Gotham Gazette https://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/1304 Fri, 04 Dec 2020 23:58:56 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Webmaster) After Significant Help for State Senate Democrats in 2018, Cuomo Largely Absent from 2020 Races https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/9884-cuomo-help-state-senate-democrats-2018-absent-2020-races https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/9884-cuomo-help-state-senate-democrats-2018-absent-2020-races Cuomo state senate Democrats Gounardes

Gov. Cuomo with now-State Senator Andrew Gounardes in Oct. 2018 (photo: Cuomo/Flickr)


After flipping several State Senate seats in 2018 and taking control of the upper legislative chamber and therefore all of state government, Democrats sought to hold onto their wide majority this year even with a Republican president atop the ticket. They believed they might be able to win a supermajority in the chamber to match that of Democrats in the Assembly by picking up at least two additional Senate seats, if not more.

But as Senate Democrats faced tough races in a number of districts, including some they had won by narrow margins amid a “blue wave” two years ago, New York’s top Democrat seemed to take a relatively hands off approach and did what some believe is the bare minimum to help his party-mates defend or win new seats.

Though in 2018, when he was on top of the ticket seeking a third term, Governor Andrew Cuomo was active helping Democrats flip State Senate seats in swing districts from Brooklyn to Long Island to the Hudson Valley, this year he was absent but for a handful of virtual fundraising events and robocalls. Some Democrats believe he mostly prefers the split Legislature he had for his first two terms and very much wanted to avoid the possibility of veto-proof majorities in the two legislative houses.

As the vote-counting moves to absentee ballots, which are expected to significantly favor Democrats, there is a long list of State Senate races that haven’t been called. Overall, Democrats are confident that while they may lose a few seats back to Republicans they are also on the verge of picking up others and will wind up with a majority close but not quite as large as what they had coming into the election: 40 seats in the 63-seat chamber. Republicans believe they are narrowing the margin to 36-27, perhaps slimmer.

To get to that 40-seat majority, the 2018 elections saw several progressive Democrats eject more moderate members of the party in primaries while relatively moderate Democrats flipped Republican seats in the general. Cuomo was a significant presence in the latter, rallying with Democratic nominees in parts of the state where he remains popular but Republicans have had success and that he would need in his own reelection bid, which he went on to win by a wide margin.

The 2018 State Senate results set the stage, along with Cuomo’s win and continued Democratic dominance in the Assembly, for the passage of a long list of progressive priorities in 2019.

This year, despite Democrats’ hope that they could pick up as many as ten Senate seats, defend seven, and be competitive in a few others, it was bound to be a tough election. With President Donald Trump on the ballot, Republican turnout was undoubtedly going to be far higher than in 2018 even if Democrats voted in higher numbers too. And despite a fundraising and expenditure advantage for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, there were millions being spent against them in targeted independent expenditures by outside entities, including billionaire Ron Lauder and law enforcement unions, who opposed criminal justice reforms enacted by the Democrat-led Legislature and governor. Lauder, a prominent donor to Cuomo, alone spent nearly $5 million while police unions spent more than $1 million in trying to inaccurately paint Democrats as anti-police and pro-crime.

To some observers, the governor made minimal effort to help Democrats on the receiving end of that spending and even less so in challenging Republican messaging statewide about a Democrat-controlled Legislature run amok. Many have even speculated that Lauder’s independent expenditures had the governor’s tacit approval. “That’s bullshit,” said Rich Azzopardi, a Cuomo spokesperson, in an email, when presented with those arguments.

Azzopardi insisted that the governor did his best to help Democrats’ chances. The governor endorsed a slate of candidates including Senators John Brooks, Todd Kaminsky, Monica Martinez, Anna Kaplan, Jim Gaughran, Kevin Thomas, and Pete Harckham, and nominees Sean Ryan and Laura Ahern. He recorded robocalls and made appearances at virtual fundraisers for Kaplan, Martinez, Gaughran, Thomas, and Harckham, and made additional virtual fundraising appearances for Senator Kaminsky and nominees Karen Smythe, Samra Brouk, and Jacqualine Berger, and signed a fundraising letter for nominee Jeremy Cooney.

“In what world, during a pandemic when you can't barnstorm and do rallies – if you look at that list of endorsements, robocalls and fundraisers – can they say he didn't do enough,” Azzopardi said in a subsequent phone interview. “It’s ridiculous.”

“The governor worked really hard to bring this majority in under his ticket in 2018,” Azzopardi added. “And we worked really hard to maintain it. Let all the votes be counted and let's see where it goes...We did a lot together. We did a lot of good for the state of New York. And we look forward to working with the Senate Democratic majority next year.”

While no one expected Cuomo to travel the state holding large rallies amid the coronavirus pandemic, the governor did no in-person campaign events. At the same time, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Cuomo's running-mate and “partner in government,” did barnstorm the state, holding campaign appearances with several Democratic candidates in tough races -- including Brooklyn’s Andrew Gounardes, whom Cuomo campaigned with in 2018 as he flipped a Senate seat but is noticeably absent from the governor’s 2020 list. Cuomo made at least three appearances with Gounardes in October and November 2018, but none, whether virtual or in-person, in 2020. Hochul campaigned with Gounardes in Brooklyn the day before Election Day this year.

Overall, Cuomo opted against joining Democratic candidates in person to bring local and media attention to their campaigns and boost their messages.

A source in the State Democratic Party said the governor was “somewhat helpful” with his fundraisers and endorsements. “But it's a little bit like it's almost just for show,” the source said, noting that the State Democratic Party, which is controlled by Cuomo, could have done more.

“The state party could have done mailers, done TV...there could have been more money spent, more sort-of consolidated or coordinated messaging,” the source said, pointing out that while the state party gave massive contributions to specific candidates, they paled in comparison to the Lauder spending. “The money thing is the big thing. You have states around the country where the state party literally will drop millions of dollars into these local races,” said the source, who insisted on anonymity in order to speak freely.

While Cuomo had transferred campaign funds to some Democrats in 2018, he did not do so this cycle even though, as of July, he had more than $13 million in campaign cash. The State Democratic Party did transfer funds to candidates in the closing weeks of the election – $50,000 each to Thomas and Gaughran and $25,000 to Monica Martinez. None of those numbers account for the money Cuomo helped some candidates raise via his appearances at the virtual fundraisers.

Tom Staudter, a spokesperson for Harckham’s campaign, said the governor’s assistance was definitely helpful. “Governor Cuomo was a big help to Senator Harckham’s campaign,” he said. “In our district, there were only positives. His leadership during the pandemic was recognized as safeguarding and benefiting our residents and I know Senator Harckham is looking forward to partnering with the governor in the future.” Though Harckham trails by about 7,000 votes after in-person vote tallies, there are still 40,000 absentee ballots to count in the district, and Staudter expects that a major portion of those will be from Democrats.

In an interview on the Max & Murphy podcast prior to the election, State Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs made a similar argument to Azzopardi. “He's doing a lot. The governor’s been on fundraising zooms. He’s given me the request to raise money through the state party and he said use his name to raise money. I've done just that,” Jacobs said. “So he's been very helpful and he's been giving guidance and strategic advice. What he can't do is hold big rallies, like Trump does around the country, which I know he'd like to do and he's done in the past. This environment just won't permit it.”

