30 July, 2006

Lieberman Endorsed By Top Two Connecticut Newspapers And Washington Post; Lamont Is The Choice Of The New York Times

Sen. Joe Lieberman was endorsed today by Conncecticut's two highest-circulation newspapers, The Hartford Courant and the Connecticut Post. He also won the nod from The Washington Post

Ned Lamont, Lieberman's upstart anti-war opponent in the Democratic primary for the Senate seat from Connecticut, was endorsed today by The New York Times.

The Hartford Courant touted Lieberman's experience and his moderate profile:

" Mr. Lieberman has gained considerable influence in his 18 years in the Senate. His specialty is working with Republican moderates - and sometimes conservatives - to craft bills that can pass the most divided, least civil Congress in memory." - The Hartford Courant

The Connecticut Post, strangely, posted an Associated Press roundup of endorsements in the race, but did not post the full text of its own newspaper's endorsement. The AP article quoted a few paragraphs from the Connecticut Post endorsement. Including this one:

"There have been many times when we've disagreed with the senator, but his overall record is commendable and the record of a fighter who has been there for Connecticut in the areas of defense contracts, the environment, education, health care, civil rights, and transportation." - The Connecticut Post

The Washington Post was also swayed by Lieberman's bi-partisan approach to the issues:

"Throughout his Senate career, Mr. Lieberman has been faithful to the fundamental values that most Democrats associate with their party: care for the environment; dedication to a progressive tax code and other ways to help the poor and middle classes; and support for Israel and other democracies around the world. But he's managed to hold on to those values while also working with Republicans to move legislation forward..." The Washington Post

New York Times, in endorsing Lamont said, esentially said the power-hoarding tendencies of the current administration call for an opposition party that is willing to do its job in reining in that power:

In his effort to appear above the partisan fray, he has become one of the Bush administration's most useful allies as the president tries to turn the war on terror into an excuse for radical changes in how this country operates.

Citing national security, Mr. Bush continually tries to undermine restraints on the executive branch: the system of checks and balances, international accords on the treatment of prisoners, the nation's longtime principles of justice. His administration has depicted any questions or criticism of his policies as giving aid and comfort to the terrorists. And Mr. Lieberman has helped that effort.

- The New York Times

We're down to nine days and counting on this one.


Lamont's campaign office provided use with this reminder. The candidate will be appearing on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report tomorrow night at 11:30 p.m. EDT.

29 July, 2006

Suozzi Among The Worst? Wonkette Readers Say Maybe So - At Campaigning At Least

Wonkette has been examining campaign flops and faux pas (faux pases?) this week and one local campaign is getting some attention.

Wonkette reports Tom Suozzi's campaign for governor here in New York is getting a fair number of votes in the blog's reader poll of worst campaigns in America.

As Wonkette points out, Suozzi was polling at 8% in February, has spent $6 million dollars, and is now polling at 9%.

The strenght of Suozzi's opponent in the Democratic Party primary race, Eliot Spitzer, may have a lot to do with those poll numbers.

But the events of this week provide an example of a campaign going wrong.

Suozzi went toe-to-toe with Spitzer in a televised debate early in the week, an appearance that won him good reviews by most pundits.

But, he followed that up with the silly debate notebook incident. Rather than paint Spitzer and his alleged temper in a bad light - as the notebook affair was meant to do - it just made Suozzi look petty.

That, somewhat unbelievably, was followed up by a Suozzi campaign press release inviting reporters to view the banned notebook.

The unbelievable part, as reported by Capitol Confidential, is that the subsequent press conference was not about the notebook at all. The promise of a notebook viewing was a ploy to get reporters to come to the event.

That incident smacks of desperation (when you have to fool reporters into covering your campaign you are in a desperate place) and a lack of sophistication (you don't play little tricks on political reporters and not expect it to backfire).

The Suozzi campaign has spent lots of money, alienated the Democratic Party's leaders, changed managers mid-stream and seems to be going nowhere.

In fact the New York Post's veteran pundit Frederic Dicker has already written the campaign's eulogy.

Anti-Kelly Blog Paints Congresswoman With Scarlet Letter - No, Not THAT Scarlett Letter

Take19, the blog that makes no secret of the fact that its whole reason for being is to defeat New York Republican Congresswoman Sue Kelly this fall, has an amusing post today.

But one with a point.

With virtually every poll over the last several months showing that voters prefer Congress be controlled by Democrats when all is said and done in November, Republican candidates seem to be shying away from their party label. Many of them anyway.

The point is made in a recent story in The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper. The story centers on the fact that even the man running the Congressional campaign effort for the Republicans on a national level, Rep. Tom Reynolds of the Buffalo area, is running a TV ad that doesn't mention his party affiliation.

Take19, spurred by the article, took a look at Kelly's campaign Web site and claims not to have found the word "Republican" anywhere on the site. There's no search engine on the site but I did a quick review of all the pages and I couldn't find a party identification mentioned.

Taking things a step further, I looked at Kelly's official Congressional Web site and couldn't find her party affiliation there either. I must admit, that site was too large to search every page, but I did check the biography page, the home page and several recent press releases and no party affiliation was mentioned on those Web pages.

The same issue has cropped up several times in the 20th District, where it has been noted that incumbent Republican John Sweeney has failed to mention his party affiliation in campaign literature and his TV advertising. Both Sweeney's campaign Web site and Congressional site readily identify his party affiliation.

Back to The Hill article for a second. The publication notes that Reynolds' seat outside of Buffalo is among the least likely New York seats to change party hands this fall. It makes no mention of Kelly's seat and identifies Sweeney's seat as one that could be ripe for a change.

26 July, 2006

Riding The Third Rail, Jonathan Tasini Takes Israel Issue Head On

Jonathan Tasini has created quite a stir.

The anti-war Democrat trying to knock off Hillary Clinton in a September primary raised some eyebrows and hackles with his straight-forward talk about Israel's role in the escalating violence in the Middle East.

Tasini, a Jew who has lived in Israel, has relatives still living there and has lost relatives in past Israeli conflicts, feels the U.S. is hindering a solution in the Middle East with its ''one-sided," pro-Israel policy.

In an recent interview with the political blog RoomEight, Tasini said Israel
had "committed many acts of brutality and violations of human rights and torture."

Needless to say the remarks did not sit well in many corners, including the Hillary Clinton campaign, as reported today in The New York Times.

Tasini said his comments were misinterpreted and that he never said Israel is a terrorist state.

But he did not back off of his criticism of Israeli and U.S. policy in the region.

In an very open and honest post on his campaign blog today Tasini tells of his personal connections to Israel and his disdain for current Israeli policy. And for politicians who, he says, perpuate the violence by seeking a position of political expediency.

I've touched the "third rail" of politics in New York: the Israel-Palestine conflict, the dreadful occupation and the never-ending violence that is spinning out of control, in large part because the United States - and politicians like Hillary Clinton - continue to blindly pursue a one-sided policy in the Palestinian-Israel conflict, a policy that is causing more death and sorrow for civilians on all sides of the conflict and, ironically, is hurting the security of Israel.

Agree or not, it's refreshing to hear a politician say what's in his heart, not what he thinks will get him votes.

The essay is well worth reading and you can do so by clicking here.

Whether Tasini gets one vote, or millions, it is important for candidates like him to grace the political scene. He's someone who says what he thinks needs to be said, third-rail or not.

