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/letitia-james 2018-09-26T05:31:27+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Post-Primary Campaign Finance Filings Show Cuomo’s Already Spent $28 Million 2018-09-25T20:47:05+00:00 2018-09-25T20:47:05+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7957:post-primary-campaign-finance-filings-show-cuomo-s-already-spent-28-million Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/govandrewcuomo-office.jpg" alt="govandrewcuomo office" /></p> <p>Photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)</p> <hr /> <p>Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat running for reelection to a third term, successfully claimed the Democratic Party nomination earlier this month after a bitter primary battle against actor and education activist Cynthia Nixon. But the victory came at significant cost as Cuomo spent more than $20 million this year alone, nearly ten times what Nixon spent in total as she attempted to unseat him.</p> <p>Cuomo, who won with 64.4 percent of the vote to Nixon’s 34.4 percent in the September 13 primary, is headed into the general election with roughly $11.6 million at his disposal, according to the latest campaign finance disclosures filed with the State Board of Elections.</p> <p>In the three weeks covered by the filing, between September 1 and September 21, Cuomo’s campaign spent more than $5 million and raised about $567,000. About $1.9 million was spent on television ads through the firm Media Fortitude Partners, and the campaign also transferred about $2.4 million to the New York State Democratic Committee, which Cuomo controls and which has been boosting his campaign with ads of its own, while also supporting Cuomo-aligned candidates, especially Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and attorney general nominee Letitia James, the New York City Public Advocate.</p> <p>So far, in this four-year election cycle, Cuomo has raised more than $36 million and spent more than $28 million. Not all of Cuomo’s spending thus far went directly toward the primary alone -- even prior to defeating Nixon, he had begun spending on ads targeting Republican gubernatorial nominee Marc Molinaro, the Dutchess county executive. Cuomo received a total of 964,883 votes, spending about $29 per vote, while Nixon got 508,125, spending roughly $4.4 per vote.</p> <p>Nixon raised $2.7 million in total for her campaign and spent about $2.2 million in her first-time bid for office, as of this post-primary filing. Her relatively lean campaign relied mostly on small-dollar individual donors rather than wealthy corporate ones and LLCs, which funded Cuomo’s deep coffers. Nixon only ran ads in the last few days before the primary and was unable to overcome Cuomo’s significant incumbency advantages, any issues Democratic voters had with her candidacy, and the governor’s two-term resume.</p> <p>Hochul, Cuomo’s running-mate who has now joined him on the general election ticket, also beat her own primary challenger, Brooklyn City Council Member Jumaane Williams. Though Williams had far fewer resources for his campaign, the race was fairly tight. Hochul won with 53.3 percent against Williams’ 46.7 percent.</p> <p>Hochul spent about $318,000 in the last few weeks and raised $251,000. Her campaign has another $323,000 left. She raised a total of $2.3 million this cycle and has spent nearly $2.2 million of it.</p> <p>Williams stumbled with his fundraising early on and only raised a total of $322,000 and spent about $278,000 over the entire campaign. He has just over $20,000 left in his account, which he could transfer to another city or state campaign account if he decides to run for another position before he is term-limited out of his current office in 2021.</p> <p>Cuomo and Hochul will face the joint Republican ticket of Molinaro and lieutenant governor nominee Julie Killian, a former Rye City Council member and recent state senate candidate. Other general election contenders include the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins, Libertarian Larry Sharpe, and Stephanie Miner, the former Syracuse mayor who is running as an independent, and their respective lieutenant governor running-mates.</p> <p>In the four-way contest for the Democratic nomination for attorney general, James emerged as the victor, setting her up to face Republican Keith Wofford, Green Party nominee Michael Sussman, and the Reform Party’s Nancy Sliwa. The seat was vacated by former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned after facing allegations of physical abuse by multiple intimate partners.</p> <p>James raised $2.2 million and spent about $1.9 million in total for her successful campaign, which got her 40.6 percent of the vote in the primary. She had about $275,000 left for the general election as of the post-primary filing, but is heavily favored in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans two-to-one and no Republican has won statewide since 2002.</p> <p>Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout came in second in the race, with 31 percent, after running a grassroots campaign that also received the backing of several newspaper editorial boards. At times, Teachout’s opponents appeared to view her as the frontrunner rather than James, who had the backing of Cuomo and the state’s Democratic establishment. Teachout raised about $1.9 million and spent about $1.85 million in total.</p> <p>Democratic Congressional Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney campaigned fairly lightly but doled out massive amounts of cash to blanket the airwaves with ads. Utilizing funds raised for his congressional reelection, Maloney raised nearly $3 million to run for attorney general and spent more than $5 million, but finished third with 25 percent of the vote.</p> <p>Leecia Eve, a Verizon executive who has served as an aide to Cuomo, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, came in last with 3.4 percent. She raised about $408,000 and spent $417,000 on the campaign.</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 the amount that Cuomo and Nixon spent per vote.&nbsp;</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/govandrewcuomo-office.jpg" alt="govandrewcuomo office" /></p> <p>Photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)</p> <hr /> <p>Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat running for reelection to a third term, successfully claimed the Democratic Party nomination earlier this month after a bitter primary battle against actor and education activist Cynthia Nixon. But the victory came at significant cost as Cuomo spent more than $20 million this year alone, nearly ten times what Nixon spent in total as she attempted to unseat him.</p> <p>Cuomo, who won with 64.4 percent of the vote to Nixon’s 34.4 percent in the September 13 primary, is headed into the general election with roughly $11.6 million at his disposal, according to the latest campaign finance disclosures filed with the State Board of Elections.</p> <p>In the three weeks covered by the filing, between September 1 and September 21, Cuomo’s campaign spent more than $5 million and raised about $567,000. About $1.9 million was spent on television ads through the firm Media Fortitude Partners, and the campaign also transferred about $2.4 million to the New York State Democratic Committee, which Cuomo controls and which has been boosting his campaign with ads of its own, while also supporting Cuomo-aligned candidates, especially Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and attorney general nominee Letitia James, the New York City Public Advocate.</p> <p>So far, in this four-year election cycle, Cuomo has raised more than $36 million and spent more than $28 million. Not all of Cuomo’s spending thus far went directly toward the primary alone -- even prior to defeating Nixon, he had begun spending on ads targeting Republican gubernatorial nominee Marc Molinaro, the Dutchess county executive. Cuomo received a total of 964,883 votes, spending about $29 per vote, while Nixon got 508,125, spending roughly $4.4 per vote.</p> <p>Nixon raised $2.7 million in total for her campaign and spent about $2.2 million in her first-time bid for office, as of this post-primary filing. Her relatively lean campaign relied mostly on small-dollar individual donors rather than wealthy corporate ones and LLCs, which funded Cuomo’s deep coffers. Nixon only ran ads in the last few days before the primary and was unable to overcome Cuomo’s significant incumbency advantages, any issues Democratic voters had with her candidacy, and the governor’s two-term resume.</p> <p>Hochul, Cuomo’s running-mate who has now joined him on the general election ticket, also beat her own primary challenger, Brooklyn City Council Member Jumaane Williams. Though Williams had far fewer resources for his campaign, the race was fairly tight. Hochul won with 53.3 percent against Williams’ 46.7 percent.</p> <p>Hochul spent about $318,000 in the last few weeks and raised $251,000. Her campaign has another $323,000 left. She raised a total of $2.3 million this cycle and has spent nearly $2.2 million of it.</p> <p>Williams stumbled with his fundraising early on and only raised a total of $322,000 and spent about $278,000 over the entire campaign. He has just over $20,000 left in his account, which he could transfer to another city or state campaign account if he decides to run for another position before he is term-limited out of his current office in 2021.</p> <p>Cuomo and Hochul will face the joint Republican ticket of Molinaro and lieutenant governor nominee Julie Killian, a former Rye City Council member and recent state senate candidate. Other general election contenders include the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins, Libertarian Larry Sharpe, and Stephanie Miner, the former Syracuse mayor who is running as an independent, and their respective lieutenant governor running-mates.</p> <p>In the four-way contest for the Democratic nomination for attorney general, James emerged as the victor, setting her up to face Republican Keith Wofford, Green Party nominee Michael Sussman, and the Reform Party’s Nancy Sliwa. The seat was vacated by former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned after facing allegations of physical abuse by multiple intimate partners.</p> <p>James raised $2.2 million and spent about $1.9 million in total for her successful campaign, which got her 40.6 percent of the vote in the primary. She had about $275,000 left for the general election as of the post-primary filing, but is heavily favored in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans two-to-one and no Republican has won statewide since 2002.</p> <p>Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout came in second in the race, with 31 percent, after running a grassroots campaign that also received the backing of several newspaper editorial boards. At times, Teachout’s opponents appeared to view her as the frontrunner rather than James, who had the backing of Cuomo and the state’s Democratic establishment. Teachout raised about $1.9 million and spent about $1.85 million in total.</p> <p>Democratic Congressional Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney campaigned fairly lightly but doled out massive amounts of cash to blanket the airwaves with ads. Utilizing funds raised for his congressional reelection, Maloney raised nearly $3 million to run for attorney general and spent more than $5 million, but finished third with 25 percent of the vote.</p> <p>Leecia Eve, a Verizon executive who has served as an aide to Cuomo, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, came in last with 3.4 percent. She raised about $408,000 and spent $417,000 on the campaign.</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 the amount that Cuomo and Nixon spent per vote.&nbsp;</p>
With Fake Clinics Proliferating, New Yorkers Should Know Their Reproductive Health Care Rights 2018-09-23T04:00:00+00:00 2018-09-23T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7951:with-fake-clinics-proliferating-new-yorkers-should-know-their-reproductive-health-care-rights Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/letitia_james_andrea_miller.jpg.png" alt="letitia james andrea miller" width="600" height="499" /></p> <p>Letitia James and Andrea Miller, the authors</p> <hr /> <p>When visiting a health care provider, most patients trust that they’ll get a reasonably high standard of medical care and assume that their medical providers will keep their information confidential, and are not actively trying to deceive them. But around the country, 2,700 fake women’s health centers – which sometimes call themselves “crisis pregnancy centers” – are lying to women and giving false information in order to prevent women from having abortions. One hundred of them are here in New York State.</p> <p>It is imperative that any New York woman or teen who is pregnant, or thinks she might be, can get accurate health care information and knows her rights, including the right to have an abortion.</p> <p>That’s why the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) and New York City Public Advocate Letitia James have just released “Know Your Rights,” a public awareness and education brochure, so pregnant New Yorkers, those who might be pregnant, and their families and loved ones, can access accurate information about pregnancy and abortion, regardless of whether a woman chooses to continue her pregnancy or not.</p> <p>Fake clinics actively trick and lure women into their centers. They set up shop near legitimate health care providers and brand themselves with words like “women’s choices” or “pregnancy resources” to suggest they provide all-options counseling and care to help women and teens make fully informed decisions; they advertise free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. Inside, these clinics can look and feel like a real doctor’s office — staff wear white coats or medical scrubs, and pamphlets about pregnancy and ultrasound machines are located in exam rooms. The staff will often lie to women, either telling them that they are farther along in their pregnancy than they really are, and that it is too late for an abortion or that it is earlier in pregnancy than they really are, and they should wait before making any decisions.</p> <p>Fake clinics are often part of national anti-abortion networks, and they target women from low-income communities, communities of color, and immigrant communities. Alarmingly, fake clinics outnumber real abortion providers by as much as four-to-one nationwide.</p> <p>New York City saw the dangers these fake clinics posed and passed Local Law 17 in 2011, which took effect in 2016, requiring them to disclose that they don’t have a licensed medical provider on site and to keep client information confidential. Unfortunately, many fake clinics fail to comply with this law.</p> <p>In light of the federal government’s continued attempts to undermine access to abortion and the current Supreme Court’s indifference to the harms posed by fake clinics, New York must work twice as hard to protect our residents’ right to accurate medical information and abortion care. We must retain our reputation as a state that protects and supports women and girls.</p> <p>NIRH and Public Advocate James are committed to protecting the reproductive health and rights of all New York women. "Know Your Rights," available&nbsp;at <a href="http://nirhealth.org/knowyourrights" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the NIRH website</a>, <a href="http://pubadvocate.nyc.gov/sites/advocate.nyc.gov/files/know-your-rights.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the public advocate website</a>, and&nbsp;in hard copy around the city, provides a list of legitimate health care providers that offer prenatal care and abortion, and information regarding privacy rights.</p> <p>New York City residents deserve nothing less.</p> <p>***<br />Letitia James is New York City Public Advocate. Andrea Miller is President of the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH). On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TishJames" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@TishJames</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/AMillerNIRH" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@AMillerNIRH</a>.</p> <p>

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</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/letitia_james_andrea_miller.jpg.png" alt="letitia james andrea miller" width="600" height="499" /></p> <p>Letitia James and Andrea Miller, the authors</p> <hr /> <p>When visiting a health care provider, most patients trust that they’ll get a reasonably high standard of medical care and assume that their medical providers will keep their information confidential, and are not actively trying to deceive them. But around the country, 2,700 fake women’s health centers – which sometimes call themselves “crisis pregnancy centers” – are lying to women and giving false information in order to prevent women from having abortions. One hundred of them are here in New York State.</p> <p>It is imperative that any New York woman or teen who is pregnant, or thinks she might be, can get accurate health care information and knows her rights, including the right to have an abortion.</p> <p>That’s why the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) and New York City Public Advocate Letitia James have just released “Know Your Rights,” a public awareness and education brochure, so pregnant New Yorkers, those who might be pregnant, and their families and loved ones, can access accurate information about pregnancy and abortion, regardless of whether a woman chooses to continue her pregnancy or not.</p> <p>Fake clinics actively trick and lure women into their centers. They set up shop near legitimate health care providers and brand themselves with words like “women’s choices” or “pregnancy resources” to suggest they provide all-options counseling and care to help women and teens make fully informed decisions; they advertise free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. Inside, these clinics can look and feel like a real doctor’s office — staff wear white coats or medical scrubs, and pamphlets about pregnancy and ultrasound machines are located in exam rooms. The staff will often lie to women, either telling them that they are farther along in their pregnancy than they really are, and that it is too late for an abortion or that it is earlier in pregnancy than they really are, and they should wait before making any decisions.</p> <p>Fake clinics are often part of national anti-abortion networks, and they target women from low-income communities, communities of color, and immigrant communities. Alarmingly, fake clinics outnumber real abortion providers by as much as four-to-one nationwide.</p> <p>New York City saw the dangers these fake clinics posed and passed Local Law 17 in 2011, which took effect in 2016, requiring them to disclose that they don’t have a licensed medical provider on site and to keep client information confidential. Unfortunately, many fake clinics fail to comply with this law.</p> <p>In light of the federal government’s continued attempts to undermine access to abortion and the current Supreme Court’s indifference to the harms posed by fake clinics, New York must work twice as hard to protect our residents’ right to accurate medical information and abortion care. We must retain our reputation as a state that protects and supports women and girls.</p> <p>NIRH and Public Advocate James are committed to protecting the reproductive health and rights of all New York women. "Know Your Rights," available&nbsp;at <a href="http://nirhealth.org/knowyourrights" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the NIRH website</a>, <a href="http://pubadvocate.nyc.gov/sites/advocate.nyc.gov/files/know-your-rights.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the public advocate website</a>, and&nbsp;in hard copy around the city, provides a list of legitimate health care providers that offer prenatal care and abortion, and information regarding privacy rights.</p> <p>New York City residents deserve nothing less.</p> <p>***<br />Letitia James is New York City Public Advocate. Andrea Miller is President of the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH). On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TishJames" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@TishJames</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/AMillerNIRH" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@AMillerNIRH</a>.</p> <p>

