborhood Network, while Hochul backed out on a promise to debate on NY1. (She has appeared at a variety of forums and made several media appearances to answer media questions).</p> <p>With the Thursday September 13 primary vote fast approaching, a guide to the hotly-contested Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor:</p> <p><strong>Role of the Lieutenant Governor</strong><br />Jumaane Williams seeks to reimagine the lieutenant governor role as one akin to that of New York City’s public advocate. In addition to presiding over the state Senate, one of the lieutenant governor’s constitutional powers, Williams thinks the lieutenant governor should hold the governor’s feet to the fire.</p> <p>Too often, Williams says, the lieutenant governor “does what the governor says to do,” as he said during the lone <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7899-hochul-williams-outline-drastic-differences-in-lieutenant-governor-debate" target="_blank" rel="noopener">debate</a> of the primary. Cuomo, Williams claims, has “put on a progressive cloak,” while not truly pursuing a progressive agenda and governing as a “corporate Democrat.” He wants what he views as mostly a ribbon-cutting, ceremonial position to be one that takes the governor to task when the lieutenant governor sees that “the emperor has no clothes.”</p> <p>“I believe the lieutenant governor should be the eyes, the ears, and the voice of the people of the state of New York,” he said at the debate, as opposed to the eyes and ears of the governor.</p> <p>Hochul, however, says she is proud of partnering with the governor — a role she says should be carried on through the next term and not to be reinvented in Williams’ image. “This state is better served when you have the two executive officials, the governor and lieutenant governor, working in partnership,” she told reporters after the debate.</p> <p>She also believes she is better qualified to step in as governor if needed due to the governor’s departure from office. “The role of lieutenant governor is to be experienced and prepared to step in as governor should the need arise,” she said during the debate, arguing that she is “uniquely” ready having served with Cuomo for the current term. &nbsp;</p> <p>Williams has criticized Hochul for traveling the state to do ribbon-cutting ceremonies, while Hochul said ribbon-cuttings mean something “new and good” is happening for New Yorkers, and argues her role has been more full-scale than what the Council members describes.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7907-watch-lieutenant-governor-democratic-primary-debate-between-kathy-hochul-and-jumaane-williams">Watch the only Kathy Hochul-Jumaane Williams primary debate</a>]</p> <p><strong>Resume and Accomplishments</strong><br />The son of Grenadian-born immigrants, Williams comes from an activists background — something he speaks about often on the campaign trail. After working at a local school, he served as executive director of New York State Tenants &amp; Neighbors — a group that advocates for tenants, helping them “build and effectively wield their power” to fight for their rights and preservation of affordable housing. In 2009, Williams was elected to the City Council, representing Brooklyn’s District 45, which includes neighborhoods such as Flatbush, East Flatbush, and Midlands. During the last Council term, 2014-2017, Williams was its most prolific lawmaker, <a href="https://cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/new-york-city/the-best-new-york-city-council-members.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">enacting</a> 15 bills, second only to then-speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.</p> <p>Williams’ top legislative achievements include a bill to rein in the New York City police department use of stop-and-frisk and create the Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD, and a “ban the box” policy forbidding employers from asking about a job applicant’s criminal history until an initial offer is made. He also chaired the committee on Housing and Buildings and has been frequent critic of the city’s relatively new Mandatory Inclusionary Housing policy, arguing that the numbers it sets do not create affordable enough housing for low-income people. Last month, Williams <a href="https://jacobinmag.com/2018/08/jumaane-williams-lieutenant-governor-new-york" target="_blank" rel="noopener">told Jacobin </a>he now characterizes himself as a democratic socialist. &nbsp;</p> <p>The Buffalo-born Hochul began her career as an aide to then-Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was a member of Hamburg’s Town Board and went on to be the County Clerk of Erie County Clerk and after that as a member of Congress. Representing a heavily-Republican western New York district in the House for one term, Hochul has touted votes on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), to advance women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights as evidence of her ability and willingness to take bold, courageous action to stand up for her beliefs regardless of political ramifications. She believes that her votes for Obamacare, as the ACA is known, cost her the seat in Congress, something she says she wears as a badge of honor.</p> <p>After her losing her congressional seat, Hochul took a job at <a href="https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2014/07/hochul-reports-six-figure-bank-income-014284" target="_blank" rel="noopener">M&amp;T Bank as a lobbyist</a>. Not long after, Andrew Cuomo's first-term lieutenant governor, Bob Duffy, decided against running again, and Hochul was added to the ticket.</p> <p>During her time as lieutenant governor, Hochul has touted her efforts in economic development programs, particularly in struggling parts of upstate New York, heading advocacy for the governor’s “Enough is Enough” program to prevent sexual assault on college campuses, and, as chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, fighting the opioid epidemic. Throughout the campaign, she has boasted of the impacts of the Cuomo administration's economic development investements, while distancing herself and the governor from the corruption convictions that have involved those programs and two top Cuomo aides.</p> <p>“Today, as the only woman in statewide office, I feel a special responsibility to continue using this platform to fight on these issues because I’ve done it before,” Hochul said on the Max &amp; Murphy podcast of her work on women’s issues.</p> <p>Additionally, Hochul says she helps get certain programs over the finish line and then travels the state to promote them and help with their implementation. She has called herself the “advancer in chief” for her role moving Cuomo administration programs forward.</p> <p><strong>Lines of attack and controversies</strong><br />During the campaign Williams’ past statements on same-sex marriage as well as reproductive rights have been criticized in Hochul’s campaign commercials and beyond. While he did <a href="https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2013/12/jumaane-williams-explains-himself-009948" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tell Politico New York in 2013 </a>that he is “personally not in favor of abortion" and “[I] personally believe the definition of marriage is between a male and a female” (though he added the “government has to recognize everybody's relationships as equal”), he has for years stressed that he has no legislative record of opposing women’s reproductive rights or LGBT rights.</p> <p>In August, the race heated up, featuring a roughly week-long back-and-forth over a Hochul ad pointing out Williams’ past financial troubles — he is in foreclosure over a home mortgage that ballooned to over $600,000 after he had leveraged the original loan in part to help him open a restaurant that failed, and he owes back state business taxes of roughly $10,000 — in turn sparking accusations from the Williams camp and others that the ad was racially insensitive and classist. Williams said the ad reflected that Hochul was out of touch with cash-strapped New Yorkers, and argued that his struggles have helped him become a better legislator. Hochul’s ad questioned whether Williams was fit to help oversee the state’s massive budget given his personal financial issues.</p> <p>Williams, for his part, has levied his broader attacks on Hochul as an out-of-touch establishment Democrat, and has specifically pointed to her record on gun control and her <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/04/nyregion/04license.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">opposition</a> to the state’s efforts to grant driver’s licenses to undocumented New Yorkers last decade, when she was Erie County Clerk and pledged to report undocumented immigrants to the authorities if they came to her clerk’s office for a license. &nbsp;</p> <p>On the Max &amp; Murphy <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7737-max-murphy-podcast-lieutenant-governor-kathy-hochul" target="_blank" rel="noopener">podcast</a>&nbsp;earlier this year, Hochul said she regretted how she handled the matter. &nbsp;</p> <p>“I wish I had not gone that route at the time, I really do, because I realize it was hurtful to people and that was not my intent,” she said. “I don’t think you can question my commitment to [immigrants] in a larger context.”</p> <p>During an appearance on <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7913-max-murphy-podcast-final-days-of-the-lieutenant-governor-primary" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Max &amp; Murphy last week</a>, Hochul said she has disavowed her prior pro-gun positions.</p> <p>“My position changed, I’m very proud that when I ran for lieutenant governor, the NRA was working against my race. I have today an F rating. I wear that proudly. And I have supported the SAFE Act from the very beginning, since its inception,” she said. “So I took positions way back. I said I rejected those and I’m very proud to say I stand with the governor and protect the SAFE Act, and even enhance the SAFE Act.”</p> <p><strong>Endorsements</strong><br />Overall, Hochul has been endorsed by many major and minor establishment figures, while more a number of left-leaning candidates and officeholders are backing Williams. Cuomo has endorsed Hochul and Nixon has endorsed Williams. Hochul is also linked up with Letitia James, who is running for the Democratic nomination for attorney general, while Williams and AG candidate Zephyr Teachout have cross-endorsed. Williams has garnered the backing of many of his City Council colleagues, though some in the body are behind Hochul or sitting it out.