Rudy To Stump For Sue Kelly

Republican Rep. Sue Kelly, who already has $1.2 million in her campaign war chest, will be getting another kick in the cash register soon.

"America's Mayor"( or so he is known), Rudy Giuliani will stump for Kelly at a $250/person event sponsored by the Town of Fishkill Republican Committee.

The event will start at 4:30 on Aug. 3 at a private residence in Fishkill.

A Little (More) Help From Their Friends; Hall, KT Set Fundraisers With Big Names

The John Hall campaign today announced another fundraising concert featuring some reasonably big names in the music industry.

Hall, himself a musician and former pop star with the band Orleans in the '70's, will benefit from a concert featuring rocker Jackson Browne as well as Roseanne Cash (Johnny's dughter with lots of big hits of her own), country rocker and current Air America radio host Steve Earle and folk-rocker and five-time Grammy winner Nanci Griffith.

Browne has performed on behalf of Hall before as have Bonnie Raitt, Pete Seeger and others.


KT McFarland's campaign today also announced fundraisers featuring some big names.

Former Massachusetts governor and candidate for the same office in New York, Bill Weld, and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger will stump for McFarland.

Weld will appear on behalf of the Republican candidate for Senator on Aug. 14, while Kissinger will appear on behalf of McFarland on Sept. 6.

The press release was short on details (time, place, nature of events and cost), so I'm going to assume they're still be worked out.


Andrew Cuomo, the double-digit front-runner for the Democratic nod for attorney general, today released his first campaign T.V. ad. The ad basically says Cuomo's Democratic opponents must be irrelevent because the Republicans are gunning for him alone. (Click here)

Cuomo leads Mark Green by double digits in the latest Siena poll, released earlier this week. The two other candidates, Charlie King and Sean Patrick Maloney barely registered in the poll.

Did Not!! Did Too!!; Dem Debate Disintigrates Into Schoolyard Tussle

The exchanges were pretty salty at times, but the debate last nigth between Tom Suozzi and Eliot Spitzer last night was reasonably civil.

Until the aftermath.

Suozzi accused Spitzer of what amounts to a pre-debate temper tantrum over Suozzi's attempt to bring a notebook to the podium with him - apparently a violation of the "no props" rule.

Spitzer's camp claims it was hardly an angry exchange, but rather a simple request by Spitzer for the debate hosts to enforce the rules.

There was even some mention of the behind-the-scenes encounter in news reports about the debate. But it hardly seemed important.

Until today.

Suozzi's campaign put out a press release today, which was presented as an open letter to Spitzer.

"Dear Eliot,

I am glad that you decided not to storm out of our debate last night. It is important for us to discuss our real differences and for voters to see that they actually have a real choice in this election. And as anyone watching last night could see- I didn’t need any notes to beat you."

The letter goes on to chide Spitzer about what is presented as his inconsistency on capital punishment and for using a "Rose Garden" strategy of refusing to engage Suozzi on the issues.

After reading this open letter in my e-mail, I clicked on the Spitzer Web site to see if there was a response. Instead, I found a straight-forward, if completely one-sided (as you would expect) review of the debate. That is, until I got to the last paragraph.

When he didn't deliver the "knock-out punch" he needed to during the debate, Mr. Suozzi instead tried to quickly change the subject by letting people know that he had attempted to break the simple rules of the debate by bringing notes with him out on the stage. Candidates for governor shouldn't need a briefing book to speak about the serious challenges facing the people of this state. Apparently Mr. Suozzi does.

Suozzi is apparently trying a last-gasp effort to open a new issue in the campaign - Spitzer's alleged temper, which has crept into the conversation before.

The statements from both camps, and my little graphic above, speak for themselves.

Spencer Takes Small Lead In GOP Senate Race: Siena Poll

John Spencer has put a crack of daylight between himself and KT McFarland in the latest poll released today. The Seina College New York GOP poll shows Spencer leads McFarland in the GOP race for Senate 24% to 18%, with 58% still unsure enough to offer an opinion.

In the last Siena poll in May, Spencer led McFarland 21% to 20%, which is really no lead at all in the polling world.

Eight in 10 Republicans polled by Siena said they don't know enough about either candidate to formulate an opinion about them.


Spencer, via his blog, has invited the Democrat in the race, Sen. Hillary Clinton, to a town hall meeting in Yonkers. The invite was in response to the agenda set forth by Clinton and others in the moderate Democratic Leadership Council to focus the party's attention on middle-class issues.

Said Spencer of Clinton's practical knowledge of the middle class:

"It's plain to see, Hillary Clinton has spent a major part of her life living in public housing...the Governor's Mansion in Little Rock or the White House, now she shuttles between her mansion in Chappaqua and her mansion in Georgetown."

25 July, 2006

Spitzer, Suozzi Face Off, A Few Sparks Fly But Race Seems Little Changed

The two Democratic candidates for governor met tonight in their only scheduled debate prior to the September primary.

The mood was confrontational, but no electoral earth was moved.


The two sparred over gay marriage (Spizer for it, Suozzi opposed); the death penalty (Suozzi against it, Spitzer in favor in cases involving cop killers and terrorists).

And, as The Associated Press reports, when asked the burning question of whether or not they had tried marijauna in the past, both men admitted they had.

The best quote of the night came from neither candidate, but from Errol Lewis of The Daily News on the "post-game" coverage on NY1.

Lewis said Spitzer has such a commanding lead that "short of dropping his pants on stage" there wasn't much the Democratic front runner could have done to hurt his chances tonight.

For the record, Spitzer's pants remained in place all evening.

Bush Job Approval At 37%, Gallup Poll; Bill Now Seen More Popular Than Hillary

President Bush's job approval is at 37% in the latest Gallup poll, down from the 40% recorded earlier this month. But the president's numbers have been showing a gradual improvement from their low point of 31% in early May but are lower than they were at the start of the year.

Bush's ratings are back up to 82% among Republicans, accounting for the stabilization from the free-fall of the spring.

Here are the Gallup numbers by issue:

George W. Bush's Issues Approval
July 21-23, 2006








The economy



Foreign affairs



The situation in the Middle East



The situation in Iraq




Gallup also released a poll today showing former president Bill Clinton has a higher "favorable" rating than his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton. The former president's favorability rating is at 59%, while Sen. Clinton's is at 51%. The difference, according to the poll, is that Hillary has an image problem among men.

Suozzi, Spitzer Debate Tonight; League Of Women Voters Wants More

Nassua County Executive Tom Suozzi and Attoreny General Eliot Spitzer are getting set to debate tonight.

So far it's the only debate scheduled between the two Democratic candidates for governor before they face off in a September primary.

The debate is being moderated and televised by NY1, and will take place at Pace University at 7:00 p.m. EDT. For those of you who prefer the desk top or laptop, NY1.com will also do a live Web cast.

The two enter the debate with Spitzer holding a nearly 70 point lead in the latest poll, released yesterday by Siena College.


If the League of Women Voters of New York State has its way, tonight's debate will not be the last between Suozzi and Spitzer. The League today unveiled a schedule of a series of debates for all statewide offices.

The LWV is proposing one debate for each primary matchup and three for the general elections, possibly four for the governor's race.The next Suoizzi-Spitzer proposed debate would be Aug. 31 in Albany.