Almost exclusively standing by while Democrats got relentlessly attacked by Republicans and their outside allies would seem counterintuitive for a Democratic governor. But Cuomo has never been one to easily share power or attention with members of his own party and has, in the past, appeared content to preside over a split Legislature where he can mostly call the shots without getting pulled too far to the left. He has oftentimes rebuffed progressive policies proposed by Democrats, slowly embracing them once they become too popular to oppose or appear especially advantageous politically. Prior to Democrats flipping the Senate, he triangulated with an erstwhile rogue offshoot of moderate Democrats who called themselves the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), which helped Republicans control the legislative chamber and was seen by many as a Cuomo-backed effort. 

A supermajority in the Senate, combined with that already in the Assembly, would allow Democrats stronger negotiating position on legislative and budget matters, and to override the governor’s veto if they pursue legislation that Cuomo rejected.

“Cuomo has always preferred working with Republicans than working with Democrats,” said Benjamin Rosenblatt, president of Tidal Wave Strategies, a political consulting firm. “We saw that when he helped gerrymander the State Senate map for Republicans. We saw that when he helped them with the IDC, with majorities over and over again. And we saw that this time when his billionaire friends bankrolled efforts to stop Democrats from getting a State Senate supermajority.”

Rosenblatt said Cuomo could have used his popularity, particularly in parts of the state such as Long Island, to help boost incumbent Democrats who are now uncertain about their victories. “That could have helped push Democrats over the line when they are facing these attacks against them, trying to connect them to [New York City Mayor] Bill de blasio, saying that they're anti-police,” he said.

Cuomo himself conceded on Thursday that the statewide Republican campaign had a strong impact, though he appeared to be speaking as a casual observer that had no role to play. “It shouldn't have been this close,” he said on WAMC radio with host Alan Chartock. “I believe the Republicans beat the Democrats on the messaging. I think they branded Democrats as anti-law and order. And that hurt Democrats. It was untrue.”

As Cuomo seemingly watched that messaging unfold across the state, including in districts where he had campaigned with Democrats in 2018, he was not moved to be more assertive in helping his party-mates beat back the focused, sustained barrage from Republicans.

Cuomo also pointed to how Republicans tied Democratic candidates to de Blasio, who has been widely unpopular in the state for years and who undertook a failed effort to flip the State Senate from Republican control in 2014 that led to an investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney over questionable fundraising tactics. No charges were filed. “They ran de Blasio’s picture all over the state. ‘They'll turn New York State into New York City, looting and crime and homelessness...That was their message and it resonated more than it should have,” said Cuomo, who has himself repeatedly painted New York City in such negative light during his press briefings over the past several months.

Asked about Cuomo’s comments at his daily news briefing on Thursday, de Blasio dismissed them. “I think whatever the Republicans did was pretty modest honestly,” he said, joking that in the future he would endorse Republicans to cause confusion.

Some political observers pointed out that many Republicans used images of Cuomo on their negative campaign literature.

Unlike Cuomo, Hochul kept a busy campaign schedule as election day neared. She appeared at events for State Senate incumbents Gounardes, Harckham, and Thomas, and candidates Berger, Brouk, Ryan, and John Mannion. Without the absentee ballot counts, only Brouk and Ryan are ahead in their races.

In 2018, on the other hand, Cuomo launched a concerted effort to help Democrats flip both the State Senate and the House of Representatives. With much fanfare, he appeared with State Senate seats on Long Island and together signed a nine-point pledge of policies they would pursue. He publicly endorsed Gounardes in similar fashion in Southern Brooklyn, with a slightly modified pledge more focused on New York City. Gounardes went on to replace Martin Golden, then the only Republican State Senator in the five boroughs outside of Staten Island, after winning by just 1,271 votes.

Gounardes is now at risk of losing his seat, running behind Republican challenger Vito Bruno by about 6,000 votes after the in-person tally, a deficit he has a shot at making up through absentee ballots that number more than 18,500.

In Southern Brooklyn, where Republicans did well against Democrats at the state and federal levels, though outcomes are still being determined through the absentee ballot count, Cuomo’s government actions ahead of the election may have hurt Democrats politically. 

“In 2018, he came out here and campaigned with everybody and was actively trying to gain more seats in the Senate,” said a Democratic source in Southern Brooklyn who requested anonymity to speak freely. “And this time around, it was the opposite. There was no presence out here at all.” What made it worse, on top of the Lauder-funded ads, the source said, was Cuomo’s botched rollout of new lockdown restrictions in response to localized coronavirus infection spikes that angered constituents in those districts. “It was a lot of incoming,” the source said of Republican attacks. “We took on a lot of water and there was very little air support.”

***
by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

]]>
After Significant Help for State Senate Democrats in 2018, Cuomo Largely Absent from 2020 Races Sun, 08 Nov 2020 05:00:00 +0000
Largely Absent from Cuomo's Coronavirus Briefings, Lieutenant Governor Hochul Charged with Western New York Role https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/9328-absent-cuomo-coronavirus-briefings-lieutenant-governor-hochul-fills-upstate-wester-new-york https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/9328-absent-cuomo-coronavirus-briefings-lieutenant-governor-hochul-fills-upstate-wester-new-york briefing covid daily

Gov. Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Hochul (photo: Darren McGee, Governor's Office)


As Governor Andrew Cuomo garnered national attention while leading briefings on New York’s response to the novel coronavirus outbreak each day for well over a month, often from Albany and sometimes from Manhattan, one top state official was conspicuously absent: Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

Not only was the lieutenant governor not present for any of the governor’s first 40-plus daily coronavirus briefings, she was curiously never mentioned as part of the Cuomo administration’s emergency efforts, even as the governor brought several former top members of his team back into the fold to help out.

Though in recent weeks Hochul has been busily making the rounds on radio and television, giving updates on behalf of the Cuomo administration, she had not joined the governor and his top aides and confidants at one of the now-famous COVID-19 briefings until Tuesday, when Cuomo held one in Buffalo, not far from where Hochul resides.

As Hochul, one of just four statewide elected officials, has explained during some of her frequent media appearances and in an email exchange with Gotham Gazette, she has been designated to monitor conditions upstate, representing the administration in parts of New York far less impacted by the pandemic, which has hit New York City and its suburbs particularly hard. Hochul has been all over the airwaves -- mostly upstate but also at times downstate -- providing updates and getting out the administration’s message, informing New Yorkers on state efforts to contain the outbreak, attempting to clear up misunderstandings and reassure New Yorkers.

On Tuesday from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Hochul was seated directly, though with several feet of distance, to Cuomo’s left, and the governor heaped praise on his lieutenant, whom he called “my partner in state government,” and explained that she was going to spearhead the planning to ‘reopen’ western New York, which will happen when public health officials believe it is appropriate and the governor gives the go-ahead.

“We'll ask her to take charge of western New York, monitor the public health issues, make sure if there's a problem in terms of public health, we're marshalling all the resources from across the state to help western New York and also to start to work on the reimagining and reopening plan for western New York,” Cuomo said of Hochul, while also putting his first-term lieutenant governor, Robert Duffy, now the CEO of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce, in charge of the same for the Finger Lakes region. Over the course of Cuomo's initial 25-minute briefing, neither Hochul nor anyone else seated on the dais with the governor had a speaking role; and there were no questions directed at the lieutenant governor in the 12 minutes of media Q-and-A that followed.