</p> <p>Hochul has a long list of labor unions and political clubs behind her, as well as women’s rights groups, while Williams has several progressive groups, highlighted by the Working Families Party. On Monday, Williams received the support of Vermont Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.</p> <p>Hochul has received the backing of the editorial boards of the Buffalo News and Newsday, while Williams is backed by the New York Times editorial board.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7907-watch-lieutenant-governor-democratic-primary-debate-between-kathy-hochul-and-jumaane-williams" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Watch the only Kathy Hochul-Jumaane Williams primary debate here</a>]</p> <p> </p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/hochul-williams-ltg-2.jpg" alt="hochul williams ltg 2" width="600" height="297" /></p> <p>Jumanne Williams, left, &amp; Kathy Hochul (photos: @JumaaneWilliams &amp; @KathyHochul)</p> <hr /> <p>New York City Council Member Jumaane Williams in January announced that he was running for lieutenant governor, posing a Democratic primary challenge to Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. While doing so, Williams took aim at both Hochul and her partner in government and running-mate, Governor Andrew Cuomo. Williams criticized from the left Cuomo’s policies and management, while saying that Hochul has done little to hold the governor accountable, and promised to if elected transform the role of lieutenant governor into something of a public advocate at the state level.</p> <p>Williams’ vision for the role is in stark contrast to Hochul’s. The incumbent, finishing her first term in the statewide post, argues that the lieutenant governor’s job is to work hand-in-hand with the governor. The two positions are decided together as a ticket in the general election, of course. But for primary nominations, candidates are selected separately by voters. So as Cuomo faces a challenge from his left by Cynthia Nixon, Hochul is attempting to fight off Williams, who has cross-endorsed with Nixon.</p> <p>Hochul is running on what she cites as a record of accomplishment over nearly four years working with Cuomo, who is seeking a third term. Cuomo’s first-term lieutenant governor was Robert Duffy. Along with a variety of policy achievements under Cuomo, Hochul also cites her work on several issues, including economic development and fighting the opioid epidemic. Williams is running on not only his vision to reinvent the role, but his record of activism and legislation in the City Council, especially on housing and criminal justice reform.</p> <p>Throughout the race, which appears to be wide open, (though a Siena poll released Monday shows Hochul with a 43-21 percent lead), with more than a third of likely voters undecided, the two candidates have attacked each other on several fronts, debated Cuomo’s record and outlines diametric visions for the office. Hochul and Williams participated in just one televised debate, hosted by Manhattan Neighborhood Network, while Hochul backed out on a promise to debate on NY1. (She has appeared at a variety of forums and made several media appearances to answer media questions).</p> <p>With the Thursday September 13 primary vote fast approaching, a guide to the hotly-contested Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor:</p> <p><strong>Role of the Lieutenant Governor</strong><br />Jumaane Williams seeks to reimagine the lieutenant governor role as one akin to that of New York City’s public advocate. In addition to presiding over the state Senate, one of the lieutenant governor’s constitutional powers, Williams thinks the lieutenant governor should hold the governor’s feet to the fire.</p> <p>Too often, Williams says, the lieutenant governor “does what the governor says to do,” as he said during the lone <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7899-hochul-williams-outline-drastic-differences-in-lieutenant-governor-debate" target="_blank" rel="noopener">debate</a> of the primary. Cuomo, Williams claims, has “put on a progressive cloak,” while not truly pursuing a progressive agenda and governing as a “corporate Democrat.” He wants what he views as mostly a ribbon-cutting, ceremonial position to be one that takes the governor to task when the lieutenant governor sees that “the emperor has no clothes.”</p> <p>“I believe the lieutenant governor should be the eyes, the ears, and the voice of the people of the state of New York,” he said at the debate, as opposed to the eyes and ears of the governor.</p> <p>Hochul, however, says she is proud of partnering with the governor — a role she says should be carried on through the next term and not to be reinvented in Williams’ image. “This state is better served when you have the two executive officials, the governor and lieutenant governor, working in partnership,” she told reporters after the debate.</p> <p>She also believes she is better qualified to step in as governor if needed due to the governor’s departure from office. “The role of lieutenant governor is to be experienced and prepared to step in as governor should the need arise,” she said during the debate, arguing that she is “uniquely” ready having served with Cuomo for the current term. &nbsp;</p> <p>Williams has criticized Hochul for traveling the state to do ribbon-cutting ceremonies, while Hochul said ribbon-cuttings mean something “new and good” is happening for New Yorkers, and argues her role has been more full-scale than what the Council members describes.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7907-watch-lieutenant-governor-democratic-primary-debate-between-kathy-hochul-and-jumaane-williams">Watch the only Kathy Hochul-Jumaane Williams primary debate</a>]</p> <p><strong>Resume and Accomplishments</strong><br />The son of Grenadian-born immigrants, Williams comes from an activists background — something he speaks about often on the campaign trail. After working at a local school, he served as executive director of New York State Tenants &amp; Neighbors — a group that advocates for tenants, helping them “build and effectively wield their power” to fight for their rights and preservation of affordable housing. In 2009, Williams was elected to the City Council, representing Brooklyn’s District 45, which includes neighborhoods such as Flatbush, East Flatbush, and Midlands. During the last Council term, 2014-2017, Williams was its most prolific lawmaker, <a href="https://cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/new-york-city/the-best-new-york-city-council-members.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">enacting</a> 15 bills, second only to then-speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.</p> <p>Williams’ top legislative achievements include a bill to rein in the New York City police department use of stop-and-frisk and create the Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD, and a “ban the box” policy forbidding employers from asking about a job applicant’s criminal history until an initial offer is made. He also chaired the committee on Housing and Buildings and has been frequent critic of the city’s relatively new Mandatory Inclusionary Housing policy, arguing that the numbers it sets do not create affordable enough housing for low-income people. Last month, Williams <a href="https://jacobinmag.com/2018/08/jumaane-williams-lieutenant-governor-new-york" target="_blank" rel="noopener">told Jacobin </a>he now characterizes himself as a democratic socialist. &nbsp;</p> <p>The Buffalo-born Hochul began her career as an aide to then-Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was a member of Hamburg’s Town Board and went on to be the County Clerk of Erie County Clerk and after that as a member of Congress. Representing a heavily-Republican western New York district in the House for one term, Hochul has touted votes on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), to advance women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights as evidence of her ability and willingness to take bold, courageous action to stand up for her beliefs regardless of political ramifications. She believes that her votes for Obamacare, as the ACA is known, cost her the seat in Congress, something she says she wears as a badge of honor.</p> <p>After her losing her congressional seat, Hochul took a job at <a href="https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2014/07/hochul-reports-six-figure-bank-income-014284" target="_blank" rel="noopener">M&amp;T Bank as a lobbyist</a>. Not long after, Andrew Cuomo's first-term lieutenant governor, Bob Duffy, decided against running again, and Hochul was added to the ticket.</p> <p>During her time as lieutenant governor, Hochul has touted her efforts in economic development programs, particularly in struggling parts of upstate New York, heading advocacy for the governor’s “Enough is Enough” program to prevent sexual assault on college campuses, and, as chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, fighting the opioid epidemic. Throughout the campaign, she has boasted of the impacts of the Cuomo administration's economic development investements, while distancing herself and the governor from the corruption convictions that have involved those programs and two top Cuomo aides.</p> <p>“Today, as the only woman in statewide office, I feel a special responsibility to continue using this platform to fight on these issues because I’ve done it before,” Hochul said on the Max &amp; Murphy podcast of her work on women’s issues.</p> <p>Additionally, Hochul says she helps get certain programs over the finish line and then travels the state to promote them and help with their implementation. She has called herself the “advancer in chief” for her role moving Cuomo administration programs forward.</p> <p><strong>Lines of attack and controversies</strong><br />During the campaign Williams’ past statements on same-sex marriage as well as reproductive rights have been criticized in Hochul’s campaign commercials and beyond. While he did <a href="https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2013/12/jumaane-williams-explains-himself-009948" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tell Politico New York in 2013 </a>that he is “personally not in favor of abortion" and “[I] personally believe the definition of marriage is between a male and a female” (though he added the “government has to recognize everybody's relationships as equal”), he has for years stressed that he has no legislative record of opposing women’s reproductive rights or LGBT rights.