According to the League, KT McFarland and Jonathan Tasini have committed to debate their opponents (John Spencer and Hillary Clinton repectively) in the GOP and Democratic races for Senate. Suozzi and John Faso have committed to any debates for governor that would apply to them and Mark Green, Charlie King and Jeanine Pirro have agreed to any debates that they would qualify for in the attorney general race.

Funny, I don't see any of the poll frontrunners' names on any of those lists.


Naussau County legislator Craig Johnson, a backer of Spitzer, is questioning Suozzi's use of county employees to gather signitures to get Suozzi's name on the ballot. The Daily News is reporting today that Johnson has asked for a probe of the matter. The paper reports the Suozzi campaign claims the employees were gathering signitures on their own time.


Suozzi will be in Rockland County tomorrow morning to open his Mid-Hudson regional office at 10:45 a.m. EDT in Nanuet. I drive by the office regularly and the Suozzi signs have been in the windows for weeks. A tip to any campaign workers who may not be from the area. The campaign office is pretty much right across, or down, the street from three of the best pizza places in the state. So you should be eating good while you answer phones and stuff envelopes.


Democrat Kirstin Gillibrand, who is trying to unseat Republican Rep. John Sweeney in New York's 20th Congressional District, is still trying to get Sweeney on the debating podium. Capitol Confidential reports Gillibrand has sent Sweeney a letter trying to get the incumbent to debate her. Capitol Confidential reports Sweeney's campaign has promised a debate after Labor Day.

24 July, 2006

Siena Dems-Only Poll Shows More Of The Same

On the eve of the first (only?) debate between the two Democratic candidates for governor in New York, Siena College has released a new poll on the statewide Democratic primaries.

The numbers are not unlike those when we first started following the polls in the winter, and certainly no different than what we've been seeing in the past few months.

In the governor's race, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer leads Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi by 69 points.

In the Senate race, Sen. Hillary Clinton has a similarly lopsided lead of 67 points against anti-war and labor activist Jonathan Tasini.

In the attorney general race, Andrew Cuomo has gained a bit on Mark Green, leading Green 45% to 27%, up from his 37% to 23% lead in the May Siena poll. Charlie King and Sean Patrick Maloney clock in at 3% each.

In a preference poll for the 2008 election, registered Democrats polled by Siena favor Hillary Clinton (38%) over Al Gore (23%) and John Edwards (15%).

The Siena Research Institute will release it's New York GOP poll later this week.

23 July, 2006

Pie In The Sky? Or Sweet Victory? We Won't Know 'Til November

The talk has gone on for months.

Some say the Democrats have a chance to win control of both houses of Congress this fall.

Others think such talk is just pie in the sky optimism.

Don't suppose we'll know for sure until November.

But, in an effort to help out those who will push a progressive agenda this fall, MoveOn.org is holding a series of potluck dessert parties on July 31, to organize a nationwide get-out-the-vote strategy for the November election.

The point, from MoveOn.org's perspective, is to give the Republicans their "just desserts" this fall.

If interested, check out MoveOn.org's Website for details on how you can host or attend a party near you.

22 July, 2006

New Poll Shows Connecticut Race Even If Lieberman Runs As Indepedendent; ALSO - The New Republic Looks At How Lieberman Turned Into The Underdog



The latest Rasmussen Report poll shows Ned Lamont leading Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary for Connecticut senator, 51% to 41%. That's the largest lead for Lamont yet.

The really big news though is in the numbers for a three-way general election race with Lamont as the Democrat, Alan Schlesinger as the Republican and Lieberman running as an independent.

In such a scenario, the Rasmussen Report puts both Lamont and Lieberman at 40% and Schlesinger at 13%

This is a stunning change from the latest Qunnipiac Poll, which we reported on yesterday, which had Lieberman leading Lamont in a three-way race 51% to 27%, with Schlesinger a distant third.

The Rasmussen poll is subscribers-only so we can't get at it, but the numbers are posted today on Taegen Goddard's Political Wire.

The New Republic's new issue has an article on Lieberman and his stumbling effort at re-election.

In a piece by Jason Zengerle, the opinion journal examines the reasons for Lieberman's sudden change in fortunes, dismissing in part some of the theories (a victim of the left and their friends in the blogosphere, anti-war sentiment etc...) and lays the blame at the feet of the Senator himself and his staff.

Despite efforts to imbue the senator's troubles with greater significance, in reality they are largely the result of his and his reelection campaign's own missteps -- from his behavior prior to the race to his belated realization of the serious challenge Lamont posed to his continued insistence on doing things that served to anger Democratic voters.

One former aide is quoted in the TNR article as saying Lieberman seems not to have realized that times have changed since he first stepped into politics and he has not responded to the great political divide:

"He really does believe that there's a bipartisan sort of consensus. That attitude worked for him politically in Connecticut for the last 30 years, and it worked for him nationally in the 1990s. But now the earth has shifted. One, I don't think the Bush Republicans play that way. And, two, most people in the Democratic Party don't want anything to do with that attitude."

And the article points out Lieberman's staff is in for some blame as well:

A number of Lieberman's friends and supporters cite his November 2005 Wall Street Journal op-ed backing Bush's strategy in Iraq and urging Democrats to do the same -- which Lamont said triggered his decision to enter the race -- as a perfect example of something Lieberman's staff should have prevented from happening. "He needed someone to say to him, 'Senator, I hear you're going to write an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal about Iraq," argues one former adviser, "'I know you have your opinions, but the filing deadline for a challenger is six weeks'" away. Shut the hell up for six weeks."

21 July, 2006

Giuliani, Clinton Favored Among New Yorkers For 2008:Marist Poll

Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani head the list in the respective parties in a new Marist poll measuring New Yorkers' views of the 2008 presidential race.

Clinton leads the field of Demcrats, with 42%. Al Gore is second at 24%. No one else scores in double digits.

Although a majority of New Yorkers think Clinton is "about right" ideologically, 49% say she shouldn't run (46% say she should), but 60% say she will run. Only 34% say it is likely Clinton would win in 2008, while 64% say she probably would not win.

On the Republican side, Rudy Giuliani is tops at 38%, while John McCain is at 20% and Condoleezza Rice pulls 13% of the vote. George Pataki is at 12%. No one else cracks 5%.

Ideologically, 59% say Giuliani is about right, 51% would like to see Giuliani run in '08, there's not clear consensus on whether he will run and 53% say Giuliani is unlikely to win.

Clinton would be beaten by Giuliani (43% to 52%), while Clinton and McCain are neck-and-neck (Clinton 46%, McCain 48%).

In a three-way presidential race, with Bloomberg running as an independent, Giuliani gets 45%, Clinton 34% and Bloomberg 16%.

Image credit: Marist Poll Web site

National Dems Score More Funds In 2Q; GOP Still Has Bigger Cash Stash

We've talked a lot about the statewide dash for cash as the mid-year filing deadline reached us last weekend.

We haven't said anything about the national picture though.

It appears that overall, the Republican Party has about $10 million more dollars to spend than the Democrats this fall. At least as of the end of June.

Here are the numbers for the various national party committees for the April-June quarter.