On Tuesday in Buffalo, Cuomo and Hochul were joined by, among others, Jim Malatras, Cuomo’s former director of state operations, who left the administration to become president of SUNY Empire State College, but has returned to work with Cuomo on the coronavirus crisis. Not there on Tuesday, but typically at Cuomo’s briefings have been Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. Several other aides and advisors, such as Gareth Rhodes, have been among those taking on new responsibilities and deeply involved in the state coronavirus response, and at times Cuomo’s briefings. Typically, Cuomo is flanked by DeRosa, Malatras, and Zucker.

Last week, Gotham Gazette inquired about Hochul’s role in the Cuomo administration's response to the pandemic, which has taken a greater toll in New York than anywhere else in the country.

“I’m Upstate between Buffalo and Albany focused on coronavirus efforts and response in close coordination with Governor Cuomo and his team,” Hochul wrote by email. “As you know, the situation with the coronavirus continues to change day-by-day and transparency is a priority, so I’m focused on communicating the most accurate and complete information, whether it's keeping New Yorkers updated through local media interviews or offering mental health tips through newer social media avenues like Instagram Live. I’m regularly in touch with Commissioners, senior staff and have numerous daily briefing calls with emergency operations command centers, county executives and local elected officials throughout the day to keep communication channels open.”

Hochul, a Democrat who briefly represented her home Erie County district in Congress, joined Cuomo’s ticket for his initial reelection in 2014, then the duo won her second term and his third in 2018. The lieutenant governor’s portfolio has previously included economic development and a variety of other issues, including a child care task force she’s currently co-chairing.

As COVID-19 has been ravaging New York, largely downstate and in New York City especially, Hochul has been hunkered down at her upstate home, while Cuomo has lived out of the governor’s mansion in Albany, holding briefings at the Capitol building and other locations around the state, such as several at the Javits Center in Manhattan, which has been home to a pop-up hospital created largely by the federal government at Cuomo’s request. The governor has focused a great deal of attention on New York City, which has been the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.

Amid her frequent recent appearances, on April 15 Hochul went on 98PXY radio and said New York City has been so hard hit by coronavirus in part because of reliance on public transportation and the density of the downstate area, and it was to be expected.

“Everybody’s on top of each other,” she said. “Everyone wants to be in New York City, a lot of people want to be in New York City, it's a fascinating and fabulous place to live but it’s also the most congested place in the country, and that’s really why the numbers are so much higher there. We’re not on top of each other, we’re not in high rises with a thousand other people, We’re not on public transportation to the degree they are in New York City, that’s one of the reasons why we’re not seeing the numbers upstate.”

Hochul’s uptick in media appearances, several dozen over the course of a few weeks, also coincided with controversy that erupted after Cuomo on April 3 announced plans to issue an executive order that would allow him to redirect medical resources, such as ventilators, to areas of the state that need them, at the governor’s discretion. In essence, this meant from upstate to downstate, and sparked concern and criticism from some in various places across upstate, including western New York.

Many of Hochul’s radio appearances have focused on clearing up the details of the order and ensuring residents of upstate areas that they are not being raided by the state to help New York City and left vulnerable to the outbreak.

“He simply said that he was looking at an executive order which would authorize him to be able to take an assessment of where all the ventilators are, the needs of the hospitals in those communities, and also be able to redeploy if necessary. So he was just simply reserving the right to do this,” Hochul said on WBFO NPR Morning Edition with Jay Moran, on April 6. “No ventilators have left western York despite people trying to politicize this issue and trying to scare people. There's fear-mongering going on and people putting out all this information that there's been 50 confiscated in the middle of the night. All of that is false.”

She likened the order to what would happen if a bad snowstorm were to hit upstate and snow plows are sent from the downstate region to help out.

“It reminds me of a snowstorm scenario where Buffalo gets smacked,” Hochul said on A New Morning with Susan Rose and Brian Mazurowski on WBEN on April 6. “We could shut down for days, even weeks, people stranded...and boy are we glad when those utility trucks show up from Long Island and Westchester and New York City and people bring generators and national guard flowing into our communities to help us. And you know what? They don't say we need to stay downstate cause the snow might come here. It's not snowing yet...they come and help. And the governor shows up and I show up and that's what we're talking about. When there's a need, we'll be there to help because there is no way that we'll leave western New York unprotected.”

The controversy subsided some when Cuomo’s order was less dramatic than some had feared or made it out to be, and when the COVID-19 numbers started to look better than projected downstate, with hospitalizations and intubations somewhat stabilizing.

“We’re monitoring the numbers literally by the hour and how many new cases, people testing positive, how many hospitalizations and certainly the number of people that have been discharged from the hospital as well,” Hochul said on WBZA’s The Morning Buzz on April 6. She went on to discuss coronavirus-related fatalities, stressing that “the vast majority of which were in New York City,” and noted some positive trends in terms of the number of deaths dropping, albeit still at a high number, and “reduction in hospitalizations and the number of people in ICU. And so those are trends that we’ve been desperately looking for. And we finally started to see them. Actually to call it a trend may be premature, if we could see this go out over the next few days and be very positive.”

Even with some positive signs, the numbers remain quite high, and Hochul has spent significant energy warning people to not let the relatively good news reduce their commitment to staying at home and social distancing.

“There's still a lot of lives being lost,” she said while noting some “progress” and stressing that “the governor says this is all driven by science and data. We can't predict anything. But what also could be a scenario is you hit a plateau where you stay at this rate of still losing those high numbers. Even if they don't start getting higher, that's still a high number. But that could continue for a number of days. We don't know when it would start dropping. We can keep this centrally located downstate and deal with it there and that's where the need is the greatest and prevent it from spiking up and those numbers upstate. But this is where social responsibility is what's going to protect us.”

Along with the public health crisis, an economic crisis has unfolded, with mass job loss and New Yorkers filing for unemployment insurance in huge numbers, facing problems with the state Department of Labor’s website and being able to reach a representative on the phone.

Hochul has spent significant portions of her time on the airwaves reassuring New Yorkers that the state was very aware of the problem and taking steps to fix it. She says the bulk of the problem is capacity of the system, which has all of a sudden been experiencing millions of calls a day.

“We've hired Google to redo our websites and make it easier. We have people working from other agencies, hired over a thousand new people [at Department of Labor]. So I know there's frustration, which the governor said it's not acceptable and we're going to get this right,” Hochul explained on News 12 Bronx and Brooklyn, in one of her handful of recent downstate appearances. “And I know it's been a long way and it's hard to be patient because we're all under tremendous stress. But in the end, at the end of it all, be aware that your benefits are going to be retroactive to the first day that you needed them, not the day that you connect with the state agency.”

Hochul described the efforts to modernize the website as an area they’ve been “prioritizing more than ever” because it’s how they “can directly help New York families.”

With Cuomo extending his “New York on PAUSE” order to mid-May, protests have begun cropping up, in Albany and in Buffalo (and other places around the country), with protestors calling for a reopening of the economy. When asked about the protests on Spectrum News Buffalo, Hochul said she and the governor want to reopen the economy as much as everyone else, but it has to be done carefully and on a timetable.

“This is an opportunity for us to be unified, to stand together as Americans who are all having to encounter a global pandemic together at the same time. This isn’t a time to be divisive and have political winds blowing here,” Hochul said.

As she continues to have a focus on the economy given her past portfolio and is now taking on more of a focus regarding the idea of a western New York “reopening,” Hochul said that she has begun talking with various chambers of commerce across the state as the administration develops plans.

Reopening has to be done in a “thoughtful and responsible way,” she said.