</p> <p>In August, the race heated up, featuring a roughly week-long back-and-forth over a Hochul ad pointing out Williams’ past financial troubles — he is in foreclosure over a home mortgage that ballooned to over $600,000 after he had leveraged the original loan in part to help him open a restaurant that failed, and he owes back state business taxes of roughly $10,000 — in turn sparking accusations from the Williams camp and others that the ad was racially insensitive and classist. Williams said the ad reflected that Hochul was out of touch with cash-strapped New Yorkers, and argued that his struggles have helped him become a better legislator. Hochul’s ad questioned whether Williams was fit to help oversee the state’s massive budget given his personal financial issues.</p> <p>Williams, for his part, has levied his broader attacks on Hochul as an out-of-touch establishment Democrat, and has specifically pointed to her record on gun control and her <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/04/nyregion/04license.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">opposition</a> to the state’s efforts to grant driver’s licenses to undocumented New Yorkers last decade, when she was Erie County Clerk and pledged to report undocumented immigrants to the authorities if they came to her clerk’s office for a license. &nbsp;</p> <p>On the Max &amp; Murphy <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7737-max-murphy-podcast-lieutenant-governor-kathy-hochul" target="_blank" rel="noopener">podcast</a>&nbsp;earlier this year, Hochul said she regretted how she handled the matter. &nbsp;</p> <p>“I wish I had not gone that route at the time, I really do, because I realize it was hurtful to people and that was not my intent,” she said. “I don’t think you can question my commitment to [immigrants] in a larger context.”</p> <p>During an appearance on <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7913-max-murphy-podcast-final-days-of-the-lieutenant-governor-primary" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Max &amp; Murphy last week</a>, Hochul said she has disavowed her prior pro-gun positions.</p> <p>“My position changed, I’m very proud that when I ran for lieutenant governor, the NRA was working against my race. I have today an F rating. I wear that proudly. And I have supported the SAFE Act from the very beginning, since its inception,” she said. “So I took positions way back. I said I rejected those and I’m very proud to say I stand with the governor and protect the SAFE Act, and even enhance the SAFE Act.”</p> <p><strong>Endorsements</strong><br />Overall, Hochul has been endorsed by many major and minor establishment figures, while more a number of left-leaning candidates and officeholders are backing Williams. Cuomo has endorsed Hochul and Nixon has endorsed Williams. Hochul is also linked up with Letitia James, who is running for the Democratic nomination for attorney general, while Williams and AG candidate Zephyr Teachout have cross-endorsed. Williams has garnered the backing of many of his City Council colleagues, though some in the body are behind Hochul or sitting it out.</p> <p>Hochul has a long list of labor unions and political clubs behind her, as well as women’s rights groups, while Williams has several progressive groups, highlighted by the Working Families Party. On Monday, Williams received the support of Vermont Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.</p> <p>Hochul has received the backing of the editorial boards of the Buffalo News and Newsday, while Williams is backed by the New York Times editorial board.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7907-watch-lieutenant-governor-democratic-primary-debate-between-kathy-hochul-and-jumaane-williams" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Watch the only Kathy Hochul-Jumaane Williams primary debate here</a>]</p> <p> </p> One of the State's Most Powerful Unions Tries to Take Down One of Its Most Powerful Politicians 2018-09-09T04:00:00+00:00 2018-09-09T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7923:one-of-the-state-s-most-powerful-unions-tries-to-take-down-one-of-its-most-powerful-politicians Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/img-4741.jpg" alt="32BJ for Biaggi" width="600" height="308" /></p> <p>photo: @32BJSEIU</p> <hr /> <p>As Alessandra Biaggi, a first-time candidate for office, attempts to unseat Democratic state Senator Jeff Klein, once the powerful leader of a rogue faction of Democratic senators, a prominent labor union is pulling no punches to ensure that her insurgent campaign prevails in the September 13 primary.</p> <p>The property services workers union, 32BJ SEIU, which boasts more than 160,000 members and is a regular political heavyweight, has been aggressively courting voters and spending money to help Biaggi defeat Klein, a Democrat the union once backed. A force in state politics with allies at the highest reaches of government, 32BJ could put Biaggi over the top in what is increasingly being viewed, despite Klein’s significant advantages, as an unpredictable race given broader trends and recent upsets, Biaggi’s strengths as a campaigner, and the activism behind her bid.</p> <p>Klein represents Senate District 34, which covers parts of the Bronx and Westchester, and has been in office since 2005. Along the way, he acquired power and prestige, forming the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), an alliance that grew to eight senators who broke from the chamber’s mainline Democratic conference and formed a coalition majority with Senate Republicans, at times ensuring GOP leadership of the only Republican stronghold in state government. In turn, IDC members received leadership positions, additional stipends, more discretionary funding for their districts, and other benefits. The infamous “three men in a room” of state government decision-making -- the governor, Assembly speaker and Senate majority leader -- became four, with Klein joining to influence the fate of key legislation and the state budget.</p> <p>The IDC rejoined the mainline Democrats in April, after another state budget agreement and no shortage of criticism from progressive activists, unions, and elected Democrats who viewed their power-sharing agreement with visceral hatred and outright derision. A slate of challengers, including Biaggi, had already launched their campaigns to unseat the IDC members in the primary, promising “real” as opposed to “Trump Democrats.”</p> <p>The Democratic unity deal had its beginnings in <a href="https://www.politico.com/states/f/?id=0000015f-fffd-da42-a7ff-ffff88dc0000" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a letter</a> sent in November 2017 by leaders of the state Democratic Party, Congressional Rep. Joe Crowley and, notably, Hector Figueroa, an at-large member of the Democratic National Committee, the president of 32BJ, and an active and powerful voice in New York politics. They appealed to Klein and Democratic conference leader Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins to reunite the disparate factions of the same party. In April this year, the two sides finally came together, with Governor Andrew Cuomo literally in the middle at a press conference, expressing a newfound bonhomie that tried to erase years of bad blood. Both sides promised mutual support in the upcoming elections. Klein was appointed deputy conference leader under Stewart-Cousins and pledged that the IDC was dead forever as a conference.</p> <p>But, damage was already done. Following Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election, a wave of grassroots activists had vowed to oppose the IDC Senators and, one by one, challengers emerged to take on each senator in the primary. They shared similar policy platforms, pledging to support causes near and dear to progressives -- such as single-payer health care, criminal justice reform, enhanced rent regulations, voting, ethics and campaign finance reform, and increased education funding -- which they blamed IDC members for blocking. Among them was Biaggi, who formerly worked in Cuomo’s counsel’s office and was deputy national operations director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.</p> <p>In late June, two months after the unity compact, 32BJ <a href="http://www.seiu32bj.org/press-releases/32bj-seiu-endorses-biaggi/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">announced</a> its endorsement of Biaggi, which shocked the New York political world and many saw as the crumbling of the facade of a unified effort to keep Democratic incumbents, including Cuomo and Klein, in power. Figueroa, who remains a staunch Cuomo supporter, was accused by some of reneging on a commitment to not oppose the former IDC members, a charge he has repeatedly dismissed.</p> <p>“I think that Democratic unity was already broken,” Figueroa said in a phone interview on Thursday. “The efforts to fix it were not really sincerely driven, or even embraced when others were driving it, by the IDC.” He emphasized that the IDC had ample opportunity to return to the fold, and should have done so when the need for unity became clear. First was after the 2014 elections, when 32BJ had endorsed Klein after he promised to end the IDC alliance with Republicans. Klein subsequently broke that promise. Then came Trump’s election, after which Democrats saw a dire need to regain complete control of state government. Again, the IDC stuck with Republicans.</p> <p>“So the effort that we undertook throughout 2017, showing them the reality of where the country was and what it meant to be sharing power with Republicans, finally caught up with them when they were primaried,” Figueroa said, “When they experienced rejection in their own districts, then they decided that it was time to try to figure out how to come back.”</p> <p>The terms of the deal were also unacceptable, he said, noting that the former IDC members insisted on funding their campaigns with money raised with the Independence Party through the Senate Independence Campaign Committee (SICC), which received contributions from donors more friendly to Republican causes, such as real estate and charter school interests. (The committee was recently ruled by a judge to be illegal and the IDC members were directed by a Board of Elections official to return millions in campaign funds they had received, though they have refused to do so, while they took steps to get the SICC into compliance.)</p> <p>“Even when they accepted the offer, they kept the [SICC] money and they demanded what cannot be demanded, which is that everybody bow to their leadership and ignore their opponents,” Figueroa said. “So to me, this was already set to fail, unfortunately,...because of the attitude and arrogance of the head of the IDC and his minions in the conference.”