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Max & Murphy Podcast: Attorney General Candidate Leecia Eve

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Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette, and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits

July 25, 2018 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Attorney General Candidate Leecia Eve

leecia eve attLeecia Eve is one of four Democrats vying for the party's nomination to become the next Attorney General of New York. Eve has a long resume practicing law and serving in government, including work for then-Senator Joe Biden, then-Senator Hillary Clinton, and Governor Andrew Cuomo. Eve, most recently an executive with Verizon, joined Max & Murphy for the second show on WBAI radio, discussing her career and her candidacy for attorney general.

The podcast includes the full Max & Murphy hour on WBAI, including the conversation with Eve, listener calls, and other discussion of the recent political news.

Listen to the full conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter @TweetBenMax and @JarrettMurphy. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts, under "Max & Murphy," and listen to the show on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. on WBAI radio, 99.5FM or wbai.org

by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette

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In Midst of Attorney General Campaign, Teachout to Join New York Bar


Zephyr Teachout (photo: zephyrforny.com)

Zephyr Teachout is set to cast aside a key question surrounding her candidacy for New York Attorney General. After filing the appropriate paperwork, reviewing the required “orientation” course online, and sitting for the necessary interview, Teachout will be sworn into the New York Bar on August 22.

Teachout, running in a four-way Democratic primary, is seeking to become the state’s top legal officer. She has been licensed to practice law in North Carolina, where she did legal work early in her career, and has been teaching at Fordham Law School for a number of years, during which time she has also run for governor in 2014, run for Congress in 2016, and been a part of lawsuit aimed at President Donald Trump, alleging that he has violated the "emoluments clause" of the U.S. Constitution.

The process of becoming admitted to the Bar in New York was fairly easy given the arrangement between New York and North Carolina, but some critics and opponents raised questions about Teachout’s law license in the early weeks of her campaign given that she was not licensed to practice law in New York as she launched her bid to become its top attorney. Bar admittance does not appear to be a legal necessity to hold the position of New York attorney general, but it does appear to be a practical necessity and a political issue.

"Zephyr has been a lawyer for 17 years, and taught law in New York for the past decade,” said Teachout campaign spokesperson Cristina Gonzalez, in a statement to Gotham Gazette. “She has also been engaged in high level litigation, including appearing in the Southern District of New York last fall in the groundbreaking lawsuit against Donald Trump. Since New York and North Carolina, where she has been licensed for 17 years, have full reciprocity, the admission on motion process was very simple."

Teachout is running for attorney general promising to use the law “as a sword” as well as a shield for New York and its people, pledging to investigate and, when warranted, file litigation against Trump, his administration, businesses, foundation, and associates; as well as bad actors in the real estate and financial sectors, corrupt political figures, and others who may break the public trust and the law. The attorney general can file litigation to defend New York and its residents, and is also responsible for defending the state in legal proceedings and for enforcing a wide variety of laws within the state.

Teachout’s competition for the Democratic nomination includes New York City Public Advocate Letitia James; Leecia Eve, a Verizon executive and former aide to then-Senator Hillary Clinton and Governor Andrew Cuomo; and U.S. Representative Sean Patrick Maloney. James, a former assistant attorney general under Eliot Spitzer and former public defender with The Legal Aid Society, has attempted to turn her relatively small citywide elected office into a law firm of sorts, hiring more attorneys and filing more litigation against the city than her predecessors in the ill-defined role of public advocate. Some of these efforts have led to reforms while several have been tossed due to a lack of standing, something James wants to see changed in the city’s charter.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican nominee Keith Wofford and Green Party nominee Michael Sussman in the general election. Wofford is currently on leave from his firm, Ropes & Gray, where he was “co-managing partner of the firm’s 300-lawyer New York office,” according to the firm's website.

The primary race among Teachout, James, Eve, and Maloney appears wide open, with polls showing James in the frontrunner position but most voters undecided. James has the backing of the State Democratic Party and Governor Andrew Cuomo, whom Teachout challenged in the gubernatorial primary four years ago. James’ cross-endorsement with Cuomo has been a source of criticism for her given calls for the attorney general to be completely independent from the governor and to better root out public corruption given the scourge that continues to plague state government.

There is only a competitive Democratic primary because former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned abruptly earlier this year amid allegations of domestic violence against multiple intimate partners. Then-Solicitor General Barbara Underwood became Attorney General and is serving out the final months of Schneiderman’s second term. She has said she has no interest in running for elected office. The primary is September 13.

Asked what sets her apart from her competitors during a recent appearance on the Max & Murphy podcast from Gotham Gazette and City Limits, Teachout said, “One, for nearly 20 years I have been steeped in cutting edge law around anti-corruption and constitutional law, which is essential at this moment with the Trump threat and with our own corruption threat in New York state.” She also listed a variety of areas where she has taken a stand and all or most of her competition has not, such as calling for the head of the state’s main state government ethics body, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, to step down.

Her application to become admitted to the Bar in New York does not appear to have been hindered by the fact that in 2005 Teachout was reprimanded by the North Carolina Bar for not having notified the court and her opposing counsel of her address change while she was still second chair for a client facing the death penalty, the type of legal work Teachout did in North Carolina. While finding that she violated the code of conduct, the Bar's grievance committee chose the middle of three sanctions, and, in its ruling, explained that Teachout had not impacted her client's case, nor had the client complained.

Teachout was recently notified of her acceptance to the New York Bar and summoned to appear on Wednesday, August 22 at State Supreme Court in Brooklyn to be sworn in as a member. The ceremony will consist of an oral oath and the signing of the “oath book” affirming it. “This is to comply with Section 466 of the Judiciary Law which requires every newly admitted attorney to subscribe and take the constitutional Oath of Office,” reads a letter Teachout received.

[Listen: Max & Murphy Podcast: Attorney General Candidate Zephyr Teachout]

by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette

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Note: this article has been updated with information about Teachout's 2005 reprimand by the North Carolina Bar.