Cuomo has also recently announced a coordinating council among seven northeastern states — New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island — to work together to come up with a regional plan to reopen the states, though he then said New York would start planning its own region-by-region framework within the state, tasking Hochul with the western New York region.

“The coordinating group - comprised of one health expert, one economic development expert and the respective Chief of Staff from each state -- will work together to develop a fully integrated regional framework to gradually lift the states' stay at home orders while minimizing the risk of increased spread of the virus,” a press release from Cuomo’s office said.

Though she is not one of the three New York members on the regional council, Hochul said she is also focused on the effort as the chair of the state’s Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC), a major Cuomo initiative that awards millions in local funding each year, and speaking with chambers across the State to add to the reopening plan for New York State.

“I'm already talking to our chambers and business leaders all across the state how we talked about a recovery ‘cause we're anxious to get that economy started again. But it's how long that's going to take and when that'll start all depends on whether or not people practice what we've been talking about,” Hochul said on WBEN. “Because every time you leave your house, you and your family and others are exposed to this and we're just asking for this level of sacrifice longer.”

According to Hochul and Cuomo, the key to reopening will be testing capacity.

“Testing is going to be key,” Cuomo said at his daily coronavirus briefing on April 13. “That's a new frontier for us, also. This state is probably the most aggressive state in the nation in actually getting the testing up. We test more than any other state. We test more than other countries. We test more than the other leading states combined in testing. But, that's still not enough. We have to do more.”

Two days later, Hochul was getting the message out. “A lot of it is going to be based on testing. If we could have broad based testing, we’ll know who already has this and those people, they would be able to get back to work and normal life. We want to start introducing those concepts and working with our neighboring states on a policy,” the lieutenant governor said on 98PXY on April 15.

Hochul told Gotham Gazette that opening would also require help from the federal government. Governor Cuomo “is also asking the federal government, in a bipartisan effort, for $500 billion in aid to states to help with our economic recovery,” Hochul said by email. “We need the federal government to step up and take action for the future of our economy. Much of the recovery will come with continued support for the Paycheck Protection Program, additional support for hospitals and healthcare. We will need significant investments to rebound from this unprecedented effort.”

Hochul said on 98PXY that by the time we develop a vaccination, that’s when we know for sure we can go back to normal life. So we don’t want to backslide before that and work to begin reopening the economy.

Hochul was set to make another eight public appearances on Wednesday, including six on radio or TV, one at The Ivy Network's Wise Women Zoom Conference and one at the North Country Chamber of Commerce town hall.

***
by Katie Kirker, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

Ben Max contributed to this article.

]]>
Largely Absent from Cuomo's Coronavirus Briefings, Lieutenant Governor Hochul Charged with Western New York Role Wed, 22 Apr 2020 04:00:00 +0000
Big Year Ahead for Cuomo’s Child Care Task Force https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/9085-big-year-ahead-for-cuomo-hochul-state-child-care-task-force https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/9085-big-year-ahead-for-cuomo-hochul-state-child-care-task-force gov cuomo mayor

Gov. Cuomo (photo: Governor's Office)


In his 2020 State of the State address, delivered January 8 in Albany, Governor Andrew Cuomo mentioned expanding the state’s child care tax credit as one of his policy priorities for the year, something he reiterated on January 21 when he outlined his budget proposal, which had to take into account the cost.

But that expansion of an existing policy is only one part of what is supposed to become a signature Cuomo initiative: an expansive child care agenda to benefit families across New York. A panel convened by Cuomo a little more than a year ago is working throughout this year to deliver proposals to the governor to act on in 2021, which will be the Democrat’s eleventh year in office.

After announcing that he was going to establish a task force in January 2018 as part of his Women’s Agenda that year, Cuomo in December 2018 launched the Child Care Availability Task Force, co-chaired by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and two relevant agency commissioners, and including the governor’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa. It is, according to the announcement, a team of “experts focused on developing innovative solutions that will improve access to quality, affordable child care in New York.”

The members include child care providers, advocates, representatives of the business community and relevant labor unions, as well as from state and local governments. Along with Hochul, the co-chairs are Sheila Poole, commissioner at the Office of Children and Family Services, and Roberta Reardon, commissioner at the Department of Labor.

According to the announcement, the task force will be examining “access to affordable child care, the availability of child care for parents with non-traditional work hours, statutory and regulatory changes that could promote or enhance access to child care, business incentives to increase child care access, and the impact on tax credits and deductions relating to child care.” 

Since its launch, the child care task force has been quiet publicly, but according to the initial announcement, final recommendations are due to the governor by the end of this year and Hochul told Gotham Gazette that the panel is headed toward meeting that deadline. It has been meeting regularly since its inception to discuss different potential models to present to the governor at the end of 2020, she said.

“It’s not just a family’s problem, but this is an economic problem for the state of New York,” the lieutenant governor told Gotham Gazette during a recent interview at her Manhattan office. A Democrat now in her second term, Hochul has talked about the need to implement policy statewide that increases access to child care for all New Yorkers but that working with the 10 Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) is key to ensuring policy is specific to each region’s individual challenges.

Over 60% of New Yorkers live in a child care desert, meaning more than 50 children under age five with no child care providers or so few options that there are more than three times as many children as licensed child care spots, according to a Hochul letter written last May and addressed to the REDCs, urging them to invest in child care. The REDCs were created by Cuomo to design and help implement economic development programming across the state, using billions of dollars of state funds, and are a key part of Hochul’s portfolio.

In that letter, Hochul asked “each Council to consider the child care needs of your region and the unique barriers families face in your decision making. The Council can address the issues that impact businesses including chronic absence, productivity reductions, and turnover due to inadequate options for child care.”

Round nine of the REDC initiative listed “working with local businesses and communities to identify childcare needs and develop potential solutions.” During this round, which was awarded in December 2019, just under $8.8 million was given to 16 projects statewide for direct childcare projects, and almost $7.4 million was awarded to an additional four projects that have a child care component, according to the 2019 awards. The projects are mainly infrastructure based, including expansion of a Tompkins County facility that will “accommodate increased child care” and renovating a Syracuse property “into a light manufacturing facility and day care center,” among other projects.

In terms of next steps, Hochul said the task force will be holding public gatherings to glean more information about effective programming.

“I want to go into areas where we have identified through our diverse group of partners who are on our commission, let me get into a community that are doing something innovative,” Hochul said. “Let them come to us and tell us what they’re doing, what it takes to scale it up, what other assistance they would need from the state, and whether it makes sense for the governor to be considering it in his next set of policy recommendations.”

The task force last met in person on December 16 and 17 at the New York State Office of Children and Family Services Human Services Training Center in Rensselaer. At the meeting they discussed “access and affordability of child care, along with how child care ties into economic developments and the workforce,” a representative from the lieutenant governor’s office said in an email. The next meeting, originally eyed for this week, will likely be scheduled for late February.

“New York has a child care system in crisis,” said Larry Marx, CEO of The Children’s Agenda and member of the state’s Child Care Availability Task Force, in an interview. “Hundreds of thousands of New York’s working families often have to choose between dropping out of the workforce and losing income or taking care of their kids at home.”

With challenges around availability, cost, and more, child care has become an increasingly central topic of focus in public policy discussions over the last few years. Data released recently from the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP) in the State of the Workforce Report shows that for the first time, the cost of child care exceeds housing as the single greatest expense for families. The report shows that “infant care for one child would consume 22.1% of a median family’s income.” This number increases to 66.7% for low-wage workers.