</p> <p>He continued, “The roots of division were very, very deep and had they behaved in a different way, had they refunded the money, had they taken the attitude that they have to talk to voters, they have to talk to people in the district like we asked Klein to do with our members, had they been more humble, maybe they could have avoided the ferocity of the opposition. But they didn’t do that. They felt that institutional politics protects them and now they’re paying the price.”</p> <p>Endorsing Biaggi was an easy calculation for the union. Klein refused to be interviewed by its screening committee, which then unanimously voted for Biaggi, Figueroa said.</p> <p>Biaggi said the union’s support was “incredibly massive,” touting shared values and the union’s organizing efforts around progressive legislation in the state. “They were also the first union to come out and support me before any other union, and that’s something that I will absolutely never forget. It is incredibly politically courageous,” she said.</p> <p>The union had already committed to hitting the ground for Biaggi, traversing the district to knock on doors and canvass for votes. Then, just over a month after their endorsement of Biaggi, Klein pulled a stunt that left Figueroa “perplexed.”</p> <p>The senator hosted about a dozen rank-and-file members of Figueroa’s union and posted <a href="https://twitter.com/JeffKleinNY/status/1024066029683699712" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a video</a> to Twitter in which they held up signs for his campaign and chanted, “32BJ!” In a subsequent <a href="https://twitter.com/JeffKleinNY/status/1024068346998861824" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tweet</a>, Klein wrote, “These are the doormen, the superintendents, maintenance staff and security companies in our building and our public schools, who provide clean and safe environments for our families. This is a testament to loyalty, and I am truly honored by the rank and file support of @32BJSEIU.”</p> <p>“[It] doesn’t mean anything except that it revealed one of the personality flaws that we find in Klein - the vanity, the arrogance of doing that is really innovative and unique,” Figueroa said, having never experienced a candidate attempting to project support that he does not have from the union’s majority and endorsement vote. “And it’s that style of politics that we have to reject at this time. The politics of confusion and the politics of divisiveness and the politics of deceiving the electorate, which is what has been the trademark of Jeff Klein and the IDC. That only energized us more to support Biaggi.”</p> <p>The move also annoyed many union members and the next day, Figueroa said, 109 members volunteered to assist the effort behind Biaggi’s candidacy. They went to the Bronx in <a href="https://twitter.com/32BJSEIU/status/1030474032213368833" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a show of force</a>.</p> <p>Biaggi said the move was of a piece with Klein’s career, that he was attempting to fool voters just as he had done for years as part of the IDC, misleading “all of the voters of District 34 into thinking that they were voting for a Democrat when they were really voting for someone who was empowering Republicans. And now he’s trying to pretend that he has a union that did not endorse him...I would never in my wildest dreams do that. It kind of reduces his credibility as a leader.” (<a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/new-york-state/jeff-klein-idc-letter.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">City &amp; State reported that</a>, in late August, Klein’s campaign also sent a letter to constituents that made a few misleading claims about his record.)</p> <p>A spokesperson did not respond to a request for an interview with Klein for this article, and he has declined multiple Gotham Gazette invitations to make radio show appearances, though he has participated in at least two debates with Biaggi and other candidate forums.</p> <p>In one of the debates, <a href="https://bronxnet.org/your-bronx/articles/bronxtalk-34th-senate-district-debate-jeffrey-klein-alessandra-biaggi/?edit_off" target="_blank" rel="noopener">hosted by BronxTalk</a>, Klein downplayed the IDC’s role in empowering Republicans while touting its record passing progressive legislation including raising the age of criminal responsibility and a phased $15 minimum wage program. Klein said his opponent was playing “fast and loose” with the facts and he insisted that the IDC couldn’t have given Democrats a majority since the 32nd vote that gave Republicans control over the 63-member chamber came from Simcha Felder, a conservative Democrat from Brooklyn. That continues to be the case, which is why Democrats are hoping to notch victories in several swing districts outside New York City in November, while some eye unseating Brooklyn Republican Senator Marty Golden and others, including 32BJ, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7914-in-brooklyn-blake-morris-tries-to-upend-the-state-senate-power-balance-all-by-himself" target="_blank" rel="noopener">support Blake Morris in his primary challenge to Felder</a>.</p> <p>Klein insisted the IDC was a creation of necessity, pointing to the last time the Democrats won a majority in 2008. “The minute we won that majority, it was all downhill -- corruption, dysfunction,” he said, pointing to four Democratic state Senators who had attempted their own independent faction that year which plunged the chamber into chaos. “I originally decided to run for the state Senate to make sure we had a Democratic majority. And over the years, even though there wasn’t a Democratic majority, I was able to get a lot of things done,” Klein said in his closing statement.</p> <p>A Democratic consultant who lives in the district and requested anonymity to speak freely said Klein’s move to court union members made sense. “I can see it as a viable tactic by an elected official like Jeff Klein to have public meetings with union members even if he didn’t get support from their leadership,” the consultant said.</p> <p>Klein may not have 32BJ’s backing, but he does have a whole host of unions, some very powerful ones, that want to see him reelected including 1199 SEIU, DC37, the Hotel Trades Council, TWU Local 100, RWDSU, and several law enforcement unions. Klein has also raised and spent much more money than his challenger.</p> <p>“I am still the underdog in this race,” Biaggi acknowledged, “which means that I have double the amount of work that I have to do to make sure that people know who I am, that people understand what this race is about and what's at stake for really everyone in New York and why it’s so important for our community to actually have a real Democrat representing them.”</p> <p>Besides the hundreds of volunteers that 32BJ has put into the ground game week after week, the union has also put money behind Biaggi. It donated $7,000 to her campaign and its independent expenditure committee, Empire State 32BJ SEIU PAC, had spent $75,938 to support her campaign through mailers and social media through the most recent filing. Figueroa also signalled that more outside spending was on the way, and the PAC’s latest financial disclosure to the Board of Elections shows $43,861 in outstanding liabilities for expenditures both in favor of Biaggi and opposing Klein.</p> <p>Biaggi herself has raised more than $504,000 over the course of the race, and has, so far, spent $184,000, which pales in comparison to Klein’s campaign finances, but left her a solid chunk, with more surely coming in, to spend in the final 10 days of the race. In just this two-year cycle, however, the incumbent senator has raised $1.66 million and spent almost $2.4 million, dropping $836,000 in just three weeks in August. While Biaggi had about $263,000 in cash on hand, Klein had nearly $960,000 in the bank for the final stretch.</p> <p>The Democratic consultant said there has been an “insane amount of mail” going out from both campaigns and their surrogates. “At least one piece a week,” the consultant said. On the ground, the campaigns seem to have split the district in their approach, the consultant said. Klein’s campaign seems focused on holding his home turf in the east, in Morris Park and Wakefield, while Biaggi campaign workers have been hitting the ground hard in the west side of the district, in Riverdale, Van Cortlandt and Kingsbridge. “The farther west you go, prime voters are not getting door-knocked at all by Klein’s people,” the consultant said.</p> <p>[Read: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7917-candidates-in-contested-state-senate-primaries-file-final-pre-primary-financials" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Candidates in Contested State Senate Primaries File Final Pre-Primary Financials</a>]</p> <p>Biaggi said Klein’s outsize spending on the race is a clear signal of weakness. “It says that he is not certain that he’s going to win and that sends a signal to everybody who has supported him previously to say, am I on the right side of this?”</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/stringer_biaggi.jpg" alt="stringer biaggi" width="250" height="208" style="margin-right: 12px; float: left;" />Several Democratic elected officials have also declared for Biaggi, including U.S. Senator from New York Kirsten Gillibrand, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Comptroller Scott Stringer (pictured with Biaggi), Congressional candidate and progressive rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (whom 32BJ did not endorse in her primary win), former Mayor David Dinkins, Congressional Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, and City Council Members Brad Lander, Ben Kallos and Carlina Rivera, Mt. Vernon City Council President Lisa Copeland, Catherine Parker, the majority leader of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, among others. The Working Families Party has also endorsed her and is providing similar on-ground support like 32BJ.&nbsp;</p> <p>Biaggi was also among four Senate candidates to receive the coveted endorsement of the New York Times editorial board, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/28/opinion/new-york-senate-primary-endorsements.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">which wrote</a>, “Alessandra Biaggi, who describes herself pointedly as ‘a real Democrat,’ is the kind of smart, dedicated reformer so desperately needed in Albany.” Biaggi was subsequently <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-edit-state-senate-endorsements-queens-bronx-manhattan-20180907-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">endorsed by</a> the New York Daily News editorial board.