In Democratic Senate Primary, Barkan Criticizes Gounardes for Embracing 'Anti-Immigrant' Reform Party Leader

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Ross Barkan (photo: @RossBarkan)

As the contested Democratic primary for a southern Brooklyn state Senate seat heats up with less than two months to go, reporter-turned-candidate Ross Barkan is calling out his opponent Andrew Gounardes for accepting the endorsement of the Reform Party and its local leader, Bob Capano, who has a history of anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Barkan and Gounardes are competing ahead of the September 13 primary for the Democratic nomination in state Senate District 22, hoping to unseat Senator Marty Golden, one of the few Republican elected officials in the city. The district covers swaths of southern Brooklyn, including Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Marine Park, and Gerritsen Beach.

Immigration justice is a prominent part of Barkan’s policy platform, and one that has taken on added significance under the Trump administration with its “zero tolerance” policy towards illegal immigration and some asylum seekers. Barkan has called for abolishing ICE, the immigration enforcement agency, and supports the passage of the New York Liberty Act, the DREAM Act, and giving driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, among other immigrant protections.

Gounardes, who is the general counsel to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and a longtime Democratic presence in the area, including a 2012 bid to unseat Golden, has a similar platform and has backed some of the same policies as Barkan, including driver’s licenses and the Liberty Act. Gounardes is in favor of removing ICE from courthouses in the city but has not called for doing away with the agency entirely. He has the backing of the Working Families Party (WFP), prominent labor unions, and Democratic clubs. His previous boss, former City Council Member Vincent Gentile, has endorsed him as well, and he is close to the current Council Member in the area, Justin Brannan.

Gounardes’ outspoken support of immigrant rights, however, conflicts with his embrace of Capano, the Brooklyn Reform Party chair. Gounardes’ campaign website notably does not tout the Reform Party endorsement, which he received last month after being handed a Wilson Pakula certificate to obtain the party’s ballot line. He is running unopposed in the Reform Party primary and therefore is guaranteed both the Reform and WFP lines on the November 7 general election ballot (it is unlikely he would run a campaign in the general if he loses the Democratic primary to Barkan, however).

Capano, an adjunct political science professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, unsuccessfully ran as a Republican to replace Gentile in the 43rd Council District, when Gentile was term-limited out of the City Council last year. Capano and his branch of the Reform Party skew conservative, and he has been vocal in his anti-immigrant positions. He has been a prominent supporter of President Donald Trump and endorsed him in the 2016 Republican primary. He opposes Mayor Bill de Blasio’s progressive policies and recently supported ICE’s detention of Pablo Villavicencio, the undocumented pizza delivery worker who was taken into custody when making a delivery at Fort Hamilton army base.

“Political correctness can’t be allowed to determine which laws are worthy of prosecution and enforcement. The law is the law, and must be followed by all,” Capano wrote in an op-ed for Brooklyn Daily. Last year, Capano was heavily critical of Khader El-Yateem, a Democratic primary candidate for the 43rd Council District, calling the faith leader, who is a Lutheran pastor, a “radical cleric” and insisting that the nonprofit organization where he serves as treasurer, the Arab-American Association of New York, should be investigated for delving into political activities. Capano donated $125 to Gounardes’ campaign, and Curtis Sliwa, the chair of the state Reform Party, donated $100, according to campaign finance filings with the state Board of Elections. While the Reform Party has very few enrolled members, it has a ballot line to offer and a name that signifies good values to many voters.

On Monday, a few hours after Gotham Gazette asked Gounardes’ spokespersons for comment about his embrace of Capano, his campaign sent out a press release touting his immigration platform.

gounardes subway“To equate support with the Reform Party's agenda with anti-immigrant views is spurious,” Gounardes (pictured left) said in a statement to Gotham Gazette. “Throughout my entire career, I have been outspoken in my support for and in defense of immigrants and refugees. I was one of the first people in my neighborhood to vociferously condemn the NYPD's illegal surveillance in mosques, cafes, and bookstores. I have given speeches urging for more to be done to help refugees around the world...I am running a campaign based on action and issues that affect the community, and that is both how and why I will win this November."

Gounardes also noted that he is sponsoring a bystander training session later this week with The Accompany Project, an initiative of the Arab-American Association. The session comes in response to a recent incident of a Muslim woman being verbally accosted on a Staten Island-bound bus.

Barkan, in a phone interview a few hours before Gounardes’ statement, said it was “quite frankly confusing” that Gounardes chose to accept the Reform Party endorsement and align himself with someone whose views are “antithetical” to Democrats in 2018. Barkan, who said he is attending a separate bystander training on Tuesday night sponsored by the city with the AAANY, pointed to the bus incident as evidence that hate is increasingly being normalized even in communities in New York with large immigrant populations.

“My campaign is a repudiation of everything Bob Capano stands for,” Barkan said. “We can’t defeat Marty Golden by emboldening racism and anti-immigrant attacks. We have to counter it at every turn.”

Barkan called on Gounardes to return the donation from Capano and to drop the Reform Party line. “The money’s not the only issue. The issue is a larger one. You’re running on a party line whose borough chair has made the headlines for anti-immigrant attacks, for supporting Donald Trump vociferously. I firmly disagree with any politician or candidate, Andrew or anyone else, who thinks you can run on a party line and take some of what the party stands for but not the rest of it.”

The Barkan campaign connected Gotham Gazette with residents in the district who were apprehensive about Gounardes being allied with Capano.

Fatima Elmansy, a Bay Ridge resident who worked on El-Yateem’s campaign last year, said she decided to vote for Barkan after hearing of Capano’s support for Gounardes.

“[Barkan and Gounardes] both clearly have appealing characteristics and its almost hard to find what exactly the differentiation is,” she said in a phone interview, “but finding this out was very jarring to me and a little concerning. It’s quite difficult to advocate against bigotry and racism and then have something like this happen. It’s almost empowering that. I know Bob Capano...isn’t exactly not a racist.”

She added, “It definitely puts a lot of Andrew’s views into question and in south Brooklyn, in the specific area he’s running in, it’s really important I think to be a very accepting and open person and stand against racism and bigotry very clearly.”

Community organizer and social worker Costa Kokkinos, another resident, said in an email, “Any association or quid pro quo with Bob Capano is troubling news for many reasons. This is the same Bob Capano that spent most of his breath trying to convince voters that he was a bigger supporter of Trump than any other Republican candidate during his City Council campaign last year.”