While crafting the report, NYATEP Executive Director and Co-Founder of Invest in Skills NY, Melinda Mack, said that as they “went across the state and looked at employers and employees and one of the things that continued to come up was the lack of child care.” This was the impetus for looking at child care more closely.

As an expert on workforce development, she said one of the main things that employers can do, and that she hopes comes from the recommendations of the governor’s task force, is for creative solutions beyond subsidies.

One policy that could go a long way is flexibility in traditional shift hours, allowing for employees to drop off or pick up their children as needed. According to Hochul, this type of proposal is part of what the task force is considering as part of its recommendations. 

Andrea Anthony, the executive director of the Day Care Council of New York, said that women “should not have to choose between going to work and staying home and if they do elect to work that it doesn’t take so much of their take home pay.”

Anthony also emphasized that it is not only beneficial to women, but to New York’s families and children.

“My sincere hope is that the governor actually makes it one of his priorities while he is in office and he actually says very clearly child care is a priority because we are helping our youngest citizens get educated and prepared for employment,” Anthony said.

The problem, and the task force’s goals, go beyond investing in child care spaces. Hochul emphasized the importance of looking at the issue from other angles, including investing in child care workers.

“Let's have more respect for the people in this field. Let's encourage more people to go in, let's use our economic development programs like workforce development and encourage more people to get the training they need to give really high quality child care,” Hochul said.

Mack also highlighted the importance of investing in the recruitment and retention of child care workers. The State of the Workforce report also cites that 70% of child care workers report having to work a second job to make ends meet.

As the task force moves ahead with its 2020 work, Cuomo has continued to move pieces of an agenda forward. In December he pledged $20 million to expand the Child Care Assistance Program, which will “reduce or eliminate wait lists for subsidized child care” or to expand available spots.

Last June, Cuomo signed legislation that allows local candidates running for office to use campaign funds to pay for child care expenses. The goal of this is to remove barriers for parents, especially women, to run for local office, and came after Long Island congressional candidate Liuba Grechen Shirley successfully petitioned the Federal Elections Commission to allow federal candidates to use campaign funds for child care.

There are other efforts at different levels of government to push for affordable and quality child care for New Yorkers. For example, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced in a press release earlier this month that she is introducing “legislation that would help expand access to high-quality child care services at no cost to student parents enrolled in community colleges and minority-serving institutions.”

Gillibrand’s Preparing and Resourcing Our Student Parents and Early Childhood Teachers Act (PROSPECT Act) would provide “$9 billion in new grant programs to provide high-quality infant and toddler care at no cost to low-income parents attending community colleges and minority-serving institutions,” according to the January 14 announcement. 

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced a child care plan called “NYC Under Three” last May. His plan lays out three recommendations. The first is lowering families’ child care costs, with contributions based on a “sliding scale, and families would pay up to a set portion of their income.” The second is to offer start-up and expansion grants to child care providers to increase accessibility and the number of seats available for infants and children. The third is increasing payments to child care providers and expanding access to training and professional development to improve the retention of workers. 

“A family’s child care bill can be one of their biggest expenses, if not the biggest,” Stringer’s plan says. “A space in a child care center for an infant in New York City costs over $21,000 per year—more than three times as much as in-state tuition at The City University of New York and exceeding median rent in every borough.”

The comptroller’s plan would allow for families to pursue educational and job opportunities, access formal child care for the first time, and increase maternal employment, it says. The report estimates that newly employed parents will contribute about $540 million annually in earnings to the New York City economy. Stringer's focus on "under three" compliments the fact that Mayor Bill de Blasio has overseen, with help through state funding, the implementation of universal, free, full-day pre-kindergarten for four-year-olds and is now rolling out an extension to three-year-olds.

“I’m really starting to see a change in attitude, but again, this is not just your family’s problem, it is society’s problem, it is a problem for the State of New York as an entity that looks out for its people,” Hochul said in the interview with Gotham Gazette. “But also we’re leaving money on the table. There was a lot more in revenue that could be coming in and getting more women participating in the workforce.”

***
by Katie Kirker, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

]]>
Big Year Ahead for Cuomo’s Child Care Task Force Tue, 28 Jan 2020 05:00:00 +0000
Hochul Previews 2019 Cuomo Administration Agenda, Defends Economic Development Programming https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8164-hochul-previews-2019-cuomo-administration-agenda-defends-economic-development-programming https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8164-hochul-previews-2019-cuomo-administration-agenda-defends-economic-development-programming hochul redcs 2018

Lt. Gov. Hochul at the REDC awards (photo: the Governor's Office)


In a recent radio interview, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul highlighted the elements of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s newly-unveiled 2019 agenda that she plans to have a significant role in passing. Hochul also discussed and defended the administration’s Regional Economic Development Council program, explained her role co-chairing the new Childcare Viability Task Force, and discussed the timetable for a statewide $15 minimum wage.

As a guest on the Max & Murphy show on WBAI, Hochul zeroed in on the section of Cuomo’s agenda, which he outlined during a speech two days prior, concerning the lives of women. She hopes to help see the state codify Roe v. Wade abortion protections in the next session, to make sure contraception care is covered by health insurance, and to pass the equal rights amendment as part of the state constitution. “Something that is embarrassing that we have not done in our state is, actually, pass the Equal Rights Amendment, something we’ve been talking about for over a hundred years in this state,” she said.

Hochul also mentioned her work on the state’s plan to protect New York’s healthcare system from federal government efforts to end coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. She affirmed a Cuomo administration commitment to protect the coverage of pre-existing conditions for all and to “get prescription drug costs under control.” When outlining his legislative agenda on December 17, Cuomo included several elements related to health care coverage, such as codifying the state’s health insurance exchange that is part of Affordable Care Act programming.

Hochul called it “A very bold and ambitious agenda,” adding, “I love being part of an administration where we take on the big challenges. Nothing is too much for us.”

Other elements of the agenda Cuomo outlined include legalizing recreational marijuana, passing congestion pricing program for New York City, crafting a “Green New Deal” for New York, and much more.

In the interview Hochul also discussed the goals for the $763 million in state funding allocated through the Regional Economic Development Councils, which she chairs, in its 2018 round eight, and addressed criticism alleging a lack of transparency in the allocation process and a lack of clarity around effectiveness of the grant program in terms of the jobs it creates.

She said the Cuomo administration’s primary objectives with the REDCs are economic development and job creation. For example, she said the funds would be used for workforce development in underserved areas, job training, and revitalizing main streets in communities throughout the state.

“We’re making a difference, and the jobs are coming back,” Hochul said. “We have over 8.1 million jobs here in the state of New York. That is the largest we’ve ever had in our state’s history.”

This year’s $763 million will be split among 10 different regions of the state, each of which submitted proposals in the annual competition. The amounts allocated to each region range from $66 million to $88.2 million, the most being awarded to Central New York. The initiative will fund 1,055 projects statewide, Hochul said.

The program was created by Cuomo in 2011, his first year in office, and has been at the heart of the governor's plan to jump-start the economy, especially in areas of the state that have struggled the most. Overall, the program has allocated $6.1 billion for 7,300 projects, and created 220,000 jobs, according Hochul.

“It is no longer Albany dictating where the money goes, it is really bottom up,” Hochul said. “And that is what is really transforming New York, upstate in particular.”