  • NRCC: $9.5 million ($26.5 million cash-on-hand) - GOP House campaign committee
  • DCCC: $9.8 million ($32 million cash-on-hand) - Democrat House campaign committee
  • NRSC: $4.8 million ($19.9 million cash-on-hand) - GOP Senate campaign committee
  • DSCC: $8.8 million ($37.7 million cash-on-hand) - Democrat Senate campaign committee
  • RNC: $9 million ($44.7 million cash-on-hand) - Republican National Committee
  • DNC: $5.9 million ($10.8 million cash-on-hand) - Democratic National Committee
Although the Republicans have the edge in cash on hand, the Democrats raised about $1.2 million more dollars than the GOP in the April-June quarter.

The figures were tabulated by the MyDD blog.


A recent report by the National Institute on Money in State Politics confirms what we all know and many lament.

Money is usually the deciding factor in politics.

According to a study of state political races from 2001 to 2004, about 85% of the winners were the candidates with the most money.

The study, by Mark Dixon, indicated that incumbency was the next-most-important factor in the races, with roughly 70% to 80% of the winners over the time period studied being the incumbents in the race.

Image Credit: KansasRealtor.com

Rep. Hinchey To Back John Hall's Congressional Bid

More political figures are starting to take sides in the Democratic scramble in New York's 19th Congressional District.

Yesterday, RFK Jr. announced his support for John Hall in that race

Today, Hall's campaign announced that Rep. Maurice Hinchey, from the neighboring 22nd District, will announce his support for Hall at a press conference on Monday.

The Hall campaign says Hinchey and "others" will endorse Hall and "call for unity among the Democrats in supporting John Hall" against incumbent Republican Sue Kelly.

Hinchey is in his 14th year in the House. His district runs from Newburgh, Poughkeepsie and Kingston in the east to as far as Binghamton and Ithica to the west.

KT, Beset By Debt, Staff Layoffs And Calls To Quit, Throws Herself A Party

KT McFarland's campaign has been dogged this week by money problems, word of staff furloughs and calls to get out of the race.

So what to do? Throw a party of course.

McFarland is holding a birthday party fund raiser on Wedesday at 6:00 p.m. EDT in Manhattan.

The cost? $100 per person. For that you get wine, beer and cake. Mmmmm. Beer and cake - perfect together.

The New York Times reported yesterday that the campaigns of both McFarland and her GOP opponent John Spencer are having debt problems and that McFarland has put three advisors on indefinite leave.

The Politicker has reported in recent days that at least one ally is advising McFarland to get out of the race.

Lamont May Win The Battle But Lose The War To Lieberman, Latest Q Poll Suggests


The latest poll from Quinnipiac University shows Ned Lamont has pulled ahead of Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman in the race for the Democratic nomination for Lieberman's Senate seat.

Among registered Democrats, Lamont has moved ahead of Lieberman 51% to 47%.

On June 8, the most-recent previous Q Poll, Lieberman held a 55% to 40% lead.

The problematic numbers for Lamont are the ones that measure a three-way race between Lamont, Lieberman and Republican Alan Schlesinger.

Running as an independent, as he has pledged to do if he loses the Democratic primary, Liebrman holds a rather large lead - 51% to Lamont's 27% and Schlesinger's 9%.

The poll shows Lieberman with strong support among Republicans and independents.


The New Republic's political blog, The Plank, is reporting the opinion journal will have a story next week which will mention a private - previously unpublished - poll that shows Lamont ahead of Lieberman by four points. The Plank also reports that Bill Clinton will make a trip to Connecticut next week on Lieberman's behalf. It has also has some interesting insights on the Lamont-Lieberman race.

20 July, 2006

Jeanine TV: Pirro Unveils TV Ad

Republican candidate for attorney general, Jeanine Pirro, unveiled her first TV ad of the campaign. While hardly an attack ad, the piece hits hard on Andrew Cuomo's limited experience in crime fighting while emphasizing Pirro's thirty years as a prosecutor, judge and DA. Play ad here .

We missed this one somehow. Pirro, two days ago, announced the endorsement of the New York State police chiefs association.
That's one we should have had.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Supports Hall In 19th District Race

Environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. threw his support behind John Hall in the battle for the Democratic nomination for New York's 19th Congressional District.

The Hall campaign made the announcement earlier today.

Kennedy is a member of the board of Riverkeeper, which describes itself as a "watchdog for the health and protection of the Hudson River."

According to Politics on the Hudson, the Journal News' political blog, Kennedy had previously said he would back Judy Aydelott, one of the three other Democrats in the race.

But, POH reports, Kennedy said today he changed his mind because Hall has the best chance of winning and has the right positions on the war and Indian Point.

Hall, a couple of months back, released a 30+ page report, calling for the closing of Indian Point and the creation at the site of an alternative energy research center which he said should be on the same scope as the space program of the 1960's.

On the war, Hall has called for withdrawal of troops from Iraq as soon as possible, with the mission to be turned over to a "true multinational force."

Kennedy, aside from his work with Riverkeeper, recently authored a book skewering the Bush administration's policies, Crimes Against Nature, and a highly-quoted story story in Rolling Stone magazine where he makes a case for the notion that the 2004 election may have been stolen by the GOP.


Aydelott today announced a free community dinner, scheduled for next Wednesday in Hopewell Junction in Dutchess County. In addition to the free meal, Aydelott would like her guests to chew the fat with her about the political issues of the day. The event will be held at the Joe DiMaggio Lodge from 7 to 9 p.m. EDT.


Hall today sent out a letter to his supporters, asking them to volunteer some time to call voters in the 19th District. Hall will set up his phone bank beginning Monday and the campaign has set a goal to reach 30,000 voters in the district before the September primary.

19 July, 2006

How Deep Is Your Love? Gallup Poll Measuring Depth Of Support Puts Giuiliani At Top Of GOP Heap For '08

A recent Gallup Poll, designed to measure the depth of support for various potential presidential candidates, puts New Yorker Rudy Giuilani at the head of the GOP pack.

Hillary Clinton is second on the list of "acceptable" Democrats, a tiny bit below former vice-presidential candidate John Edwards.

Gallup asked Republicans and Democrats whether a long list of potential candidates would be acceptable nominees.

Some 73% of Republicans polled said Giuliani fit that bill, with only 25% saying he would not be acceptable.

Just three names on the GOP list were acceptable to most of those polled, Giuliani, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (68% yes - 29% no), and Arizona Sen. John McCain (55% yes - 41% no).

New York Governor George Pataki was deemed not acceptable by 51% of those polled. Jeb Bush and Dick Cheney failed the acceptability test as well.

Among Democrats, Edwards was deemed acceptable by 71% of those polled, while 25% said he would not be acceptable. Others passing the test of acceptability: Clinton (69% yes - 29% no), former Vice President Al Gore 68% yes - 31% no), and the party's nominee in 2004 Sen. John Kerry (59% yes - 40% no).

Clinton, Spitzer Still Dominant In Latest Marist Poll; KT Gains On Spencer

Hillary Clinton and Eliot Spitzer have commanding leads against any and all comers in their race for the U.S. Senate and governor respectively, according to a Marist Poll released this evening.

If the Democratic primary were held today, Clinton would beat her anti-war rival Jonathan Tasini, 83%-13%.

Spitzer would beat his Democratic rival for the nomination for governor, Tom Suozzi, 75% to 10%, a pickup of three percentage points from the last poll in May.

Assuming the two top Democrats do win the primary, the numbers go their way in a mockup of the general election.

Clinton leads GOP rival John Spencer by 27 percentage points, 61% to 34%. Two months ago Clinton led Spencer by 30 points.