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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> 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>
James Eyes Statewide History as Democratic Attorney General Nominee 2018-09-14T04:00:00+00:00 2018-09-14T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7934:james-eyes-statewide-history-as-democratic-attorney-general-nominee Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/tish_primary_night_win.jpg" alt="tish primary night win" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Letitia James (photo: @TishJames)</p> <hr /> <p>New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, backed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, much of the rest of the state’s political establishment, and New York City voters, on Thursday won the Democratic attorney general primary, successfully fending off competitors Zephyr Teachout, Sean Patrick Maloney, and Leecia Eve.</p> <p>James, who pitched herself as having the best track record to become "the people's lawyer," was declared the victor of what appeared to be a wide open, three-way race, at around 10:30 p.m., when most precincts had reported their results and she had 42 percent of the vote, Teachout trailed with 30 percent, Maloney had 23 percent, and Eve had 3 percent. A joyous Brooklyn venue of supporters rejoiced and awaited James’ arrival, as elected backers of her campaign lavished praise on the public advocate and thanked those who worked on and supported her campaign.</p> <p>With 99 percent of precincts in as of about 1 a.m., James sat at just over 40 percent of the vote, with Teachout at 31 percent, Maloney at 25 percent and Eve at 3 percent.</p> <p>During her roughly 15-minute victory speech to several dozen supporters, James was surrounded on stage by elected officials, union leaders, and political operatives. She hit her campaign themes, promising independence, to stand up for all people, and to fight President Trump, while also striking a unifying message among her fellow Democrats, with kind words for her competitors after a race that had its share of insults and criticism.</p> <p>"We’re all in the same boat now. And so I hope that all of the individuals who did not support me, who did not vote for me, will give me a chance…to earn your respect,” she said, going on to promise to fight for women, immigrants, and other often disadvantaged or marginalized groups.</p> <p>Among those in attendance were State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Assemblymember Latrice Walker, City Council Members Vanessa Gibson, Chaim Deutsch and Alicka Ampry-Samuel, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, and former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who may be interested in running for James’ current seat if the public advocate is victorious in November and vacates her citywide position for a statewide role.</p> <p>“To be honest with you,” James said, “this campaign was really not about me, or the other candidates who ran. It was about the people, but it was about that man in the White House, who can't go a day without threatening our fundamental rights.”</p> <p>James went on to say that she would stand up for those adversely affected by Trump’s policies, and help New York present a contrast with the president’s vision.</p> <p>James, a former City Council member, recognized the milestones that she can reach after a November general election win, which she is favored to achieve: the first woman attorney general and first black woman to hold the office, as well as the first woman of color to hold any statewide elected position. James is now the first woman of color nominated by one of the two major parties to seek a statewide office.<br /> <br />“I am dedicating this victory to every little girl who has been told she cannot change the world, told you got to stay in your lane, stay in your corner, stay in your neighborhood. And every little girl who has consistently and repeatedly overachieved,” said James. “And to all the little girls out there, I believe in you.”</p> <p>Earlier in the day, after voting at her polling place in Brooklyn, James told Gotham Gazette about her initial&nbsp;agenda, if elected in November:</p> <blockquote> <p>“If we win, the first 100 days we’ll be focusing on making sure that we get original jurisdiction to investigate corruption in the state of New York, it’s fortunate that the attorney general be in a position to investigate corruption and not have to ask for the governor to do so. Two, that we focus on the pardon loophole, that we pass that pardon loophole as soon as possible. I’ve already spoken to the [Assembly] speaker, I’ve spoken to some members of the state Legislature, it’s important that we pass that pardon loophole."</p> <p>"Three, that we strengthen all of our laws in the state of New York because right now it’s really about states' rights. We’re on our own, we know that the federal government has basically closed down so we’ve gotta focus on consumer protection and strengthen that, environmental laws and strengthen that. We’ve gotta focus on regulation, particularly as it relates to banks and make sure that the next crisis that’s around the corner, that is the unfortunately the default of so many student loans. We need to focus on bad actors and unscrupulous individuals who are engaging in a pattern and practice of preying upon students in the state of New York. and we need to focus on those servicers of mortgage loans. We are still suffering from the foreclosure crisis. We’ve got a number of zombie homes, not only in the city of New York but all throughout the state of New York. We need to make sure that we address this foreclosure crisis here in the state of New York, we need to provide them with settlement funds, and that’s also an issue that I’m going to have a discussion with the governor of the state of new york, that settlement funds should not be diverted into the general fund but they should be used for its original purposes, particularly when you are seeing a significant number of zombie homes in our state. And as the next AG, I can’t wait to go to work. I can’t wait to wake up each and every day, go to the office, sue somebody and then go home."</p> </blockquote> <p>Though she has in recent years been criticized by many for too infrequently taking on Mayor Bill de Blasio on key issues — and in recent months taken heat for her closeness with Governor Andrew Cuomo, who handily bested Cynthia Nixon Thursday evening — James has nevertheless made the case that she's consistently been independent. And, James said during her victory speech, she has always been, and continues to be, an advocate for the downtrodden, taking on the powerful when the need arises.</p> <p>”Nothing has changed,” she said. “I will continue to fight on behalf of tenants and marginalized individuals and vulnerable populations…Nothing is going to change about Tish. I’m still just a girl from Brooklyn."<br /> <br />James will face Republican Keith Wofford and other smaller party candidates in the general election.</p> <p> </p> <p>This article has been updated.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/tish_primary_night_win.jpg" alt="tish primary night win" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Letitia James (photo: @TishJames)</p> <hr /> <p>New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, backed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, much of the rest of the state’s political establishment, and New York City voters, on Thursday won the Democratic attorney general primary, successfully fending off competitors Zephyr Teachout, Sean Patrick Maloney, and Leecia Eve.</p> <p>James, who pitched herself as having the best track record to become "the people's lawyer," was declared the victor of what appeared to be a wide open, three-way race, at around 10:30 p.m., when most precincts had reported their results and she had 42 percent of the vote, Teachout trailed with 30 percent, Maloney had 23 percent, and Eve had 3 percent. A joyous Brooklyn venue of supporters rejoiced and awaited James’ arrival, as elected backers of her campaign lavished praise on the public advocate and thanked those who worked on and supported her campaign.</p> <p>With 99 percent of precincts in as of about 1 a.m., James sat at just over 40 percent of the vote, with Teachout at 31 percent, Maloney at 25 percent and Eve at 3 percent.</p> <p>During her roughly 15-minute victory speech to several dozen supporters, James was surrounded on stage by elected officials, union leaders, and political operatives. She hit her campaign themes, promising independence, to stand up for all people, and to fight President Trump, while also striking a unifying message among her fellow Democrats, with kind words for her competitors after a race that had its share of insults and criticism.</p> <p>"We’re all in the same boat now. And so I hope that all of the individuals who did not support me, who did not vote for me, will give me a chance…to earn your respect,” she said, going on to promise to fight for women, immigrants, and other often disadvantaged or marginalized groups.</p> <p>Among those in attendance were State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Assemblymember Latrice Walker, City Council Members Vanessa Gibson, Chaim Deutsch and Alicka Ampry-Samuel, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, and former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who may be interested in running for James’ current seat if the public advocate is victorious in November and vacates her citywide position for a statewide role.</p> <p>“To be honest with you,” James said, “this campaign was really not about me, or the other candidates who ran. It was about the people, but it was about that man in the White House, who can't go a day without threatening our fundamental rights.”</p> <p>James went on to say that she would stand up for those adversely affected by Trump’s policies, and help New York present a contrast with the president’s vision.</p> <p>James, a former City Council member, recognized the milestones that she can reach after a November general election win, which she is favored to achieve: the first woman attorney general and first black woman to hold the office, as well as the first woman of color to hold any statewide elected position. James is now the first woman of color nominated by one of the two major parties to seek a statewide office.<br /> <br />“I am dedicating this victory to every little girl who has been told she cannot change the world, told you got to stay in your lane, stay in your corner, stay in your neighborhood. And every little girl who has consistently and repeatedly overachieved,” said James. “And to all the little girls out there, I believe in you.”</p> <p>Earlier in the day, after voting at her polling place in Brooklyn, James told Gotham Gazette about her initial&nbsp;agenda, if elected in November:</p> <blockquote> <p>“If we win, the first 100 days we’ll be focusing on making sure that we get original jurisdiction to investigate corruption in the state of New York, it’s fortunate that the attorney general be in a position to investigate corruption and not have to ask for the governor to do so. Two, that we focus on the pardon loophole, that we pass that pardon loophole as soon as possible. I’ve already spoken to the [Assembly] speaker, I’ve spoken to some members of the state Legislature, it’s important that we pass that pardon loophole."</p> <p>"Three, that we strengthen all of our laws in the state of New York because right now it’s really about states' rights. We’re on our own, we know that the federal government has basically closed down so we’ve gotta focus on consumer protection and strengthen that, environmental laws and strengthen that. We’ve gotta focus on regulation, particularly as it relates to banks and make sure that the next crisis that’s around the corner, that is the unfortunately the default of so many student loans. We need to focus on bad actors and unscrupulous individuals who are engaging in a pattern and practice of preying upon students in the state of New York. and we need to focus on those servicers of mortgage loans. We are still suffering from the foreclosure crisis. We’ve got a number of zombie homes, not only in the city of New York but all throughout the state of New York. We need to make sure that we address this foreclosure crisis here in the state of New York, we need to provide them with settlement funds, and that’s also an issue that I’m going to have a discussion with the governor of the state of new york, that settlement funds should not be diverted into the general fund but they should be used for its original purposes, particularly when you are seeing a significant number of zombie homes in our state. And as the next AG, I can’t wait to go to work. I can’t wait to wake up each and every day, go to the office, sue somebody and then go home."</p> </blockquote> <p>Though she has in recent years been criticized by many for too infrequently taking on Mayor Bill de Blasio on key issues — and in recent months taken heat for her closeness with Governor Andrew Cuomo, who handily bested Cynthia Nixon Thursday evening — James has nevertheless made the case that she's consistently been independent. And, James said during her victory speech, she has always been, and continues to be, an advocate for the downtrodden, taking on the powerful when the need arises.</p> <p>”Nothing has changed,” she said. “I will continue to fight on behalf of tenants and marginalized individuals and vulnerable populations…Nothing is going to change about Tish. I’m still just a girl from Brooklyn."<br /> <br />James will face Republican Keith Wofford and other smaller party candidates in the general election.</p> <p> </p> <p>This article has been updated.</p> Teachout-Maloney Battle May Help James Win Attorney General Nomination 2018-09-12T04:00:00+00:00 2018-09-12T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7930:teachout-maloney-battle-may-help-james-win-attorney-general-nomination Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/maloney_pub.jpg" alt="maloney pub" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>Rep. Maloney at a Syracuse pub (photo: @MaloneyForNY)</p> <hr /> <p>While the four Democratic attorney general candidates will be in New York City on Thursday evening watching the primary election results come in, two of the race’s three frontrunners — Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and Zephyr Teachout — are polling best upstate, competing for votes there as Public Advocate Letitia James dominates in the city.</p> <p>Though the New York political establishment has coalesced around James, and several editorial boards have endorsed Teachout, Maloney led the pack in a Siena College <a href="https://scri.siena.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/SNY-September-2018-DEM-Primary-Poll-Release-final12094894984894894894948.pdf">poll</a> released Monday, though he was just ahead of James, well within the margin of error of 4.5 percentage points. Maloney received 25 percent of the vote from likely Democratic primary voters; James was at 24 percent and Teachout at 18 percent, with Eve trailing far behind at 3 percent. It also showed Maloney and Teachout running neck-and-neck in upstate New York, with many likely voters undecided.</p> <p>While there are questions about whether polls are accurately capturing the likely electorate, especially the energized left, likely for the most part behind Teachout in the attorney general primary, the surveys appear to capture the general trend of where each candidate has a base of support. And the polling points to an dynamic in the race that has been clear and could be determinative in the primary: Teachout and Maloney may be competing for so many of the same voters that either may have a hard time outpacing James when all the votes come in.</p> <p>Still, neither Teachout nor Maloney has ignored New York City by any means, with Maloney blanketing the airwaves and holding events across the city over the past two months, and Teachout regularly appearing all over the city, including a primary day schedule with numerous events in three boroughs. Yet Westchester, the Hudson Valley, and beyond may decide the outcome of the election.</p> <p>The most recent poll showed Maloney, who represents a Hudson Valley district in Congress, ahead upstate. “Maloney leads by seven points over Teachout upstate, with James a distant third, and has a significant lead in the downstate suburbs, with James 20 points back and Teachout right behind her,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said.</p> <p>While Maloney (39 percent) and Teachout (34 percent) had similar favorability ratings in the upstate region, Maloney polled far better than Teachout in the crucial suburbs of New York City, where he has a 50 percent approval rating compared to 23 percent for Teachout. When she challenged Governor Cuomo in the 2014 primary, Teachout did well outside of New York City, posting a surprisingly high 34 percent of the vote overall. She then built her name recognition and following among Democrats during her 2016 congressional race, while Maloney has been in Congress since flipping his district in 2012.</p> <p>Asked at an unrelated press conference about her message for voters in the Hudson Valley deciding between her and Maloney, Teachout noted that Maloney had frequently voted with Republican, and added, “We need an attorney general whose going to stand up to Trump, and I have been engaged in the legal fight against Trump since the beginning, and he has a record of voting with him 34 percent of the time.”</p> <p>“He’s also taken a lot of money from big real estate interests, which doesn’t represent the Hudson Valley,” she continued.