Attorney General's Race Archives

October 27, 2008

Suozzi-Paterson: The second generation?

Maybe the Garden City law firm Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein can start sharing office space with the New York State executive branch.

The resignation of Charles O’Byrne as Gov. David A. Paterson’s top gatekeeper on Friday made William Cunningham III, the firm’s former managing partner, the new number-two on the Capitol’s second floor.

This happened days after the buzz began that Nassau Executive Thomas Suozzi — whom Cunningham served as top deputy — could become Paterson’s running mate, for lieutenant governor, in 2010.

And Meyer, Suozzi is the firm where Joseph Suozzi, father of the county executive, and Basil Paterson, the governor’s father, hang their hats.

“All this could make things simpler around the holidays,” a longtime Democratic operative said lightheartedly.

Assuming Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli seek re-election, Paterson’s picking Suozzi for lieutenant governor would put three downstate Italian-American candidates on the same statewide ticket.

Dan Janison

September 23, 2008

Followup on the AG hires: A pre-existing program

AG Andrew Cuomo's spokesman John Milgrim credibly informs us that those Department of Law community liaison positions we cited earlier “have existed for years through many administrations” and represent no expansion of the program.

“They’re called intergovernmental,” he said. “State agencies have had them for years.”

May 26, 2008

Public part of Cuomo probe shone light on pension drift

acuomo.jpgAttorney General Andrew Cuomo’s pension-abuse hearing last week earned positive reviews. His steady questioning of Nassau and Suffolk BOCES officials, conducted alongside senior Long Island legislators at Farmingdale State College, brought out the essential point that approvals of pension double-dipping by school administrators have become the rule, rather than the exception as clearly intended under state law. Will there be more, elsewhere in the state? His systemic reform drive continues while the AG's office determines if any of the abuses rise to the level of criminal charges.

Dan Janison

November 13, 2006

AG and Suffolk

Republican Attorney General candidate Jeanine Pirro may have lost statewide, but she edged out Andrew Cuomo in Suffolk.
Pirro topped Cuomo 49.25 percent to 48.8 percent countywide. Even Alan Hevesi, who became embroiled in a scandal over state employees driving his wife, did better than Cuomo, pulling 51.4 percent to GOP foe Chris Callaghan’s 44.9 percent.
Hillary Clinton, who six years ago lost Suffolk to former Rep. Rick Lazio (R-Brightwaters) 56 percent to 40 percent, not only won in Suffolk this year, but topped the hometown Lazio’s percentage this year with 59 percent of the vote to 39 for Republican John Spencer. Clinton did not lose a single Suffolk town.
In Nassau, Cuomo bested Pirro 53.2 percent to 45.2 percent; Hevesi drew 53.8 percent and Callaghan, 43.4 percent; and Clinton won with 60.3 percent to Spencer’s 38.4 percent. Six years ago Lazio beat Clinton in Nassau 52.3 percent to 44.2 percent.

Rick Brand

November 2, 2006

Suffolk's largest union backs Pirro

Jeanine Pirro, the Republican candidate for state Attorney General, has picked up the endorsement of Suffolk County’s largest union, the Association of Municipal Employees, and nine law enforcement unions throughout Long Island.
“The Committee felt you brought comprehensive ideas to us for consideration and therefore earned the AME’s endorsement,” wrote union president Cheryl A. Felice in a letter. The group represents 8,500 county workers including nurses and civilian and support staff for the Suffolk County Police Department, the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office and the Suffolk County Office of Fire, Emergency and Rescue Services (FRES).
AME’s endorsement serves as a counterweight to that of the Civil Service Employees Association Inc., which has backed Democrat Andrew Cuomo.
Pirro also received the endorsement of the Suffolk County Deputy Sheriffs PBA. “We’re endorsing Jeanine Pirro for her steadfast commitment to law enforcement and her experience in getting the job done. We are confident that she’s the right person to keep sexual predators off our streets and keep our children safe,” said Michael Sharkey, the union’s president.
The deputy sheriffs’ group was joined by unions representing Suffolk detectives, superior officers Association, corrections and probation officers and the Suffolk County Police Conference, in backing Pirro. She also is supported by the Nassau County Superior Officers Association, the Nassau County Detectives and the Nassau County Sheriffs Association.
Meanwhile upstate, Cuomo added to his hefty list of endorsements with the backing of Council 82 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents prison guards, forest rangers, state park police and other law enforcement in the Albany area.
“Andrew Cuomo has been a champion for law enforcement throughout his career, and it is clear that he is far and away the most qualified for the job,” said union president James Lyman. “We are proud to join the vast majority of law enforcement groups - from Westchester to Buffalo to Albany - lining up to stand with Andrew Cuomo.”