The REDC program is not without detractors. Critics, including outside watchdog organizations and elected officials, have cited both a lack of transparency in the process of how taxpayer funds are spent and a lack of specificity in terms of job-creation reporting.

Both the Citizens Budget Commission and Reinvent Albany have criticized the REDC program, questioning whether people can clearly see the REDC grants, recipients, and results, especially job numbers. Reinvent Albany criticized the 2018 awards for only allocating roughly half of the money in the form of state grants, with the other half in Excelsior Job Credits and Tax-Free Bonds. She highlighted that the $763 million advertised by the program is not actually representative of the total grant money allocated. It called the program “essentially a publicity framework for the governor to award dozens of small and large batches of state funding from very diverse sources in a game show format.”

Hochul defended the program, stating that all the information about the projects can be found online. “It’s crystal clear where the money has gone, and how it’s been allocated,” she said, though she did admit that she wasn’t sure if the job information was available, which it is not. She sought to assure New Yorkers that she and the governor are “careful stewards of the taxpayer dollar.”

Asked about the Childcare Availability Task Force that was recently announced by the Cuomo administration, and which Hochul is co-chairing, the Lieutenant Governor said the task force is intended to develop solutions for the lack of affordable child care across the state. Addressing this need will help allow women to meet their earning potential, Hochul said. She said the task force would conduct research on how best to tackle a deficit in affordable childcare. Hochul stated that the taskforce would advocate for the inclusion of child care resources in the workplace and to reevaluate how much childcare workers are paid. Hochul added that it is nearly impossible for a single mother to raise children while paying for child care on a minimum wage, which, she said, has created a crisis.

On the minimum wage, Hochul was asked about the timeline for reaching $15 an hour for all of New York State. The program is being implemented in regional stages, with New York City set to hit $15 at the being of 2019. But the timeline for upstate is less clear, with the original schedule, which was agreed upon in the 2016 state budget that passed the current phase-in, did not include a definitive timetable. This despite the fact that Cuomo and others regularly say the state has a $15 minimum wage.

Hochul was adamant that “there is a path” that gets the wage to $15 statewide. But citing different variables in the cost of living for different regions of the state, she stated, “It will eventually get to $15 throughout the state, I believe that.”

[Listen to the full interview with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul]

***
by Brendan Rose
@GothamGazette

Ben Max contributed to this story.

]]>
Hochul Previews 2019 Cuomo Administration Agenda, Defends Economic Development Programming Thu, 27 Dec 2018 05:00:00 +0000
Max & Murphy Podcast: Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul on 2019 Priorities https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8156-max-murphy-podcast-lieutenant-governor-kathy-hochul-on-2019-priorities https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8156-max-murphy-podcast-lieutenant-governor-kathy-hochul-on-2019-priorities mxm logo

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


December 19, 2018 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul on 2019 Priorities

wbai 12 19 lt governor kathy hochulLieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul joined the show to discuss the Cuomo administration priorities for 2019, including which issues she plans to be most involved with, the state's economic development programming, her leadership of a new child care task force, the minimum wage, and more.

Listen to the 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 Max & Murphy live on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. on WBAI radio, 99.5FM or wbai.org

***
by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

]]>
Max & Murphy Podcast: Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul on 2019 Priorities Wed, 19 Dec 2018 05:00:00 +0000
Cuomo Reelected, Democrats Take the State Senate; 2018 General Election Results in New York https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8058-2018-general-election-results-in-new-york https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8058-2018-general-election-results-in-new-york and cuomo nov

Gov. Cuomo votes (photo: @andrewcuomo)


Democrats will take full control of New York state government in 2019 thanks to the reelection of Governor Andrew Cuomo and other candidates for statewide office, as well as wins in the state Senate that flipped control of the upper chamber. Democrats continue to hold a wide majority in the state Assembly. With help from New York, Democrats also flipped the U.S. House of Representatives.

The state Senate and gubernatorial victories open the door for Democrats to move a sweeping policy agenda that has been blocked by Republicans, some items for years, in areas such as voting, campaign finance, and criminal justice reform, women's reproductive rights, alterations to rent regulations, and more. While some results are still to be finalized, Democrats may have 39 seats in the 63-seat chamber come January.

Cuomo won a third term on Tuesday, easily defeating Republican challenger Marc Molinaro and three other candidates, while his running-mate Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul won a second term alongside the governor.

Letitia James, currently the New York City Public Advocate, was elected Attorney General and is the first woman of color elected to a statewide position in New York. She's also the first woman and first person of color elected to become New York Attorney General.

The other Democrats running for statewide positions were also victorious, with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli both winning reelection by wide margins, as expected.

New York City and State races also contributed to a Democratic takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives.

And, in New York City, the three ballot proposals from Mayor de Blasio’s charter revision commission were all approved by wide margins, ushering in campaign finance reform, a new civic engagement commission, and term limits for community board members.

In the overall race for control of the state Senate, Democrats claimed a majority, and seemed on their way to winning at least 36 and up to 39 seats while several remained neck-and-neck and could also tilt their way, according to unofficial state Board of Elections results. With Democrats in control, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins will become the first woman of color majority leader of the state Senate. "I am confident our majority will grow even larger after all results are counted, and we will finally give New Yorkers the progressive leadership they have been demanding," she tweeted Tuesday night.

Much of the action was on Long Island, but one of the few Republican-held seats in New York City was also hotly-contested and appears to be a Democratic pick-up for Andrew Gounardes, though Senator Marty Golden has not conceded.

In the open race for District 3, Democrat Monica Martinez defeated Republican Dean Murray. In District 5, Democrat James Gaughran won by more than 9 points against Republican Carl Marcellino. In District 39, Democrat James Skoufis beat Republican Tom Basile. Kevin Thomas, the Democrat in District 6, closely defeated Republican Kemp Hannon. In District 7, Democrat Anna Kaplan defeated Republican Elaine Phillips with an almost ten-point margin.

In two other open races, however, Democrats lost to their Republican opponents. In District 43, Aaron Gladd was defeated by Republican Daphne Jordan, and in District 50, John Mannion was defeated by Bob Antonacci.

The current Republican majority leader, Senator John Flanagan, said in a statement, "This election is over, but our mission is not. Senate Republicans will never stop advocating for the principles we believe in or the agenda that New Yorkers and their families deserve."

Along with competitive races for state Senate seats, many eyes were on potential swing districts for New York seats in the House of Representatives, part of the national picture whereby Democrats flipped the chamber to secure some control of government in Washington, D.C. and a significant leverage point regarding legislation, funding, and oversight of President Trump and his administration. That effort was aided by outcomes in New York, including an upset in New York City.

In the one city-based congressional seat held by a Republican, Rep. Dan Donovan lost to Democrat Max Rose, who will go to the House to represent New York’s 11th congressional district of Staten Island and part of southern Brooklyn. In the 19th congressional district covering parts of the Hudson Valley and Catskills, Democrat Antonio Delgado defeated incumbent Republican Rep. John Faso. And in Central New York's District 22, Democratic candidate Anthony Brindisi was ahead by a razor-thin margin over incumbent Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney, in a race that seems too close to call. In Congressional District 27, though Democrat Nate McMurray had conceded to Republican incumbent Rep. Chris Collins, McMurray's campaign later called for a recount when the margin between the two was only one point.