Capano and other competitors lost the Republican primary by a wide margin to John Quaglione, an aide to Golden, who went on to lose narrowly against Brannan.

Kokkinos also cited Capano’s repeated use of terms like “illegal aliens” to describe immigrants. “I don’t know Andrew Gounardes very well and he seems like a genuinely good person and a good candidate for the State Senate, but if he is so willing to associate with Capano to get a few extra votes, I wonder what he will give this guy in return if he wins?,” Kokkinos wondered. “Is he willing to do the hard identity work that this State Senate district needs to evolve?”

In a statement, Capano said, “Andrew Gounardes and I do not agree on everything. The Reform Party is not about any one person's purported positions, but rather our focus on cleaning up Albany.”

He added, “We respect that Andrew stands up for the causes he believes in, and he is the only candidate, regardless of party, with a platform that will achieve a less corrupt government."

by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

Note: This article has been updated to reflect that Gounardes is sponsoring the Accompany Project event, not just attending it, and Barkan is going to attend a separate event on Tuesday, July 24.

Note: Ross Barkan wrote a handful of articles for Gotham Gazette in 2012-2013.

Leading Immigrant-Advocacy Group Backs Ramos in Bid to Unseat Peralta

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Jessica Ramos (photo: @JessicaRamos)

When state Senator Jose Peralta joined the Independent Democratic Conference at the beginning of last year, he became the latest Democrat to sever ties with his own party and become part of a coalition with Republicans, a move that further consolidated GOP control over the upper chamber of the state Legislature and enraged many Democrats. Fast forward a year and a half, and after considerable criticism and facing primary challengers in this year’s elections, the IDC dissolved its breakaway faction and rejoined the mainline Democrats in a deal brokered in part by Governor Andrew Cuomo, another Democrat facing a primary challenge from his left after being accused of propping up the IDC and Senate Republicans.

But the “unity” deal did not dissuade the primary challengers, nor did it stem the tide of grassroots organizations backing them.

On Tuesday, Make the Road Action, an advocacy group representing the interests of Latino, immigrant, and working-class communities, is endorsing Jessica Ramos’ bid to unseat Peralta in the Democratic primary for Queens’ District 13, which will be voted on September 13. In explaining its endorsement of Ramos, the group notes her track record as a community organizer as well as her progressive platform, which promises to fight for issues like immigrant rights, affordable housing, and public school funding.

In the time leading up to the election, Make the Road Action plans to canvas for Ramos by activating thousands of members to engage voters in the district by going door-to-door and phone-banking. On Tuesday, the group will participate in a walking tour of the district’s public schools with Ramos, gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, and City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, both of whom have also backed Ramos.

“Jessica Ramos has made it clear that she’s ready to fight for our community,” said Ruth López, a member of Make the Road Action, in a statement.

The Senate district -- one of 63 across the state and one of eight represented by former members of the IDC -- encompasses parts of northern Queens. Peralta is in his fourth two-year term as a senator.

Make the Road Action’s endorsement is the latest in a series for Ramos, who is seen as having among the best chances of the challengers taking on former members of the IDC. The challengers and their backers call the previously rogue senators things like “Trump Democrats” for their partnership with Republicans in Albany. Ramos has also been endorsed by advocacy groups including the Working Families Party and Our Revolution, by Nixon, who is challenging Cuomo in the primary, and by Comptroller Scott Stringer, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, as well as Queens City Council Members Van Bramer and Costa Constantinides.

“They deserve a partner in the State Senate who is a real Democrat and will lead on measures to help workers and immigrants thrive,” Ramos said in a statement, referring to Make the Road Action, its members, and the Latinos, immigrants, and workers it represents. “I will be that partner.”

Ramos formerly served as the Director of Latino Media for Mayor Bill de Blasio and as the Democratic District Leader in the 39th Assembly District from 2010 to 2014.

A key pillar of her campaign against Peralta is that the IDC empowered Republicans, helping to keep Democrats from the majority and blocking progressive legislation. IDC members, on the other hand, have argued that they’ve been able to push the Senate Republicans to adopt some progressive policies and that they have been able to deliver more resources to their individual districts.

In particular, Peralta’s move to the IDC last year garnered backlash because of his sponsorship of the DREAM Act, a bill that would allow undocumented students access to college financial aid. Republicans have opposed the bill, raising questions about Peralta’s rationale for working with the IDC and its GOP partners.

In an April interview with City & State, Peralta defended his break with mainline Democrats by citing how the DREAM Act failed to pass by a count of two votes in 2014 because of the internal opposition of two Democrats. “I need to exhaust every opportunity and every avenue to make sure that we can pass these pieces of legislation that are landmark legislation,” he told City & State. The former members of the IDC have pledged that the breakaway conference is over for good, even if Democrats don’t swing enough seats this November to take majority control of the Senate, and thus both houses of the Legislature (the Assembly is controlled by Democrats by a wide margin).

Make the Road Action’s endorsement of Ramos points to immigrant-advocates’ dissatisfaction with Peralta, of particular interest in the immigrant and Latino-heavy district the two candidates are vying to represent. The winner of the primary is virtually assured of winning the general election in the Democrat-dominated district.

“We are proud to endorse her today,” López said of Ramos, “and we’ll do everything we can to get her elected.”

[Listen: Max & Murphy Podcast: IDC Challengers Robert Jackson & Jessica Ramos]

by Chelsey Sanchez, Gotham Gazette
@chelseynsanchez  @GothamGazette

Read more by this writer.

The Week Ahead in New York Politics, July 23

New York City Hall

New York City Hall

What to watch for this week in New York politics:

Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration are reprising the “City Hall in Your Borough” program for the mayor’s second term, beginning this week back on Staten Island, where the mayor held the first of the five such weeks in the final year of his first term. The mayor and many of his top officials and staff will work for much of the week out of offices on Staten Island, intensify meetings and attention on the brough, and organize events, including a public town hall, there.

It’s also “charter week” for the charter revision commission that de Blasio established, which is in the home stretch of its work, holding additional public hearings as it heads toward making its recommendations by early September. Those recommendations will become one or more ballot proposals for voters to approve or disapprove during November’s Election Day, possibly changing the city’s central governing document and the laws therein. The commission’s staff recently released a report providing further clarity about where it is heading in its consideration of proposals, such as lowering individual campaign donation limits.