James T. Madore

October 31, 2006

Keeping the $$ Flowing

Democrat Andrew Cuomo already has nearly $600,000 more on hand than Republican Jeanine Pirro in the race for state Attorney General but he’s leaving nothing to chance, tapping his party’s best fundraiser, former President Bill Clinton, to spur more contributions.
Clinton headlined a nighttime reception Monday for Cuomo in the Rainbow Room atop the NBC Studios tower in Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center. About 250 people were expected with Clinton, touting his former cabinet secretary’s record of cleaning up the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Cuomo campaign spokeswoman Wendy Katz said the reception’s timing was aimed at raising money and energizing Democratic voters. “No one gets out the vote better than President Clinton!” she said.

James T. Madore

Continue reading "Keeping the $$ Flowing" »

October 24, 2006

Cuomo and Hevesi

Democrat Andrew Cuomo, the frontrunner in the state attorney general’s race, this afternoon called the ethics commission report on state comptroller Alan Hevesi's inappropriate use of a state worker to drive his wife around “very, very troubling." Cuomo also said of Hevesi, "This is a man who I've known many years and I'm surprised and shocked at his behavior."
Asked how the scandal would affect Hevesi's job performance, Cuomo said, 'I think it severely compromises his position."

James T. Madore

October 19, 2006

Speech that is not Free

The Cuomo and Pirro camps continued bickering over speaking fees today.

Republican Jeanine Pirro pointed to news releases from the Housing and Urban Development department in 1999 and 2000 showing a $118,060 grant to Kansas State University and $398,529 to Ball State University in Indiana, while Andrew Cuomo was overseeing the agency.

Pirro then pointed to Democrat Cuomo’s federal ethics filings, which showed his family income including speaking fees from Kansas State ($2,625 for a speech in March 1999) and Ball State ($3,000 for a speech in 1997).

"These filings not only show that Andrew Cuomo collected, as family income, honoraria. But worse yet, he was collecting it from universities vying for HUD grants," Pirro said.

Pirro’s statement doesn’t note that Cuomo’s then-wife Kerry Kennedy Cuomo earned the speaking fees, though his ethics filing has a little "s" next to the entries, which total $122,323, meaning all the money came to Kerry.

The Cuomo camp discovered this slight of hand Tuesday and called Pirro on it.

"Mrs. Pirro owes Andrew an apology for repeating her false attack and glaring mistake that Andrew received fees for speeches while at HUD and is now trying to cover up for her flagrant error by hurling new off-base charges," Cuomo spokeswoman Wendy Katz said today.

Katz then went for the jugular, referring to Pirro’s troubled marriage and husband’s imprisonment for tax evasion.

James T. Madore

Continue reading "Speech that is not Free" »

October 16, 2006

Cuomo vs. Pirro: How to tune In

Tuesday’s second and final debate in the race for state attorney general will air on some public broadcasting stations statewide. Locally, it can be heard at 8 p.m. on WNYC/820 AM. The morning debate between Democrat Andrew Cuomo and Republican Jeanine Pirro is being taped at a Rochester TV station.

James T. Madore

Cuomo and Pirro on Suffolk immigration law

The candidates for state attorney general, Andrew Cuomo and Jeanine Pirro, agreed on very little in their televised debate on Sunday – except neither would embrace Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy’s controversial immigrant workers’ law.
The issue was raised in the hour-long exchange by Univision TV anchor Antonio Martinez, and both candidates sought to distance themselves from the Suffolk measure, which requires all county contractors to certify that their employees are eligible to work in the United States. The Suffolk law seeks to strengthen a 20-year-old federal worker verification statute.
Cuomo, a Democrat, said if he were elected, “it is not my priority to enforce the federal immigration laws. Let the federal officials do that.” In recent polls, he leads Pirro, a Republican, by 13 points.
Pirro called for a balance between the country’s “security and economic needs” and a recognition that undocumented workers “are in this country because they want to work.” She also recalled her successful prosecution of the case of a beating death of an undocumented Hispanic man when she was Westchester County district attorney.