Against KT McFarland, the other Republican in the race, Clinton leads by 29 points, 61% to 32%. McFarland trailed Clinton by 34 points two months ago.

In a faceoff between the two GOP candidates, Spencer leads McFarland 36% to 15%.

Back to the governor's race. If a general election faceoff between Spitzer and Republican John Fasso were held today, Spitzer would beat Faso 69% to 20%, virtually the same as two months ago.

And then there's the Democratic primary for Attorney General:

Registered Democrats

Andrew Cuomo

Mark Green

Sean Patrick Maloney

Charlie King


July 2006






May 2006






January 2006






In the general election, Cuomo would beat Republican Jeanine Pirro 51% to 37% if the vote were held today. Green would top Pirro, 49% to 35%.

There's a question on gay marriage in the poll, in my mind one of the big non-issues of the day. The poll findings confirm those thoughts.

Also in the poll, approval ratings for statewide office holders. Click here to view the poll.

John Spencer And The Netroots

GOP candidate for Senator John Spencer has entered the blogosphere.

Spencer, following the lead of several other candidates who have started blogs as a way to keep supporters up on the day-to-day, began the blog yesterday.

So far it appears to be a Hillary-bashing littany. In the first two days, scant mention of the other Republican candidate KT MCFarland. I presume that indicates Spencer, with some validity, thinks of himself as the clear leader on the GOP side and will spend most of the rest of his time and breath on Hillary Clinton.

I frankly miss the pop-up ad that used to greet me every time I logged on to Spencer's Web site - the one with the picture of Hillary being sworn in and text underneath saying "Don't let this happen again."

Suozzi Asks AG Candidates To Weigh In On Spitzer Role In Family Trust

Tom Suozzi continues to do all he can to make friends and influence people in the Democratic Party.

Suozzi, who has alienated party leaders with his outsider campaign for governor against party favorite Eliot Spitzer, has now chosen to put the four Democaritc candidates for attorney general on the spot. And to be fair, he's also asking Republican candidate Jeanine Pirro to go out on a limb.

Suozzi has released a letter he has sent to Pirro and the four Democrats - Andrew Cuomo, Charlie King, Mark Green and Sean Maloney - asking them to take a position on the Spitzer family trust "scandal."

Last week, Suozzi filed a formal request with the New York State Ethics Commission for a ruling on Spitzer's dual role as a board member on a family charitable trust and attorney general, where one of his duties is to oversee trusts and non-profits.

"Given the seriousness of this issue, and the precedent that could be set here, I am interested to know your views as potential holders of this high office on the following questions," Suozzi said in the letter.

I'm going to guess Suozzi won't be getting a quick response to his letter any time soon, at least not from the Democrats in the AG race. The letter might give Republican Jeanine Pirro a chance to make some hay on this issue. It will be interesting to see if she decides to do so.

Suozzi, by the way, will address the American Legion convention tomorrow morning in Rochester, then head back to Brooklyn for a Town Hall meeting.

18 July, 2006

Suozzi Names Rivera New Campaign Manager

Democratic gubenatorial candidate Tom Suozzi named Paul Rivera as campaign manager, one day after the departure of Kim Devlin.

Newsday reported yesterday that Devlin resigned at Suozzi's urging. Devlin announced Monday that she was stepping down for personal reasons.

Devlin managed Suozzi's two successful campaigns for county executive in Nassau County.

Rivera was a senior political advisor for the Kerry-Edwards presidential campaign in 2004, after managing New York State for John Kerry in the Democratic primary.

He worked for Carl McCall's 2002 gubernatorial campaign in New York and previously as a White House advance person from 1994 through 2000.

Suozzi is running about 50 percentage points behind party-backed Democrat Eliot Spitzer, who also has a $16 campaign war chest.

"We have our work cut out for us, but if we run a campaign as good as our candidate, he will win," Rivera said.

Suozzi, by the way, will be holding a Town Hall meeting tomorrow night in Staten Island at the Hotel Staten Island and 7:30


Elsewhere on the docket tomorrow, Republican Senate candidate KT McFarland will address the New York State American Legion Convention in Rochester. Surprisingly, according to a press release from her office, McFarland will be discussing "veteran's issues." The former Reagan Defense Department official will also discuss "Israel's right to defend itself against attacks by Hezbollah and the importance of U.S. and U.N. involvement in the region."


Sen. Hillary Clinton was among the 63 Senators to vote today for an expansion of funding for stem cell research. As Liz Benjamin of Capitol Confidential cleverly points out, Clinton gave a 1,154 word speech on embryonic stem cell research without once mentioning the word embryo or fetus. Ever the politician.

Report: Martorano Out Of 19th District Race

Politics on the Hudson, the political blog of The Journal News, is reporting that Jim Martorano has decided to end his bid for Congress.

Martorano, who was one of six candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 19th District, told POH he plans to support the party nominee in November, whoever that turns out to be.

Martorano raised only $13,500 in the April-June period and had only $7,500 in cash on hand.

He did win the day at one party convention, in Northern Westchester.

He filed 118 pages of petitions, which would have put him close to the minimum 1,500 signitures needed to get a spot on the ballot, but perhaps a little shy of that figure.

With Gary Suraci dropping out over the weekend and Martorano today that leaves John Hall, Judy Aydelott, Ben Shuldiner and Darren Rigger to battle it out.

Some Final, Random Thoughts On 2Q Fundraising

The mid-year financial disclosure period is (mercifully) drawing to a close. It's tedious work finding the numbers, but important to know nonetheless.

SENATE: What's there to say here. Hillary Clinton has $22 million on hand. John Spencer's performance was notable. The Republican candidate, who now must be considered the front-runner for the GOP nomination, outraised his opponent KT McFarland by 5 to 1 in the quarter - $1.2 million to about $224,000. Cash is not the only reason to put Spencer in the frontrunner category. He has the party endorsement and his baggage, though definitely there, is less than McFarland's. The Journal News put it best in a recent article, which basically said KT has no money and no agenda. Democratic challenger Jonathan Tasini keeps on trucking against the odds. He raised $140,000 - all grass roots money - and filed petitions with 40,000 names on them, nearly three times what he needs to force a primary with Clinton. Clinton has said she won't challenge Tasini's petitions. That could be a gesture of political kindness (ya right!) or, more likely, an effort to give the anti-war Democrats one less reason to be ticked off at the senator. I think it's safe to say it's the latter.

CONGRESS: We pretty much exhausted this one in a previous post, but I think it must be said that the 19th District race is down to three Democrats, and maybe even two. Both John Hall and Judy Aydelott had good fundraising quarters (Hall's was better but Aydelott still has more cash on hand) and impressive petition filings (though Aydelott's are being challenged). Ben Shuldiner did fairly well with the petitions but fell off in the fundraising department. Jim Martorano and Darren Rigger have anemic cash-on-hand totals.

GOVERNOR: The most interesting thing to say here is that the Democrats' No. 2 candidate, Tom Suozzi, did significantly better in the fundraising department in the April-June quarter than the GOP's only candidate. Despite being ostracized by his party, Suozzi was able to raise $4.1 million for his unlikely bid to beat Eliot Spitzer ($16 million still in the bank) this fall. Suozzi has $2.8 million still on hand. Faso, also not the favorite of his party's leaders during the pre-convention period, is having trouble bringing in cash. He raised just $1.5 million in the second quarter and has just $1.4 million to spend at this point.