</p> <p>Even before the latest poll was released, signs suggested Teachout, who unsuccessfully ran for a neighboring Hudson Valley congressional seat in 2016, and had Maloney’s endorsement, viewed Maloney as a threat, as she launched attacks at him at a much higher rate than at either James or Eve. Maloney has mostly shied away from attacking other candidates, but when criticized by Teachout, has intensely fired back, most boldly at debates. Teachout has been the main target of the other candidates in the three broadcast debates of the race.</p> <p>Teachout throughout the campaign has said that Maloney is ideologically compromised, in cahoots with big real estate and Wall Street financial firms. And while in Congress, he has voted with Trump far too much to show that he’s a reliable bastion against him, she has said, while he has boasted of getting things done and working across the aisle for his constituents. Teachout, who has <a href="https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2018/08/30/teachout-lays-out-plan-to-target-real-estate-industry-587153">pledged</a> to investigate malpractice in the industry if elected, has criticized Maloney for taking big money from the real estate industry, totaling $338,000 in donations from individuals with ties to the industry, according to <a href="https://readsludge.com/2018/08/30/as-zephyr-teachout-rises-real-estate-puts-its-money-on-her-rivals/">Sludge</a>, and from the Real Estate Board of New York’s PAC.</p> <p>Teachout, for example, recently blasted out a <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/3b45a72c-ac74-11e8-94bd-cba20d67390c">Financial Times story</a> that reported that Wall Street had chosen Maloney as its favorite candidate in the race.</p> <p>“You can’t be the Sheriff of Wall Street if you just handed big banks a massive, early Christmas bonus. And you can’t protect New Yorkers from consumer fraud, predatory lenders, or housing discrimination or if you’re awash in corporate cash and helping Donald Trump deregulate the financial services industry by voting with the administration 34% of the time,” she said in a press release. “It’s fundamentally disqualifying.”</p> <p>Maloney has responded to attacks by arguing that, unlike Teachout, he does not plan to wage ideological warfare while in office. And, he has said, it is hypocritical for her to lambast him for taking donations from special interests, because she has in the past as well.</p> <p>Additionally, at a debate last week, Maloney used what the Teachout campaign and others called gendered language to describe Teachout’s criticism of his vote to rollback some Dodd-Frank banking regulations. "Her rhetoric on this is completely unhinged," he said, sparking criticism.</p> <p>On September 6, Teachout escalated the war of words to a legal battle, filing a lawsuit against Maloney for transferring $1.4 million funds from his congressional campaign account into his attorney general coffers. Part of the lawsuit was denied, prompting Maloney campaign spokesperson Caitlin Girouard to reiterate one of the campaign’s broader attack lines against Teachout.</p> <p>"This last-ditch lawsuit was like so much of Zephyr Teachout's legal and political career: mere theatre, designed to generate headlines for her benefit, denigrate others, and achieve nothing of lasting substance," she said.</p> <p> </p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/maloney_pub.jpg" alt="maloney pub" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>Rep. Maloney at a Syracuse pub (photo: @MaloneyForNY)</p> <hr /> <p>While the four Democratic attorney general candidates will be in New York City on Thursday evening watching the primary election results come in, two of the race’s three frontrunners — Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and Zephyr Teachout — are polling best upstate, competing for votes there as Public Advocate Letitia James dominates in the city.</p> <p>Though the New York political establishment has coalesced around James, and several editorial boards have endorsed Teachout, Maloney led the pack in a Siena College <a href="https://scri.siena.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/SNY-September-2018-DEM-Primary-Poll-Release-final12094894984894894894948.pdf">poll</a> released Monday, though he was just ahead of James, well within the margin of error of 4.5 percentage points. Maloney received 25 percent of the vote from likely Democratic primary voters; James was at 24 percent and Teachout at 18 percent, with Eve trailing far behind at 3 percent. It also showed Maloney and Teachout running neck-and-neck in upstate New York, with many likely voters undecided.</p> <p>While there are questions about whether polls are accurately capturing the likely electorate, especially the energized left, likely for the most part behind Teachout in the attorney general primary, the surveys appear to capture the general trend of where each candidate has a base of support. And the polling points to an dynamic in the race that has been clear and could be determinative in the primary: Teachout and Maloney may be competing for so many of the same voters that either may have a hard time outpacing James when all the votes come in.</p> <p>Still, neither Teachout nor Maloney has ignored New York City by any means, with Maloney blanketing the airwaves and holding events across the city over the past two months, and Teachout regularly appearing all over the city, including a primary day schedule with numerous events in three boroughs. Yet Westchester, the Hudson Valley, and beyond may decide the outcome of the election.</p> <p>The most recent poll showed Maloney, who represents a Hudson Valley district in Congress, ahead upstate. “Maloney leads by seven points over Teachout upstate, with James a distant third, and has a significant lead in the downstate suburbs, with James 20 points back and Teachout right behind her,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said.</p> <p>While Maloney (39 percent) and Teachout (34 percent) had similar favorability ratings in the upstate region, Maloney polled far better than Teachout in the crucial suburbs of New York City, where he has a 50 percent approval rating compared to 23 percent for Teachout. When she challenged Governor Cuomo in the 2014 primary, Teachout did well outside of New York City, posting a surprisingly high 34 percent of the vote overall. She then built her name recognition and following among Democrats during her 2016 congressional race, while Maloney has been in Congress since flipping his district in 2012.</p> <p>Asked at an unrelated press conference about her message for voters in the Hudson Valley deciding between her and Maloney, Teachout noted that Maloney had frequently voted with Republican, and added, “We need an attorney general whose going to stand up to Trump, and I have been engaged in the legal fight against Trump since the beginning, and he has a record of voting with him 34 percent of the time.”</p> <p>“He’s also taken a lot of money from big real estate interests, which doesn’t represent the Hudson Valley,” she continued.</p> <p>Even before the latest poll was released, signs suggested Teachout, who unsuccessfully ran for a neighboring Hudson Valley congressional seat in 2016, and had Maloney’s endorsement, viewed Maloney as a threat, as she launched attacks at him at a much higher rate than at either James or Eve. Maloney has mostly shied away from attacking other candidates, but when criticized by Teachout, has intensely fired back, most boldly at debates. Teachout has been the main target of the other candidates in the three broadcast debates of the race.</p> <p>Teachout throughout the campaign has said that Maloney is ideologically compromised, in cahoots with big real estate and Wall Street financial firms. And while in Congress, he has voted with Trump far too much to show that he’s a reliable bastion against him, she has said, while he has boasted of getting things done and working across the aisle for his constituents. Teachout, who has <a href="https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2018/08/30/teachout-lays-out-plan-to-target-real-estate-industry-587153">pledged</a> to investigate malpractice in the industry if elected, has criticized Maloney for taking big money from the real estate industry, totaling $338,000 in donations from individuals with ties to the industry, according to <a href="https://readsludge.com/2018/08/30/as-zephyr-teachout-rises-real-estate-puts-its-money-on-her-rivals/">Sludge</a>, and from the Real Estate Board of New York’s PAC.</p> <p>Teachout, for example, recently blasted out a <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/3b45a72c-ac74-11e8-94bd-cba20d67390c">Financial Times story</a> that reported that Wall Street had chosen Maloney as its favorite candidate in the race.</p> <p>“You can’t be the Sheriff of Wall Street if you just handed big banks a massive, early Christmas bonus. And you can’t protect New Yorkers from consumer fraud, predatory lenders, or housing discrimination or if you’re awash in corporate cash and helping Donald Trump deregulate the financial services industry by voting with the administration 34% of the time,” she said in a press release. “It’s fundamentally disqualifying.”</p> <p>Maloney has responded to attacks by arguing that, unlike Teachout, he does not plan to wage ideological warfare while in office. And, he has said, it is hypocritical for her to lambast him for taking donations from special interests, because she has in the past as well.</p> <p>Additionally, at a debate last week, Maloney used what the Teachout campaign and others called gendered language to describe Teachout’s criticism of his vote to rollback some Dodd-Frank banking regulations. "Her rhetoric on this is completely unhinged," he said, sparking criticism.</p> <p>On September 6, Teachout escalated the war of words to a legal battle, filing a lawsuit against Maloney for transferring $1.4 million funds from his congressional campaign account into his attorney general coffers. Part of the lawsuit was denied, prompting Maloney campaign spokesperson Caitlin Girouard to reiterate one of the campaign’s broader attack lines against Teachout.</p> <p>"This last-ditch lawsuit was like so much of Zephyr Teachout's legal and political career: mere theatre, designed to generate headlines for her benefit, denigrate others, and achieve nothing of lasting substance," she said.</p> <p> </p> A Closer Look at the Democratic Attorney General Candidates’ Legal Careers 2018-09-11T04:00:00+00:00 2018-09-11T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7926:a-closer-look-at-the-democratic-attorney-general-candidates-legal-careers Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/citybar-ag-3.png" alt="citybar ag 3" width="600" height="312" /></p> <p>The Democratic AG candidates at the NYC Bar Association forum (photo: @NYCBarAssnNews)</p> <hr /> <p>At one of several attorney general candidate forums last week, the four Democrats in the race were asked for a highlight of their legal careers, and what is shows about how they’d approach the job.</p> <p>New York City Public Advocate Letitia James began with a quip about embracing an attack line against her that she wakes up every morning looking for someone to sue, going on to describe a pro bono client she took on whose father was murdered, whose mother abandoned him, and was himself facing deportation. Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham Law professor and corruption expert, spoke about her time working with a team of death penalty lawyers early in her career. &nbsp;</p> <p>Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who has worked at high-end law firms and in the White House under President Bill Clinton, said he did not have much courtroom experience, because he worked at elite firms, but listed other legal credentials, like working at Willkie Farr &amp; Gallagher, Kirkland and Ellis, and Orrick, Herrington &amp; Sutcliffe. And Leecia Eve, a lobbyist for Verizon who previously worked for Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo, hearkened back to her time as a young lawyer who sued the Washington, D.C. prison system on behalf of incarcerated women.</p> <p>The candidates’ answers to that question, at an event hosted by the New York City Bar Association and New York Law Journal, and to others at prior and subsequent debates and forums, highlight both the candidates’ varying backgrounds and the skill sets they believe they would bring to the state’s top legal office. The attorney general is both a defense attorney and litigator, tasked with defending New York when the state is sued and upholding many New York laws, protecting consumers, tenants, investors, and others.</p> <p>A closer look at the four Democrats’ legal careers heading into the Thursday September 13 primary vote, when a party nominee will be chosen for the general election against Republican Keith Wofford and smaller-party candidates, shows differing legal backgrounds and expertise and sheds light on the candidates’ possible priorities should they be elected.</p> <p><strong>Tish James</strong><br />When James <a href="https://patch.com/new-york/new-york-city/letitia-james-launches-attorney-general-bid-peoples-lawyer" target="_blank" rel="noopener">kicked off her campaign,</a> she presented herself as a “champion in government” for New Yorkers, and “watchdog for the people.”</p> <p>“Throughout my entire career I have been fueled by this idea that the law is our most effective tool in our quest for justice and for progress,” she said in Brooklyn.</p> <p>James’ legal career is extensive, including work as a public defender, government counsel, and assistant attorney general. She’s been a legislator as a member of the New York City Council, and as New York City Public Advocate she has focused on both filing lawsuits and passing legislation, both to further degrees than her three predecessors in the citywide elected position, though with mixed results.</p> <p>Throughout her political career, James has largely been seen as reliably progressive, and has been close with labor unions, activist groups, Democratic clubs, and the liberal Working Families Party, on whose ballot line she was first elected to office. James has mostly been an ally of Mayor Bill de Blasio, a fellow Democrat whom she succeeded as public advocate, and, though she has sued his administration on a number of occasions and at times been critical of the mayor, she has shied away from holding him accountable on a variety of matters that have been among the mayor’s largest headaches over almost five years in office.</p> <p>Seeking to become the next New York Attorney General, James has the backing of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Democratic Party, as well as many members of the party establishment, and she is running on her experience, while trying to downplay questions about her independence from the governor and other elected officials.</p> <p>Throughout her campaign, James has sought to distinguish herself from Teachout, especially, regularly pointing to her practical own work in government while referring to Teachout as “professor” at multiple debates in an apparent effort to brand her as detached from the type of work she’s implying an attorney general should have on his or her resume. James, who was previously expected to be a 2021 mayoral candidate before Eric Schneiderman resigned as attorney general amid allegations he had abused several intimate partners, also presents herself as an advocate for the downtrodden and vulnerable rather than a lawyer for the well-heeled.</p> <p>“As a public defender, I represented New Yorkers who couldn’t afford fancy lawyers — but that didn’t mean they shouldn’t be afforded any less justice,” James said in an emailed statement in response to several questions about her legal experience Gotham Gazette sent to the campaign. “And I saw firsthand how so many New Yorkers, especially young men of color, were targeted by an unfair criminal justice system. I’ve taken these lessons to heart, and I’ve fought against these injustices throughout my career. I’ve fought for and won — real criminal justice reforms.”</p> <p>These criminal justice reforms include, suing to obtain the minutes for the Eric Garner grand jury, being the first elected official to push for the NYPD to implement the use of body cameras after a police officer killed Garner. It’s a program, currently being implemented in New York City, that James says she wants to help take statewide.</p> <p>“As Attorney General,” she continued, “I’ll keep that focus — on using the law to help real people.”</p> <p>At a recent Manhattan Neighborhood Network debate, James took her pitch as a public defender a bit further, saying she has continued to represent defendants. &nbsp;“I’m a former public defender. I’ve represented countless people in the criminal justice system, and in fact still do,” she said. Asked which cases she has been working on, a James spokesperson did not cite any specific instances, saying only that as public advocate James is tasked with representing all New Yorkers, including people affected by the criminal justice system. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Before she ran successfully for the City Council in 2003, James worked for years in Brooklyn as a public defender, then as an assistant attorney general. She has Albany experience as well. There, she served as counsel in then-Assembleymember Roger Green’s office. During her time as a City Council member, she sued Mayor Michael Bloomberg when he was attempting to run for a third term over the wishes of the public, and sued on behalf of multiple plaintiffs who were arrested in Zuccotti Park in the Rodriguez v. Winsky case stemming from Occupy Wall Street. &nbsp;</p> <p>Additionally, James was one of the key figures opposing Atlantic Yards, the mixed-use project sited in her Council district that continues to be built. As Norman Oder, the leading Atlantic Yards watchdog, recently <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/opinion/7884-running-for-attorney-general-james-takes-strong-atlantic-yards-record-too-far" target="_blank" rel="noopener">wrote for Gotham Gazette</a>, James was tough and inquisitive when going toe-to-toe with the developers and the city, but has softened her stance in the years since she left the Council and has stretched her record a bit far when touting it in public, including during the attorney general race. James’ imprecise language, Oder and others have written, is part of a pattern for the public advocate.</p> <p>While serving as an assistant attorney general, James led investigations into predatory lenders, worked on consumer complaints, and collaborated with the civil rights bureau in investigating the New York City Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy, her campaign said.