James T. Madore

Pirro Gains On Cuomo In New Poll

Some have suggested that the scandal surrounding Jeanine Pirro's marriage could actually help the former Westchester DA. A poll out today suggests that may be the case. After two weeks of headlines that would make any politician cringe Pirro has tightened the gap against Andrew Cuomo, the former HUD secretary under Clinton.

Cuomo's lead dropped from 17 points last month to 13 points, according to a survey by the Siena Research Institute. This comes a day after both candidates jousted in what was the best debate so far of the election season.

But the poll numbers could mean that Cuomo's lead might have dropped even more if Pirro was not being investigated by the feds.

Errol A. Cockfield Jr.

September 5, 2006

King Quits

Charles King, a longshot candidate for state attorney general, is giving it up and endorsing on-and-off friend and rival Andrew Cuomo.
And on a related note, Wayne Barrett's piece this week in the Voice on a key supporter of Cuomo's is worth a look.

August 23, 2006

Still on Stage

Bernie Kerik's business efforts in Guyana, as noted by Newsday reporter Bryan Virasami, continue to keep the former commish in the spotlight after his prosecution and ethical breaches and questions about the implications for his mentor Rudy Giuliani.
And, as law-enforcement blogger Len Levitt recently points out, Kerik is working to raise support for his friend Jeanine Pirro, the GOP candidate for state attorney general.

August 17, 2006

That AG Race in Prime Time

The debate among Democratic primary candidates for attorney general commences at 7 p.m. Sponsored by NY1 Cable News in the city, it is available at the station's Web site.
Please pardon our earlier screwup. Despite word it would be broadcast live on News12 Long Island, it is not.
The debate comes on the heels of last night's scatter-site town hall-style forum featuring the four candidates as well as GOP nominee Jeanine Pirro.
This is a hot statewide scramble, of course, and the direct confrontation tonight, which is the real show, should spark serious crossfire, especially between leading rivals Andrew Cuomo and Mark Green.

August 15, 2006

Pins Next Time for Pirro

It wasn’t as bad as the missing page from her declaration speech for U.S. Senate, but Jeanine Pirro’s campaign for state attorney general suffered a minor glitch yesterday.
As she was making a point about how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency isn’t enforcing the Clean Air Act, the blue-and-white sign bearing her name fell from the podium to the ground. An aide quickly retrieved it.
The tape apparently had lost some of its adhesive power. Try tacks or pins next time, a campaign wag was heard to say.
Still, the Pirro camp did select a beautiful place for the news conference – dozens of sailboats moored in Huntington Harbor, which made for great visuals.

James T. Madore

August 12, 2006

Eliot's Further Fund Fest

With a month left to Primary Day, the Democratic front-runner for governor, Eliot Spitzer, has nearly eight times more money in his campaign treasury than rival Thomas Suozzi, the Nassau County executive.
Spitzer, the state attorney general, had $14 million as of Monday, said his spokeswoman. Suozzi had $1.8 million, according to a finance report that he filed Friday with the state Board of Elections.
The candidates’ fundraising was equally lopsided from July 12 to Aug. 7, with Spitzer raising $1.1 million and Suozzi $128,975. The gap in spending was narrower; Spitzer’s bills totaled $3.5 million for the period while Suozzi’s were $1.1 million.
The race is much tighter among the Democrats who are fighting to succeed Spitzer as attorney general.

James T. Madore

Continue reading "Eliot's Further Fund Fest" »

August 11, 2006

In the Shadows

Now the summer primary races recede further into the background as terrorism and war command the spotlight. Still, the underdog candidates are struggling for a hearing. Mark Green, for example, stepped up the rhetorical prosecution of his case against rival Andrew Cuomo's record as U.S. housing secretary in the Clinton administration while Jonathan Tasini expanded his criticism of U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton to blast her support of NAFTA as having sacrificed big numbers of U.S. manufacturing jobs while agitating for a debate against her.

August 4, 2006

Doubling Doubts

A Newsday story today questions Andrew Cuomo's repeated claims in the AG race that he doubled fair housing enforcement actions at HUD and dramatically expanded anti-discrimination efforts.