ATTORNEY GENERAL: To me the story here is that Jeanine Pirro - the GOP candidate who is running a double-digit deficit in the polls to Andrew Cuomo. Pirro outraised the Democratic front-runner $2.7 million to $2.1 million since January. Cuomo has three times as much cash on hand though, at $6 million. Another surprise. Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat who barely registers in most polls, raised more funds since January than the No. 2 Democrat in the race, Mark Green. Maloney raised $750,000 to Green's $700,000. And, if anybody has seen a figure for Charlie King, please let me know. Can't seem to find anything on him - official or otherwise.

STATE SENATE: Just want to take a look at one race here - the marquis race locally and probably statewide, the 35th District. In 2004, Republican incumbent Nick Spano defeated Andrea Stewart-Cousins by 18 votes after months of recounting and legal posturing. This time around Spano has made a concerted effort to get his message out, and he has been raking in the cash at a pretty good clip. In the April-June quarter, Spano raised $536,000 and has $779,000 on hand. Stewart-Cousins, slow to get her numbers in, raised $145,000 in the latest period and has about $156,000 on hand. But, Stewart-Cousins only had about $50,000 to play with at this point in the race in 2004, and she did an awful lot with that.

NOTE:The time-off on this post (below) is inaccurate. The item was posted at 1:26 p.m. EDT.

16 July, 2006

PAC People: Incumbents Swallowing Funds From Political Action Committees

It's no shock that incumbent politicians who are seen as favorites to keep their seats raise plenty of their campaign funds from Political Action Committees - special interest groups.

But looking at the local races, the advantage the incumbents have in raising money is astounding. At least in this go-round.

All of the following figures are based on mid-year filings with the Federal Elections Commission.

In the race for the 19th Congressional District the top three fund raisers among the Democrats took little money from PACs. Based on the total of funds raised in the political cycle to date, and the total raised from PACs, John Hall got 1.7% of his funds from special interest groups; Judy Aydelott got one-half-of-one-percent (o.5%) of her funds from PACs and Ben Shuldiner got 2.9% of his contributions from PACs.

Sue Kelly, the Republican incumbent on the 19th District race, has taken in $770,000 from PACs so far this cycle - or 54% of total contributions.

The story is similar in the 20th District, but perhaps not quite as pronounced. Democratic challenger Kirstin Gillibrand has taken almost $154,000 from special interest groups - or 14.5% of total donations. Republican incumbent John Sweeney has tripled Gillibrand, taking in 46% of his total contributions from PACs, or a total of $758,000.

In the 18th District, the trend doesn't seem to hold. Incumbent Democrat Nita Lowey has taken $192,000 from PACs, or 19% of her total contributions of $991,000. Lowey's Republican challenger Richard Hoffman has taken 23% of his money from special interest groups - although that number is skewed by the small totals involved. Hoffman has raised $23,000 so far, $5,500 of that from PACs. Lowey's overall total for the April-June quarter was $229,000.

The trend of the incumbent picking up PAC funds remains intact though in the 17th District, where Democrat Rep. Eliot Engel has taken $320,000 from special interest groups, exactly 50% of his $640,000 raised to date. Engel by the way raised $136,558 in the April-June quarter.

Engel's Democratic primary challenger, Jessica Flagg has raised only $2,681 so far - none from PACs. We could not find a filing yet from his Republican challenger Jim Faulkner

Cha-Ching! Cash Flowing In 20th District As Gillibrand Edges Out Sweeney In 2Q Fund Raising

Adding roughly a half-million dollars each in the April-June quarter, the two combatants in the race for New York's 20th Congressional District have each raised more than $1 million for their campaigns.

Democratic challenger Kirsten Gillibrand was a tiny bit more successful in raising funds in the second quarter than her incumbent opponent, Republican Rep. John Sweeney.

In the April-June period, Gillibrand - who's campaign is being nurtured by Democrats at the national level - raised $500,871. Sweeney pulled in $481,204.

For the election cycle, Sweeney still holds the lead, having raised a whopping $1.66 million so far. But Gillibrand - once a little-known challenger - has raised $1.21 million.

Sweeney also has more cash on hand at $1 million and change, while Gillibrand has $754,000.

15 July, 2006

Hall Wins 2Q Democratic Fund-Raising Race In 19th District

John Hall was the leading fund raiser in the second quarter among the five Democrats battling it out for the party's nomination in New York's 19th Congressional District.

Hall raised $238,000 for the April-June quarter and has $221,000 on hand. Hall held a much-publicized series of fund-raising concerts and events during the period headlined by his musician friends Pete Seeger, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and others.

Ben Shuldiner reported his campaign raised $30,000 in the quarter and he now has $112,000 on hand.

The figures for the other candidates were reported by NYPols in an earlier post today.

So second-quarter fund raising by Democrats in the 19th District stacks up like this:

John Hall: $238,000
Judy Aydelott: $165,000
Ben Shuldiner: $30,000
Darren Rigger:$24,000
Martorano: $13,500

Judy Aydelott still leads the pack in the amount of cash on hand as of June 30:

Aydelott: $344,000
Hall: $221,000
Shuldiner: $112,000
Rigger: $19,ooo
Martorano: $7,500

Of course the numbers pale a little when compared to those logged by the Republican incumbent Sue Kelly. As reported, Kelly raised $393,000 in the quarter and had $1.21 million on hand as of June 30.

Kelly Has Plenty Of Challengers, Plenty Of Cash

Rep. Sue Kelly (pictured left with Sen. John McCain who helped his fellow Republican at a recent fundraiser) has about $1.2 million in cash to spend , so far, on her campaign for re-election.

Kelly, the Republican incumbent in New York's 19th Congressional District, filed her mid-year campaign finance report with the Federal Election Commission today.

Kelly raised $393,000 in the April-June quarter, putting her at $1.43 million for the cycle. Kelly has said for months - as her Democratic opponents have been doing battle against her and each other - that it is too early to campaign. She apparently stuck to that strategy during the quarter, spending only $146,000 ("only" being a relative term here), leaving her with $1.21 million to spend the rest of the way.


Five Democrats remain in the race for Kelly's seat - some more than others after looking at today's mid-year figures.

Of the three Democrats to file as of this writing, attorney Judy Aydelott of Kotonah is by far the leader in cash to spend. Aydelott raised $165,000 in the second quarter of this year and has $344,000 on hand.

John Hall, who was second in fundraising as of the Jan.-March quarter, has not filed his mid-year report yet, but a campaign official told NYPols the amount raised by Hall in the April-June quarter will "far surpass" the $165,000 raised by Aydelott in the period.

As of the end of March, Hall had raised $156,000 for the entire election cycle and had $59,00 on hand. Campaign manager Amy Little said Hall's financial data would be filed by tonight.

Ben Shuldiner, who raised $65,000 in the first quarter and had $127,000 on hand at March 31, also has not filed the mid-year report yet.

Jim Martorano and Darren Rigger, the only candidates besides Hall to win endorsements at the Democratic Pary county conventions several weeks ago (1 win each, comapared to Hall's 3), came up pretty short in the fundraising race.

Rigger raised $24,000 in the second quarter, $80,000 in the cycle so far and has $19,000 in cash on hand. Martorano raised $14,000 in the April-June period, $40,000 in the cycle so far and has $7,500 on hand.

