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Good morning from from Qatar, where the World Cup is in full swing. This week features the final games in the group stage. Brazil, without Neymar, plays today at 11 p.m. while the U.S. has a win-and-advance game against Iran on Tuesday at 2 p.m.

Here is hoping you enjoyed Thanksgiving with your family and, perhaps, a break from work and all things political because the pace is only going to speed up from here!

Last week, Governor Hochul acted on a number of bills chipping away at the nearly 400 that passed both Houses early this year and are awaiting her action. Some of the key bills she signed included:
  • S6486D—The bill establishes a moratorium on cryptocurrency mining operations that use proof-of-work (PoW) authentication methods to validate blockchain transactions. Passed by the Assembly in May and the Senate in June, the bill puts a two-year ban on PoW cryptocurrency mining. This was one of the major decisions the Governor had to make by year’s end and for the time being, Hochul has put the brakes on the industry while environmental concerns are addressed. Governor Hochul offered “I will ensure that New York continues to be the center of financial innovation, while also taking important steps to prioritize the protection of our environment.”   
  • S5891F, which allows collegiate student-athletes to receive compensation for use of name, image, or likeness and to be represented by an attorney or agent. This legislation shores up student-athletes’ rights in New York and prevents any college or athletic conference from denying an athlete access to compensation for their name, image, and likeness. It also provides student-athletes with additional access to career counseling, leadership development, and harassment and discrimination training. In a statement, Governor Hochul said, “For too long, collegiate student-athletes have not been able to benefit from the extraordinary benefits their hard work has provided to their schools. I’m proud to sign this legislation that will help New York’s collegiate student-athletes earn the recognition they deserve.”  
  • S6522A, which protects patients facing steep medical bills from certain penalties against their wages or property. The bill prevents healthcare providers from placing a home lien on an individual’s primary residence or garnishing wages to collect medical debt. The measure is part of the Governor’s promise in her State of the State address to solidify consumer protections and end predatory business practices. In signing the bill, Governor Hochul said “No one should face the threat of losing their home or falling into further debt after seeking medical care.” 
The Governor also vetoed some significant legislation last week. The vetoes primarily came on a package of bills creating various studies and commissions. In a veto message relating to the bills, the Governor said she was vetoing the legislation because “enactment of this package of legislation would collectively cost the State approximately forty million dollars.” She said she would subsequently direct her Office to “work with state agencies to assess what components of the legislation can be implemented using the resources already in their financial plans.” Some of the key bills that would have created studies and commissions included:
  • A658A, which would have established the problem gambling advisory council 
  • A5557, which would have established a commission to be known as the “New York seawall study commission” 
  • A6430B, which would have created the sickle cell disease detection and education program 
  • A9348, which would have established the fentanyl abuse and overdose prevention task force 
  • S5451, which would have directed the Public Service Commission to study and issue a written report on the affordability of utility services throughout the State 
  • S6501, which would have established an LGBTQ+ Advisory Board
There are still hundreds of bills still awaiting action before the end of the year, including some big ones such as a bill creating a system for contractor registration through the Department of Labor, legislation requiring public hearings for utility rate increases, a measure requiring insurance coverage for PrEP and PEP, and a number of other bills. 
While the legislative activity gears up, there are still elections to be decided. In Syracuse, Incumbent Democratic State Senator John Mannion is in the midst of a recount against Republican challenger Rebecca Shiroff. The hand recount has seen his lead shrink to just 51 votes—well within the .5% margin required for a recount. 
In the 49th Assembly district in Brooklyn, Lester Chang defeated incumbent Democrat Peter Abbate. However, questions have begun to arise about his residency. Voting records show that Chang lived and voted in Manhattan until at least election day in 2021.  Election law requires Assembly candidates to live in the district in which they are running for at least 12 months, meaning Chang would have had to move to Brooklyn at some point between November 2nd and November 8th, 2021. If Chang was found to be ineligible, it is likely the Governor would hold a special election to fill the seat. 

With all the midterm dust mostly settled, there are lessons to be learned for both parties looking ahead to 2024. On a macro level, it is clear that states like Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and Texas are still solidly red, despite the Democrat’s best efforts. Republicans hoped states like Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Colorado would shift in their favor but that, too, did not happen. Across the board, candidates modeling Donald Trump’s style of election denialism and conspiracy theories were delivered a resounding loss. Aside from being in power in 2022, those candidates for Secretary of State and Governor would have control over the presidential election in 2024. Arizona was the epicenter for this brand of election denial, but candidates with similar views lost key races in Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania as well. 
Always eager to replicate the Obama coalition and turnout of 2008, Democrats have spent time and resources building a ground game in Florida, Ohio, and Iowa that, again, has failed, pretty spectacularly: the GOP had a clean sweep in Iowa and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis won by almost 20 points. In Ohio, JD Vance beat Tim Ryan handily and Governor Mike Dewine won reelection by over 25 points. Similarly, the massive fundraising effort by Beto O’Rouke, who raised more than $100 million, was all for naught—Republicans won their 14th straight sweep of statewide office. Those results will certainly make Democrats think twice when deciding where to dedicate money come 2024. 

Republicans are also struggling with a shrinking electoral map. States such as Minnesota and New Hampshire were touted as “sleeper states” for Republicans in the Trump era but, like in 2016 and 2020, that never materialized. While the GOP will never admit they are punting on a state, Democrats have won every state constitutional office for three straight elections and the last Republican presidential candidate to win Minnesota was Richard Nixon.