Quote from critic Shanna Smith of the National Fair Housing Alliance: "He promotes himself as the enforcement king of fair housing. But it's my opinion that he's a failure at enforcement."

Cuomo makes the doubling claim here and here.

The National Council on Disability says the claim is phony in this 2001 report, Chapter III C4. The Citizens Commission on Civil Rights calls the claim "false" in this report from 2002.

But Cuomo spokesperson Wendy Katz says Bush's HUD vouches for its accuracy, citing a couple of brief mentions of the claim in a long HUD report.....

UPDATE: Today, one of the authors of the National Council on Disability report tells us Cuomo's campaign is off-base in suggesting that Bush's HUD somehow questioned the conclusion that Cuomo's "doubling" claim was phony.

It never did any such thing, said co-author Michael Allen, a fair-housing lawyer.

“The doubling claim was mostly p.r. spin at the time it was made and it's a pale version of that now," says Allen. "No one ever came back and challenged our findings. I don't begrudge Andrew Cuomo wanting to make a claim about what he did as HUD secretary, but I don't think the facts bear him out."

August 1, 2006

Cuomo $$ Beef

State GOP complains to the Board of Elections that Andrew Cuomo isn't reporting all his expenses and all his contributions, courtesy of the T-U and the Daily News.

But Cuomo aide Wendy Katz says they're all wet -- some of the missing pieces are in Schedule N of the July filing

July 31, 2006

Pirro complaint

Dems are complaining about Jeanine Pirro's multiple committees. She may have taken in too much money from Islanders owner Charles Wang. The Times-Union's Capitol Confidential has details.

Pirro campaign begs to differ. They say that Charles Wang gave the legal maximum for Pirro's general election campaign ($33,900) and also gave the legal maximum for possible Republican, Conservative and Independent primary campaigns. Since Pirro faces no primaries, all that primary money is being returned to the Islanders boss.

July 27, 2006

Green Enters the Upstate Ad War

Now, Mark Green has released his AG ad. It's posted on his website. The script is below. It'll be running upstate, along with Andrew Cuomo's ad and Jeanine Pirro's ad from last week.

A couple of notable things, at first glance. First, the ad is all Green talking about his record, with one veiled jab at the end at Cuomo's lack of legal experience. It's a basic intro for upstate voters who aren't as familiar with Green as downstaters. Cuomo's ad does the same thing, but depends completely on a narrator. The Green people aren't worried about the impression their candidate makes on camera, in your family room. Are the Cuomo people?


Continue reading "Green Enters the Upstate Ad War" »

July 20, 2006

Pirro Ad

Jeanine Pirro has her first tv ad posted. The message: I'm an experienced prosecutor, Cuomo isn't.

Here's the script:

Narrator: Jeanine Pirro. Thirty years fighting crime. Prosecutor. Judge.
District Attorney. Andrew Cuomo? Fourteen months as a junior prosecutor, 21 years ago. Little courtroom experience. He even admits he's a non-practicing attorney.
Pirro: Like Eliot Spitzer, I'm an experienced prosecutor. I've protected women from abuse, children from pedophiles and gays from hate crimes.''
Narrator: Jeanine Pirro. Experienced. Qualified. A prosecutor for attorney general.

John Riley

Cuomo's AG Run: Wait, there's more...

It turns out that Andrew Cuomo’s most generous donor was even more generous than we thought yesterday.

The campaign apparently lost track of an additional $33,800 check from RFR Holding LLC, part of the Manhattan-based real estate empire of Aby Rosen and Michael Fuchs, and has now reported it in an amended disclosure statement.

That brings the total from the two men, their affiliated firms, relatives and partners to at least $294,000 since January. No doubt Andrew, as an advocate of campaign finance reform, hates to have to take in so much from so few.

Cuomo’s campaign is also drawing some attention on the other side of the ledger. He spent, according to the filings, just $550,000 in the last six months -- less than any other AG candidate, and dramatically less less than Jeanine Pirro ($929,000), Charlie King ($1.4 million) and Sean Patrick Maloney ($774,000). Mark Green spent $559,000.