No word yet from the Shuldiner campaign on when it expects to file the mid-year report.

The Kiss of Death?

I guess the Lieberman-Lamont Senate campaign is gaining wider interest than I had previously thought. It certainly has the attention of the folks in Connecticut and has gotten attention nationwide, including MSNBC's nationally televised coverage of the recent debate between the two Democrats.

But, I never imagined the interest in the race would go global.

In yesterday's Independent, a British broadsheet, was this headline:

"Lieberman's 'Judas Kiss' Could Seal His Primary Fate"

The kiss being referred to is an encounter between Lieberman and President Bush following the president's 2005 State of the Union address. An encounter that has been much talked about on this side of the pond.

Lieberman said the encounter was not a kiss, but rather a hug. Either way it's being used by Ned Lamont's campaign as a symbol of what it considers Lieberman's coziness with the Bush administration.

Photo Credit: The Politicker

14 July, 2006

Report: Clinton Has $22 Million War Chest

Hillary Clinton's campaign disclosed today that the New York Senator raised almost $5.7 million from April through June for a total of $43 million for this election cycle, the Associated Press reported. The campaign has reportedly spent $21.7 million so far, leaving her with about $22 million more to spend.

The AP report says Republican candidate for Senate KT McFarland raised close to a quarter of a million dollars in the past three months, and has about that much to spend.

No word on fundraising yet from the other Republican in the race, John Spencer and Clinton's Democratic challenger Jonathan Tasini.


As the violence intensifies to alarming levels Middle East, Tasini has called for a de-escalation of the current conflict and an end to "the one-sided policy of the U.S. in the region."

Tasini says he fully supports the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip.

"I know from personal experience as a Jew, and as someone who has lived in Israel and whose family lives in Israel that we must come to grips with the reality that our one-sided policy in the Middle East has been harmful to a long-lasting peace," said Tasini. "The only path to peace, the only path to a safe and secure Israel, is to end the occupation and work quickly to establish an independent, economically viable, secure Palestinian state."

Hall Campaign Responds To Aydelott


Before we get further into this post let me issue a correction to postings made yesterday and early today. While John Hall's campaign has challenged fellow Democrat Judy Aydelott's petitions, it has NOT challenged those of Darren Rigger, as we reported.


Now for the Hall campaign's response to Aydelott's call earlier today for Hall to withdraw his challenge to Aydelott's petitions.

Hall's campaign manager Amy Little told NYPols tonight that the petitions are being challenged "because their validity is in question," and she "understands" there are challenges from outside the Hall campaign.

As far as threatening party unity for the November run at 19th District incumbent Republican Sue Kelly, Little said the best chance of beating Kelly is for the party to have a "unified stance with a popular candidate, which is John Hall."

Aydelott Ask Hall To Withdraw Challenge of Petitions

Judy Aydelott, one of five Democrats vying for Republican Rep. Sue Kelly's seat in Congress this fall is, is calling on John Hall to withdraw his challenge of her petitions.

Hall, who won the Democratic Party endorsement in three of the five counties that make up New York's 19th District, is challenging the petitions of Aydelott and others in the campaign, including Darren Rigger who criticized Hall yesterday for challenging the documents turned in by the Rigger campaign.

Aydelott sent the following letter to Hall today.

July 14, 2006

John Hall

420 Main St.

Beacon, NY 12508

Dear John:

It has come to my attention that you have filed the necessary paperwork to challenge the petitions my campaign recently filed with the New York State Board of Elections. I proudly submitted over 3,500 signatures from registered Democrats in all five counties that encompass the 19th Congressional District. As you are aware, there is no basis for your challenge. Only 1,250 signatures are required by law, and I have demonstrated support from nearly three times as many democrats as required. By challenging these signatures you not only attempt to thwart my candidacy but also seek to silence the voice of my supporters. That is wrong.

It has been over ten years since Sue Kelly was first elected to Congress. In that time, she has consistently cast votes that favor her party leadership, her President, and against the interests of the residents of the Hudson Valley. Whether it's failing to provide our seniors access to affordable prescription drugs, doing nothing to stop the rising cost of gas, failing to challenge the President over his policy in Iraq or even restricting the right to choose, Sue Kelly can be counted on to put the needs of the special interests ahead of the needs of her constituents. For many years Democrats have tried and failed to unseat Sue Kelly. But 2006 is not an ordinary year. This year we can do it.

In the interest of all Democrats in the 19th district, I ask you to withdraw your challenge of my petitions and pledge not to challenge the petitions of any other Democrats who file to run against Sue Kelly. We must turn our attention not to political theater, but to the issues that matter to the residents of the Hudson Valley and work to change the direction our country is headed.

This show of good faith would go a long way toward resolving the ill will generated by the actions you have taken at the expense of the democratic process. Further challenges of other candidates' petitions may serve your bottom line, but it does not serve the residents of the Hudson Valley.

We must let the voters decide on September 12'th.


Judy Aydelott

Polls:Zarqawi Bubble Bursts For Bush, Dems Favored In The Fall

The quick burst in President Bush's approval rating following the death of Al-Qaeda In Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi early last month has dissipated, (or disapparated for you Harry Potter fans) according to two recent polls.

The latest Fox News Poll has Bush's approval rating back down to 36%, a drop of five points in the past two weeks.

The poll shows the president lost support among key constituent groups, including Republicans, whites and men

The news is not good for Republicans running for Congress either. (story)

According to the poll, the top three issues facing the country are Iraq (21%), the economy (11%) and health care (10%). What? No flag burning? No gay marriage? On all three of the top issues, those polled by Fox favor the Democrats' stance.

The poll marks the first time the Democrats are seen as having a better policy on Iraq than the GOP.

As far as actual voting goes, 42% of those polled said they would vote for the Democrat running for Congress in their district, while 34% said they would vote for the Republican candidate.

Among those who identified themselves as independent voters, 30% said they prefer the Democrat in their district, while 17% said they would vote for the GOP candidate.

One last bit of important data in the poll. Some 23% of Democrats said they were "very interested" in the fall elections this year, compared with 17% of Republicans, a stat that could tell something about election-day turnout.

The story is similar in an AP-Ipsos poll released today. Bush's approval rating in that poll is also at 36% and three out of four voters are disenchanted with the performance of the Republican-controlled Congress. In this poll, 51% said they wouold vote for a Democrat for Congress compared to 40% who said they would vote for a Republican.

Meanwhile, Cook Political Report has released it's latest chart on House races it considers competitive. There's no change in the two local races that Cook is watching, In New York's 19th District, held by Republican Sue Kelly, Cook still sees the seat as "likely Republican," while in the 20th District, held by Republican John Sweeney, the seat is listed as "leaning Republican."

13 July, 2006

Suozzi Calls For Probe Of Spitzer's Handling Of Family Trust

Democrat Tom Suozzi, well behind in the polls against party-endorsed gubenatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer, has requested the New York State Ethics Commission look into Spitzer's role as trustee of a family trust.

Spitzer, of course, is the current attorney general, and in that position is responsible for oversight of trusts and non-profits.

Suozzi said Spitzer's dual roles present a conflict of interest, and
he raised questions about investments allegedly made by the Spitzer trust in various hedge funds, whose executives, Suozzi says, later contributed to Spitzer's campaign.