</p> <p>A side effect of 32BJ’s mobilization in the district, which is home to <a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/new-york-state/democrats-backing-idc-challengers-are-not-violating-truce.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">6,000 of its members</a>, said Figueroa, is a new awakening about the local issues and community that is unlikely to fade even if Klein retains his seat. “This is a district where we’re gonna be setting roots for years to come,” he said.</p> <p>“We have seen the process be hijacked year after year to put a break on what could effectively be the most progressive legislature in the country,” he added. “That is really what is behind the dynamics of this race. And that is only growing. If people feel that somehow if Klein wins, the opposition will go away, they are making a big mistake.”</p> <p>The next challenge is getting people to turn out to vote on a Thursday. “I am feeling great, I am feeling excited, I’m feeling motivated,” Biaggi said exactly one week before the September 13 primary. “I’m feeling that this next week is going to be incredibly critical to making sure that everybody gets out to vote, that is my number one goal for the next seven days.”</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note - This article has been updated to note that Alessandra Biaggi has also been endorsed by the Working Families Party.&nbsp;</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/img-4741.jpg" alt="32BJ for Biaggi" width="600" height="308" /></p> <p>photo: @32BJSEIU</p> <hr /> <p>As Alessandra Biaggi, a first-time candidate for office, attempts to unseat Democratic state Senator Jeff Klein, once the powerful leader of a rogue faction of Democratic senators, a prominent labor union is pulling no punches to ensure that her insurgent campaign prevails in the September 13 primary.</p> <p>The property services workers union, 32BJ SEIU, which boasts more than 160,000 members and is a regular political heavyweight, has been aggressively courting voters and spending money to help Biaggi defeat Klein, a Democrat the union once backed. A force in state politics with allies at the highest reaches of government, 32BJ could put Biaggi over the top in what is increasingly being viewed, despite Klein’s significant advantages, as an unpredictable race given broader trends and recent upsets, Biaggi’s strengths as a campaigner, and the activism behind her bid.</p> <p>Klein represents Senate District 34, which covers parts of the Bronx and Westchester, and has been in office since 2005. Along the way, he acquired power and prestige, forming the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), an alliance that grew to eight senators who broke from the chamber’s mainline Democratic conference and formed a coalition majority with Senate Republicans, at times ensuring GOP leadership of the only Republican stronghold in state government. In turn, IDC members received leadership positions, additional stipends, more discretionary funding for their districts, and other benefits. The infamous “three men in a room” of state government decision-making -- the governor, Assembly speaker and Senate majority leader -- became four, with Klein joining to influence the fate of key legislation and the state budget.</p> <p>The IDC rejoined the mainline Democrats in April, after another state budget agreement and no shortage of criticism from progressive activists, unions, and elected Democrats who viewed their power-sharing agreement with visceral hatred and outright derision. A slate of challengers, including Biaggi, had already launched their campaigns to unseat the IDC members in the primary, promising “real” as opposed to “Trump Democrats.”</p> <p>The Democratic unity deal had its beginnings in <a href="https://www.politico.com/states/f/?id=0000015f-fffd-da42-a7ff-ffff88dc0000" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a letter</a> sent in November 2017 by leaders of the state Democratic Party, Congressional Rep. Joe Crowley and, notably, Hector Figueroa, an at-large member of the Democratic National Committee, the president of 32BJ, and an active and powerful voice in New York politics. They appealed to Klein and Democratic conference leader Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins to reunite the disparate factions of the same party. In April this year, the two sides finally came together, with Governor Andrew Cuomo literally in the middle at a press conference, expressing a newfound bonhomie that tried to erase years of bad blood. Both sides promised mutual support in the upcoming elections. Klein was appointed deputy conference leader under Stewart-Cousins and pledged that the IDC was dead forever as a conference.</p> <p>But, damage was already done. Following Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election, a wave of grassroots activists had vowed to oppose the IDC Senators and, one by one, challengers emerged to take on each senator in the primary. They shared similar policy platforms, pledging to support causes near and dear to progressives -- such as single-payer health care, criminal justice reform, enhanced rent regulations, voting, ethics and campaign finance reform, and increased education funding -- which they blamed IDC members for blocking. Among them was Biaggi, who formerly worked in Cuomo’s counsel’s office and was deputy national operations director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.</p> <p>In late June, two months after the unity compact, 32BJ <a href="http://www.seiu32bj.org/press-releases/32bj-seiu-endorses-biaggi/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">announced</a> its endorsement of Biaggi, which shocked the New York political world and many saw as the crumbling of the facade of a unified effort to keep Democratic incumbents, including Cuomo and Klein, in power. Figueroa, who remains a staunch Cuomo supporter, was accused by some of reneging on a commitment to not oppose the former IDC members, a charge he has repeatedly dismissed.</p> <p>“I think that Democratic unity was already broken,” Figueroa said in a phone interview on Thursday. “The efforts to fix it were not really sincerely driven, or even embraced when others were driving it, by the IDC.” He emphasized that the IDC had ample opportunity to return to the fold, and should have done so when the need for unity became clear. First was after the 2014 elections, when 32BJ had endorsed Klein after he promised to end the IDC alliance with Republicans. Klein subsequently broke that promise. Then came Trump’s election, after which Democrats saw a dire need to regain complete control of state government. Again, the IDC stuck with Republicans.</p> <p>“So the effort that we undertook throughout 2017, showing them the reality of where the country was and what it meant to be sharing power with Republicans, finally caught up with them when they were primaried,” Figueroa said, “When they experienced rejection in their own districts, then they decided that it was time to try to figure out how to come back.”</p> <p>The terms of the deal were also unacceptable, he said, noting that the former IDC members insisted on funding their campaigns with money raised with the Independence Party through the Senate Independence Campaign Committee (SICC), which received contributions from donors more friendly to Republican causes, such as real estate and charter school interests. (The committee was recently ruled by a judge to be illegal and the IDC members were directed by a Board of Elections official to return millions in campaign funds they had received, though they have refused to do so, while they took steps to get the SICC into compliance.)</p> <p>“Even when they accepted the offer, they kept the [SICC] money and they demanded what cannot be demanded, which is that everybody bow to their leadership and ignore their opponents,” Figueroa said. “So to me, this was already set to fail, unfortunately,...because of the attitude and arrogance of the head of the IDC and his minions in the conference.”</p> <p>He continued, “The roots of division were very, very deep and had they behaved in a different way, had they refunded the money, had they taken the attitude that they have to talk to voters, they have to talk to people in the district like we asked Klein to do with our members, had they been more humble, maybe they could have avoided the ferocity of the opposition. But they didn’t do that. They felt that institutional politics protects them and now they’re paying the price.”</p> <p>Endorsing Biaggi was an easy calculation for the union. Klein refused to be interviewed by its screening committee, which then unanimously voted for Biaggi, Figueroa said.</p> <p>Biaggi said the union’s support was “incredibly massive,” touting shared values and the union’s organizing efforts around progressive legislation in the state. “They were also the first union to come out and support me before any other union, and that’s something that I will absolutely never forget. It is incredibly politically courageous,” she said.</p> <p>The union had already committed to hitting the ground for Biaggi, traversing the district to knock on doors and canvass for votes. Then, just over a month after their endorsement of Biaggi, Klein pulled a stunt that left Figueroa “perplexed.”</p> <p>The senator hosted about a dozen rank-and-file members of Figueroa’s union and posted <a href="https://twitter.com/JeffKleinNY/status/1024066029683699712" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a video</a> to Twitter in which they held up signs for his campaign and chanted, “32BJ!” In a subsequent <a href="https://twitter.com/JeffKleinNY/status/1024068346998861824" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tweet</a>, Klein wrote, “These are the doormen, the superintendents, maintenance staff and security companies in our building and our public schools, who provide clean and safe environments for our families. This is a testament to loyalty, and I am truly honored by the rank and file support of @32BJSEIU.”</p> <p>“[It] doesn’t mean anything except that it revealed one of the personality flaws that we find in Klein - the vanity, the arrogance of doing that is really innovative and unique,” Figueroa said, having never experienced a candidate attempting to project support that he does not have from the union’s majority and endorsement vote. “And it’s that style of politics that we have to reject at this time. The politics of confusion and the politics of divisiveness and the politics of deceiving the electorate, which is what has been the trademark of Jeff Klein and the IDC. That only energized us more to support Biaggi.”