John Riley

Continue reading "Cuomo's AG Run: Wait, there's more..." »

July 19, 2006

Cuomo's New Champion

Democratic attorney general candidate Andrew Cuomo’s campaign for social justice seems to have a new champion in the world of Manhattan real estate.
His biggest donor from Monday’s July filing: RFR Realty and partners Aby Rosen and Michael Fuchs. Along with relatives, partners and affiliated companies, RFR looks like it accounted for at least $217,000 during the last six months. Add to that $44,000 the two men forked over to Cuomo in January.
In other odds and ends in the AG race:
Charlie King, who was late coming up with numbers because of a computer glitch, says he raised $607,000 since Jan. 15 and has cash on hand of $521,000. Sean Patrick Maloney has a little more on hand -- $562,000 -- but only raised $524,000.
Newsday and others reported Tuesday that he had raised $750,000, based on a release indicating he raised that amount this year. Turns out that he was including the first two weeks of January, which were actually reported on the last filing.

John Riley

July 12, 2006

What -- You Again?

After spending time in jail for tax fraud and getting embarrassed by disclosures that he fathered a child out of wedlock, you'd think Republican Attorney General candidate Jeanine Pirro's husband Albert would have tired of life in the fast lane over the past few years.

And you'd be wrong. Westchester's Journal-News reports that Albert got a ticket on July 2 for driving his Mercedes at 98 mph along Rte. 95 in New Rochelle -- which was just a tad higher than the posted 55 mph speed limit.

Maybe he thought he was on Route 55 and the speed limit was 95?

John Riley

Continue reading "What -- You Again?" »

July 10, 2006

A Non-Denial Denial?

Thursday is the deadline for Democratic Attorney General hopefuls Mark Green, Charlie King and Sean Patrick Maloney to file petitions to run primary races against Andrew Cuomo, and all three campaigns say they’ll meet the 15,000 signature minimum with ease.
The bigger question is whether Cuomo will try to knock one or all out of the race by challenging some of the signatures, openly or through a surrogate. Cuomo press secretary Wendy Katz offers this decisively ambiguous non-response:
“We fully expect all candidates seeking to be New York’s next attorney general to have filed legally sufficient petitions.”

John Riley

July 5, 2006

Fireworks for Maloney in East Meadow

Sean Patrick Maloney, the Democratic candidate for attorney general who recently derided Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi's campaign for governor, didn't fare too well at Nassau's fireworks display in East Meadow on Saturday.
Maloney, who worked in the Clinton White House, was asked by security to stop campaigning inside the fenced-in area at the event in Eisenhower Park.
"He had one of those big obnoxious signs," said a person who witnessed it.
The security worked for Commerce Bank, which sponsored the fireworks show, not for Suozzi. Suozzi left his campaign signs outside the fence, but shook hands with residents inside the fence. He also shook hands (inside the fence) with Maloney, who recently on the Daily News blog described his campaign this way: "This is not Tom Suozzi running against Eliot Spitzer and this is not some vanity project or protest candidacy."
That is not the only point of conflict between the two. Maloney is openly gay, and Suozzi is against gay marriage.

Michael Rothfeld

June 20, 2006

Brodsky Pushes Organ Donation Legislation

A month after he announced he is withdrawing from the race for attorney general because he plans to donate a kidney to his teenage daughter, state Assemb. Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester) appeared with her at a news conference today to call for the approval of a package of bills to expand organ donation.

Asked about her father’s decision, Julianne Willie Brodsky, 14, said, “I think it’s pretty amazing that he’s offered to do this.”

The Assembly package includes bills that would expand the list of individuals who may consent to organ donation, reimburse private employers who allow donors to take paid leaves, and provide income tax credits of up to $10,000 to donors and their families.

Errol A. Cockfield Jr.

June 10, 2006

Koch Endorses Andrew Cuomo

Former Mayor Ed Koch, who twice ran against Mario Cuomo for political office, on Saturday endorsed Cuomo’s son Andrew in his bid for state attorney general.
Koch praised the younger Cuomo’s tenure as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton administration.
“I first met Andrew Cuomo in 1977 when his father, Mario, and I were running for mayor,” Koch said in a statement. “Andrew, who was barely out of his teens at the time, has come a long way since then.”
Koch is also a frequent sparring partner of Cuomo rival Mark Green, whom Koch, an ally of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, condemned as "obnoxious" in the 2001 mayoral race

Continue reading "Koch Endorses Andrew Cuomo" »

June 8, 2006

New Poll Results

Andrew Cuomo has widened his edge over opponent Mark Green in the battle to become the Democrats' nominee for attorney general, and both men still hold commanding leads over Republican contender Jeanine Pirro, according to the latest Newsday/NY1 News poll.

