Good Morning from Albany…
It was a good week for former Governor Andrew Cuomo. In a 16-page ruling, State Supreme Court Judge Denise Hartman ruled Cuomo would not have to repay $5.1 million in proceeds from his memoir “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the Covid-19 Pandemic.” Hartman ruled that the now-defunct New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics overstepped its authority and flouted Executive Law in ordering Cuomo to do so. Team Cuomo was pleased: “As we’ve said all along, the AG’s report, the Assembly, and now JCOPE, has been about politics—the facts and the law be damned…” said longtime Cuomo confidant Rich Azzopardi. We shall see. Cuomo was also seen helping a stranded motorist in the Hamptons.
Nationally, all eyes are on primaries and the road to November’s Midterm elections. Many of former President Donald Trump’s endorsed candidates did well last week, showing his influence is still strong in the GOP. Most notably, Wyoming GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump and Vice Chair of the January 6 House Committee, lost her primary to Trump-backed political newcomer Harriet Hageman by a 2-1 margin. The former President won Wyoming by 43 percentage points in 2020. For Cheney, it was likely all about going down swinging.
In Alaska, voters participated in ranked choice voting for the first time ever (where the top four vote-getters of any party affiliation advance to the November General election). Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, the longtime incumbent, advanced along with her main opponent, Trump-endorsed Kelly Tshibaka. Murkowski said “what matters is winning in November.” Tshibaka called the results “the first step in breaking the Murkowski monarchy’s grip on Alaska.” A member of the Murkowski family has held the Senate seat since 1981. Senator Murkowski took the seat over from her father, Frank Murkowski in 2002, winning a write-in vote in 2016. Additionally, Sarah Palin is back. The former candidate for Vice President advanced in a race to replace former Alaska at-large U.S. House Rep. Don Young, who died in March. Palin was both running in a Special Election to finish Young’s term through the end of the year, as well as a Primary for a full term beginning in January. The outcome of the Special Election likely won’t be known for a couple of weeks, however, as the ranked choice votes are calculated.
In New York, Republican Candidate for Governor Lee Zeldin has come under intense scrutiny for his filing for an independent line in November: over 11,000 fraudulent petitions were compiled at State GOP Headquarters in Albany. Governor Hochul’s campaign issued a statement calling for a thorough investigation. “Lee Zeldin is now implicated in an actual case of alleged election fraud, and this time it’s real. New Yorkers deserve to know how more than 11,000 photocopied petition signatures were submitted on behalf of Zeldin’s campaign and who oversaw the process.”
After staying neutral in the GOP Primary, former President Donald Trump is stumping for Zeldin in New York. Trump will appear at a high dollar fundraiser for Zeldin in New Jersey next month.
Tomorrow is Primary Day #2 in New York State with races for the United States House of Representatives, New York State Senate, and two Special Elections on the ballot. Find your polling place here.
For the House, there are a few key primaries that we are watching:
- In Long Island’s 3rd Congressional District, incumbent Tom Suozzi is vacating his seat, choosing a failed run for governor instead. The North Shore District race is wide open with a large pool of candidates, including: Jon Kaiman, former Hempstead Town Supervisor, Josh Lafazan, Nassau County Legislator, Robert Zimmerman, a public relations professional, Melanie D’Arrigo, a wellness professional, and Reema Rasool, a local businesswoman. Lafazan was endorsed by Suozzi. He has also received major donations from cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried’s Super PAC. Zimmerman, who is a longtime Democratic National Committee Member and fundraiser, has racked up a number of endorsements including Hillary Clinton, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Rep. Ritchie Torres, Rep. Grace Meng, Comptroller DiNapoli and NYSUT. D’Arrigo is running as the Progressive candidate, with an endorsement from the WFP. The winner of the Democratic Primary will face off against Republican George Santos.