</p> <p>The move also annoyed many union members and the next day, Figueroa said, 109 members volunteered to assist the effort behind Biaggi’s candidacy. They went to the Bronx in <a href="https://twitter.com/32BJSEIU/status/1030474032213368833" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a show of force</a>.</p> <p>Biaggi said the move was of a piece with Klein’s career, that he was attempting to fool voters just as he had done for years as part of the IDC, misleading “all of the voters of District 34 into thinking that they were voting for a Democrat when they were really voting for someone who was empowering Republicans. And now he’s trying to pretend that he has a union that did not endorse him...I would never in my wildest dreams do that. It kind of reduces his credibility as a leader.” (<a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/new-york-state/jeff-klein-idc-letter.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">City &amp; State reported that</a>, in late August, Klein’s campaign also sent a letter to constituents that made a few misleading claims about his record.)</p> <p>A spokesperson did not respond to a request for an interview with Klein for this article, and he has declined multiple Gotham Gazette invitations to make radio show appearances, though he has participated in at least two debates with Biaggi and other candidate forums.</p> <p>In one of the debates, <a href="https://bronxnet.org/your-bronx/articles/bronxtalk-34th-senate-district-debate-jeffrey-klein-alessandra-biaggi/?edit_off" target="_blank" rel="noopener">hosted by BronxTalk</a>, Klein downplayed the IDC’s role in empowering Republicans while touting its record passing progressive legislation including raising the age of criminal responsibility and a phased $15 minimum wage program. Klein said his opponent was playing “fast and loose” with the facts and he insisted that the IDC couldn’t have given Democrats a majority since the 32nd vote that gave Republicans control over the 63-member chamber came from Simcha Felder, a conservative Democrat from Brooklyn. That continues to be the case, which is why Democrats are hoping to notch victories in several swing districts outside New York City in November, while some eye unseating Brooklyn Republican Senator Marty Golden and others, including 32BJ, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7914-in-brooklyn-blake-morris-tries-to-upend-the-state-senate-power-balance-all-by-himself" target="_blank" rel="noopener">support Blake Morris in his primary challenge to Felder</a>.</p> <p>Klein insisted the IDC was a creation of necessity, pointing to the last time the Democrats won a majority in 2008. “The minute we won that majority, it was all downhill -- corruption, dysfunction,” he said, pointing to four Democratic state Senators who had attempted their own independent faction that year which plunged the chamber into chaos. “I originally decided to run for the state Senate to make sure we had a Democratic majority. And over the years, even though there wasn’t a Democratic majority, I was able to get a lot of things done,” Klein said in his closing statement.</p> <p>A Democratic consultant who lives in the district and requested anonymity to speak freely said Klein’s move to court union members made sense. “I can see it as a viable tactic by an elected official like Jeff Klein to have public meetings with union members even if he didn’t get support from their leadership,” the consultant said.</p> <p>Klein may not have 32BJ’s backing, but he does have a whole host of unions, some very powerful ones, that want to see him reelected including 1199 SEIU, DC37, the Hotel Trades Council, TWU Local 100, RWDSU, and several law enforcement unions. Klein has also raised and spent much more money than his challenger.</p> <p>“I am still the underdog in this race,” Biaggi acknowledged, “which means that I have double the amount of work that I have to do to make sure that people know who I am, that people understand what this race is about and what's at stake for really everyone in New York and why it’s so important for our community to actually have a real Democrat representing them.”</p> <p>Besides the hundreds of volunteers that 32BJ has put into the ground game week after week, the union has also put money behind Biaggi. It donated $7,000 to her campaign and its independent expenditure committee, Empire State 32BJ SEIU PAC, had spent $75,938 to support her campaign through mailers and social media through the most recent filing. Figueroa also signalled that more outside spending was on the way, and the PAC’s latest financial disclosure to the Board of Elections shows $43,861 in outstanding liabilities for expenditures both in favor of Biaggi and opposing Klein.</p> <p>Biaggi herself has raised more than $504,000 over the course of the race, and has, so far, spent $184,000, which pales in comparison to Klein’s campaign finances, but left her a solid chunk, with more surely coming in, to spend in the final 10 days of the race. In just this two-year cycle, however, the incumbent senator has raised $1.66 million and spent almost $2.4 million, dropping $836,000 in just three weeks in August. While Biaggi had about $263,000 in cash on hand, Klein had nearly $960,000 in the bank for the final stretch.</p> <p>The Democratic consultant said there has been an “insane amount of mail” going out from both campaigns and their surrogates. “At least one piece a week,” the consultant said. On the ground, the campaigns seem to have split the district in their approach, the consultant said. Klein’s campaign seems focused on holding his home turf in the east, in Morris Park and Wakefield, while Biaggi campaign workers have been hitting the ground hard in the west side of the district, in Riverdale, Van Cortlandt and Kingsbridge. “The farther west you go, prime voters are not getting door-knocked at all by Klein’s people,” the consultant said.</p> <p>[Read: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7917-candidates-in-contested-state-senate-primaries-file-final-pre-primary-financials" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Candidates in Contested State Senate Primaries File Final Pre-Primary Financials</a>]</p> <p>Biaggi said Klein’s outsize spending on the race is a clear signal of weakness. “It says that he is not certain that he’s going to win and that sends a signal to everybody who has supported him previously to say, am I on the right side of this?”</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/stringer_biaggi.jpg" alt="stringer biaggi" width="250" height="208" style="margin-right: 12px; float: left;" />Several Democratic elected officials have also declared for Biaggi, including U.S. Senator from New York Kirsten Gillibrand, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Comptroller Scott Stringer (pictured with Biaggi), Congressional candidate and progressive rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (whom 32BJ did not endorse in her primary win), former Mayor David Dinkins, Congressional Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, and City Council Members Brad Lander, Ben Kallos and Carlina Rivera, Mt. Vernon City Council President Lisa Copeland, Catherine Parker, the majority leader of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, among others. The Working Families Party has also endorsed her and is providing similar on-ground support like 32BJ.&nbsp;</p> <p>Biaggi was also among four Senate candidates to receive the coveted endorsement of the New York Times editorial board, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/28/opinion/new-york-senate-primary-endorsements.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">which wrote</a>, “Alessandra Biaggi, who describes herself pointedly as ‘a real Democrat,’ is the kind of smart, dedicated reformer so desperately needed in Albany.” Biaggi was subsequently <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-edit-state-senate-endorsements-queens-bronx-manhattan-20180907-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">endorsed by</a> the New York Daily News editorial board.</p> <p>A side effect of 32BJ’s mobilization in the district, which is home to <a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/new-york-state/democrats-backing-idc-challengers-are-not-violating-truce.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">6,000 of its members</a>, said Figueroa, is a new awakening about the local issues and community that is unlikely to fade even if Klein retains his seat. “This is a district where we’re gonna be setting roots for years to come,” he said.</p> <p>“We have seen the process be hijacked year after year to put a break on what could effectively be the most progressive legislature in the country,” he added. “That is really what is behind the dynamics of this race. And that is only growing. If people feel that somehow if Klein wins, the opposition will go away, they are making a big mistake.”</p> <p>The next challenge is getting people to turn out to vote on a Thursday. “I am feeling great, I am feeling excited, I’m feeling motivated,” Biaggi said exactly one week before the September 13 primary. “I’m feeling that this next week is going to be incredibly critical to making sure that everybody gets out to vote, that is my number one goal for the next seven days.”</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note - This article has been updated to note that Alessandra Biaggi has also been endorsed by the Working Families Party.&nbsp;</p>