And we’re inching closer and closer to primary day, September 13, with races across the state heating up, especially Democratic primaries for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and a number of state legislative seats. Republicans have no primaries for statewide positions and few for legislative positions.

We're watching this week for news from or of debates in the statewide races, especially the gubernatorial race, where Cynthia Nixon has challeged Governor Andrew Cuomo to accept a debate challenge. There is another attorney general Democratic candidate forum this week, and another forum for the Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, but it is unclear if Cuomo will attend. The governor is again heading to Puerto Rico on Monday in his administration's continued effort to help the territory rebuild after Hurricane Maria.

It's a quiet week at the City Counil, with no hearings on the calendar, but there are other events to be aware of - see our day-by-day rundown below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
e-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.***

The run of the week in detail:

Mayor de Blasio begin’s “City Hall in Your Borough” on Staten Island Monday. He'll start the day with a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. At about 10 a.m., he'll "be greeted by Borough President Oddo to kick off City Hall in Your Borough," with an open press event, but no Q-and-A, at borough hall. At 2 p.m. at Blue Heron Park and Nature Center, "the Mayor and Borough President Oddo will make an announcement about Lyme Disease prevention. This event is open press. There will be no Q-and-A." In the evening, the mayor will appear on NY1’s Inside City Hall in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours.

"Governor Cuomo will depart for Puerto Rico in the morning and return to New York Tuesday evening." At about 7 a.m. Monday, Cuomo will deliver remarks at JFK Airport before departing for Puerto Rico. At 1:15 p.m. Cuomo will hold a press briefing at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino in San Juan. Public Advocate Letitia James and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. are among those traveling with Cuomo.

At 10 a.m. Monday in Buffalo, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will join Planned Parenthood and state legislators to urge the State Senate to reconvene and pass the Reproductive Health Act." At 11 a.m. Hochul will join County Executive Mark Poloncarz to discuss a report issued by the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women regarding women in government, at the Buffalo History Museum.

At 11 a.m. Monday, City Council Member Andy King and the National Action Network will march to call on merchants to stop selling K2, or synthetic marijuana. The march will begin at the corner of East 216th St and White Plains Road in Williamsbridge, Bronx.

At noon Monday, the Sexual Harassment Working Group and Attorney General candidate Zephyr Teachout will hold a rally outside the Capitol building in Albany to call on state legislators to hold public hearings on sexual harassment and improve the laws passed during this year’s budget.

At 1 p.m. Monday, there will be a rally at City Hall for Pablo Villavicencio, the pizza delivery man and undocumented immigrant who was arrested on a Brooklyn army base and is in danger of deportation. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson is among those who will speak.

The mayoral charter revision commission will hold a public hearing on Monday at 6 p.m. at New York University’s Vanderbilt Hall, 40 Washington Square South, Greenberg Lounge.

On Monday at 6:15 p.m. at Citi Field, “Chancellor Carranza will deliver brief remarks at the Remarkable Achievement Awards, a celebration of outstanding high school graduates.”

At 9 a.m. Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio and Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo will host a city resource fair for Staten Island residents at the Gerard Carter Community Center in Stapleton, as part of City Hall in Your Borough. Mayor de Blasio will attend beginning at 11 a.m.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, the Association for a Better New York will host two talks at LMHQ in the Financial District. The first will have Lisa Bova Hiatt, general counsel of the CUNY Construction Fund, discuss eminent domain. The second will have Anthony Crowell, dean of New York Law School and former counsel to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, discuss the Charter Revision Commission.

The mayoral charter revision commission will hold a public hearing on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. at Hostos Community College in the Bronx.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer will hold a town hall meeting at the Bronx Bethany Church of Nazarene in Wakefield, Bronx. He’ll be joined by U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, State Senator Jamaal Bailey, Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz, and City Council Members Andrew Cohen, Andy King, Mark Gjonaj, and Ritchie Torres.

At 9 a.m. Wednesday, the MTA Board will hold a public meeting.

The mayoral charter revision commission will hold a public hearing on Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Astoria Greenmarket, 14th St & 31st Ave & 31st Road, in Queens. It will also hold a public hearing Wednesday at 6 p.m. at St. Francis College in Brooklyn.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the City Planning Commission will hold a public meeting at 120 Broadway.

This week’s Max & Murphy show on WBAI radio will be on from 5-6 p.m. and feature an interview with Democratic attorney general candidate Leecia Eve. Eve is one of four Democrats vying for the nomination to face Republican Keith Wofford and Green Party nominee Michael Sussman in the general election. This is the second episode of Max & Murphy on WBAI -- the first featured an interview with Public Advocate and attorney general candidate Letitia James -- though it is still available as a podcast. And listen to past episodes of the Max & Murphy podcast here.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, the Panel for Educational Policy will hold a public meeting at Sunset Park High School in Brooklyn. Chancellor Richard Carranza will deliver remarks.

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio will hold a town hall meeting at Curtis High School in St. George, Staten Island with City Council Member Debi Rose, Borough President Oddo, and other Staten Island officials, as part of City Hall in Your Borough week.

At 5:30 p.m. Thursday, New York Law School will host a panel discussion on the right-to-counsel in housing court in New York City, and the activist movements that boosted it. “Panelists will include community organizers, tenant leaders, and tenant attorneys.” The event is for law students.

The mayoral charter revision commission will hold a public hearing on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Queens Borough Hall.

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Empire State Indivisible and TrueBlueNY will host a forum for candidates for New York Attorney General. The event will take place at Brooklyn Commons in Downtown Brooklyn. The forum will be moderated by Jarrett Berg, the executive director of the New York Democratic Lawyers Council.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, Westchester Indivisible will host a candidate forum for Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor at Manhattanville College’s Reid Castle in Purchase. Author Amy Siskind will moderate the forum. Invited candidates include Governor Andrew Cuomo and Cynthia Nixon, and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and City Council Member Jumaane Williams.