</p> <p>And while during her time as public advocate James’ independence from de Blasio and willingness to hold his feet to the fire have been called into question — a charge she has ignored while running for attorney general and claiming her independence had never been questioned until she linked up with Cuomo — &nbsp;she has filed a number of lawsuits against city agencies. James has also filed suits against bad landlords and other entities. In her telling, she has “turned the public advocate’s office into a public interest law firm.” James also touts that she has passed more legislation than all previous public advocates combined.</p> <p>It was what James had promised to do upon becoming public advocate and she followed through, hiring more attorneys to the relatively small office and focusing on both litigation and legislation, while largely ignoring hot-button issues related to de Blasio’s multitude of political scandals and controversies. Still, her efforts at litigation have brought limited returns, with the public advocate kicked off a number of lawsuits over a lack of standing, according to presiding judges (James has said she wants the City Charter changed to give her more standing). She has had successes as well.</p> <p>Among the cases James has brought are ones against NYCHA’s heating policies, which were found to violate New York City Health and Administrative codes. The suit resulted in a shift from policy where the buildings would only turn on the heat when the temperature dipped below 20 degrees. James also invoked New York City Human Rights Law to file an amicus brief alongside City Council members on behalf of rent-stabilized tenants after a landlord denied them services. The tenants were awarded financial compensation in 2016.</p> <p>Also in 2016, James alleged the Department of Education was providing insufficient services to students with special needs due to a faulty information portal. A court ruled in James’ favor, prompting the DOE to appeal. The case is pending.</p> <p>During the Bar Association forum, James embraced her reputation for frequently filing lawsuits — an approach she plans to carry with her should she be the state’s next attorney general. &nbsp;</p> <p>“Someone once ridiculed me and said, ‘Tish James goes into the office of the public advocate each and every day, she thinks of a lawsuit, and she sues somebody and then goes home.’ That’s true,” she quipped.</p> <p>James has promised that, if elected, she will go after those who violate the law with respect to the rights of tenants, consumers, workers, and others. Like her competitors, she’s pledged to push criminal justice reform. But she received heavy criticism when she <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/14/nyregion/sheriff-wall-street-letitia-james-attorney-general.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">told The New York Times</a> that she wouldn’t embrace the moniker ‘Sheriff of Wall Street’ that had been applied to former Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. While James has said she meant that the name belonged to Spitzer and she wants to chart her own path, her opponents seized on the comment, arguing that the New York attorney general must investigate abuses in the financial industry. James during debates and <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/gotham-votes/130-opinion/7892-being-labeled-the-sheriff-of-wall-street-is-not-enough" target="_blank" rel="noopener">in an op-ed</a> sought to clarify her remarks.</p> <p>Often citing her office’s <a href="https://advocate.nyc.gov/landlord-watchlist/worst-landlords" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Worst Landlords List</a>, saying she has “supercharged it” after it had been launched by her predecessor, de Blasio, James is pledging to go after building owners who try to force rent-regulated tenants out or practice other unscrupulous tactics.</p> <p>During the Bar Association forum, James also cited a specific case in which she represented pro bono an unaccompanied minor whose father was murdered in Honduras and came to the United States without authorization. He was granted Special Immigrant Juvenile Status after a family member was given guardianship, and now lives in the U.S with a green card. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>“His mother abandoned him and I went to court and I represented him and was successful in getting an asylum petition granted,” she recalled, going on to note the personal relationship they forged. “He recently graduated from high school. And he just introduced me to his girlfriend, who I do not like,” she joked.</p> <p><strong>Zephyr Teachout</strong><br /> Teachout has pitched herself as the candidate who has the experience to tackle what she views as the key issues at hand for the next attorney general, most especially corruption in state government and in Donald Trump’s administration, businesses, and other dealings. And as the only candidate who hasn’t accepted corporate money for her campaign, Teachout argues New Yorkers can trust her to police Wall Street firms, real estate interests, and others.</p> <p>Teachout, a Fordham Law professor, has cast herself as the most left-wing candidate in the race, with the most independence and crucial experience addressing public corruption, including her work suing Trump, providing legal advice around prosecuting public corruption cases, and writing a book on the history of the subject in the United States. She also touts that she took on Governor Cuomo in the 2014 primary with a focus on the corruption that he had promised to clean up but hadn’t.</p> <p>Teachout graduated from Duke Law School, serving as editor-in-chief of the school’s law review. She worked as a clerk for Chief Judge Edward Becker of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and in North Carolina served as a death penalty defense lawyer at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation. In the good government relm, Teachout served as the Sunlight Foundation’s first national executive director from 2006 to 2007. She has also worked on political campaigns, including Howard Dean’s 2004 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. &nbsp;</p> <p>Teachout has since 2009 taught at Fordham Law School, where she is an associate law professor. She was previously a visiting professor at Duke University’s law school as well as a lecturer at the University of Vermont.</p> <p>In 2014, just days after she lost her quixotic gubernatorial primary challenge to Cuomo, Teachout’s book, “Corruption in America,” was published. It was widely praised and helped elevate her status as a national corruption expert, though she had already been involved in the issue, including, as she has said on the campaign trail, efforts to fight the Supreme Court’s eventual Citizens United campaign finance ruling.</p> <p>It is her scholarship, and her job as a professor more broadly — along with the fact that she is running for her third office in four years — that has been the source of repeated attacks levied against Teachout. Using phrases like, “this is not an academic exercise,” her rivals seem to claim that Teachout may know the legal texts from cover to cover but lacks real experience as an attorney and putting theory into action.</p> <p>Teachout rejects this characterization, saying that she has led teams of lawyers and made complex legal arguments. In a campaign ad released in June, she said she has spent her life combating corruption and democratizing law, ensuring the powerful are held accountable and the powerless defended. One example she often cites is her instrumental role in invoking the emoluments clause against President Trump, alleging he was personally profiting off the presidency by being paid by foreign powers that patronize his hotels and other businesses.</p> <p>“I have a deep expertise in this area of law that is now painfully relevant,” Teachout <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/08/trump-teachout-attorney-general-new-york/566819/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">told The Atlantic</a>.</p> <p>Teachout only recently joined the New York Bar after being registered in North Carolina, sparking criticism about the depths of her roots in the state and her commitment to practicing law here.</p> <p>Further, a reprimand from the North Carolina Bar during her time as an attorney there has also been a source of fodder for opponents, especially James, who has claimed that Teachout “abandoned” a death row inmate and was reprimanded by the bar for it (James inaccurately said Teachout had been “censured”). The facts appear to show a minor mistake being blown out of proportion during a political campaign. Teachout was indeed reprimanded, but for failing to notify the court and her opposing counsel that she had a new address. And while the bar did reprimand her — a relatively uncommon finding — it also ruled that the infraction had no bearing on the client or outcome of the case.</p> <p>In a statement provided by the Teachout campaign, Stephen Greenwald, who worked alongside Teachout on death penalty cases in North Carolina, attempted to clear the air on the matter, and heaped praise on Teachout’s legal abilities.</p> <p>“I worked with Zephyr on several death penalty cases and she was a devoted and excellent attorney,” he said. “I worked with her specifically on the case for which she was reprimanded on a procedural point that had nothing to do with the case itself, and I can confirm that it had absolutely no impact on the case, as the bar determined.”</p> <p>He added that Teachout did not in fact “abandon” a client, and said “it's wrong and ridiculous to claim she did.”</p> <p>Greenwald also cited a case in which he worked alongside Teachout to defend a man named Robert Bacon, whose life he said Teachout helped to save via “creative lawyering.”</p> <p>“A week before he was scheduled to be executed we managed to get a stay because we determined that the governor had a been the attorney general previously and therefore had a conflict of interest in determining whether to grant clemency,” Greenwald explained. “The state Supreme Court ruled in our favor six hours before Robert was going to be executed.”</p> <p>At a recent press conference, Teachout also spoke about a specific death penalty case, and said she learned how to be creative and use every tool in the box to defend her clients.</p> <p>“One of the first cases I worked on involved a situation where I was working with a team of lawyers who was representing their client on a case where they had sought clemency — life imprisonment without parole, instead of execution — but they were seeking it from a governor who had previously been a prosecutor,” she said. “And we built an equal protection clause challenge around that, which actually led to a three-month moratorium on [death penalty] cases in North Carolina.”</p> <p>Though she is best-known for her book and scholarship on corruption, it was her time working with inmates facing the death penalty that she chose to draw upon at the New York City Bar Association forum. She spoke about representing defendants in post-conviction review.</p> <p>“As a death penalty lawyer, you learn a lot. You certainly learn about the horrors of our current criminal justice system, but you also learn how to both dig up facts in intense investigations, find things that haven’t been found before because there is a threat of the state trying to kill your client,” she said. “You also learn how to take out laws and legal theories that haven’t been used before.”</p> <p>Teachout has promised to do this as attorney general, and has praised Spitzer for reinvigorating the office’s use of the Martin Act to become the ‘Sheriff of Wall Street.’</p> <p>“A lot of the work that I’ve been involved in has been working in money in politics groups on long-term strategic litigation,” she said at the press conference. “As you may know, I was cited in dissent in Citizens United, which is part of a long-term strategy to shift the way the court understands money in politics...I regularly talk to people — when there’s a constitutional change like McDonnell [a recent Supreme Court ruling that changed the definition of public corruption], prosecutors will call me and talk through what are the strategies we can deal with in recharging, because I have a specialty in white collar crime.”</p> <p>Teachout then tied her legal work to what she wants to accomplish as attorney general — goals for which she says she has been a consistent champion.</p> <p>“One of the key themes of my campaign is the wrong people are in jail,” she said. “We have to end mass incarceration, and return our focus to white-collar crime. And in the antitrust world, I also worked on strategic litigation there. I’ve worked on filing briefs myself, but also working with teams of lawyers on shifting the shape of the law.”</p> <p><strong>Sean Patrick Maloney</strong><br /> Maloney has on the campaign trail cast himself as a candidate who is less ideological about the job he wants, but is battle-tested in the upper echelons of law and the toughest political fights. In order to take on Trump, and handle the issues that come the office’s way, Maloney has said, an attorney general needs both public and private sector know-how. After graduating from the University of Virginia’s law school in 1992, he worked in high-level jobs in law, technology and politics; he went on to unsuccessfully run for New York attorney general and successfully for Congress.</p> <p>“I think what is critical in this job is to understand the combination of legal and policy issues together with the political issues that determine the success or failure of the attorney general,” Maloney told Gotham Gazette in an interview eight days before the primary. “The attorney general needs to be able to win complex legal cases, run major investigations, and to do all that in the context of public policy and political questions that are also at play. If you think about going toe-to-toe with Donald Trump, you’ve got to both understand the law and the political angle.”</p> <p>In a <a href="http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/2018/09/maloneys-latest-tv-ad-a-street-fight-for-our-future/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">campaign ad</a>, Maloney says New York is in a “street fight” for its future, arguing that having “nailed corrupt CEOs and landlords,” defended hate crime victims, and while in Congress taking on the NRA, he’s the most prepared candidate to win the fight.</p> <p>Maloney began his legal career at Willkie Farr &amp; Gallagher, an international corporate law firm, where he worked as an associate from 1992 through 1997.</p> <p>Maloney was hired to work in President Bill Clinton’s White House, where he served from 1997 to 1998 as special assistant to the president, deputy assistant to the president from 1998 to 1999, and as assistant to the president and staff secretary from 1999 to 2000. After his years in the Clinton White House, he worked from 2000 to 2003 at Kiodex, a software company, as its chief operating officer, managing $40 million in private equity, according to his campaign. He then returned to work as an associate attorney at Willkie Farr &amp; Gallagher from 2004 to 2005. In 2006, he ran for attorney general for the first time, losing in the Democratic primary to Cuomo. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Maloney then returned to government, working in the gubernatorial administration of Eliot Spitzer, working in the executive chamber under Spitzer and his successor, David Paterson. From 2007 into 2009, Maloney served as senior adviser, handled budgetary matters and oversaw 13 state agencies and departments while in the governor’s office, according to his campaign.</p> <p>In early 2007, Maloney began serving as first deputy secretary under then-top Spitzer aide Rich Baum. While in that role, “Troopergate” — a scandal in which the Democratic governor's office misused state police to track then-Republican Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno — took place, though Maloney has denied he played any part in it. The New York Times editorial board, however, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/16/opinion/primary-day-is-june-26.html?_r=0&amp;assetType=opinion" target="_blank" rel="noopener">endorsed</a> the incumbent Maloney was challenging in his successful 2012 congressional race because Maloney “appeared to be most interested in holding back the staff’s personal emails from investigators” during a probe into the Troopergate controversy. &nbsp;</p> <p>Maloney worked briefly for Governor Paterson, who took over when Spitzer resigned amid a prostitution scandal. Maloney moved back to the corporate legal world at the end of 2009 and became partner at Kirkland &amp; Ellis, where he stayed until 2011. &nbsp;</p> <p>In 2011, he was made partner at Orrick, Herrington &amp; Sutcliffe, a firm specializing in technology and energy law, in its global finance group, working in large part on public-private partnerships and infrastructure projects, <a href="https://www.law360.com/articles/230724/ex-paterson-aide-joins-orrick-finance-practice" target="_blank" rel="noopener">according to Law360</a>. In 2012, he ran for Congress and won a seat where he represents what has been a swing district in the Hudson Valley. Maloney defeated a Republican incumbent, and won reelection in 2014 and 2016.</p> <p>He’s on the ballot again this year, though he plans to drop his congressional bid if he wins the attorney general primary. Maloney’s dual candidacies have been the source of much criticism from his opponents and others. Maloney insists he’s suspended all congressional campaigning, and is pursuing the job he wants in attorney general. He has said if he could get off the congressional ballot already he would have.</p> <p>Maloney has also been criticized — and sued by Teachout — for transferring well over $1 million from his congressional campaign account to his attorney general coffers. He insists his actions have been legal.</p> <p>During last week’s Bar Association forum, Maloney acknowledged he has not spent much time in a courtroom, but brandished his credentials as an elite lawyer, arguing his experience made him best-equipped to take on bad actors of all kinds.</p> <p>“You’re talking to somebody who’s spent years at Willkie, Farr &amp; Gallagher, as partner at Kirkland and Ellis, and Orrick Herrington, so when you’re at a really good law firm, they don’t let you near a lot of courtrooms,” he said to the experienced New York City legal crowd. &nbsp;</p> <p>While his opponents have not denied his legal experience, some have argued he is too cozy with certain industries and sectors — like big real estate and financial firms — that he’d need to investigate, prosecute, and hold accountable as attorney general, making him less-than-ideal for the job. The Teachout campaign last Tuesday blasted out a <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/3b45a72c-ac74-11e8-94bd-cba20d67390c" target="_blank" rel="noopener">story</a> from The Financial Times, which reported that Wall Street had chosen its candidate, Maloney, because the industry had donated the most to him out of the candidates. &nbsp;</p> <p>Maloney in the interview forcefully denied that he wouldn't take on Wall Street if need be.</p> <p>“Yeah, that’s a bulls*** thing to say,” he said when asked about the claim he was Wall Street’s candidate and thus would not sufficiently take on its bad actors.