After State Senator John Sampson was arrested for his alleged involvement in a bribery scheme this morning, the lawmaker who replaced Mr. Sampson as the head of the Senate’s Democratic conference, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, acted swiftly by stripping him of rank and privilege.
“These allegations are deeply disturbing,” Ms. Stewart-Cousins said in a statement.
For local races, New York City overwhelmingly tilts towards the Democratic Party and there are only a handful of Council campaigns with the potential to be competitive in this November. The race for outgoing GOP Councilman Jimmy Oddo’s seat is likely to be one of them. And, according to a source active in local politics, the Democratic establishment is backing Mendy Mirocznik, a non-practing rabbi and lawyer, for the Staten Island district.
“We’re seeing fewer education dollars, less transportation options, deteriorating roads and there seems to be no relief in sight,” Mr. Mirocznik said in a statement announcing his candidacy yesterday. “Meanwhile, our small-businesses, the economic engine, of our community are struggling to survive – that is not a recipe for recovery. We need an advocate who will reverse this trend and bring real results for Mid-Islanders, and I believe I can do that.”
Last night, the Kings County Conservative Party backed their borough’s district attorney, Joe Hynes, for re-election and, citing his safety record, they formally offered him their ballot line come November. Although Mr. Hynes has been endorsed by the Conservatives for years, at least one of his Democratic primary rivals, Ken Thompson, was outraged by the bipartisan embrace and released a statement detailing his disgust.
“It is appalling that DA Hynes would accept the endorsement of a fringe right-wing group which opposes a woman’s right to choose, gun control and a minimum wage increase, supports the racial profiling of suspects, and sought to remove President Obama from office,” Mr. Thompson said this morning.
Earlier this week, State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins was elected to be the next leader of the Senate’s Democratic conference, but, even though Democrats will have a numerical majority in the chamber, a breakaway group of Democrats will place Ms. Stewart-Cousins’ caucus in the minority. Some partisans and activists have criticized New York’s top Democrat, Governor Andrew Cuomo for not intervening in the matter or even expressing support on his party’s behalf, but in a pair of TV appearances last night, Ms. Stewart-Cousins argued attention should instead be focused on his agenda, which “coincidentally” is hers as well.
“I met with the governor today, he wanted to talk to me and I brought colleagues with me,” she said on Inside City Hall. “We did have a good conversation, we had an open discussion. We talked about the state of the state. We talked about his legislative priorities. Coincidentally, many of his priorities are ours as well. There wasn’t a conversation about anger; there was a reality about the fact that Democrats are in a position to, again, to create an agenda and make it happen. I think he wants to make sure it gets done.”
changing the guard
Earlier this evening, the Senate Democratic Conference officially gave the boot to John Sampson and handed their top leadership position to Westchester’s Andrea Stewart-Cousins. In order to stress their unity, the Senate Democrats sent out a press release with almost every member of their conference touting Ms. Stewart-Cousins’s credentials and prospects going forward. They even included a statement from “Senator-Elect Cecilia Tkaczyk,” whose opponent just declared victory in a race the Democrats are still contesting.
For his part, Mr. Sampson took the news humbly, simply saying, “I look forward to working with Leader Stewart Cousins as we move the Democratic Conference forward serving all New Yorkers. The people of New York want a progressive and democratic agenda and that is what the Democratic Conference under the leadership of Senator Stewart Cousins will provide.”
Yesterday afternoon, the course of the New York State Senate was altered when a faction of the on-paper Democratic majority announced they would instead form a power-sharing agreement with the Republicans, equally splitting control of the chamber in an “unprecedented” fashion. Although labor has been wary of the situation thus far, seemingly preferring Democratic rule, Transport Workers Union Local 100 called the new coalition-style government “the best possible option” for the state.
up with criticism
MSNBC host Chris Hayes isn’t done with Governor Andrew Cuomo, at least not yet. Mr. Hayes, who blasted “New York’s supposedly Democratic governor” last week for failing to support Democratic control of the New York State Senate, revisited the topic again yesterday to argue Mr. Cuomo is knowingly undermining his stated ideological interests.
“Well, I agree!” Mr. Hayes said after playing a clip of the governor dismissing his criticism, calling for a policy-oriented discussion instead of a partisan one.
up with criticism
In case you missed it from early Saturday morning, MSNBC host Chris Hayes is really not a fan of “New York’s supposedly Democratic governor,” Andrew Cuomo, and in a monologue lasting several minutes, he urged his viewers to reject Mr. Cuomo’s hypothetical presidential campaign in four years.
“So what do we know that we didn’t know last week? We now know that Democrats cannot count on New York’s supposedly Democratic governor as an ally and every Democratic primary voter in the country should know that too,” he opened up his segment, clearly on a roll. “We already knew that in the run up to the election, Andrew Cuomo, whose aspirations for national office are well-known, did essentially nothing to aid the Democratic Party in its quest to take back the the State Senate from Republicans.”
Tells us how you really feel, Councilman Lew Fidler.
Mr. Fidler, who yesterday criticized Senator-elect Simcha Felder for vowing to cross party lines and caucus with the Republicans, took another pass this afternoon in a lengthy statement where he demanded Mr. Felder himself answer questions about the decision.
“Simcha is correct that the parties are not a religion, nor should they be,” Mr. Fidler wrote. “But being open and honest with the voters should be.”
the elephant not in the room
On a brisk mid-October day, Tom Allon announced he was dropping out of the highly competitive Democratic mayoral primary and would instead be a contender in the far sparser Republican field. “Theodore Roosevelt cleaned up New York by telling truth to power and truth to the public,” he declared, standing before the equestrian statue of Theodore Roosevelt on the Upper West Side. “I plan to run a campaign that will talk about the hard truths facing our city, and ideas I have to fix our growing problems.”
The event’s august backdrop may have oversold its symbolic importance. It’s impossible to find a neutral party who thinks Mr. Allon, a local newspaper publisher whose weeklies include Our Town and The West Side Spirit, is anything but a long-shot to replace term-limited Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2013. But as no fewer than five heavyweight Democrats are already in contention for the office, each of whom has raised over a million dollars, Mr. Allon’s move highlights the fact that Republicans, so far at least, are still on the hunt for a formidable standard-bearer.
Sensing the vacuum, former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión Jr. announced Monday night that he has also left the Democratic Party in hopes of securing the Republican line for mayor.