Back in the five boroughs, of the three ballot proposals passing, Mayor de Blasio said in an election night statement, “Tonight we took a big step toward becoming the fairest big city in America. The question in front of voters was simple: are we going to be a city that works for everyone? New Yorkers answered with a resounding ‘YES, YES, YES!’ They voted to set a historic new direction for campaigns in our city by getting big money out of politics. They voted to give voters more power over their tax dollars. They voted to bring new voices into our democracy. The end result of the charter revision process that began nine months ago at the State of City is a democracy that can work for all of us – not just the wealthy and well-connected.”

In terms of specific outcomes in important New York races, as of 2 a.m. on election night, initial results and tentative margins included:

-Governor Cuomo was reelected with about 58% to 36% for Molinaro, while Green Party nominee Howie Hawkins received 1.7%, Libertarian Larry Sharpe won 1.6%, and Stephanie Miner of the Serve America Movement got less than 1%. Both Sharpe and Miner earned their parties automatic ballot access for the next four years (Cuomo on the Women's Equality Party line and Molinaro on the Reform Party line did not get enough votes on those lines and parties will lose their automatic ballot lines.

-James won the attorney general office with 60% over Republican Keith Wofford, who received 34.3%, and other candidates splitting 2.3%.

-DiNapoli was reelected comptroller with 64.4%, while Republican nominee Jonathan Trichter got about 31%, and other candidates split 1.7%.

-Gillibrand won 64.5% of the vote, while Republican Chele Farley received 32.5%.

In competitive state Senate races, the results included:

-Democrat Andrew Gounardes appears to have won with 49.8% over Republican Senator Marty Golden's 48% in Senate District 22

-Democrat Monica Martinez won with 52.2% over Republican incumbent Dean Murray's 47.5% in Senate District 3, which includes parts of Suffolk County.

-Republican Phil Boyle won with 50.4% over Democrat Louis D’Amaro's 46.7% in Senate District 4, which also includes parts of Suffolk County.

-Democrat James Gaughran won with 53.23% over Republican incumbent Carl Marcellino's 44.7% in Senate District 5, which includes parts of Suffolk County.

-Democrat Kevin Thomas won with 49.2% over Republican incumbent Kemp Hannon's 48% in Senate District 6, which includes a portion of Nassau County.

-Democrat Anna Kaplan won with 53.7% over Republican incumbent Elaine Phillips' 44.5% in Senate District 7, which a portion of Nassau County.

-Democrat incumbent John Brooks successfully defended his seat, with 53% against Republican Jeff Pravato's 44% in Senate District 8, which includes Eastern Nassau and Western Suffolk counties.

-Democrat James Skoufis won with 52% over Republican Tom Basile's 45% in Senate District 39, which includes parts of Rockland, Orange, and Ulster counties.

-Democrat Pete Harckham won with 49.9% over Republican incumbent Terrence Murphy's 48% in Senate District 40, which includes Yorktown and Putnam, Westchester and Dutchess counties. 

-Republican incumbent Sue Serino won with 50% over Democrat Karen Smythe's 48% in Senate District 41, which includes parts of Dutchess County.

-Democrat Jen Metzger won with 50% over Republican Ann Rabbitt's 47.4% in Senate District 42, includes parts of Delaware, Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster counties. 

-Republican Daphne Jordan won with 52.1% over Democrat Aaron Gladd's 44.2% in Senate District 43, which includes parts of Saratoga, Rensselaer, Columbia, Washington counties. 

-Republican incumbent George Amedore Jr. won with 55% over Democrat Pat Strong's 42.2% in Senate District 46, which includes Montgomery and Greene counties and portions of Schenectady, Albany and Ulster counties. 

-Republican Robert Antonacci won with 50.4% over Democrat John Mannion's 48% in Senate District 50, which includes Syracuse and the surrounding area.

In competitive House of Representatives races, the results included: 

-Democrat Max Rose won with 52% against Republican incumbent Dan Donovan's 46% in Congressional District 11, which includes Staten Island and parts of South Brooklyn. 

-Democrat Antonio Delgado won with 49.2% against Republican incumbent John Faso's 46.4% in Congressional District 19, which includes the Hudson Valley and Catskills region.

-Democrat Anthony Brindisi led with 49.5% against Republican incumbent Claudia Tenney's 48.9% in Congressional District 22, which includes parts of Chenango, Cortland, Madison, and Oneida counties.

-Republican Incumbent John Katko won with 52.2% against Democrat Dana Balter's 46% in Congressional District 24, which includes pats of Cayuga, Onondaga, and Wayne counties.

- Republican incumbent Chris Collins, who is under indictment for insider trading, received 48.1% over Democrat Nate McMurray's 47.1% in Congressional District 27, which includes Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, and Livingston counties. McMurray's campaign has called for a recount.

***
by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

Samar Khurshid contributed to this article.

Note - This article has been updated.

]]>
Cuomo Reelected, Democrats Take the State Senate; 2018 General Election Results in New York Tue, 06 Nov 2018 05:00:00 +0000
Post-Primary Campaign Finance Filings Show Cuomo’s Already Spent $28 Million https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7957-post-primary-campaign-finance-filings-show-cuomo-s-already-spent-28-million https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7957-post-primary-campaign-finance-filings-show-cuomo-s-already-spent-28-million govandrewcuomo office

Photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

***
by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

Note - This article has been updated to note the amount that Cuomo and Nixon spent per vote. 

]]>
Post-Primary Campaign Finance Filings Show Cuomo’s Already Spent $28 Million Tue, 25 Sep 2018 20:47:05 +0000
A Closer Look at Democratic Primary Turnout, Margins and Geography https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7936-a-closer-look-at-democratic-primary-turnout-margins-and-geography https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7936-a-closer-look-at-democratic-primary-turnout-margins-and-geography cuomo voting 2018 primary

Gov. Cuomo voting in Thursday's primary (photo: @NYGovCuomo)


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.

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.

“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.”

“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, according to 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

In total, James won 40.6 percent of the vote, Teachout 31, Maloney 25, and Eve 3.4.

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 Gotham Gazette last week reported looked likely.

In the Lieutenant Governor race Hochul unofficially received 733,591 votes, or 53.3 percent, to Williams’ 641,631 votes, or 46.7 percent.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Ben Brachfeld and Ben Max contributed to this article.

]]>
A Closer Look at Democratic Primary Turnout, Margins and Geography Sun, 16 Sep 2018 04:00:00 +0000
2018 New York State Primary Results: Cuomo, Hochul, James Prevail While Senate Upsets Abound https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7931-2018-new-york-state-primary-election-results https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7931-2018-new-york-state-primary-election-results cuomo james hochul

(photo: @andrewcuomo)


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).

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.

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.

Hochul beat Williams by about 53% to 47% in what was a hard-fought Lieutenant Governor primary.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

In another upset, Julia Salazar unseated Senator Martin Dilan in Brooklyn.

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.

In a Democratic primary to see who will take on Republican Brooklyn Senator Martin Golden in the general election, Andrew Gounardes defeated Ross Barkan.
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.

Additionally, Nancy Sliwa won a three-candidate race for the Reform Party nomination for Attorney General.

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.

***
by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

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. 