Friday and the weekend
This week’s What’s The [Data] Point? Podcast from Gotham Gazette and Citizens Budget Commission will record and publish on Friday, and will feature Bob Linn, the director of labor relations for Mayor Bill de Blasio. Find past episodes of What's The [Data] Point? with a variety of great guests and topics here.

Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

by Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max

Inside the Democratic Attorney General Candidates’ July Campaign Finance Filings

sean pat maloney5

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (photo: @RepSeanMaloney)

The race for state Attorney General appears to be the most wide open in the 2018 New York election cycle, at least among statewide races. In the wake of former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s shocking resignation, four Democrats have jumped into a competitive primary that will be decided on September 13, with the winner automatically seen as the frontrunner to win the general election against Republican nominee Keith Wofford and Green Party nominee Michael Sussman.

Recently released campaign finance filings with the state Board of Elections shows candidates’ financial pictures heading into the crucial final weeks of the primary race. Funding numbers not only show what financial resources candidates have to spend to get their messages out, but give indication of the kind of support they are receiving from individuals, corporations, special interests, and so on.

Public Advocate Letitia James, endorsed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Democratic Party, leads the pack with $1.16 million raised for the attorney general race, and $991,000 cash on hand as of mid-July. On the other hand, Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout, who challenged Cuomo in the 2014 gubernatorial primary and won 34 percent of the vote, touted over 10,000 different donations as a show of grassroots support. She is also repeatedly reminding the public who and what she is not taking money from: corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs), and calling on her competitors to do the same.

U.S. Representative Sean Patrick Maloney is another candidate in the race, and while he has mostly been continuing with his work in Washington, D.C. as opposed to being on the campaign trail, he brought in a little more than $1 million for his attorney general campaign, and has about $3 million in his congressional campaign account, which he says he can use, but that interpretation is open to question.

Leecia Eve, a former aide to both Governor Cuomo and then-Senator Hillary Clinton, and the fourth candidate in the primary, has raised the least money of the group.

Wofford, the GOP nominee, raised over $1 million, giving Republicans a sense that he can be a contender against whomever emerges from the Democratic primary.

Democratic candidates in the race have largely been promoting the percentage of the number of contributions they’ve received, not of their total hauls, that have come from small donors, typically meaning those giving under $250. In a similar vein, Cuomo came under fire this week for claiming that 57 percent of his contributions were from small, individual donors rather than the PACs and corporations he is known to solicit. Though the 57 percent number is accurate, the percentage of Cuomo’s total fundraising that the small donations constituted is just 1 percent. Cuomo has over $31 million in the bank, after raising and spending about $6 million over the past several months.

A closer look at the Democratic attorney general candidates’ campaign finance filings shows more about where their support is coming from.

Tish James
James, the New York City Public Advocate, has raised $1,165,897.55, and has $991,480.51 cash on hand as of the July filing. She has raised the most money and has the most cash on hand of any Democratic AG candidate, slightly edging out Maloney on each metric.

James’ largest contributors have been labor unions, with whom James has had a close relationship throughout her political career. Contributions include $65,100 from the New York State Conference of the International Union of Operating Engineers, $26,500 from the Transport Workers Union (both national and local), $25,000 from Communications Workers of America District 1, $22,500 from the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, $21,100 from the Hotel Trades Council and Unite Here Local 6, $21,000 each from the Teamsters’ DRIVE Committee, Mason Tenders, 1199 SEIU, and the New York State Laborers’ PAC, and $20,000 from 32BJ SEIU.

Other contributions include $15,000 from Cablevision, $15,000 from Opportunity Ed PAC, an education reform organization, and $21,000 from the MedMen Opportunity Fund, a cannabis venture capital firm. James also has received ample donations from real estate and law firm contributors, including $10,000 from Two Trees and $10,000 from Slate Property Group, and $5,000 from Renew New York, a PAC controlled by former Republican U.S. Senator and lobbyist Al D’Amato.

Last week, the James campaign told the New York Times that it had raised about $416,000 from individual donors, and about $555,000 from PACs, unions, and corporations. In a press release, James touted that 60 percent of her campaign’s donors gave $200 or less, with 50 percent giving $100 or less.

“I am deeply humbled and proud of the grassroots support I have received from New Yorkers from all walks of life - a true testament to the work we have accomplished and the power of our mission forward. As Attorney General, I will always put New Yorkers’ first and will never be afraid to challenge Donald Trump or anyone who tries to deny our fundamental rights,” James said in the statement.

Zephyr Teachout
Teachout, who also ran for Congress in 2016, losing narrowly to now-Rep. John Faso, has raised $551,347.94, and has $314,058.55 cash on hand.

Teachout, unlike the other candidates in the Democratic primary, has pledged not to take corporate donations, and her July disclosure lists only individual contributors, with no corporations, unions, or PACs listed as having contributed. Her largest donors are Philadelphia attorney Daniel Berger, tech investor Brad Burnham, and Boston venture capitalist Vincent Ryan, all of whom donated $21,000 to the Teachout campaign, which is just under the individual donor maximum for the primary.

Teachout has $148,675.59 in unitemized contributions, or about 27 percent of her fundraising total, far in excess of any other candidate. Contributions of under $99, or an aggregate of contributions from an individual totaling under $99, are not required by the Board of Elections to be itemized with the contributor’s name, address, and amount contributed.

In a press release, Teachout said that 97 percent of her contributors gave less than $200, and that her campaign has received more than 10,000 individual donations.

“This campaign is about people having a legal voice against powerful interests. I'm proud to be 100% corporate free, with the highest percentage of low dollar donors of any candidate for Attorney General. We do not have to accept the cynicism of the status quo, people can have the politics we deserve and demand,” Teachout said in the statement.

Sean Patrick Maloney
Maloney, who represents New York’s 18th Congressional District -- encompassing Orange and Putnam Counties, and parts of Dutchess and Westchester -- has raised $1,127,155.62, and has $981,385.86 cash on hand in his attorney general campaign account.

Maloney’s largest donor is the Lewis family, the founders of Progressive Insurance. The children of Progressive founder Pete Lewis -- Adam, Jonathan, and Ivy -- have donated a total of $135,200 to Maloney’s campaign, with Adam and Jonathan each donating $65,100 and Ivy donating $5,000. Adam’s wife Melony also donated $44,000.