</p> <p>Asked to elaborate, Maloney said that the “city’s best lawyers,” are supporting his campaign, which “means they respect me as a legal mind and practitioner who can go toe-to-toe with any lawyers the big Wall Street guys throw at me.”</p> <p>“I don’t have any experience in Wall Street,” he added. “But I have experience in doing sophisticated legal work, and being able to compete at any level.”</p> <p>Moreover, Maloney argued his experience handling classified material and receiving briefings as a member of Congress would be of assistance in combatting Trump. &nbsp;</p> <p>“I’m the only candidate with a top secret security clearance and I am currently regularly briefed in the Russia investigation and the Justice Department probe. And that’s unique in this field of candidates and that’s very important right now,” he said. “That means I can hit the ground running.”</p> <p>“I have a level of understanding of the extent and scope of the Russia investigation that includes having received classified briefings that just better prepares me to do this work,” he added.</p> <p><strong>Leecia Eve</strong><br />Born in Western New York, a graduate of Harvard Law School who now lives in Harlem, Eve has described herself as the candidate most well-versed in the in-and-outs of all of New York State, while possessing a broad range of legal skills that prepared her for the attorney general job. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>“I’m running as the most qualified and best prepared candidate,” she said in Buffalo at the beginning of her campaign. “I’m telling people they should want somebody with an understanding of the needs of this state. And my roots in New York State run deep.”</p> <p>Eve, who like Maloney is also taking her second shot at running for attorney general, has shifted her focus over the decades. As <a href="https://citylimits.org/2018/09/04/leecia-eve-from-public-service-to-the-private-sector-and-back/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">City Limits reported </a>on Tuesday, Eve’s career went from taking on the D.C. prison system to a lobbyist for Verizon — a job she described to the outlet as entailing “educating stakeholders.” Between, she worked at one of upstate New York’s largest law firms as the first African-American general equity partner at Hodgson Russ, specializing in commercial, securities and intellectual property litigation. Eve previously served as an aide to then-Senator Joe Biden and then-Senator Hillary Clinton, giving her broad experience on legal, legislative, and security matters. She is currently on the board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.</p> <p>In an interview with Gotham Gazette, Eve made the case that, due to her deep familiarity of legal issues in New York and experience working on them, she is the best fit for the job. &nbsp;</p> <p>“There is no comparison whatsoever, frankly, between my diverse background as a litigator, but also someone who understands a wide array of issues of concern to New Yorkers from a both legal and a policy perspective,” she said on September 3.</p> <p>As she did during the Bar Association forum — and as referenced in a <a href="http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/2018/08/in-video-eve-says-trump-is-using-1984-as-a-playbook/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">campaign commercial</a> — Eve pointed to her about her time representing incarcerated women as a young lawyer as a high point of her career that she said sheds light on how she would act as attorney general.</p> <p>As a young associate at Covington &amp; Burling, she was part of a pro bono legal team representing women incarcerated in the Washington D.C. whose rights, the court found, were systematically violated. Eve has also described the conditions faced by the women she represented.</p> <p>“One of my clients literally had her legs shackled to a hospital bed as she was bringing a child into this world,” she said in the interview, reiterating something she has stressed repeatedly on the campaign trail. “Some of our clients literally felt that they had no choice but to engage in sexual acts with prison guards in order to be guaranteed an opportunity to visit with their children, something that they otherwise were entitled to do.”</p> <p>“Obviously, this is inhumane conduct, it’s illegal conduct, it’s unconstitutional conduct,” she continued, “and I’m proud to say that I took on the D.C. prison system, filed suit, fought hard, and we won.”</p> <p>The precedent-setting case — which she said sparked prison reform nationwide — was not the only case from the early part of her career in which she successfully represented victims whose civil rights were violated. A church group of African-American young women who stayed at a hotel in Western New York, Eve recalled, were subjected to racial discrimination, and were granted a favorable ruling after she represented them pro bono.</p> <p>Asked what she took away from her time in law, Eve said she learned how to “best and powerfully give voice to an injustice” while facing off against a more puissant opponent. &nbsp;</p> <p>“I say that because I have these very powerful, vivid memories of being in some of the D.C. prisons, spending time with my clients, hearing about what happened to them, and then saying, ‘We must fix this, we must stop this,’ and then translating that experience … into a detailed complaint,” she explained. ”When you represent hundreds of women who are incarcerated, who by and large are powerless, by and large [are] uneducated, and your opponent is the government representing the most powerful city in the most powerful nation on earth, you have a battle on your hands.”</p> <p>Thus before she even turned 30 — a “baby lawyer,” as she described it — she learned how to fight and beat powerful forces. &nbsp;</p> <p>Yet those highlights from the fledgling stages of her law career — working to help incarcerated women and victims of racial discrimination — come in contrast to her more corporate, establishment-oriented work in recent years. Eve was proud of her work in both Clinton’s and Biden’s offices, where she says she advised then-Senator Biden on immigration issues and the Violence Against Women Act. She said these jobs should and would be viewed as an asset, not a fault. She has repeatedly defended her ties to the long-time Democratic politicians whose politics have fallen out of favor with much of the left wing of the party that appears energized by the presidential candidacy of Senator Bernie Sanders and Trump’s election.</p> <p>Eve has argued her own progressive credentials, including her work drafting votings rights legislation and her plan to pursue both voting and criminal justice reform if elected attorney general. For Cuomo, Eve was a top economic development aide.</p> <p>Asked about her most recent work, corporate lobbying for Verizon, she said, “I am proud to work for a company that employs nearly 20,000 people with good jobs and invests billion in this state.”</p> <p>“People are still hungry for good-paying jobs,” she continued. “You want companies to be here. You want companies to expand and grow.”</p> <p>She said should two unnamed candidates — presumably Teachout and James — take the attorney general job some companies would be “running for the hills,” in an apparent reference to the candidates’ being furthest to the left and promising to crack down on bad actors in a variety of sectors. &nbsp;</p> <p>Eve went on to say she knows how to appropriately do that work due to her experience and took a less-than-subtle jab at Teachout.</p> <p>“What you need as an attorney general that understands how most aggressively to go after bad corporate actors. And someone who knows only what she teaches in a classroom is not that person,” she said. “Taking on extremely tough fights has prepared me to take on what are going to be tough fights to hold this administration accountable, to hold Donald Trump personally accountable, and to hold bad actors in this state accountable as well.”</p> <p> </p> <p>With additional reporting from Victor Porcelli and Annie Abreu</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/citybar-ag-3.png" alt="citybar ag 3" width="600" height="312" /></p> <p>The Democratic AG candidates at the NYC Bar Association forum (photo: @NYCBarAssnNews)</p> <hr /> <p>At one of several attorney general candidate forums last week, the four Democrats in the race were asked for a highlight of their legal careers, and what is shows about how they’d approach the job.</p> <p>New York City Public Advocate Letitia James began with a quip about embracing an attack line against her that she wakes up every morning looking for someone to sue, going on to describe a pro bono client she took on whose father was murdered, whose mother abandoned him, and was himself facing deportation. Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham Law professor and corruption expert, spoke about her time working with a team of death penalty lawyers early in her career. &nbsp;</p> <p>Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who has worked at high-end law firms and in the White House under President Bill Clinton, said he did not have much courtroom experience, because he worked at elite firms, but listed other legal credentials, like working at Willkie Farr &amp; Gallagher, Kirkland and Ellis, and Orrick, Herrington &amp; Sutcliffe. And Leecia Eve, a lobbyist for Verizon who previously worked for Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo, hearkened back to her time as a young lawyer who sued the Washington, D.C. prison system on behalf of incarcerated women.</p> <p>The candidates’ answers to that question, at an event hosted by the New York City Bar Association and New York Law Journal, and to others at prior and subsequent debates and forums, highlight both the candidates’ varying backgrounds and the skill sets they believe they would bring to the state’s top legal office. The attorney general is both a defense attorney and litigator, tasked with defending New York when the state is sued and upholding many New York laws, protecting consumers, tenants, investors, and others.</p> <p>A closer look at the four Democrats’ legal careers heading into the Thursday September 13 primary vote, when a party nominee will be chosen for the general election against Republican Keith Wofford and smaller-party candidates, shows differing legal backgrounds and expertise and sheds light on the candidates’ possible priorities should they be elected.</p> <p><strong>Tish James</strong><br />When James <a href="https://patch.com/new-york/new-york-city/letitia-james-launches-attorney-general-bid-peoples-lawyer" target="_blank" rel="noopener">kicked off her campaign,</a> she presented herself as a “champion in government” for New Yorkers, and “watchdog for the people.”</p> <p>“Throughout my entire career I have been fueled by this idea that the law is our most effective tool in our quest for justice and for progress,” she said in Brooklyn.</p> <p>James’ legal career is extensive, including work as a public defender, government counsel, and assistant attorney general. She’s been a legislator as a member of the New York City Council, and as New York City Public Advocate she has focused on both filing lawsuits and passing legislation, both to further degrees than her three predecessors in the citywide elected position, though with mixed results.</p> <p>Throughout her political career, James has largely been seen as reliably progressive, and has been close with labor unions, activist groups, Democratic clubs, and the liberal Working Families Party, on whose ballot line she was first elected to office. James has mostly been an ally of Mayor Bill de Blasio, a fellow Democrat whom she succeeded as public advocate, and, though she has sued his administration on a number of occasions and at times been critical of the mayor, she has shied away from holding him accountable on a variety of matters that have been among the mayor’s largest headaches over almost five years in office.</p> <p>Seeking to become the next New York Attorney General, James has the backing of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Democratic Party, as well as many members of the party establishment, and she is running on her experience, while trying to downplay questions about her independence from the governor and other elected officials.</p> <p>Throughout her campaign, James has sought to distinguish herself from Teachout, especially, regularly pointing to her practical own work in government while referring to Teachout as “professor” at multiple debates in an apparent effort to brand her as detached from the type of work she’s implying an attorney general should have on his or her resume. James, who was previously expected to be a 2021 mayoral candidate before Eric Schneiderman resigned as attorney general amid allegations he had abused several intimate partners, also presents herself as an advocate for the downtrodden and vulnerable rather than a lawyer for the well-heeled.</p> <p>“As a public defender, I represented New Yorkers who couldn’t afford fancy lawyers — but that didn’t mean they shouldn’t be afforded any less justice,” James said in an emailed statement in response to several questions about her legal experience Gotham Gazette sent to the campaign. “And I saw firsthand how so many New Yorkers, especially young men of color, were targeted by an unfair criminal justice system. I’ve taken these lessons to heart, and I’ve fought against these injustices throughout my career. I’ve fought for and won — real criminal justice reforms.”</p> <p>These criminal justice reforms include, suing to obtain the minutes for the Eric Garner grand jury, being the first elected official to push for the NYPD to implement the use of body cameras after a police officer killed Garner. It’s a program, currently being implemented in New York City, that James says she wants to help take statewide.</p> <p>“As Attorney General,” she continued, “I’ll keep that focus — on using the law to help real people.”</p> <p>At a recent Manhattan Neighborhood Network debate, James took her pitch as a public defender a bit further, saying she has continued to represent defendants. &nbsp;“I’m a former public defender. I’ve represented countless people in the criminal justice system, and in fact still do,” she said. Asked which cases she has been working on, a James spokesperson did not cite any specific instances, saying only that as public advocate James is tasked with representing all New Yorkers, including people affected by the criminal justice system. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Before she ran successfully for the City Council in 2003, James worked for years in Brooklyn as a public defender, then as an assistant attorney general. She has Albany experience as well. There, she served as counsel in then-Assembleymember Roger Green’s office. During her time as a City Council member, she sued Mayor Michael Bloomberg when he was attempting to run for a third term over the wishes of the public, and sued on behalf of multiple plaintiffs who were arrested in Zuccotti Park in the Rodriguez v. Winsky case stemming from Occupy Wall Street. &nbsp;</p> <p>Additionally, James was one of the key figures opposing Atlantic Yards, the mixed-use project sited in her Council district that continues to be built. As Norman Oder, the leading Atlantic Yards watchdog, recently <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/opinion/7884-running-for-attorney-general-james-takes-strong-atlantic-yards-record-too-far" target="_blank" rel="noopener">wrote for Gotham Gazette</a>, James was tough and inquisitive when going toe-to-toe with the developers and the city, but has softened her stance in the years since she left the Council and has stretched her record a bit far when touting it in public, including during the attorney general race. James’ imprecise language, Oder and others have written, is part of a pattern for the public advocate.</p> <p>While serving as an assistant attorney general, James led investigations into predatory lenders, worked on consumer complaints, and collaborated with the civil rights bureau in investigating the New York City Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy, her campaign said.</p> <p>And while during her time as public advocate James’ independence from de Blasio and willingness to hold his feet to the fire have been called into question — a charge she has ignored while running for attorney general and claiming her independence had never been questioned until she linked up with Cuomo — &nbsp;she has filed a number of lawsuits against city agencies. James has also filed suits against bad landlords and other entities. In her telling, she has “turned the public advocate’s office into a public interest law firm.” James also touts that she has passed more legislation than all previous public advocates combined.</p> <p>It was what James had promised to do upon becoming public advocate and she followed through, hiring more attorneys to the relatively small office and focusing on both litigation and legislation, while largely ignoring hot-button issues related to de Blasio’s multitude of political scandals and controversies. Still, her efforts at litigation have brought limited returns, with the public advocate kicked off a number of lawsuits over a lack of standing, according to presiding judges (James has said she wants the City Charter changed to give her more standing). She has had successes as well.</p> <p>Among the cases James has brought are ones against NYCHA’s heating policies, which were found to violate New York City Health and Administrative codes. The suit resulted in a shift from policy where the buildings would only turn on the heat when the temperature dipped below 20 degrees. James also invoked New York City Human Rights Law to file an amicus brief alongside City Council members on behalf of rent-stabilized tenants after a landlord denied them services. The tenants were awarded financial compensation in 2016.</p> <p>Also in 2016, James alleged the Department of Education was providing insufficient services to students with special needs due to a faulty information portal. A court ruled in James’ favor, prompting the DOE to appeal. The case is pending.</p> <p>During the Bar Association forum, James embraced her reputation for frequently filing lawsuits — an approach she plans to carry with her should she be the state’s next attorney general. &nbsp;</p> <p>“Someone once ridiculed me and said, ‘Tish James goes into the office of the public advocate each and every day, she thinks of a lawsuit, and she sues somebody and then goes home.’ That’s true,” she quipped.</p> <p>James has promised that, if elected, she will go after those who violate the law with respect to the rights of tenants, consumers, workers, and others. Like her competitors, she’s pledged to push criminal justice reform. But she received heavy criticism when she <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/14/nyregion/sheriff-wall-street-letitia-james-attorney-general.