Statewide Candidates File Final Pre-Primary Campaign Finance Disclosures 2018-09-05T04:00:00+00:00 2018-09-05T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7916:statewide-candidates-file-final-pre-primary-campaign-finance-disclosures Samar Khurshid <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/gov-cuomo-rail-road-longisland.jpg" alt="gov cuomo rail road longisland" width="600" /></p> <p>(Photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)</p> <hr /> <p>The primary election is next Thursday, September 13, and candidates for statewide office filed another round of campaign spending and fundraising reports this week, the final disclosures due before primary day.</p> <p>Governor Andrew Cuomo, a two-term Democrat, has been, for the most part, publicly nonchalant about his primary challenger, actor and activist Cynthia Nixon. But his campaign finance filings show he is spending far more to beat back her insurgent bid than he did four years ago, when he faced a primary challenge from Fordham Law professor Zephyr Teachout (who is running for attorney general this year).</p> <p>Cuomo’s campaign spent $8.5 million and raised $184,000 between August 9 and August 31, the latest filing period. But the governor began the campaign with a massive war chest and still has $16 million left to spend, though only some of it is eligible for spending during the primary due to campaign finance rules. In total, this election cycle, he has raised $35.6 million and spent $25.6 million, far outraising and outspending any other candidate for any race, including Nixon.</p> <p>The governor’s campaign transferred more than $2.5 million to the New York State Democratic Committee, of which Cuomo is the de facto head. The state committee has been spending large amounts of its funding to run ads in favor of the governor’s reelection, even as Cuomo’s own campaign spent nearly $3 million to buy ads in this latest period through Jersey City-based firm Media Fortitude Partners. The Cuomo campaign also doled out nearly $1.2 million to Bully Pulpit Interactive, a communications firm.</p> <p>Just Wednesday morning, the state committee released its latest ad featuring Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who is running for reelection, and New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general and is the state party’s official designee for the post. “They are our team to take on Trump and win,” the ad states, in line with the governor’s tactic of making the race about the Republican president rather than his upstart opponent.</p> <p>“The Governor has proudly delivered unprecedented support to elect the entire Democratic ticket – proven leaders Cuomo, Hochul, and James – on Thursday, Sept. 13 because he believes this is the strongest possible team to fight back against Trump’s destructive agenda," said a Cuomo campaign spokesperson in an email. "The governor will continue to lead the way with his aggressive coordinated campaign as we work to take back the U.S. House , State Senate and build the Party’s infrastructure moving forward." The spokesperson also noted that the governor has made a six-figure ad buy targeting Republican gubernatorial nominee Marc Molinaro in order to get a leg up on the general election (Molinaro <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7902-alleging-lies-molinaro-seeks-to-have-cuomo-attack-ad-pulled" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sought to have the ads pulled</a>, accusing the Cuomo campaign of disinformation.)</p> <p>Nixon’s numbers are paltry in comparison to Cuomo’s, though her campaign is banking its longshot on a very different type of strategy than the incumbent’s. Over the course of the race, she has raised a total of $2 million and spent about $1.3 million. She has not yet run any television ads, insisting that her campaign’s digital and social media operation is far more effective to reach the voters she is targeting. On Wednesday, her campaign released <a href="https://twitter.com/CynthiaNixon/status/1037348010307420160" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a new ad</a> dinging Cuomo on his mishandling of the crisis affecting the city’s subway system. The campaign told Gotham Gazette it will be pushed out on social media including a Facebook ad buy.</p> <p>Nixon also said in an <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/inside-city-hall/2018/09/05/cynthia-nixon-stops-short-of-saying-andrew-cuomo-has-broken-the-law" target="_blank" rel="noopener">NY1 interview on Monday</a> that she does not plan on infusing her own personal funds into her campaign. She raised about $475,000 in this filing and spent just over $450,000. She had about $467,000 in cash on hand for the final two weeks of the campaign. Having rejected corporate and LLC donations, Nixon’s fundraising came mostly from small donors who gave less than $200, a fact her campaign has repeatedly touted while pointing out Cuomo’s propensity for raising money from wealthy donors and through the LLC loophole (which allows obscured donors to circumvent contribution limits).</p> <p>“We are seeing an unprecedented level of grassroots momentum from New Yorkers,” said Nixon’s campaign manager, Hayley Prim, in a statement Wednesday. “There is a real hunger in New York to elect a real progressive who is beholden to the people, not corporations and millionaires. And since the debate, we’re seeing that momentum build like never before.”</p> <p>Nixon’s campaign paid the Working Families Party $58,800 from her campaign coffers. The WFP has endorsed Nixon and has been mobilizing volunteers to canvas on her behalf. In fact, the in-kind contributions from the WFP to Nixon’s campaign -- in the form of phone banking, texting and canvassing efforts -- amounted to nearly $86,000, according to filings.</p> <p>Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat running for a second term, also faces a primary challenge, hers from New York City Council Member Jumaane Williams. Hochul’s filings show she raised $356,000 and spent more than $1.5 million in the latest disclosure period, leaving her with about $389,000 in cash on hand. Hochul also availed of the services of Media Fortitude Partners, using $1.4 million of that spending on television ads. So far, Hochul has raised a total of more than $2 million and spent about $1.9 million on her reelection.</p> <p>Williams continues to struggle to raise funds for his campaign but has shown stiff competition to Hochul in a race that increasingly looks as if it could be close. Williams raised only $62,000 and spent about $38,000 in this latest filing, and filed just under $72,000 in cash on hand. In total, he has raised $270,000 -- he was forced to refund tens of thousands of dollars in over-the-limit contributions -- and spent $177,000. Williams said during a recent debate with Hochul, the only of the campaign, that he is still making payments to return the over-the-limit donations and pledged to be in full compliance by the end of the campaign.</p> <p>There is no Republican primary in any of the statewide races. Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run separately in a primary and on a joint ticket in the general election. The winners of the Democratic primary will face Republican gubernatorial nominee Marc Molinaro, the Dutchess county executive, and his running mate Julie Killian, a recent state Senate candidate.</p> <p>Besides Letitia James and Zephyr Teachout, two other candidates -- Congressional Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and Leecia Eve, a former Verizon executive who has been an aide to Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Cuomo -- are vying for the Democratic attorney general nomination. The winner will go on to face Republican Keith Wofford and others in the general. The four-way contest was triggered by the resignation of Eric Schneiderman after allegations <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/four-women-accuse-new-yorks-attorney-general-of-physical-abuse" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reported in May by The New Yorker</a> that he had physically abused several romantic partners. The race to replace him has turned into the most competitive on the statewide level, though James is backed by Cuomo and the state Democratic Party.</p> <p>James raised $428,000 and spent $767,000 in the latest filing period, giving her just over $867,000 for the remainder of the race. She has raised more than $2 million over the course of the campaign and shelled out $1.1 million so far. Most of her latest expenditures went to the Hamilton Campaign Network, a consulting firm working for her campaign that has also been purchasing digital and television ads and sending out mailers to voters.</p> <p>James’ campaign has been beset with criticism over her perceived lack of independence from the governor, and momentum has been building behind Teachout’s campaign, while Maloney remains a formidable opponent as a sitting member of Congress with significant funds. Teachout was endorsed last month by the New York Times editorial board and, just on Tuesday, by New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray, with the Daily News editorial board in between. Then, on Wednesday, New York City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer rescinded his earlier endorsement of James and backed Teachout instead, <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-pol-van-bramer-tish-james-zephyr-teachout-20180904-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">telling the New York Daily News</a>, “I believe that her independence from all of the power brokers, including the governor, is something that we should all want in an attorney general.” This echoed a somewhat similar recent decision made by Council Member Ritchie Torres, who changed his endorsement of James to a co-endorsement with Teachout, while also declaring he prefers Teachout and plans to vote for her.</p> <p>Teachout raised about $545,000 and spent $617,000 between August 9 and 31, and she had a balance of just under $500,000 left. She has raised $1.46 million for her campaign so far, spending a total of $981,000, and is the only candidate in the race refusing donations from corporations and LLCs.</p> <p>Maloney has been flush with cash since the start of the race, and has raised a total of $2 million while spending nearly $3 million. He raised almost $1.7 million in the latest filing period -- $1.4 million came in transfers from his congressional campaign account -- and spent $1.9 million at the same time, leaving him about $490,000. A significant amount of money went to media buys through Canal Partners Media, a firm based in Atlanta. Maloney is also up for reelection to his current seat and has said he will drop his name from the November congressional ballot if he wins the attorney general primary.</p> <p>Eve has trailed the pack in fundraising and name recognition, though she was recently endorsed by the Albany Times Union and was even the New York Times’ second pick in the race behind Teachout. She raised $139,000 and spent $255,000 in the latest filing, and had less than $43,000 left to spend. In total, she has raised $382,000 and spent $351,000 since entering the race. She also loaned herself $100,000 in personal funds in this filing.</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note - This article has been updated with comment from the Cuomo campaign.</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/gov-cuomo-rail-road-longisland.jpg" alt="gov cuomo rail road longisland" width="600" /></p> <p>(Photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)</p> <hr /> <p>The primary election is next Thursday, September 13, and candidates for statewide office filed another round of campaign spending and fundraising reports this week, the final disclosures due before primary day.