Other donors include Indiana commercial real estate developer David Simon and his wife Jacqueline, who each donated $21,100 to the campaign. The Real Estate Board PAC donated $5,000. Several real estate LLCs donated to the campaign, with the largest being $20,000 from MHTC Development.

While Maloney’s haul is eclipsed slightly by James’, his campaign believes that it can transfer money from his federal congressional account into his state campaign account, which would boost his campaign coffers by up to $3.1 million. The legality of this maneuver is questionable. Maloney, who is simultaneously running for AG and reelection to Congress, won the Democratic primary for his seat last month with the intention of returning to Congress should he not win the AG race. Since the primaries on are different days, it is a move he could attempt.

Maloney ran for attorney general in 2006, losing the primary to Andrew Cuomo, who went on to win the general election as well.

In a press release, Maloney said that 90 percent of his donations were $200 or less, with more than 50 percent being $10 or less.

“I'm the only candidate with the experience and independence to be the AG our state needs - someone who will fight corruption in Albany, in Washington, and in corporate suites - and I'm proud that so many New Yorkers have joined my campaign,” Maloney said in the press release.

Leecia Eve
Eve, who serves on the Port Authority board and works as a governmental relations executive for Verizon, formerly helped lead Empire State Development under Cuomo, and has worked for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, has raised $299,416.14, and has $250,719 cash on hand for her attorney general bid.

Eve’s largest donors have been herself and her family. Eve has donated $35,656.59 to her campaign, in 95 separate donations, the largest of which was $10,000 and the smallest $5.43. Her father, former Assemblymember Arthur Eve, and her mother, Lee, each donated $10,000, while her brother Eric has donated $16,000 and her brother Malcolm has given $525.

Additionally, a consulting firm called Ichor Strategies, of which Eric Eve is CEO, has donated $20,000 (Eric Eve is serving as Leecia’s campaign manager).

Other donations include $21,000 from attorney Patrick Dunican and $5,000 from the Real Estate Board PAC. In a statement, the Eve campaign said that the filing portended good news for the campaign.

“Today’s filing shows we are well positioned to communicate our message throughout all corners of New York State. We are inspired by the level of grassroots support that we have received, and we look forward to continuing to share Leecia’s vision for how she will be a fearless and effective champion for all New Yorkers,” said Maggie McKeon, a spokesperson for the Eve campaign.

Keith Wofford
Keith Wofford, the Republican nominee for AG, has raised $1,048,801.38 and has $1,023,847.76 cash on hand.

His largest donor is the New York Republican State Committee, which has given Wofford $150,000. Other large contributions include $20,000 from consulting firm Simier and Partners LLC, $44,000 from New York State GOP Chairman Ed Cox, and $44,000 each from Jonathan Gill, Stephen Moeller-Sally, and Mark Somerstein, all of whom are partners at the law firm Ropes & Gray, which Wofford is managing partner of.

Wofford has spent $25,000 on the campaign trail thus far. He has no primary challenger, and is facing an uphill battle in an overwhelmingly Democratic state, pending the winner of the Democratic primary, as well as Green Party nominee Michael Sussman, who has raised about $14,000.

by Ben Brachfeld, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

Experts Confident in New York Election Security, Though Risk of Temporary ‘Chaos’ Remains

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Gov. Cuomo voting (photo via the Governor's office)

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday new measures to enhance the security of the state’s elections. They include “comprehensive risk assessments, intrusion detection devices, and managed security services for all county boards of elections,” as well as training for election staff on cyber security.

The initiatives make use of $5 million allocated in the 2019 state budget for enhanced cybersecurity related to elections, which included the creation of an “election support center” and an “election cyber security toolkit,” provides “cyber risk vulnerability assessments” for state and local Boards of Elections, and requires BOEs to report data breaches to the state.

The announcement comes in the wake of the indictment of 12 Russian nationals for interference in the 2016 presidential election, involving the theft and release of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. A news release from the governor’s office said that the state would solicit contracts in the coming days for the risk assessments, intrusion detection devices, and security services for county boards of elections.

The broader issue of election security has become increasingly prominent in the wake of the 2016 election and the allegations of Russian interference. Cuomo’s announcement of new election security measures came just a few hours after a Tuesday panel at City & State’s Protecting NY Summit, moderated by Gotham Gazette’s Ben Max, where panelists discussed the issue as it relates to state and local elections in New York. New York is in the midst of a busy election year that features races for all of its statewide state-level positions, all of its state legislative seats, one U.S. Senate seat, and all of its House of Representative seats, among others.

The panel consisted of State Senators Todd Kaminsky and Liz Krueger; Assemblymember David Buchwald; Michael Ryan, executive director of the New York City Board of Elections; Eric Hodge, of cybersecurity firm CyberScout Solutions; and Eva Guidarini, a member of Facebook’s U.S. Politics and Government Outreach team.

In something of a twist from how New York’s dysfunctional elections are usually discussed, the state’s election security measures in the wake of the 2016 election were highly praised by the panelists. Unlike many states, New York never abandoned paper ballots so as always to leave a “paper trail” in the event of a hack. New York’s voting machines are also not “networked,” but rather are all independent machines. This makes it impossible to hack the entire system or even the machines.

“The election results are stored on the device, on two separate -- they look like flash drives, we call them portable memory devices, PMDs -- one is for unofficial results, the other remains with the machine itself for the official results,” said Ryan. “And, in addition to that, there is paper ballots. So if there was ever a really catastrophic event, we still have the paper to make sure that even though the mischief occurred, the outcome and the integrity of the outcome, which is all we could ultimately preserve, is maintained.”

Still, in the event of a hack, the city and state may still be underprepared. Ryan suggested that the BOE may be due for an increase in staffing to supplement its monitoring services.

Senator Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat, ranking member of the Senate finance committee and a member of the elections committee, said that the focus should be not just on whether the 2016 elections were meddled with, but when and how it would happen again, in 2018 and beyond.