- In the newly created 10th Congressional District, which consists of Lower Manhattan and Brownstone Brooklyn, a crowded field of candidates are facing off in an open race. Former Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped out earlier in the summer after dismal polling. Recent polls have New York City Council Member Carlina Rivera, State Assembly Member Yuh Line Niou—who is running with the WFP endorsement—and former prosecutor and Trump impeachment attorney Daniel Goldman as the top three, but have varied in order. Elizabeth Holtzman, who represented the former 16th Congressional District in the 1970s, sits slightly behind the top three in recent polling, but was recently endorsed by the New York Daily News. Current House Rep. Mondaire Jones—who recently moved to the district to run has a commanding fundraising lead, having $3.3 million more than the rest of the field combined. Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon represents the Assembly District with the highest turnout and is also a big factor.
- In the new 12th District, incumbent House Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler were drawn into the same district, making for an awkward race for the two longtime colleagues. Both hold significant power in D.C. Nadler chairs the House Judiciary Committee while Maloney is chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Also running is Suraj Patel, who once worked on President Barack Obama’s advance team. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer recently endorsed Jerry Nadler (who was one of the few elected officials to endorse Schumer in his first Senate race in 1998). An Emerson College poll had Nadler leading over Maloney: Nadler – 43%; Carolyn Maloney – 24%; Suraj Patel – 14%; Undecided – 19%.
- Incumbent House Rep. and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Sean Patrick Maloney is facing a challenge from State Senator Alessandra Biaggi. Biaggi is trying to tap into progressive energy that boosted her into the State Senate in 2018, and she has been endorsed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. An internal poll from the Maloney campaign had him leading with 52%, Biaggi at 18%. An internal poll from the Biaggi campaign has Maloney at 34% to Biaggi’s 21%. Maloney also holds a commanding lead in cash with $2,400,609 on hand to Biaggi’s $269,526. Significantly, Maloney also earned the support of the New York Times Editorial Board. The winner of this primary will face off against Republican challenger Assembly Member Michael Lawler.
- With Incumbent Republican Chris Jacobs retiring, Western New York 23rdCongressional District’s Republican Primary has become a contentious faceoff between Buffalo area developer and former Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Carl Paladino and State GOP Chair Nick Langworthy. The race has featured a great deal of fireworks between two personalities including Paladino accusing Langworthy of unethically using his position as Chair of the State Party, and Langworthy accusing Paladino of breaking laws around financial disclosure. Paladino was endorsed by North Country Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik, and holds a commanding financial advantage with $911,000 in his campaign balance to Langworthy’s $139,000. Langworthy was recently endorsed by the New York Post.
And there are two special elections for the House to serve out terms through the end of the year that are worth watching:
- In the current 19th Congressional District seat vacated by Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, a Republican, is running against Ulster County Executive, Pat Ryan, a Democrat, to fill the remainder of Delgado’s term. Recent polling showed the two County Executives in a statistical tie. Because the lines of the district were redrawn, another election is simultaneously being held this year for the newly drawn 19th District. Molinaro is running in the new 19th district for a full term in November, while Ryan — even if he defeats Molinaro on Aug. 23 — will run in a different district, the 18th Congressional District, in November.
- In the current 23rd Congressional District vacated by Rep. Tom Reed who resigned earlier this year, Joe Sempolinski, a local Republican leader and former aide to Tom Reed, is expected to keep the district under Republican control. However, Sempolinski is not running in the primary for the new 23rd district (see above on Carl Paladino v. Nick Langworthy).
Tomorrow will also feature a number of key primaries that could shake up the State Senate Democratic Conference’s composition come November.
Finally, it is a good thing you didn’t live 23 million years ago. New research shows that the ancient Megalodon was even bigger, fiercer, and hungrier than paleontologists had previously predicted.
Our podcast is back with Election 2022 analysis. For political insight on this year’s races, including a deep dive on the NYS primaries, listen in here.
Voices: Against All Odds, It Looks Like Democrats Will Do Well in the Midterms
O’Donnell & Associates Senior VP Mike Cinquanti Named to Albany County Business Development Board
OD&A’s Michael Cinquanti has been named to the Board of Directors for the Advance Albany County Alliance, a corporation that focuses on business development and growth, retaining and attracting jobs and promoting Albany County. [Read more.]
Client News: Town of Cheektowaga Receives $9M From New York State
Congratulations to our client, the Town of Cheektowaga for receiving $9M in state funding for road repairs. [Read more.]
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