</p> <p>Governor Andrew Cuomo, a two-term Democrat, has been, for the most part, publicly nonchalant about his primary challenger, actor and activist Cynthia Nixon. But his campaign finance filings show he is spending far more to beat back her insurgent bid than he did four years ago, when he faced a primary challenge from Fordham Law professor Zephyr Teachout (who is running for attorney general this year).</p> <p>Cuomo’s campaign spent $8.5 million and raised $184,000 between August 9 and August 31, the latest filing period. But the governor began the campaign with a massive war chest and still has $16 million left to spend, though only some of it is eligible for spending during the primary due to campaign finance rules. In total, this election cycle, he has raised $35.6 million and spent $25.6 million, far outraising and outspending any other candidate for any race, including Nixon.</p> <p>The governor’s campaign transferred more than $2.5 million to the New York State Democratic Committee, of which Cuomo is the de facto head. The state committee has been spending large amounts of its funding to run ads in favor of the governor’s reelection, even as Cuomo’s own campaign spent nearly $3 million to buy ads in this latest period through Jersey City-based firm Media Fortitude Partners. The Cuomo campaign also doled out nearly $1.2 million to Bully Pulpit Interactive, a communications firm.</p> <p>Just Wednesday morning, the state committee released its latest ad featuring Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who is running for reelection, and New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general and is the state party’s official designee for the post. “They are our team to take on Trump and win,” the ad states, in line with the governor’s tactic of making the race about the Republican president rather than his upstart opponent.</p> <p>“The Governor has proudly delivered unprecedented support to elect the entire Democratic ticket – proven leaders Cuomo, Hochul, and James – on Thursday, Sept. 13 because he believes this is the strongest possible team to fight back against Trump’s destructive agenda," said a Cuomo campaign spokesperson in an email. "The governor will continue to lead the way with his aggressive coordinated campaign as we work to take back the U.S. House , State Senate and build the Party’s infrastructure moving forward." The spokesperson also noted that the governor has made a six-figure ad buy targeting Republican gubernatorial nominee Marc Molinaro in order to get a leg up on the general election (Molinaro <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7902-alleging-lies-molinaro-seeks-to-have-cuomo-attack-ad-pulled" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sought to have the ads pulled</a>, accusing the Cuomo campaign of disinformation.)</p> <p>Nixon’s numbers are paltry in comparison to Cuomo’s, though her campaign is banking its longshot on a very different type of strategy than the incumbent’s. Over the course of the race, she has raised a total of $2 million and spent about $1.3 million. She has not yet run any television ads, insisting that her campaign’s digital and social media operation is far more effective to reach the voters she is targeting. On Wednesday, her campaign released <a href="https://twitter.com/CynthiaNixon/status/1037348010307420160" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a new ad</a> dinging Cuomo on his mishandling of the crisis affecting the city’s subway system. The campaign told Gotham Gazette it will be pushed out on social media including a Facebook ad buy.</p> <p>Nixon also said in an <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/inside-city-hall/2018/09/05/cynthia-nixon-stops-short-of-saying-andrew-cuomo-has-broken-the-law" target="_blank" rel="noopener">NY1 interview on Monday</a> that she does not plan on infusing her own personal funds into her campaign. She raised about $475,000 in this filing and spent just over $450,000. She had about $467,000 in cash on hand for the final two weeks of the campaign. Having rejected corporate and LLC donations, Nixon’s fundraising came mostly from small donors who gave less than $200, a fact her campaign has repeatedly touted while pointing out Cuomo’s propensity for raising money from wealthy donors and through the LLC loophole (which allows obscured donors to circumvent contribution limits).</p> <p>“We are seeing an unprecedented level of grassroots momentum from New Yorkers,” said Nixon’s campaign manager, Hayley Prim, in a statement Wednesday. “There is a real hunger in New York to elect a real progressive who is beholden to the people, not corporations and millionaires. And since the debate, we’re seeing that momentum build like never before.”</p> <p>Nixon’s campaign paid the Working Families Party $58,800 from her campaign coffers. The WFP has endorsed Nixon and has been mobilizing volunteers to canvas on her behalf. In fact, the in-kind contributions from the WFP to Nixon’s campaign -- in the form of phone banking, texting and canvassing efforts -- amounted to nearly $86,000, according to filings.</p> <p>Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat running for a second term, also faces a primary challenge, hers from New York City Council Member Jumaane Williams. Hochul’s filings show she raised $356,000 and spent more than $1.5 million in the latest disclosure period, leaving her with about $389,000 in cash on hand. Hochul also availed of the services of Media Fortitude Partners, using $1.4 million of that spending on television ads. So far, Hochul has raised a total of more than $2 million and spent about $1.9 million on her reelection.</p> <p>Williams continues to struggle to raise funds for his campaign but has shown stiff competition to Hochul in a race that increasingly looks as if it could be close. Williams raised only $62,000 and spent about $38,000 in this latest filing, and filed just under $72,000 in cash on hand. In total, he has raised $270,000 -- he was forced to refund tens of thousands of dollars in over-the-limit contributions -- and spent $177,000. Williams said during a recent debate with Hochul, the only of the campaign, that he is still making payments to return the over-the-limit donations and pledged to be in full compliance by the end of the campaign.</p> <p>There is no Republican primary in any of the statewide races. Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run separately in a primary and on a joint ticket in the general election. The winners of the Democratic primary will face Republican gubernatorial nominee Marc Molinaro, the Dutchess county executive, and his running mate Julie Killian, a recent state Senate candidate.</p> <p>Besides Letitia James and Zephyr Teachout, two other candidates -- Congressional Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and Leecia Eve, a former Verizon executive who has been an aide to Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Cuomo -- are vying for the Democratic attorney general nomination. The winner will go on to face Republican Keith Wofford and others in the general. The four-way contest was triggered by the resignation of Eric Schneiderman after allegations <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/four-women-accuse-new-yorks-attorney-general-of-physical-abuse" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reported in May by The New Yorker</a> that he had physically abused several romantic partners. The race to replace him has turned into the most competitive on the statewide level, though James is backed by Cuomo and the state Democratic Party.</p> <p>James raised $428,000 and spent $767,000 in the latest filing period, giving her just over $867,000 for the remainder of the race. She has raised more than $2 million over the course of the campaign and shelled out $1.1 million so far. Most of her latest expenditures went to the Hamilton Campaign Network, a consulting firm working for her campaign that has also been purchasing digital and television ads and sending out mailers to voters.</p> <p>James’ campaign has been beset with criticism over her perceived lack of independence from the governor, and momentum has been building behind Teachout’s campaign, while Maloney remains a formidable opponent as a sitting member of Congress with significant funds. Teachout was endorsed last month by the New York Times editorial board and, just on Tuesday, by New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray, with the Daily News editorial board in between. Then, on Wednesday, New York City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer rescinded his earlier endorsement of James and backed Teachout instead, <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-pol-van-bramer-tish-james-zephyr-teachout-20180904-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">telling the New York Daily News</a>, “I believe that her independence from all of the power brokers, including the governor, is something that we should all want in an attorney general.” This echoed a somewhat similar recent decision made by Council Member Ritchie Torres, who changed his endorsement of James to a co-endorsement with Teachout, while also declaring he prefers Teachout and plans to vote for her.</p> <p>Teachout raised about $545,000 and spent $617,000 between August 9 and 31, and she had a balance of just under $500,000 left. She has raised $1.46 million for her campaign so far, spending a total of $981,000, and is the only candidate in the race refusing donations from corporations and LLCs.</p> <p>Maloney has been flush with cash since the start of the race, and has raised a total of $2 million while spending nearly $3 million. He raised almost $1.7 million in the latest filing period -- $1.4 million came in transfers from his congressional campaign account -- and spent $1.9 million at the same time, leaving him about $490,000. A significant amount of money went to media buys through Canal Partners Media, a firm based in Atlanta. Maloney is also up for reelection to his current seat and has said he will drop his name from the November congressional ballot if he wins the attorney general primary.</p> <p>Eve has trailed the pack in fundraising and name recognition, though she was recently endorsed by the Albany Times Union and was even the New York Times’ second pick in the race behind Teachout. She raised $139,000 and spent $255,000 in the latest filing, and had less than $43,000 left to spend. In total, she has raised $382,000 and spent $351,000 since entering the race. She also loaned herself $100,000 in personal funds in this filing.</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p> <p>Note - This article has been updated with comment from the Cuomo campaign.</p>