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">told The New York Times</a> that she wouldn’t embrace the moniker ‘Sheriff of Wall Street’ that had been applied to former Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. While James has said she meant that the name belonged to Spitzer and she wants to chart her own path, her opponents seized on the comment, arguing that the New York attorney general must investigate abuses in the financial industry. James during debates and <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/gotham-votes/130-opinion/7892-being-labeled-the-sheriff-of-wall-street-is-not-enough" target="_blank" rel="noopener">in an op-ed</a> sought to clarify her remarks.</p> <p>Often citing her office’s <a href="https://advocate.nyc.gov/landlord-watchlist/worst-landlords" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Worst Landlords List</a>, saying she has “supercharged it” after it had been launched by her predecessor, de Blasio, James is pledging to go after building owners who try to force rent-regulated tenants out or practice other unscrupulous tactics.</p> <p>During the Bar Association forum, James also cited a specific case in which she represented pro bono an unaccompanied minor whose father was murdered in Honduras and came to the United States without authorization. He was granted Special Immigrant Juvenile Status after a family member was given guardianship, and now lives in the U.S with a green card. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>“His mother abandoned him and I went to court and I represented him and was successful in getting an asylum petition granted,” she recalled, going on to note the personal relationship they forged. “He recently graduated from high school. And he just introduced me to his girlfriend, who I do not like,” she joked.</p> <p><strong>Zephyr Teachout</strong><br /> Teachout has pitched herself as the candidate who has the experience to tackle what she views as the key issues at hand for the next attorney general, most especially corruption in state government and in Donald Trump’s administration, businesses, and other dealings. And as the only candidate who hasn’t accepted corporate money for her campaign, Teachout argues New Yorkers can trust her to police Wall Street firms, real estate interests, and others.</p> <p>Teachout, a Fordham Law professor, has cast herself as the most left-wing candidate in the race, with the most independence and crucial experience addressing public corruption, including her work suing Trump, providing legal advice around prosecuting public corruption cases, and writing a book on the history of the subject in the United States. She also touts that she took on Governor Cuomo in the 2014 primary with a focus on the corruption that he had promised to clean up but hadn’t.</p> <p>Teachout graduated from Duke Law School, serving as editor-in-chief of the school’s law review. She worked as a clerk for Chief Judge Edward Becker of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and in North Carolina served as a death penalty defense lawyer at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation. In the good government relm, Teachout served as the Sunlight Foundation’s first national executive director from 2006 to 2007. She has also worked on political campaigns, including Howard Dean’s 2004 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. &nbsp;</p> <p>Teachout has since 2009 taught at Fordham Law School, where she is an associate law professor. She was previously a visiting professor at Duke University’s law school as well as a lecturer at the University of Vermont.</p> <p>In 2014, just days after she lost her quixotic gubernatorial primary challenge to Cuomo, Teachout’s book, “Corruption in America,” was published. It was widely praised and helped elevate her status as a national corruption expert, though she had already been involved in the issue, including, as she has said on the campaign trail, efforts to fight the Supreme Court’s eventual Citizens United campaign finance ruling.</p> <p>It is her scholarship, and her job as a professor more broadly — along with the fact that she is running for her third office in four years — that has been the source of repeated attacks levied against Teachout. Using phrases like, “this is not an academic exercise,” her rivals seem to claim that Teachout may know the legal texts from cover to cover but lacks real experience as an attorney and putting theory into action.</p> <p>Teachout rejects this characterization, saying that she has led teams of lawyers and made complex legal arguments. In a campaign ad released in June, she said she has spent her life combating corruption and democratizing law, ensuring the powerful are held accountable and the powerless defended. One example she often cites is her instrumental role in invoking the emoluments clause against President Trump, alleging he was personally profiting off the presidency by being paid by foreign powers that patronize his hotels and other businesses.</p> <p>“I have a deep expertise in this area of law that is now painfully relevant,” Teachout <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/08/trump-teachout-attorney-general-new-york/566819/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">told The Atlantic</a>.</p> <p>Teachout only recently joined the New York Bar after being registered in North Carolina, sparking criticism about the depths of her roots in the state and her commitment to practicing law here.</p> <p>Further, a reprimand from the North Carolina Bar during her time as an attorney there has also been a source of fodder for opponents, especially James, who has claimed that Teachout “abandoned” a death row inmate and was reprimanded by the bar for it (James inaccurately said Teachout had been “censured”). The facts appear to show a minor mistake being blown out of proportion during a political campaign. Teachout was indeed reprimanded, but for failing to notify the court and her opposing counsel that she had a new address. And while the bar did reprimand her — a relatively uncommon finding — it also ruled that the infraction had no bearing on the client or outcome of the case.</p> <p>In a statement provided by the Teachout campaign, Stephen Greenwald, who worked alongside Teachout on death penalty cases in North Carolina, attempted to clear the air on the matter, and heaped praise on Teachout’s legal abilities.</p> <p>“I worked with Zephyr on several death penalty cases and she was a devoted and excellent attorney,” he said. “I worked with her specifically on the case for which she was reprimanded on a procedural point that had nothing to do with the case itself, and I can confirm that it had absolutely no impact on the case, as the bar determined.”</p> <p>He added that Teachout did not in fact “abandon” a client, and said “it's wrong and ridiculous to claim she did.”</p> <p>Greenwald also cited a case in which he worked alongside Teachout to defend a man named Robert Bacon, whose life he said Teachout helped to save via “creative lawyering.”</p> <p>“A week before he was scheduled to be executed we managed to get a stay because we determined that the governor had a been the attorney general previously and therefore had a conflict of interest in determining whether to grant clemency,” Greenwald explained. “The state Supreme Court ruled in our favor six hours before Robert was going to be executed.”</p> <p>At a recent press conference, Teachout also spoke about a specific death penalty case, and said she learned how to be creative and use every tool in the box to defend her clients.</p> <p>“One of the first cases I worked on involved a situation where I was working with a team of lawyers who was representing their client on a case where they had sought clemency — life imprisonment without parole, instead of execution — but they were seeking it from a governor who had previously been a prosecutor,” she said. “And we built an equal protection clause challenge around that, which actually led to a three-month moratorium on [death penalty] cases in North Carolina.”</p> <p>Though she is best-known for her book and scholarship on corruption, it was her time working with inmates facing the death penalty that she chose to draw upon at the New York City Bar Association forum. She spoke about representing defendants in post-conviction review.</p> <p>“As a death penalty lawyer, you learn a lot. You certainly learn about the horrors of our current criminal justice system, but you also learn how to both dig up facts in intense investigations, find things that haven’t been found before because there is a threat of the state trying to kill your client,” she said. “You also learn how to take out laws and legal theories that haven’t been used before.”</p> <p>Teachout has promised to do this as attorney general, and has praised Spitzer for reinvigorating the office’s use of the Martin Act to become the ‘Sheriff of Wall Street.’</p> <p>“A lot of the work that I’ve been involved in has been working in money in politics groups on long-term strategic litigation,” she said at the press conference. “As you may know, I was cited in dissent in Citizens United, which is part of a long-term strategy to shift the way the court understands money in politics...I regularly talk to people — when there’s a constitutional change like McDonnell [a recent Supreme Court ruling that changed the definition of public corruption], prosecutors will call me and talk through what are the strategies we can deal with in recharging, because I have a specialty in white collar crime.”</p> <p>Teachout then tied her legal work to what she wants to accomplish as attorney general — goals for which she says she has been a consistent champion.</p> <p>“One of the key themes of my campaign is the wrong people are in jail,” she said. “We have to end mass incarceration, and return our focus to white-collar crime. And in the antitrust world, I also worked on strategic litigation there. I’ve worked on filing briefs myself, but also working with teams of lawyers on shifting the shape of the law.”</p> <p><strong>Sean Patrick Maloney</strong><br /> Maloney has on the campaign trail cast himself as a candidate who is less ideological about the job he wants, but is battle-tested in the upper echelons of law and the toughest political fights. In order to take on Trump, and handle the issues that come the office’s way, Maloney has said, an attorney general needs both public and private sector know-how. After graduating from the University of Virginia’s law school in 1992, he worked in high-level jobs in law, technology and politics; he went on to unsuccessfully run for New York attorney general and successfully for Congress.</p> <p>“I think what is critical in this job is to understand the combination of legal and policy issues together with the political issues that determine the success or failure of the attorney general,” Maloney told Gotham Gazette in an interview eight days before the primary. “The attorney general needs to be able to win complex legal cases, run major investigations, and to do all that in the context of public policy and political questions that are also at play. If you think about going toe-to-toe with Donald Trump, you’ve got to both understand the law and the political angle.”</p> <p>In a <a href="http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/2018/09/maloneys-latest-tv-ad-a-street-fight-for-our-future/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">campaign ad</a>, Maloney says New York is in a “street fight” for its future, arguing that having “nailed corrupt CEOs and landlords,” defended hate crime victims, and while in Congress taking on the NRA, he’s the most prepared candidate to win the fight.</p> <p>Maloney began his legal career at Willkie Farr &amp; Gallagher, an international corporate law firm, where he worked as an associate from 1992 through 1997.</p> <p>Maloney was hired to work in President Bill Clinton’s White House, where he served from 1997 to 1998 as special assistant to the president, deputy assistant to the president from 1998 to 1999, and as assistant to the president and staff secretary from 1999 to 2000. After his years in the Clinton White House, he worked from 2000 to 2003 at Kiodex, a software company, as its chief operating officer, managing $40 million in private equity, according to his campaign. He then returned to work as an associate attorney at Willkie Farr &amp; Gallagher from 2004 to 2005. In 2006, he ran for attorney general for the first time, losing in the Democratic primary to Cuomo. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Maloney then returned to government, working in the gubernatorial administration of Eliot Spitzer, working in the executive chamber under Spitzer and his successor, David Paterson. From 2007 into 2009, Maloney served as senior adviser, handled budgetary matters and oversaw 13 state agencies and departments while in the governor’s office, according to his campaign.</p> <p>In early 2007, Maloney began serving as first deputy secretary under then-top Spitzer aide Rich Baum. While in that role, “Troopergate” — a scandal in which the Democratic governor's office misused state police to track then-Republican Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno — took place, though Maloney has denied he played any part in it. The New York Times editorial board, however, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/16/opinion/primary-day-is-june-26.html?_r=0&amp;assetType=opinion" target="_blank" rel="noopener">endorsed</a> the incumbent Maloney was challenging in his successful 2012 congressional race because Maloney “appeared to be most interested in holding back the staff’s personal emails from investigators” during a probe into the Troopergate controversy. &nbsp;</p> <p>Maloney worked briefly for Governor Paterson, who took over when Spitzer resigned amid a prostitution scandal. Maloney moved back to the corporate legal world at the end of 2009 and became partner at Kirkland &amp; Ellis, where he stayed until 2011. &nbsp;</p> <p>In 2011, he was made partner at Orrick, Herrington &amp; Sutcliffe, a firm specializing in technology and energy law, in its global finance group, working in large part on public-private partnerships and infrastructure projects, <a href="https://www.law360.com/articles/230724/ex-paterson-aide-joins-orrick-finance-practice" target="_blank" rel="noopener">according to Law360</a>. In 2012, he ran for Congress and won a seat where he represents what has been a swing district in the Hudson Valley. Maloney defeated a Republican incumbent, and won reelection in 2014 and 2016.</p> <p>He’s on the ballot again this year, though he plans to drop his congressional bid if he wins the attorney general primary. Maloney’s dual candidacies have been the source of much criticism from his opponents and others. Maloney insists he’s suspended all congressional campaigning, and is pursuing the job he wants in attorney general. He has said if he could get off the congressional ballot already he would have.</p> <p>Maloney has also been criticized — and sued by Teachout — for transferring well over $1 million from his congressional campaign account to his attorney general coffers. He insists his actions have been legal.</p> <p>During last week’s Bar Association forum, Maloney acknowledged he has not spent much time in a courtroom, but brandished his credentials as an elite lawyer, arguing his experience made him best-equipped to take on bad actors of all kinds.</p> <p>“You’re talking to somebody who’s spent years at Willkie, Farr &amp; Gallagher, as partner at Kirkland and Ellis, and Orrick Herrington, so when you’re at a really good law firm, they don’t let you near a lot of courtrooms,” he said to the experienced New York City legal crowd. &nbsp;</p> <p>While his opponents have not denied his legal experience, some have argued he is too cozy with certain industries and sectors — like big real estate and financial firms — that he’d need to investigate, prosecute, and hold accountable as attorney general, making him less-than-ideal for the job. The Teachout campaign last Tuesday blasted out a <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/3b45a72c-ac74-11e8-94bd-cba20d67390c" target="_blank" rel="noopener">story</a> from The Financial Times, which reported that Wall Street had chosen its candidate, Maloney, because the industry had donated the most to him out of the candidates. &nbsp;</p> <p>Maloney in the interview forcefully denied that he wouldn't take on Wall Street if need be.</p> <p>“Yeah, that’s a bulls*** thing to say,” he said when asked about the claim he was Wall Street’s candidate and thus would not sufficiently take on its bad actors.</p> <p>Asked to elaborate, Maloney said that the “city’s best lawyers,” are supporting his campaign, which “means they respect me as a legal mind and practitioner who can go toe-to-toe with any lawyers the big Wall Street guys throw at me.”</p> <p>“I don’t have any experience in Wall Street,” he added. “But I have experience in doing sophisticated legal work, and being able to compete at any level.”</p> <p>Moreover, Maloney argued his experience handling classified material and receiving briefings as a member of Congress would be of assistance in combatting Trump. &nbsp;</p> <p>“I’m the only candidate with a top secret security clearance and I am currently regularly briefed in the Russia investigation and the Justice Department probe. And that’s unique in this field of candidates and that’s very important right now,” he said. “That means I can hit the ground running.”</p> <p>“I have a level of understanding of the extent and scope of the Russia investigation that includes having received classified briefings that just better prepares me to do this work,” he added.</p> <p><strong>Leecia Eve</strong><br />Born in Western New York, a graduate of Harvard Law School who now lives in Harlem, Eve has described herself as the candidate most well-versed in the in-and-outs of all of New York State, while possessing a broad range of legal skills that prepared her for the attorney general job. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>“I’m running as the most qualified and best prepared candidate,” she said in Buffalo at the beginning of her campaign. “I’m telling people they should want somebody with an understanding of the needs of this state. And my roots in New York State run deep.”</p> <p>Eve, who like Maloney is also taking her second shot at running for attorney general, has shifted her focus over the decades. As <a href="https://citylimits.org/2018/09/04/leecia-eve-from-public-service-to-the-private-sector-and-back/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">City Limits reported </a>on Tuesday, Eve’s career went from taking on the D.C. prison system to a lobbyist for Verizon — a job she described to the outlet as entailing “educating stakeholders.” Between, she worked at one of upstate New York’s largest law firms as the first African-American general equity partner at Hodgson Russ, specializing in commercial, securities and intellectual property litigation. Eve previously served as an aide to then-Senator Joe Biden and then-Senator Hillary Clinton, giving her broad experience on legal, legislative, and security matters. She is currently on the board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.