In the race to succeed Eliot Spitzer -- pegged by many observers as the only suspenseful contest in a year when Democrats are expected to sweep most statewide offices -- Cuomo garnered 34 percent of support from likely voters, versus 20 percent for Green. In a March Newsday/NY1 poll, Cuomo led Green 27 percent to 21 percent. Thirty percent of Democratic voters remain undecided.

But political experts say it's too early to count Pirro out entirely.

Lauren Weber

(More on the Newsday home page).

June 5, 2006

Moving Cuomo's Way

A day after former Buffalo prosecutor Denise O’Donnell quit the race for state attorney general, six of her supporters jumped on the Andrew Cuomo bandwagon.
Of the endorsements from Democratic county party leaders, the most significant came from Putnam County and Rensselaer County, near Albany. The others were from Allegany, Chautauqua, Livingston and Wyoming counties.
Cuomo, the frontrunner, already had garnered the support of more than 40 county leaders heading into last week’s Democratic Party convention in Buffalo. At the convention, he was the only candidate from a field of five to receive the necessary 25 percent of delegate votes to automatically be on the September primary ballot.
In a letter to supporters, O’Donnell did not endorse any of her fellow candidates and instead lamented the state’s restrictive ballot access rules.
“As a uniquely qualified candidate with a strong sense of duty, I have seen first hand that we urgently need serious campaign finance and ballot access reform,” the letter said. “To be serious about government reform we need to remove the barriers that divide qualified candidates from the voters.”
O’Donnell also took an implicit swipe at the qualifications of Cuomo and the three others still in the attorney general’s race, saying: “I still believe that New Yorkers need a prosecutor who has professional qualifications and can bring passion and expertise to the highest offices of our state’s government,” she said.
Cuomo today also picked up the endorsement of the Lexington Democratic Club on Manhattan’s East Side.

James T. Madore

June 3, 2006

O'Donnell Drops Out

Denise O’Donnell, the former Buffalo U.S. attorney who came in third in last week’s Democratic convention vote for state attorney general, dropped out of the race Saturday. In a statement posted on her Web site, O’Donnell said she wanted to unify the party rather than running in a primary, but she did not endorse either of the two top vote-getters at the convention, former federal housing secretary Andrew Cuomo and former New York City public advocate Mark Green.

May 31, 2006

An Act of Solidarity

A day after finishing with less than 1 percent of the Democratic convention vote, attorney general candidate Sean Patrick Maloney announced yesterday that he had received the endorsement of Karen Burstein, one of the party’s former attorney general nominees.
Speaking at the Tweed Courthouse in Manhattan, Maloney said he could replicate Burstein’s 1994 defeat of the party’s then attorney general designee G. Oliver Koppell. Burstein only received five percent of the convention delegate votes a dozen years ago but beat Koppell in the primary.
“Karen understands, better than anyone, the race that I am running…I am grateful to have her help, support and guidance going forward,” said Maloney, who worked in the Clinton White House. Both he and Burstein are gay.

James T. Madore

You say “Cuomo,” and I say “Comoo”

Former Gov. Mario Cuomo is one of the state Democratic Party’s legends. So, it was surprising to hear a number of delegates to the party’s convention in Buffalo mispronounce his surname. A few apparently even think he — and not his son Andrew — is running for state attorney general.
Midway through the 1½-hour roll call vote of the 400 or so delegates, someone from Brooklyn cast her ballot for “Mario Cuomo” and had to be corrected that it was Andrew who was running for attorney general.
A female delegate from Nassau County appeared to be really confused when she announced her vote for “Mark Cuomo.” Officials then asked if she meant to vote for Cuomo’s rival Mark Green, the former New York City Public Advocate. She said ‘no,’ that she meant to say “Cuomo.”
It was good there was only one roll call vote among the statewide candidates because it was a chaotic affair that left some shaking their heads. One upstate party leader who requested anonymity said, “You’d think from this that we weren’t used to democracy in this party.”