Capitol Confidential reports the Spitzer campaign claims the A.G. recused himself from any dealings between his office and the family trust.

"We're fine with an ethics review," Spitzer spokesman Darren Dopp told Capitol Confidential. "There's nothing to hide. Eliot is extremely proud of his family's charitable work."

Suraci Out, Rigger, Martorano On The Bubble, And The Lawyers Step In, As 19th District Dems Still Duking It Out

The petitions have been filed and five Democrats are still standing in the race for the party's nomination in the 19th Congressional District.

The petition filings are as follows:

John Hall: 524 pages; Judy Aydelott: 456 pages; Ben Shuldiner: 423 pages; Darren Rigger: 147 pages; Jim Martorano: 118 pages; Gary Suraci: nothing filed

The New York State Board of Elections provides only the number of pages filed, not the number of names on each page, so figuring out the numbers can get tricky.

Rigger and Martorano, based on the number of pages, are somewhat close to the minimum number needed - 1,250. So close in fact that the Journal News' blog Politics on the Hudson is reporting that Hall has filed to challenge Rigger's petitions.

The POH blog also is reporting that Gary Suraci has dropped out of the race, citing "major differences with the Democratic Party platform."

The incumbent, Republican Rep. Sue Kelly filed petitions to appear on the Republican, Conservative and Independence party lines.


In the 20th District, Republican incumbent John Sweeney filed on the Republican, Independence and Conservative party lines. Democratic challenger Kirsten Gillibrand filed on Democratic, Independence and Working Families party lines (although Gillibrand has only 23 pages filed for the WFP).

In the 17th District, Democratic incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel appears to have a primary challenger. Jessica Flagg filed 336 pages of names, which would seem to be enough to make the ballot. The Republican candidate in that race is Jim Faulkner.

In the 18th District, incumbent Democrat Nita Lowey also filed on the Independence Party line. Her opponent in the race will be Republican Richard Hoffman.


Sean Patrick Maloney, Charlie King and Mark Green all filed what appears to be enough names to face Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary for attorney general.


As promised by the candidate earlier this week, progressive, anti-war Democrat Jonathan Tasini filed what looks like enough petition pages to force a primary race with Sen. Hillary Clinton.

The Democrats will also, at least at this point, have a primary for governor, as Tom Suozzi - several days ago - filed his petitions for a spot on the ballot.

12 July, 2006

The A.G. Race After The Petition Period

Democratic candidate for state attorney general, Andrew Cuomo had the environment on his mind today, while accepting the endorsement of Carol Browner, the EPA chief during the Clinton administration. Cuomo also received the endorsement of Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli, a Democrat from Nassau County. Cuomo also promised to support DiNapoli's bill to include water bottles and containers from other non-carbonated drinks under the state's bottle-deposit laws.


Sean Patrick Maloney, running well behind in the polls in the race for attorney general, said he has the signitures he needs to be included on the primary ballot in September. Maloney made his comments, and took a look at the race in the post-petition period, in this report on the AG race by RNN. (It's 8-minutes long and slow to start up, but if you're interested in this race its worth a look).

KT Invites Former Iran-Contra Figure Into Her Kitchen

GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, KT McFarland has invited one of her former Reagan-administration collegues to her next "kitchen talk" in Brooklyn tomorrow.

McFarland's guest will be Robert "Bud" McFarlane, President Ronald Reagan's national security advisor during the Iran-Contra affair.

McFarlane pleaded guilty to four counts of obstruction of Congress in March of 1988 but was pardoned by President Georege H. W. Bush. in December of 1992.


Speaking of obstruction, the New York Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union today charged the Bush administration with misuse of the Patriot Act to keep foreign scholars out of the country if they profess political views the administration doesn't like. The NYCLU released documents today, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, which it says proves its allegation.

"It is wholly inappropriate for immigration officials to keep out people whose politics they don't like," said Donna Lieberman, NYCLU Executive Director. "Barring the doors is not the way a democracy deals with its critics."

Aydelott, Keeler File Petitions In Legislative Races

Attorney Judy Aydelott, one of six Democrats running for Republican Congresswoman Sue Kelly's 19th District seat this fall, filed petitions for a spot on the ballot. Aydelott filed more than 450 pages of names, which comes to more than 3600 - about three times the amount she needs to win a spot in the primary.

In the 41st New York State Senate district, first-time candidate and long-time blogger, Brian Keeler filed about 245 petition pages, or close to 2,000 names, on the Democrat and Working Family Party lines. His opponent in that race, incumbent Republican Stephen Saland turned in about 350 pages, or about 2,800 names.

Perusing the list of filings, three area incumbents in Congress, Democrats Eliot Engel in the 17th District and Nita Lowey in the 18th, as well as Republican Sue Kelly in the 19th District have all filed.

Although his campaign claims to have well more than the number of signitures he needs, no filing yet by progressive, anti-war Democrat Jonathan Tasini, who hopes to force a primary faceoff with Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Tomorrow is the filing deadline for the primary. We'll be keeping an eye mostly on those races where a primary is expected to still be vaible after tomorrow and particularly on some of the newcomers' races as they test their name-gathering strength.


Rep. Sue Kelly yesterday called on the Goverment Accountability Office to look into the formerly secret Bush administration program which monitors financial transfers without warrants. Kelly, head of the
House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said Congress was not being properly briefed on the program.

Today, one of her six Democratic challengers, Ben Shuldiner of Mohegan Lake, accused Kelly of playing politics with her comments on Tuesday. In a press release, Shuldiner said Kelly was expressing criticism of the program only to appear more moderate to voters in the district.

"This is not a new problem, but it has taken Kelly nearly three weeks to express any concern," Shuldiner said. "Kelly has consistently declared herself to be a moderate, but she has voted with the Bush administration more than 75% of the time and the Republican House Majority more than 85% of the time. Talk is cheap and Kelly's actions are anything but moderate."

11 July, 2006

It's My Party and I'll Run If I Want To...

Ah, dating myself again with the headline on this post!

Former Reagan-era Defense Department spokewoman KT McFarland has begun a petition drive to start a new party - the Jobs and Security Party, according to her Web site today.

McFarland already has a spot on the ballot as a Republican and will face former Yonkers mayor John Spencer in a GOP primary in September. McFarland says it's a way to give voters a chance to vote for her even if they are uncomfortable pulling the lever for a Republican.

Sounds more like a hedging plan to keep her name on the November ballot if she loses to Spencer in the primary - but that's just me saying that.


Although he has already announced his intentions to run as an independent if he is beaten by Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary next month, Connecticut Sen. Joe Liberman is also hoping to form a new party.

According to the Hartford Courant today, the new party would be called Connecticut for Lieberman. (Hey at least he's upfront about it).

The idea is to get Lieberman's name a line or two higher on the November ballot than it would be if he runs as an independent with no "party" backing.


John Hall, one of six Democrats hoping for the chance to take on Rep. Sue Kelly for the 19th District seat from New York this November, turned in petitions with 4,200 names supporting his candidacy. That's according to a press release from his campaign.

The 4200 tally is more than three times the 1250 required to get him on the primary ballot. Of course they all have to be validated yet, but 3-times the number needed is a good number to assure a ballot spot.

No word yet from the other 19th District Democratic camps.

As we said a few days ago, with the petitioning deadline coming up July 13 and financial filing deadline coming up July 17, we should be getting a better picture on who's in this race to stay.