Good morning from Australia, home to the 2023 Women’s World Cup where the American Team notched a 3-0 victory over Vietnam to begin their quest for a third title.
July campaign finance reports were due last week and Governor Kathy Hochul, not up for reelection until 2026, reported an impressive $4.5 million raised. Hochul’s recent haul is the largest for this period in state history. In a statement, Hochul said, “I am grateful for the outpouring of support that we have received in our first full term as governor.” The filing also showed an additional $1.5 million raised by Hochul for the New York State Democratic Committee.
In the Senate, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins remained a top fundraiser. Her total included a $1,000 donation from lobbyist Nick Spano. Spano is a former Republican State Senator who once defeated Stewart-Cousins by less than 20 votes before losing to her in 2006. The top fundraiser in Legislature, Senator Tim Kennedy, raised $662,000 this filing period to bring his total balance to an astonishing $2.1 million on hand. Kennedy was followed by Senator James Skoufis of Orange County ($362,000) and Senator Jeremy Cooney of Rochester ($354,000). In the Assembly, Speaker Cal Heastie raised $278,000 for his leadership PAC, including a notable $49,000 donation from the NYS Troopers PAC. The top individual fundraiser was Assembly Member Amy Paulin of Westchester with $247,000 raised followed by Assembly Member David Weprin of Queens ($161,000) and Assembly Member Harry Bronson of Rochester ($105,000).
The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC), tasked with protecting incumbents and preserving a Democratic majority, reported raising $1.56 million while their Republican counterparts raised $304,000. The Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee (DACC) raised $2.3 million while the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee (RACC) did not submit a filing ahead of the July deadline.
While campaign accounts are flush with cash, the economic outlook for New York State is much less promising. According to a report released by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli the state’s out-year budget gaps are expected to total $36.4 billion through FY 2026-2027, driven largely by declining tax revenues, recurring spending, and increased Medicaid costs. DiNapoli offered, “The state’s fiscal outlook has changed considerably over the past year, and significant economic and fiscal risks could further upend the state’s finances.” DiNapoli suggested tying recurring spending measures to recurring revenue streams and warned that increased tax rates on high-income residents would lead to further volatility of personal income tax revenue. In response, Hochul pointed to the billions of dollars in reserves she set aside in this year’s budget and remains optimistic about the state’s finances, saying, “If we have a downturn, if we have a recession, we don’t have to go back to the taxpayers,” but the projected gaps will certainly influence lawmaker’s decision making on a number of issues, including housing.
In Washington, D.C., Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) and House Democrats are pushing for a vote to censure Rep. George Santos (R-NY) over his litany of falsehoods and repeatedly lying to constituents. The resolution claims that his mother died in 9/11, his grandparents died in the Holocaust, he played volleyball at Baruch College, and he produced a Broadway musical. The resolution would need six Republican votes to pass and at least that many have already publicly supported the censure, including five Republican members from New York. Santos remains under investigation by the House Ethics Committee and has pled not guilty to 13 Federal counts of financial fraud.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy has yet to weigh in on the censure but has previously indicated he will not be supporting Santos’ reelection campaign in 2024. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan political forecasting website, has Santos’ district, NY-3, listed as “lean Democrat.” The four other House seats won by Republicans last election cycle, NY-04, NY-17, NY-19, and NY-22, are all listed as “toss-ups.”
In other GOP news, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has announced he will not seek reelection. Sununu is one of the nation’s most popular governors and had contemplated a 2024 Presidential run. Sununu has been an outspoken critic of former President Trump, writing plainly in an op-ed last month, “If [Trump] is the nominee, Republicans will lose again.” Sununu’s popularity in New Hampshire and the outsized role the state plays in the Presidential nominating process makes him a powerful surrogate when (or if?) he decides to endorse a candidate. Nonetheless, Trump maintains a healthy lead over the rest of the field in state polling.
President Joe Biden has adopted a more casual appearance this summer including a high-inseam bathing suit and more recently, going sockless with sneakers. A less noticed change to the President’s routine has been his boarding of Air Force One, now from the shorter staircase at the back of the plane. Biden has had a few minor slip-ups on the larger staircase but the White House claimed that a variety of factors including the weather, the presence of a delegation, and other logistics determine which staircase is used. It is no secret that President Biden’s biggest liability is his age, and the procedural change is likely meant to prevent any unnecessary outward signs of frailty in the hopes of keeping the focus on what Biden has been able to accomplish.
Congress will be in session this week before the scheduled August recess. Among other things, the House and Senate need to come to an agreement on the National Defense Authorization Act and a government funding bill before the September 30th deadline and including this week, there are just 15 days where both chambers are scheduled to be in session until then. The House is expected to take up votes this week on a number of measures including the U.S. Supply Chain Security Review Act of 2023, NTIA Policy and Cybersecurity Coordination Act, and the Securing Semiconductor Supply Chains Act of 2023.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced the 5X5 Block Party Series, a series of celebrations held throughout the Five Boroughs celebrating the history and culture of hip-hop. Our client, Pixis Drones, will be collaborating with New York City to perform drone light shows at each of the parties! Mayor Adams, the self-proclaimed “hip-hop Mayor” said “New York should be celebrating a genre that we created,” he said. “We raised it on the streets of New York, and it has gone out to cascade throughout the entire globe.” You can get more information on the 5X5 Block Party Series and view the full schedule here.
OD&A was there as our client, the Town of Cheektowaga, joined elected officials in announcing $1M in funding to help restore areas of Scajaquada Creek. Assembly Member Monica Wallace, Senator Sean Ryan, Rep. Brian Higgins, the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation, and OD&A client, the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation helped secure the funding.
New To The NYS Legislature
Senator Steven Rhoads was elected to the State Senate in 2022 for District 5, which includes part of Nassau County on Long Island.
A volunteer firefighter for 30 years and attorney for first responders, Senator Rhoads began his political career in 2015 when he was elected to the Nassau County Legislature where he created a crime victim advocacy office and an Independent Inspector General position to increase transparency and restore trust in government.
In the Senate, he is prioritizing public safety, ensuring law enforcement has the resources necessary to fight crime. Senator Rhoads also supports expanding the STAR program, protecting the property tax cap, and enhancing property tax rebate checks – all while limiting spending and cutting waste in the State Budget.
Senator Rhoads is a graduate of Hofstra University Law School, SUNY Albany, and Wantagh Public Schools. He and his wife reside in Bellmore.
In The News