“Rather than talk about the fact that, apparently, they are hacking our elections, and we have to assume we’ll have future elections hacked, I think the lesson from yesterday, I agree, the timing was perfect for this discussion, was if you don’t have any faith that your elected officials are going to follow the law and uphold their duties and responsibilities, we are in serious trouble as a state, a city, or a country,” Krueger said, in reference to the press conference held by President Donald Trump alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Twice during the hour-long discussion, Krueger stressed that New York has never adopted electronic-only voting systems, instead opting to leave the paper trail to ensure votes are counted. She explained that she had been part of the fight to ensure paper ballots were still used as many other states were moving to digital-only, which has come back to haunt them.

Ryan noted that the 2016 election-related hacking led the BOE to conduct, for the first time, election security exercises and simulations meant to quickly and efficiently identify and neutralize threats.

“We did our first tabletop exercises in the lead-up to Election Day,” Ryan said of November 2016. “Tabletop exercises are the way that agencies keep the muscles limber, reenacting real world scenarios in a serious way, and we did a tabletop exercise on the Thursday before a presidential election for almost seven hours. Shows you the seriousness with which everyone took that.”

Asked whether New Yorkers should stop expecting immediate and secure election results, Ryan demurred. Kaminsky said he would love to see Long Island election night results come in more quickly, like New York City is able to do.

Ryan indicated that if there was a vulnerability to hacking it would be in the uploading of results from polling places to the BOE, and that if a bad actor was intent on causing some "chaos" they would possibly be able to do that for a short period of time, but that systems, while expensive, are in place to mitigate any effects fairly quickly. There may be some temporary confusion, he said, but it would be quickly corrected.

“If there is a problem,” Ryan said, “we have backup systems in place. We can leverage police department personnel to shut down the uploading of the results from the poll sites, and shift that to the local police precincts.” Ryan said that BOE sytems are now constantly monitored throughout the year through work with New York City's technology department.

Krueger kept to her admittedly skeptical theme by recounting an anecdote of first-year computer science students successfully breaking into voting machines in Ohio within an hour-and-a-half.

“When everyone who takes the college computer class can do it in the first hour and a half, you should be very, very worried,” she said.

Hodge, whose firm is hired by governments to sure up their cyber security and election systems, said that along with the voting machines and election results, the voter databases and rolls should be protected and secured as well. He also said that policymakers should prioritize being able to detect problems immediately, and that New York carefully vet election vendors to ensure that security is prioritized.

"Thankfully," Assemblymember Buchwald said early in the program, "we've had a fairly proactive approach here in New York, not to toot my subcommittee's own horn, or the entire Assembly election committee, but we've actually had already two public hearings on election security, the most recent of which was this past November after the local elections. And if you were at the hearing, if you watched it online, you would have heard the words 'Cambridge Analytica' four months before they became national news."

Governor Cuomo’s announcement of new measures comes on the heels of a new law aimed at securing the state’s elections passed earlier this year. The law prohibits foreign entities from forming independent expenditure (IE) committees to buy ads on social media, requires ad buyers on social media to register as IE committees and for the name of the IE that bought the ad to be clearly displayed, and requires the State BOE to make political communications more transparent and accessible.

by Ben Brachfeld, Gotham Gazette

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Facebook Rep Calls New York Ad Transparency Law a National Model, Points to Next Steps

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Gov. Cumo signs ad transparency bill (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)

The recent federal indictments of 12 Russians involved in the country’s interference campaign in the 2016 United States presidential election comes at a time of already heightened interest in election security given other previously known facts and allegations about Russian meddling in the election, the promulgation of “fake news,” attempted hacking of state elections systems, and questionable practices by social media platforms like Facebook. Though election security and integrity at the federal level has dominated people’s attention, it is also an issue at the state and local levels.

For the past two years, policymakers, security companies, and members of the tech and media industries have engaged in more fulsome debate over how to combat issues like “fake news” -- meaning fabricated news stories pushed off as actual news -- and false or misleading ads on social media, not to mention ensuring the security of election infrastructure.

In April, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill, passed in a new state budget agreement that prohibits foreign entities from buying political ads “in order to influence New York elections,” requires political ad buyers on social media to register as independent expenditure committees, requires independent expenditure ads to clearly display that the independent spender, not a candidate, paid for the ad, and requires the state Board of Elections to “create an online archive of all political communications for a set period.”

Some say that while these are important measures, there is more to do to secure New York elections, both in terms of hardening security systems to prevent hacking and reducing the influence of malicious actors in other, “softer” ways. Facebook itself, while the subject of much scrutiny and criticism during and after the 2016 election, is making some reforms to the ways it does business. On Tuesday, a representative for the social media giant called the New York political ad transparency law a model for the rest of the country, while also pointing toward transparency into voter targeting on the platform as a next frontier.

During a panel discussion at City & State NY’s “Protecting NY Summit,” moderated by Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max, Eva Guidarini of Facebook said the company is encouraging users to report questionable content, has begun working with “third party fact-checkers” when potential fake news is flagged, and, if determined to be fake news, posts will receive a tag noting it as such, and be “down-ranked,” meaning it will show up less frequently in people’s feeds, while an explanation of the fact-checking will also be provided. She defended the practice of not removing content unless it is deemed “misinformation,” saying that there can be too many gray areas in defining misleading content. Misinformation would include things like fake news.

Facebook’s actions come after widespread criticism of its platform as a venue for the spread of fake news and conspiracy theories, as well as inappropriate user-data sharing.

Guidarini, a member of the U.S. Politics and Government Outreach team for the company, said Facebook should be the subject of government regulations, but indicated there is a line to ensure that the platform still serves its users. When asked, she also indicated that users must take some responsibility for evaluating content, and said the company is working to help educate people. She also praised the new New York law that applies to Facebook and other online services, which was sponsored in the state Senate by another panelist, Senator Todd Kaminsky.

“We worked really closely with New York and Maryland,” Guidarini said. “We’re really excited about these ad transparency laws that you passed, and we’re now sort of rolling that out to the whole country even though it’s only law in a couple of states. We think that that’s important. The law lagged behind, right? It’s ridiculous that you didn’t have to say who’s paying for a political ad online, even though you did on TV and in newspapers. And we should change that.”

The panel on election integrity included Guidarini; Kaminsky; state Senator Liz Krueger; Assemblymember David Buchwald; Michael Ryan, the executive director of the New York City Board of Elections; and Eric Hodge of CyberScout Solutions, a company that works with government to prevent hacking and other security breaches.