</p> <p>In an interview with Gotham Gazette, Eve made the case that, due to her deep familiarity of legal issues in New York and experience working on them, she is the best fit for the job. &nbsp;</p> <p>“There is no comparison whatsoever, frankly, between my diverse background as a litigator, but also someone who understands a wide array of issues of concern to New Yorkers from a both legal and a policy perspective,” she said on September 3.</p> <p>As she did during the Bar Association forum — and as referenced in a <a href="http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/2018/08/in-video-eve-says-trump-is-using-1984-as-a-playbook/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">campaign commercial</a> — Eve pointed to her about her time representing incarcerated women as a young lawyer as a high point of her career that she said sheds light on how she would act as attorney general.</p> <p>As a young associate at Covington &amp; Burling, she was part of a pro bono legal team representing women incarcerated in the Washington D.C. whose rights, the court found, were systematically violated. Eve has also described the conditions faced by the women she represented.</p> <p>“One of my clients literally had her legs shackled to a hospital bed as she was bringing a child into this world,” she said in the interview, reiterating something she has stressed repeatedly on the campaign trail. “Some of our clients literally felt that they had no choice but to engage in sexual acts with prison guards in order to be guaranteed an opportunity to visit with their children, something that they otherwise were entitled to do.”</p> <p>“Obviously, this is inhumane conduct, it’s illegal conduct, it’s unconstitutional conduct,” she continued, “and I’m proud to say that I took on the D.C. prison system, filed suit, fought hard, and we won.”</p> <p>The precedent-setting case — which she said sparked prison reform nationwide — was not the only case from the early part of her career in which she successfully represented victims whose civil rights were violated. A church group of African-American young women who stayed at a hotel in Western New York, Eve recalled, were subjected to racial discrimination, and were granted a favorable ruling after she represented them pro bono.</p> <p>Asked what she took away from her time in law, Eve said she learned how to “best and powerfully give voice to an injustice” while facing off against a more puissant opponent. &nbsp;</p> <p>“I say that because I have these very powerful, vivid memories of being in some of the D.C. prisons, spending time with my clients, hearing about what happened to them, and then saying, ‘We must fix this, we must stop this,’ and then translating that experience … into a detailed complaint,” she explained. ”When you represent hundreds of women who are incarcerated, who by and large are powerless, by and large [are] uneducated, and your opponent is the government representing the most powerful city in the most powerful nation on earth, you have a battle on your hands.”</p> <p>Thus before she even turned 30 — a “baby lawyer,” as she described it — she learned how to fight and beat powerful forces. &nbsp;</p> <p>Yet those highlights from the fledgling stages of her law career — working to help incarcerated women and victims of racial discrimination — come in contrast to her more corporate, establishment-oriented work in recent years. Eve was proud of her work in both Clinton’s and Biden’s offices, where she says she advised then-Senator Biden on immigration issues and the Violence Against Women Act. She said these jobs should and would be viewed as an asset, not a fault. She has repeatedly defended her ties to the long-time Democratic politicians whose politics have fallen out of favor with much of the left wing of the party that appears energized by the presidential candidacy of Senator Bernie Sanders and Trump’s election.</p> <p>Eve has argued her own progressive credentials, including her work drafting votings rights legislation and her plan to pursue both voting and criminal justice reform if elected attorney general. For Cuomo, Eve was a top economic development aide.</p> <p>Asked about her most recent work, corporate lobbying for Verizon, she said, “I am proud to work for a company that employs nearly 20,000 people with good jobs and invests billion in this state.”</p> <p>“People are still hungry for good-paying jobs,” she continued. “You want companies to be here. You want companies to expand and grow.”</p> <p>She said should two unnamed candidates — presumably Teachout and James — take the attorney general job some companies would be “running for the hills,” in an apparent reference to the candidates’ being furthest to the left and promising to crack down on bad actors in a variety of sectors. &nbsp;</p> <p>Eve went on to say she knows how to appropriately do that work due to her experience and took a less-than-subtle jab at Teachout.</p> <p>“What you need as an attorney general that understands how most aggressively to go after bad corporate actors. And someone who knows only what she teaches in a classroom is not that person,” she said. “Taking on extremely tough fights has prepared me to take on what are going to be tough fights to hold this administration accountable, to hold Donald Trump personally accountable, and to hold bad actors in this state accountable as well.”</p> <p> </p> <p>With additional reporting from Victor Porcelli and Annie Abreu</p> Vacancy in the Public Advocate's Office? Call the City Council Speaker 2018-09-06T04:00:00+00:00 2018-09-06T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7918:vacancy-in-the-public-advocate-s-office-call-the-city-council-speaker Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/tish-james-co-jo-cityhall.jpg" alt="tish james co jo cityhall" width="600" /></p> <p>Letitia James and Corey Johnson (photo: Gotham Gazette)</p> <hr /> <p>Two former speakers of the New York City Council -- Melissa Mark-Viverito and Christine Quinn -- are on the list of possible contenders for a potential vacancy in the office of public advocate should the current occupant, Letitia James, win the post of attorney general in this fall’s elections. But it’s the sitting Council speaker, Corey Johnson, who will get to do the job first if that scenario came to pass.</p> <p>James is competing against three other Democrats to win the party’s primary nomination for attorney general on September 13. She has been the presumed frontrunner for months, with the blessing of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Democratic Party, though one of her opponents, Fordham Law professor Zephyr Teachout, has picked up strong momentum and several prominent endorsement in recent weeks.</p> <p>If James prevails in the primary then the general, assuming she is sworn in an attorney general at the start of 2019, it would trigger a nonpartisan special election to be held roughly 51 days later. And for those seven weeks or so, the City Council speaker would assume her duties.</p> <p>Under Section 44 of the City Charter, in the event of a vacancy in the public advocate’s office, “the speaker shall act as public advocate pending the filling of the vacancy pursuant to subdivision c of section twenty-four, and shall be a member of every board of which the public advocate is a member by virtue of his or her office.”</p> <p>It would be the first time since the creation of the office of public advocate and the current office of the speaker, through a charter revision in 1989, that the clause would go into effect. It’s unclear how the speaker would approach the dual role, even in the interim, as he would both lead his 51-member legislative body and large central staff, and, as the title suggests, an office that advocates for the interests of everyday New Yorkers and keeps a watch on the functions and failures of city government. Both Johnson’s and James’ offices declined to comment for this article. Johnson has endorsed James for attorney general.</p> <p>“If you get a vacancy, you want to get it filled by someone. Elections are gonna take a long time. A short time but a long time,” said Eric Lane, the Eric J. Schmertz Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Public Service at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law, Hofstra University. Lane served as executive director and counsel to the 1989 charter revision commission, which overhauled the structure of city government and created the positions that James and Johnson now hold.</p> <p>“We definitely didn’t want the mayor to make that appointment,” Lane said, explaining the thinking behind the line of succession for public advocate. “In an intensely administrative government, where the mayor holds so much power, it’s the public advocate’s function to be a watchdog on that power.” The public advocate is also next in line to the mayoralty if a sitting mayor is removed from office or unable to carry out his or her duties.&nbsp;</p> <p>The public advocate was formerly known as the City Council president, but the position’s powers were stripped by the 1989 commission through the creation of the City Council speaker. The commission then decided to retain and re-envision the public advocate’s office in its current form, Lane said. “It was, in some ways, the least significant, most controversial topic we considered in the 1989 commission,” he said, noting that there was hotly-contested debate over the necessity of another citywide office. The rationale behind it was two-fold, he insisted. To have another set of independent eyes on the city bureaucracy and to allow minority communities to have a more participatory role in city politics.</p> <p>Given the public advocate’s connection with the City Council, it then made sense for the vacancy to fall to the speaker. “We could’ve appointed the comptroller,” Lane conceded, “but at the time, we thought it would be more consistent with what the Council does. The Council had a relationship with that office, historically.”</p> <p>[Read: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7910-potentially-crowded-public-advocate-special-election-could-feature-two-former-council-speakers" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Potentially Crowded Public Advocate Special Election Could Feature Two Former Council Speakers</a>]</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/graphics/2018/tish-james-co-jo-cityhall.jpg" alt="tish james co jo cityhall" width="600" /></p> <p>Letitia James and Corey Johnson (photo: Gotham Gazette)</p> <hr /> <p>Two former speakers of the New York City Council -- Melissa Mark-Viverito and Christine Quinn -- are on the list of possible contenders for a potential vacancy in the office of public advocate should the current occupant, Letitia James, win the post of attorney general in this fall’s elections. But it’s the sitting Council speaker, Corey Johnson, who will get to do the job first if that scenario came to pass.</p> <p>James is competing against three other Democrats to win the party’s primary nomination for attorney general on September 13. She has been the presumed frontrunner for months, with the blessing of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Democratic Party, though one of her opponents, Fordham Law professor Zephyr Teachout, has picked up strong momentum and several prominent endorsement in recent weeks.</p> <p>If James prevails in the primary then the general, assuming she is sworn in an attorney general at the start of 2019, it would trigger a nonpartisan special election to be held roughly 51 days later. And for those seven weeks or so, the City Council speaker would assume her duties.</p> <p>Under Section 44 of the City Charter, in the event of a vacancy in the public advocate’s office, “the speaker shall act as public advocate pending the filling of the vacancy pursuant to subdivision c of section twenty-four, and shall be a member of every board of which the public advocate is a member by virtue of his or her office.”</p> <p>It would be the first time since the creation of the office of public advocate and the current office of the speaker, through a charter revision in 1989, that the clause would go into effect. It’s unclear how the speaker would approach the dual role, even in the interim, as he would both lead his 51-member legislative body and large central staff, and, as the title suggests, an office that advocates for the interests of everyday New Yorkers and keeps a watch on the functions and failures of city government. Both Johnson’s and James’ offices declined to comment for this article. Johnson has endorsed James for attorney general.</p> <p>“If you get a vacancy, you want to get it filled by someone. Elections are gonna take a long time. A short time but a long time,” said Eric Lane, the Eric J. Schmertz Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Public Service at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law, Hofstra University. Lane served as executive director and counsel to the 1989 charter revision commission, which overhauled the structure of city government and created the positions that James and Johnson now hold.</p> <p>“We definitely didn’t want the mayor to make that appointment,” Lane said, explaining the thinking behind the line of succession for public advocate. “In an intensely administrative government, where the mayor holds so much power, it’s the public advocate’s function to be a watchdog on that power.” The public advocate is also next in line to the mayoralty if a sitting mayor is removed from office or unable to carry out his or her duties.&nbsp;</p> <p>The public advocate was formerly known as the City Council president, but the position’s powers were stripped by the 1989 commission through the creation of the City Council speaker. The commission then decided to retain and re-envision the public advocate’s office in its current form, Lane said. “It was, in some ways, the least significant, most controversial topic we considered in the 1989 commission,” he said, noting that there was hotly-contested debate over the necessity of another citywide office. The rationale behind it was two-fold, he insisted. To have another set of independent eyes on the city bureaucracy and to allow minority communities to have a more participatory role in city politics.</p> <p>Given the public advocate’s connection with the City Council, it then made sense for the vacancy to fall to the speaker. “We could’ve appointed the comptroller,” Lane conceded, “but at the time, we thought it would be more consistent with what the Council does. The Council had a relationship with that office, historically.”</p> <p>[Read: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7910-potentially-crowded-public-advocate-special-election-could-feature-two-former-council-speakers" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Potentially Crowded Public Advocate Special Election Could Feature Two Former Council Speakers</a>]</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</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>

***
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>

***
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>
Potentially Crowded Public Advocate Special Election Could Feature Two Former Council Speakers 2018-09-03T04:00:00+00:00 2018-09-03T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7910:potentially-crowded-public-advocate-special-election-could-feature-two-former-council-speakers Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/3749385121_4288a8d47c_z.jpg" alt="Quinn Mark-Viverito" width="600" height="456" /></p> <p>Christine Quinn, center, &amp; Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo: City Council on flickr)</p> <hr /> <p>The September primary election is just over one week away and if New York City Public Advocate Letitia James wins the Democratic nomination for attorney general over her three primary opponents, she will be a significant favorite to win the position in November owing in large part to the state’s Democrat-heavy electorate. No Republican has won statewide since Governor George Pataki captured a third term in 2002; it’s been far longer for a Republican attorney general.</p> <p>James winning the nomination will likely kick-off, in earnest, a mad scramble by several sitting and former elected officials who may seek to replace her through the at-that-point nearly certain special election for her citywide seat. Among the stronger potential contenders discussed in Democratic circles are two former speakers of the New York City Council -- Melissa Mark-Viverito, who led the body until last year, and Christine Quinn, her predecessor.</p> <p>[Read: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7681-james-victory-in-attorney-general-race-could-trigger-first-citywide-special-election" target="_blank" rel="noopener">James Victory in Attorney General Race Would Trigger Citywide Special Election</a>]</p> <p>While they come from different wings of the New York Democratic Party, both Mark-Viverito and Quinn are firebrand politicians in their own right, and both made history in their respective ascensions to the speakership.</p> <p>Quinn, a Democrat who represented parts of the lower west side of Manhattan, became the first openly gay and first female speaker in 2006, presiding over the 51-member legislative body for two four-year terms. For the last three years, since being term-limited out of office and losing in the 2013 mayoral primary, she has served as president and CEO of Women in Need (WIN), a nonprofit that provides services to homeless women and children. Some Democrats and others have criticized Quinn for her close working relationship with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, including the effort to extend term limits, which allowed Bloomberg, Quinn, and others to seek a third term in 2009 despite public disapproval. She is currently a close ally of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who appointed her vice chair of the New York State Democratic Committee.</p> <p>Mark-Viverito, a Puerto Rican native who represented a district that includes East Harlem and part of the south Bronx, became the Council’s first Latina speaker in 2014, pushing a broad agenda of criminal justice reform, immigrant protection, police accountability and affordable housing. In January, she became a senior adviser at the Latino Victory Fund PAC, a group that supports Latino candidates for elected office. As speaker, Mark-Viverito was at times criticized for her close relationship with Mayor Bill de Blasio, a fellow progressive Democrat, and she has been an outspoken critic of the governor, endorsing his primary opponent, Cynthia Nixon. Mark-Viverito is one of a relatively small group of prominent Democrats that is backing Nixon for governor and James for attorney general.</p> <p>After a New York Law School panel earlier this month, Quinn did not deny having an eye on the office of public advocate. “We have to get Tish James elected and that’s what I’m focused on and also let’s not forget the Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul, we have to get reelected,” she told Gotham Gazette, when asked if she had considered running for public advocate in the event of James’ ascension to attorney general. “Right now, I am focused, most importantly, on running WIN and helping the homeless families that we serve...and then in my spare time, so to speak, among other things, I’m helping candidates and friends run for office. So that’s what this summer and fall is about.”