]]>
2018 New York State Primary Results: Cuomo, Hochul, James Prevail While Senate Upsets Abound Thu, 13 Sep 2018 04:00:00 +0000
Cuomo and Hochul Win Primaries, Again Form Democratic General Election Ticket https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7933-cuomo-and-hochul-win-primaries-again-form-democratic-general-election-ticket https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7933-cuomo-and-hochul-win-primaries-again-form-democratic-general-election-ticket cuomo primary podium

Gov. Cuomo (photo: @andrewcuomo)


Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, won his party’s nomination for a third term on Thursday, after a bruising primary battle against actor and education activist Cynthia Nixon, who challenged him from his left. Cuomo won with about 65 percent of the vote against Nixon’s 35 percent. Joining Cuomo on the Democratic ticket is Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who won the party nomination over her own primary challenger, New York City Council Member Jumaane Williams. Hochul received 53 percent against Williams’ 47 percent.

Thursday’s result was hardly a surprise, though turnout was much higher than four years ago. Cuomo consistently led Nixon in public polling over the last few months, and spent more than $20 million to beat back the insurgent first-time candidate, blanketing the airwaves with advertisements across the state. Nixon ran a far leaner campaign, spending barely $2 million as she attempted to unseat the incumbent, who was running on achievements of his two terms and his pledge to fight President Trump.

Nixon touted her experience as a long-time activist on education, LGBT issues, and women’s reproductive rights as she sought to be the state’s first female and first openly queer governor. Though Nixon was hoping that a wave of progressive energy would carry her down what she had admitted was a “narrow path” to victory, relying mostly on digital and social media to get her message out, her lack of government experience hampered her electoral chances, as several newspaper editorial boards noted when they endorsed Cuomo for reelection.

The power of incumbency and the support of the State Democratic Party, not to mention several prominent labor unions and wealthy donors, propelled the governor’s campaign. He has another $16 million at his campaign’s disposal for the general election, and will easily add millions more to his coffers. With New York home to two registered Democratic voters for every Republican, Cuomo is widely expected to prevail against Republican Marc Molinaro and smaller party challengers.

Cuomo, by all accounts, took Nixon’s challenge more seriously than he did the 2014 challenge he won in the Democratic primary against Fordham Law professor Zephyr Teachout, who was briefly Nixon’s campaign treasurer before running for the Democratic attorney general nomination that she lost on Thursday. In 2014, Teachout pulled 33.5 percent of the vote against Cuomo’s 63 percent (Randy Credico received about 3.5 percent), almost exactly the same vote shares as Thursday’s primary. Teachout got a total of 192,210 votes that year to Cuomo’s 361,380; Nixon pulled 443,014 to Cuomo’s 833,616, with 86 percent of precincts reporting.

Nixon ran an unabashedly progressive campaign, advocating a raft of proposals that she said Cuomo has refused to support or had done little to pass. She accused him of governing like a Republican, and for enabling the state Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference, which caucused with Republicans in the majority for years before rejoining their own party conference in April. Cuomo’s move to reunify the conference was largely attributed to Nixon posing a primary challenge. Most of the former members of the IDC lost their own primaries on Thursday in a rousing series of upsets.

At an election night watch party hosted by the Working Families Party in Brooklyn, a packed room cheered Nixon as she took the stage. “We took on one of the most powerful governors in America,” she said. “It wasn’t easy.”

Nixon claimed a measure of success, emphasizing how she pushed Cuomo to the left and shifted the state’s political landscape and said her campaign was part of an ongoing effort to take the Democratic Party from those too close to corporations and big donors. “We have changed what is expected of a Democratic candidate running in New York and what we can demand from our elected leaders...Ours isn’t just a symbolic victory. This campaign forced the Governor to make concrete commitments that will change the lives of people across this state,” she said.

For his part, Cuomo put forth his marquee accomplishments, such as passing marriage equality, strict gun control measures, a $15 mimum wage program, paid family leave, and a multitude of infrastructure projects. He ran on his experience, government know-how, and early efforts to fight Trump with new laws and lawsuits, as well as programs to step in where the federal government has failed, such as Puerto Rico hurricane recovery. He tried to sidestep questions about corruption in his economic development programs and his mismanagement of the MTA.

It was a rocky race at times for both sides. Nixon struggled to articulate an in-depth knowledge of issues at times or to clearly explain her policy plans, which were extensive. Cuomo’s campaign surrogates and spokespeople made light of her inexperience, at times using gendered language to denigrate her candidacy. Cuomo chose to focus his own attacks on Trump, pitching himself as the candidate best poised to stand firm against a Republican-led federal government.

Nixon and Cuomo only faced each other once, at the sole televised debate in the race, hosted by WCBS at Hofstra University. Both sides proclaimed victory after the hour-long face off, though neither was given time to present a cogent vision and discussion of substantive policy issues was sparse.

The last week of the race was its ugliest, with the Cuomo campaign scrambling to contain the fallout from two scandals in quick succession. In the first, more benign of the two instances, Cuomo announced the opening of the new span of the Governor Mario M. Cuomo bridge -- formerly the Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge -- only to reverse after safety concerns emerged about the old bridge that could have impacted the new one. Cuomo denied having sped up the opening for political purposes but a New York Times report cast doubts on the story.

The second, more enduring scandal, extended from the weekend before the primary to the night before, over an 11th-hour mailer sent by the state Democratic Committee, which Cuomo controls, seeking to paint Nixon as anti-Semitic. Again, repeated denials from Cuomo and State Party executive director Geoff Berman that the mailer was a mistake and neither of them were aware of it didn’t seem to pass muster. On Wednesday, it emerged that the culprit was Larry Schwartz, a former top Cuomo aide and campaign advisor, who claimed the mailer was accidentally sent out without being properly proofread despite reported emails from another Cuomo campaign aide that undercut the denials.

For the waning days of the primary, Cuomo avoided the press, jetting around the city and state without releasing a public schedule. On election night, the governor was in Albany while the state Democratic Party held a celebration in Manhattan.

In the lieutenant governor race, Williams posed a credible threat to Hochul, with strong name recognition in Brooklyn, a borough with a concentration of Democratic primary voters. Polls showed them somewhat close though Hochul consistently had a lead. Williams sought to redefine the role of lieutenant governor, labelling his opponent a “rubber stamp” on the governor’s policies and failures. He said, rather, that he would act as a check on the governor.

Hochul, an upstate Democrat, likely recognized her electoral weakness in the city and spent significant time courting African-American and Hispanic voters, essential to winning a statewide Democratic primary. At the same time, her campaign received criticism for her racially tinged attacks on Williams’ financial struggles, stemming from a failed business and large loans that he owed. Otherwise, she ran as a partner to Cuomo, touting her work on a task force on the opioid epidemic and economic development programs upstate -- often seeking to avoid discussion of the corruption scandals that have marred them -- and her advocacy for survivors of sexual assault.

She also repeatedly pointed to Williams’ conservative personal positions on abortion and marriage equality. The Council member had to justify those opinions throughout the campaign, explaining that they are his own personally held views and that he has never and would never vote against the rights of women and the LGBTQ community.

Williams similarly brought up Hochul’s own conservative past, including her relationship with the National Rifle Association and her outright opposition to granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, both positions on which she has distanced herself and expressed regret.

In the November general election, Cuomo and Hochul will run on a joint ticket against Dutchess county executive Marc Molinaro, the Republican nominee for governor, and his running mate, Julie Killian, a former Rye City Council Member who recently ran unsuccessfully for state Senate, as well as the tickets of the Green and Libertarian parties, among others, like former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and her running mate, who have created their own independent ballot line.

The general election is November 6.

***
by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

]]>
Cuomo and Hochul Win Primaries, Again Form Democratic General Election Ticket Fri, 14 Sep 2018 04:00:00 +0000