Ryan said that the BOE’s concern has moved from tampering with results towards the manipulation of social media to alter election results.

“We were concerned in the lead-up to election day that people would put out false information that poll sites were on fire or that no voting is happening at particular locations,” Ryan said. “Real misinformation causing chaos as opposed to manipulation of results.”

Sen. Kaminsky, a Democrat representing parts of Long Island, said that he combatted fake news himself in his 2016 election campaign, which led to an extremely close race where one was not expected. He said that the events made him prioritize publicizing the issue as being a state and local issue, not just one related to Donald Trump and Russia.

“There would be a Facebook group that would pop up in someone’s feed called Long Islanders for Clean Drinking Water,” Kaminsky said. “They would then have an ad saying ‘last year, Todd Kaminsky voted to deprive Long Island of $10 million of clean drinking water. And if you liked it, all your friends would see it, it would go up to their feeds. And if you commented on it, all your friends would see it. If you commented something like, ‘this is not true,’ your comment would be removed in, like, ten minutes.”

Kaminsky said that the law passed as part of the budget was a major focus for him in the previous two years. He also criticized the press, claiming that members of the media ran with the Facebook posts without fact-checking them. He said that there are not enough ameliorative pathways for combatting false political information, such as mailers claiming support for Kaminsky from “undocumented aliens” or Mayor Bill de Blasio. The former prosecutor indicated that there is not enough punishment for bad actors, but that his new law would at least change that for those that may try to anonymously post political advertising on social media.

Asked about next steps in regulating social media platforms, Guidarini of Facebook said that, while microtargeted ads are a powerful tool, that “voters should know if the African-American community is receiving a totally different message, or the Hispanic community is receiving a totally different message from the white community from a specific candidate.”

by Ben Brachfeld, Gotham Gazette

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Max & Murphy Podcast: Letitia James & the Attorney General Primary

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Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette, and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits

July 18, 2018 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Letitia James & the Attorney General Primary

ag candidate letitia jamesOn Wednesday, July 18, the Max & Murphy podcast moved to the airwaves of WBAI radio, 99.5FM and wbai.org, where the hosts will weekly interview guests, discuss key issues, and take calls from listeners -- every Wednesday 5-6 p.m. The first show focused on the Democratic primary for Attorney General, with guest Letitia James, the New York City Public Advocate now seeking to become the AG. James joined the show to discuss her candidacy, how she stands out from her competition -- Zephyr Teachout, Leecia Eve, and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney -- her relationship with Governor Andrew Cuomo, how she would fight public corruption, and much more. James also took a couple of listener calls. The show additionally included discussion of the race by the hosts, a short clip of last week's conversation with Teachout, and a couple of other listener calls for the hosts.

Listen to the full conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter @TweetBenMax and @JarrettMurphy. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts, under "Max & Murphy," and listen to the show on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. on WBAI radio.

by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette

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The Cynthia Nixon-Working Families Party Back-up Plan

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Cynthia Nixon and the WFP (photo: @CynthiaNixon)

If Cynthia Nixon is unsuccessful in her attempt to defeat Governor Andrew Cuomo in the September 13 Democratic primary, she is likely to vacate the Working Families Party ballot line for the general election in order to avoid playing “spoiler” by pulling votes from Cuomo and helping elect another candidate, such as Republican gubernatorial nominee Marc Molinaro.

While Nixon has been endorsed by the Working Families Party, in a move that has put the WFP’s existence at risk, the party has arranged a back-up plan to move Nixon off its gubernatorial ballot line and onto its line in the state Assembly race in Nixon’s home district on Manhattan’s west side. The 66th Assembly District, which includes neighborhoods like Greenwich Village and Tribeca, is currently represented by long-time Democratic Assemblymember Deborah Glick, whom the WFP informed of its plans before the party filed ballot petitions for a placeholder candidate to occupy the ballot line in anticipation of its possible use by Nixon.

The broad contours of the arrangement were first reported this weekend by The New York Post. However, The Post indicated that Nixon may run against Glick for the Assembly seat if she moves to that ballot line, something that both the Nixon campaign and WFP told Gotham Gazette would not occur.

According to spokespeople for the Nixon campaign and the WFP, both have high hopes for a Nixon upset victory over Cuomo in the Democratic primary, at which time Nixon would remain on the WFP line for the general election and have two ballot lines.

"We are very confident that Cynthia will win the Democratic primary, but if she does not, as we have said many times before, she will decide at that time if she will continue on the WFP line or not,” said Lauren Hitt, a Nixon campaign spokesperson, in a Monday statement to Gotham Gazette. “And as we told the Post, Cynthia has no intention whatsoever of running against Glick and will in fact campaign for her. The only questions that remain unanswered are what the Governor will do when he loses - as he is on the WEP [Women’s Equality Party] and Independence Party Lines."

A WFP spokesperson said the party had explained the precautions to Glick and indicated the party has no intention of running Nixon, or the placeholder, Doug Seidman, against her in the general election. There are a handful of ways that a candidate can be removed from a ballot line, one of which is to be nominated for another race.

"WFP has put everything on the line for Cynthia because we believe in her, and from the start, we've known she could win,” said Working Families Party New York Director Bill Lipton, in a statement to Gotham Gazette. “Over the last few weeks, the path to that win is getting clearer. We're creating a placeholder as a precaution that we take in almost every contested primary, in case our candidate wants to remove themselves from the ballot.”

Like Hitt, Lipton also noted that if Nixon wins the Democratic primary, there will be questions about Cuomo’s status on the two general election ballot lines he has secured.

Glick, meanwhile, told Gotham Gazette that she plans to be successful in winning another term this November, no matter who is on the ballot against her.

"I didn't speak to the Nixon campaign,” Glick said in a brief Monday phone call. “I spoke with Working Families Party representatives shortly before they were going to be filing petitions for Doug Seidman for the November election. And I fully expect to win that general race, regardless of who is on the line, whether it's Mr. Seidman or Cynthia Nixon. And, the explanation as to what their machinations are, should really be discussed with the Working Families Party, not me."

by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

Ben Brachfeld contributed reporting.

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