</p> <p>Pressed further, she simply repeated the statement. “That’s what this summer and fall is about.”</p> <p>Mark-Viverito is slightly less circumspect about her own political future. “I’ve been consistent in saying that I’m really proud of the record that I have accomplished and the issues that I’ve championed and what we’ve been able to get done in the city of New York,” she told Gotham Gazette in a recent phone interview. “I’m not gonna close the door on looking at possibilities in the future if other positions or other opportunities became available...So if there is an opportunity that presents itself, I will definitely be taking a look at that. And I feel strongly that Tish will win so we’ll have that conversation later.”</p> <p>She emphasized that she brings a strong perspective to policy-making as a Latina representing a low-income community. “I think that’s something that we consistently need to have in positions of authority in the city,” Mark-Viverito said. “And I believe my record speaks for itself and I look forward to being able to continue to serve this wonderful city.”</p> <p>The special election, if there is one, would take place in March, assuming James is sworn in January 1 and vacates her current seat. Special elections for public advocate are nonpartisan, and each candidate would have to run on their own unique political party ballot line. The winner would then have to run for the seat again in a primary and general election later in 2019, if that person wants to keep the position.</p> <p>There are several others who have either been floated as candidates or have signalled an interest in becoming the city’s ombudsperson, a post also considered a strong launching pad for a mayoral bid as de Blasio illustrated. They include sitting City Council Members Rafael Espinal, Ydanis Rodriguez, Ritchie Torres, and Joe Borelli, the only Republican among them. All of them but Borelli will be term-limited out of office in 2021. State Assemblymember Michael Blake is another potential candidate, as are Republican attorney J.C. Polanco and Columbia professor David Eisenbach, who both challenged James when she was up for reelection last year -- Eisenbach in the primary and Polanco in the general. Eisenbach has already officially filed papers with the New York City Campaign Finance Board.</p> <p>“I think the position obviously has a lot of potential,” said a Democratic consultant who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “It has different potential than being the City Council speaker where you’re not just responsible for yourself, you’re responsible for 50 other members, hundreds of staff, dozens of appointments here or there. It’s a different set of responsibilities and in the hands of someone who understands the levers of government, who understands the bully pulpit and is sort of willing to take bold steps, it can be a very strong position.”</p> <p>The public advocate can act as more than just a “counterweight to the mayor,” the consultant said. “That person also can establish themselves as someone who is also driving the agenda for New York, and that’s something we haven’t really seen since Mark Green,” the person added, referring to the city’s first-ever public advocate, who served from 1994 to 2001.</p> <p>Espinal, a Brooklyn representative, said in an email, “I’m seriously considering it, and whether to launch a campaign will come down to the positive energy and support from New Yorkers.”</p> <p>A spokesperson for Rodriguez, whose district covers neighborhoods in upper Manhattan and a small section of the Bronx, said, “[Council Member Rodriguez] is committed to supporting Public Advocate James in her run for attorney general as she is the most qualified in the race. Should there be a special election for public advocate, he would consider running for that seat.”</p> <p>Torres, in a statement through a spokesperson, said, “I am still thinking about it and where I would be most effective. I’m debating which position would allow me to be a better advocate for the city.” The Bronx Council member is also said to be looking at a run for Congress or Bronx borough president.</p> <p>Borelli also said he was considering a run for public advocate, though he conceded that it would be tough to retain. “It’s possible to win a special, but it will be difficult for a Republican to win the following November,” he said in a text message.</p> <p>When asked about Quinn and Mark-Viverito both running, he said, “Each would be formidable.”</p> <p>Shortly before a primary debate among the four Democratic attorney general candidates on Tuesday, Assembly Member Blake told Gotham Gazette he was watching closely in case James’ seat becomes vacant. “She’s gotta win first, but it would be irresponsible not to be looking at it,” he said about considering a run. “First and foremost, this is brand new terrain for all of us. The possibility for a citywide special election is unique to say the least...Out of respect for everybody in the field, this is a moot point unless [James] is the attorney general, and we’re gonna be respectful of that.”</p> <p>He added, “As I tell my team often, proper preparation prevents poor performance. So you’re just ready, and if that opportunity presents itself, we have some serious decisions to make.”</p> <p>Blake, who is a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, was the campaign manager for 2013 public advocate candidate Reshma Saujani, giving him some recent experience with a citywide race. He was then elected to the Assembly in 2014.</p> <p>No current elected official would have to give up their seat to run in the special election, but, if victorious, would then have to vacate their position to become public advocate.</p> <p>As Borelli alluded to, one effect of numerous Democrats entering the fray is that they could split the vote in what will likely be a low-turnout special election, offering up an opportunity for a Republican to claim victory.</p> <p>Polanco, the attorney and former public advocate candidate, recognizes that opening. Having run for the seat just last year, he has certain advantages. “Whoever is gonna come from our side, there has to be just one candidate,” Polanco said in a phone interview. “We’re small enough as it is. Even in a non-partisan race, you’re gonna need organizational support. So the organizations have to line up behind one candidate from the beginning in order for us to have a shot.”</p> <p>Polanco noted that the nonpartisan aspect of the election is “always good for democracy, always good for participation,” since voters won’t necessarily make choices along party lines. But he also echoed the risk for any sitting Republican elected official who might run, as Borelli noted. “Do you give up your Council seat for that? I don’t know whether that’s a good gamble or not, especially if you have three years left on your Council seat,” Polanco said.</p> <p>Polanco also weighed in on the potential contest between two former Council speakers, saying Quinn would be the “ultimate” candidate. “She’s the most qualified of the candidates on that side running,” he said. “But I think the Democratic Party of today is more along the lines of Melissa Mark-Viverito. The Ocasio-Cortezes of the world, the democratic socialists, are getting momentum. She represents that faction. We can’t kid ourselves.”</p> <p>

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

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/3749385121_4288a8d47c_z.jpg" alt="Quinn Mark-Viverito" width="600" height="456" /></p> <p>Christine Quinn, center, &amp; Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo: City Council on flickr)</p> <hr /> <p>The September primary election is just over one week away and if New York City Public Advocate Letitia James wins the Democratic nomination for attorney general over her three primary opponents, she will be a significant favorite to win the position in November owing in large part to the state’s Democrat-heavy electorate. No Republican has won statewide since Governor George Pataki captured a third term in 2002; it’s been far longer for a Republican attorney general.</p> <p>James winning the nomination will likely kick-off, in earnest, a mad scramble by several sitting and former elected officials who may seek to replace her through the at-that-point nearly certain special election for her citywide seat. Among the stronger potential contenders discussed in Democratic circles are two former speakers of the New York City Council -- Melissa Mark-Viverito, who led the body until last year, and Christine Quinn, her predecessor.</p> <p>[Read: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7681-james-victory-in-attorney-general-race-could-trigger-first-citywide-special-election" target="_blank" rel="noopener">James Victory in Attorney General Race Would Trigger Citywide Special Election</a>]</p> <p>While they come from different wings of the New York Democratic Party, both Mark-Viverito and Quinn are firebrand politicians in their own right, and both made history in their respective ascensions to the speakership.</p> <p>Quinn, a Democrat who represented parts of the lower west side of Manhattan, became the first openly gay and first female speaker in 2006, presiding over the 51-member legislative body for two four-year terms. For the last three years, since being term-limited out of office and losing in the 2013 mayoral primary, she has served as president and CEO of Women in Need (WIN), a nonprofit that provides services to homeless women and children. Some Democrats and others have criticized Quinn for her close working relationship with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, including the effort to extend term limits, which allowed Bloomberg, Quinn, and others to seek a third term in 2009 despite public disapproval. She is currently a close ally of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who appointed her vice chair of the New York State Democratic Committee.</p> <p>Mark-Viverito, a Puerto Rican native who represented a district that includes East Harlem and part of the south Bronx, became the Council’s first Latina speaker in 2014, pushing a broad agenda of criminal justice reform, immigrant protection, police accountability and affordable housing. In January, she became a senior adviser at the Latino Victory Fund PAC, a group that supports Latino candidates for elected office. As speaker, Mark-Viverito was at times criticized for her close relationship with Mayor Bill de Blasio, a fellow progressive Democrat, and she has been an outspoken critic of the governor, endorsing his primary opponent, Cynthia Nixon. Mark-Viverito is one of a relatively small group of prominent Democrats that is backing Nixon for governor and James for attorney general.</p> <p>After a New York Law School panel earlier this month, Quinn did not deny having an eye on the office of public advocate. “We have to get Tish James elected and that’s what I’m focused on and also let’s not forget the Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul, we have to get reelected,” she told Gotham Gazette, when asked if she had considered running for public advocate in the event of James’ ascension to attorney general. “Right now, I am focused, most importantly, on running WIN and helping the homeless families that we serve...and then in my spare time, so to speak, among other things, I’m helping candidates and friends run for office. So that’s what this summer and fall is about.”</p> <p>Pressed further, she simply repeated the statement. “That’s what this summer and fall is about.”</p> <p>Mark-Viverito is slightly less circumspect about her own political future. “I’ve been consistent in saying that I’m really proud of the record that I have accomplished and the issues that I’ve championed and what we’ve been able to get done in the city of New York,” she told Gotham Gazette in a recent phone interview. “I’m not gonna close the door on looking at possibilities in the future if other positions or other opportunities became available...So if there is an opportunity that presents itself, I will definitely be taking a look at that. And I feel strongly that Tish will win so we’ll have that conversation later.”</p> <p>She emphasized that she brings a strong perspective to policy-making as a Latina representing a low-income community. “I think that’s something that we consistently need to have in positions of authority in the city,” Mark-Viverito said. “And I believe my record speaks for itself and I look forward to being able to continue to serve this wonderful city.”</p> <p>The special election, if there is one, would take place in March, assuming James is sworn in January 1 and vacates her current seat. Special elections for public advocate are nonpartisan, and each candidate would have to run on their own unique political party ballot line. The winner would then have to run for the seat again in a primary and general election later in 2019, if that person wants to keep the position.</p> <p>There are several others who have either been floated as candidates or have signalled an interest in becoming the city’s ombudsperson, a post also considered a strong launching pad for a mayoral bid as de Blasio illustrated. They include sitting City Council Members Rafael Espinal, Ydanis Rodriguez, Ritchie Torres, and Joe Borelli, the only Republican among them. All of them but Borelli will be term-limited out of office in 2021. State Assemblymember Michael Blake is another potential candidate, as are Republican attorney J.C. Polanco and Columbia professor David Eisenbach, who both challenged James when she was up for reelection last year -- Eisenbach in the primary and Polanco in the general. Eisenbach has already officially filed papers with the New York City Campaign Finance Board.</p> <p>“I think the position obviously has a lot of potential,” said a Democratic consultant who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “It has different potential than being the City Council speaker where you’re not just responsible for yourself, you’re responsible for 50 other members, hundreds of staff, dozens of appointments here or there. It’s a different set of responsibilities and in the hands of someone who understands the levers of government, who understands the bully pulpit and is sort of willing to take bold steps, it can be a very strong position.”</p> <p>The public advocate can act as more than just a “counterweight to the mayor,” the consultant said. “That person also can establish themselves as someone who is also driving the agenda for New York, and that’s something we haven’t really seen since Mark Green,” the person added, referring to the city’s first-ever public advocate, who served from 1994 to 2001.</p> <p>Espinal, a Brooklyn representative, said in an email, “I’m seriously considering it, and whether to launch a campaign will come down to the positive energy and support from New Yorkers.”</p> <p>A spokesperson for Rodriguez, whose district covers neighborhoods in upper Manhattan and a small section of the Bronx, said, “[Council Member Rodriguez] is committed to supporting Public Advocate James in her run for attorney general as she is the most qualified in the race. Should there be a special election for public advocate, he would consider running for that seat.”</p> <p>Torres, in a statement through a spokesperson, said, “I am still thinking about it and where I would be most effective. I’m debating which position would allow me to be a better advocate for the city.” The Bronx Council member is also said to be looking at a run for Congress or Bronx borough president.</p> <p>Borelli also said he was considering a run for public advocate, though he conceded that it would be tough to retain. “It’s possible to win a special, but it will be difficult for a Republican to win the following November,” he said in a text message.</p> <p>When asked about Quinn and Mark-Viverito both running, he said, “Each would be formidable.”</p> <p>Shortly before a primary debate among the four Democratic attorney general candidates on Tuesday, Assembly Member Blake told Gotham Gazette he was watching closely in case James’ seat becomes vacant. “She’s gotta win first, but it would be irresponsible not to be looking at it,” he said about considering a run. “First and foremost, this is brand new terrain for all of us. The possibility for a citywide special election is unique to say the least...Out of respect for everybody in the field, this is a moot point unless [James] is the attorney general, and we’re gonna be respectful of that.”</p> <p>He added, “As I tell my team often, proper preparation prevents poor performance. So you’re just ready, and if that opportunity presents itself, we have some serious decisions to make.”</p> <p>Blake, who is a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, was the campaign manager for 2013 public advocate candidate Reshma Saujani, giving him some recent experience with a citywide race. He was then elected to the Assembly in 2014.</p> <p>No current elected official would have to give up their seat to run in the special election, but, if victorious, would then have to vacate their position to become public advocate.</p> <p>As Borelli alluded to, one effect of numerous Democrats entering the fray is that they could split the vote in what will likely be a low-turnout special election, offering up an opportunity for a Republican to claim victory.</p> <p>Polanco, the attorney and former public advocate candidate, recognizes that opening. Having run for the seat just last year, he has certain advantages. “Whoever is gonna come from our side, there has to be just one candidate,” Polanco said in a phone interview. “We’re small enough as it is. Even in a non-partisan race, you’re gonna need organizational support. So the organizations have to line up behind one candidate from the beginning in order for us to have a shot.”</p> <p>Polanco noted that the nonpartisan aspect of the election is “always good for democracy, always good for participation,” since voters won’t necessarily make choices along party lines. But he also echoed the risk for any sitting Republican elected official who might run, as Borelli noted. “Do you give up your Council seat for that? I don’t know whether that’s a good gamble or not, especially if you have three years left on your Council seat,” Polanco said.</p> <p>Polanco also weighed in on the potential contest between two former Council speakers, saying Quinn would be the “ultimate” candidate. “She’s the most qualified of the candidates on that side running,” he said. “But I think the Democratic Party of today is more along the lines of Melissa Mark-Viverito. The Ocasio-Cortezes of the world, the democratic socialists, are getting momentum. She represents that faction. We can’t kid ourselves.”</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

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