In New Hampshire, the shift blue seems to be a rejection of Trumpism rather than Republicans as a whole.

In 2016, Trump lost New Hampshire by less than half a percentage point, but in 2020, he lost by 8. His candidates for Congress in the state lost convincingly, but Chris Sununu, the Republican Governor and outspoken critic of President Trump, won reelection. 
North Carolina has been trending red but given its size and electoral votes, Democrats cannot afford to write the state off. Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, won in 2020, but North Carolina has voted Republican in three straight presidential elections as well as in two Senate races in the past two years.
In Virginia, Democrats won in swing districts, but Governor Youngkin’s victory in 2021 will surely keep the GOP engaged.  

For Democrats, their biggest revelation, and relief, is that they managed to hold Pennsylvania and Michigan, key states in the “Blue Wall” that Democrats rely on for national races. The two states have voted in lockstep in every presidential election since 1988 which is bad news for Republicans if they cannot turn the tide before 2024. The top-line summary from the midterms is that both parties have strengthened their hold on states that already lean in their direction.

The odds of a Nixonesque electoral victory are rare and national elections are increasingly decided by a small subset of the electorate in a few key swing states. Among them are Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada, which are as competitive as ever. In the 2020 presidential election, the four states were decided by 77,000 between them
On December 1st, Democrats are set to gather to determine the nominating order for the 2024 election and it has not been without competition. States that are early in the primary calendar hold outsized influence over the process and they can build momentum for a candidate that can catapult them all the way to the White House. Michigan, Nevada, and South Carolina have all been angling to take over the first stop from Iowa or at least move up in the pecking order. President Biden, who is expected to run for election in 2024, has not weighed in yet, but any decision made will surely have his blessing. 

Democrats are also planning on rule changes in the next Congress to keep everyone in their caucus happy. Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colorado) currently serves as one of four co-chairs to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC) but the caucus is creating a “chair of chairs” position at the DPCC to allow the top three House Democrats to run unopposed. The DPCC is expected to be more active following the departure of Nancy Pelosi who was known to keep a tight grip over the party’s messaging. Members from battleground districts have floated the idea of creating a “Battleground Leadership Representative” to ensure they have a seat at the table when decisions are being made. It would not be the first time that positions were created to avoid conflict- in 2011 the position of “assistant Democratic leader” was created for Steny Hoyer to avoid a showdown with Jim Clyburn for the whip position. 

President Biden and his top aides are preparing for the incoming, GOP-controlled House and the subsequent headaches that will bring his Administration. However, there is hope that some Republicans will emerge who will work with the Administration. The freshman GOP members who won swing districts did not do so by talking about Hunter Biden’s laptop and they will need to work in a bipartisan manner if they want to win again in 2024. Rather than focus on political investigations, Reps-elect Mike Lawler and George Santos from New York have both expressed interest in issues such as crime and the cost of living, an area they could perhaps find common ground with the White House. 

Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has been working with the Biden Administration on the child tax credit and Rob Portman (R- Ohio) led talks with the White House on the infrastructure bill. With Portman retiring and Romney likely facing a primary challenge from the right, the regular cast of characters that Biden has grown accustomed to working with is getting increasingly smaller. One constant that will remain is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell with whom Biden has had a working relationship with for decades. Biden hopes that familiarity, along with a more consensus-minded GOP minority, will provide an avenue for compromise. Rep. Don Bacon (R-Nebraska) suggested that this could be a good opportunity to tackle immigration reform. The Inflation Reduction Act, the Infrastructure Bill, and the CHIPs Act all had bipartisan support and according to many Democrats, those accomplishments enabled candidates in swing districts to hang on. 

Still, it will not be a fun couple of years for Biden. Immediately after returning to Washington following the election, Republican House Reps James Comer and Jim Jordan held a press conference to announce that their first order of business when the new congress is sworn in will be to launch an investigation into Hunter Biden. CBS also released a long-form segment on Hunter Biden’s laptop and the purported evidence of wrongdoing by the President’s son, albeit years after the story first broke.

There is also governing to be done. The continuing resolution currently funding the federal government expires on December 16th meaning lawmakers have until then to come up with a permanent spending measure or pass another stop-gap bill. Between GOP leadership elections, the Georgia runoff, and usual party dynamics, top lawmakers have yet to meet to even agree on spending levels for Federal Fiscal Year 2023. Members also have to pass the National Defense Authorization Act by year’s end and likely vote on a sizable aid package to Ukraine. There is also a push to codify the right to same-sex marriage into federal law and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has the votes after gaining the support of some Republicans. 

It is worth noting that with the election of Senator John Fetterman, 10 percent of the Senate is now named John or Jon.

-Jack O’Donnell

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November 28, 1905:




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Congrats To OD&A’s Senior Advisor Kara Hughes

She has been named to the 2022 Economic Development Power 100
by City & State NY for boosting economic growth and driving job creation across the state.
Read more about Kara here.


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Newsom Told the White House He Won’t Challenge Biden

Gov. Gavin Newsom has won three elections in five years in America’s largest state, is apoplectic about his party’s messaging defects and follows Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the right-wing media ecosystem with a zeal that would put some opposition researchers to shame. But Newsom wants the word to go forth: He’s not going to challenge President Biden for the Democratic nomination in 2024. [Read more.]




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Client News: Buffalo AKG Museum To Open May 25, 2023

The Buffalo AKG Art Museum, previously known as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, announced Monday that its new three-story translucent building under construction will open May 25, 2023, along with the museum’s extensively renovated 1905 and 1962 buildings. [Read more.]