James T. Madore

May 30, 2006

Cuomo Steamrolls Over Rivals In AG's Race

Andrew Cuomo surpassed predictions by claiming two-thirds of the delegate vote at the state Democratic convention, securing his place on the ballot. The other attorney general candidates will have to gather 15,000 signatures through a statewide petition process to get their names on the primary ballot.

Here's the count:

Andrew Cuomo, 66.6%
Mark Green, 18.6 %
Denise O'Donnell, 9.8 %
Charlie King, 5 %
Sean Maloney, 0.04 %

"I'm a smarter, better candidate," said Cuomo, who abandoned a bid for governor in 2002.

Errol A. Cockfield Jr.

Testing Muddy Waters

The caller asked about three dozen questions over about 15 minutes. I took notes.
The pros call it “message polling.” A campaign test-markets positive and negative messages about its candidate or rivals, usually without identifying itself.
The caller asked my impressions of pols including Andrew Cuomo, Mark Green and Jeanine Pirro, now running for state attorney general.
Was Pirro liberal, moderate or conservative? What’s the proper role of an AG? Is “real experience” in court important? Temperament? What did I think of a Pirro-Green matchup and a Pirro-Cuomo matchup? Was Cuomo “arrogant or a bully?” Did Pirro’s aborted U.S. Senate candidacy mean she can’t be a good AG candidate? And her husband (convicted six years ago for tax evasion)?
The caller asked about campaign contributions to Cuomo’s father Mario Cuomo while governor, internal probes when Andrew Cuomo was U.S. HUD secretary, and if I was impressed with Pirro’s 30 years of crime-fighting.
Looks like a muddy road ahead...

Bryan Virasami

May 29, 2006

Laufer's Moment

Brookhaven Town Democratic chairwoman Marsha Laufer will nominate Buffalo prosecutor Denise O’Donnell for attorney general Tuesday afternoon. And Laufer is expected to mention her town’s history of political corruption and the successful investigations of Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.
O’Donnell suggests she'd replicate Spota’s work on the state level, saying yesterday that if elected she would “restore the public’s faith in state government” by combating corruption.
“Marsha is part of the positive things going on in Suffolk County,” O’Donnell said when asked about her choice of nominator. “Look at the changes that have taken place – you now have contested elections in Brookhaven and people have been prosecuted for some of the scandals involving political patronage.”
Laufer’s own county party chairman, Richard Schaffer, has endorsed the frontrunner in the attorney general’s race, former housing secretary Andrew Cuomo. He's among 40 county leaders who have backed the son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo, according to a campaign tally.
Laufer was elected Brookhaven Democratic leader in 2002, and the Democrats took control of town hall in January for the first time in 30 years. Referred to by the party faithful as “den mother,” she got her start in politics as a volunteer in Hillary Clinton’s first run for the U.S. Senate six years ago.

James T. Madore

May 28, 2006

Gun Foes Back Cuomo

Former housing secretary Andrew Cuomo racked up more endorsements Sunday in Buffalo with gun-control advocates Sarah and James Brady joining the bandwagon. Brady was paralyzed in 1981 in the attempted assassination of then-President Ronald Reagan, whom he served as press secretary.
“Jim and I as citizens are happy to say that for all the hard work you’ve done to combat gun violence over the years, we are firmly supportive of your candidacy, and will do everything that we can to help you to be elected to serve New Yorkers as attorney general,” Sarah Brady wrote in a letter released by the Cuomo campaign.
Cuomo has worked with the Bradys for years, and as Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Bill Clinton launched a gun buyback program and negotiated with gun manufacturers to make guns safer and keep them out of the reach of children and criminals.
In the race for endorsements, Cuomo has lapped his four rivals for the Democratic nomination for attorney general.

James T. Madore

May 24, 2006

Andrew Cuomo's Freudian Slip

After he abandoned a disastrous run for governor in 2002, some observers have concluded that Andrew Cuomo’s bid for state attorney general is an attempt at a political facelift to position him for higher state or national office.

Cuomo helped support that theory yesterday when he told a Manhattan breakfast how aggressive he'd be as "Attorney General of the United States." Oops! According to published reports this morning, Cuomo quickly corrected himself and said, “New York State.”

The former Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development is one of five Democrats seeking the party’s nomination to be the state’s top prosecutor. But if you ask the people following him on the campaign trail the presumed Democratic frontrunner sounds like he wants his dad's old job.

Errol A. Cockfield Jr.

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