It’s Election Day in New York next Thursday! But instead of a titanic battle between ideologies–your Mitt Romneys vs. Barack Obamas, if you will–the options on the ballot will be little-noticed state legislative contests between candidates of the same party, often with few policy differences.
However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some exciting races happening. From “Who Gets Arrested for Raping a Grandmother?” to “Assemblywoman Caught Up in Sex Scandal with Two Young Men,” there’s been no shortage of nasty drama and mud slinging as voters head to the polls.
Here’s a breakdown of who’s running and why it might matter who wins. The list below focuses on Democratic races because the few Republican primaries in this staunchly blue city tend to have clear favorites or are taking place in such Democratic territory that the victor is reasonably likely to be irrelevant.
CHARLOTTE, NC — Politicker ran into former Governor David Paterson while he was working the room inside the CNN Grill at the DNC Wednesday and we asked him about all of the drama that surrounded the New York delegation at the convention. Mr. Paterson heaped praise upon Mr. Cuomo and the delegation’s leader, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and he had harsh words for one of their critics,bat-wielding 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino.
“Carl Paladino should take that bat and hit himself in the head with it, it would do us all a favor,” said Mr. Paterson.
CHARLOTTE, NC — Last night, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was cut off as he was giving a lengthy speech delivering the New York delegation’s votes at the Democratic National Convention. This morning, Politicker asked Mr. Silver how it felt to have his speech cut short when we saw him at the New York delegation breakfast.
“I wasn’t expecting that and, you know, we’re a big state, we have a lot of votes and there’s a lot to say,” Mr. Silver said.
New York’s only branch of the controversial fried chicken sandwich chain Chick-Fil-A is located in an NYU cafeteria, but if a self-proclaimed Tea Partier running for State Assembly has his way the restaurant will soon set up shop in South Brooklyn. As a response to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s letter asking NYU to close the campus Chick-Fil-A after the owner of the chain declared his opposition to same-sex marriage, Mr. Gallo sent a letter of his own. Mr. Gallo wrote to Dan Cathy, the president of Chick-Fil-A, saying, “I would like to invite your company to consider opening a Chick-Fil-A restaurant in southern Brooklyn.”
“I want you to know that Ms. Quinn does not speak for all New Yorkers. I and many of my neighbors agree with your views on traditional family units. But more importantly, I’m sure we all could agree that no one in government should tell anyone what to believe, who to support and how to spend our money,” Mr. Gallo wrote.
Last night, shortly before 9 p.m., Ronnie Sykes, the spokeswoman for Congressman Charlie Rangel’s re-election campaign sent out a press release announcing Assemblyman Guillermo Linares’ endorsement of Mr. Rangel. The release identified Mr. Linares as the “first Dominican elected official in the U.S.” Less than two hours later, Ms. Sykes sent out a modified press release calling Mr. Linares “the first Dominican elected to a major political office in the United States.” Ms. Sykes confirmed to The Politicker that the press release was corrected because Mr. Linares is, in fact, not the first Dominican elected official.
Earlier this month, The Politicker reported local politico Ben Akselrod was considering a primary challenge against Democratic Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz, and last Friday, Mr. Akselrod registered a campaign committee for that very seat, suggesting he’s moving forward with his plans.
Mr. Cymbrowitz, who won relatively narrowly in 2010 despite facing a neophyte opponent with $600 in his campaign account, was already in a precarious electoral position for the general election, especially considering the district delivered strongly for the Republican Party in two special elections that have occurred since. If Mr. Akselrod indeed challenges Mr. Cymbrowitz in the primary, that would only add to his electoral headache.
Gabriela Rosa, a senior policy advisor and special assistant to Assemblyman Herman “Denny” Farrell, is preparing to announce an attempt to join her current boss in the State Assembly. According to El Diario’s Roberto Perez, Ms. Rosa will announce her intention to run for the Assembly seat in Upper Manhattan’s 72nd District at a press conference on thursday. Ms. Rosa has also created a Facebook page for her campaign.
“Join me in this exciting journey to bring true change to Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill. I am a member of this district and I know the problems we face because I live them,” Ms. Rosa wrote on Facebook.
Democratic Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz may face a primary challenge from Ben Akselrod, multiple tipsters told The Politicker. Mr. Akselrod, they indicated, might even earn the support of Brooklyn Democratic leader Vito Lopez in his endeavor.
Mr. Akselrod, a politically active local who’s been involved in multiple Jewish community organizations, could have additional appeal in the district’s large Russian-speaking population that is growing into a powerful political force in southeastern Brooklyn.
Last night, the Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Republican County Committees held a joint convention at the Crowne Plaza in White Plains and voted to back State Senator Greg Ball in his re-election fight against Assemblyman Steve Katz. Mr. Ball issued a statement following the results expressing his hope Mr. Katz will drop his challenge for the State Senate seat and focus on being re-elected to the Assembly.
“We have always enjoyed strong grassroots support and I am now proud to merge that grassroots machine with institutional support. It’s now time for the party to come together, for the Assemblyman to focus on maintaining his solid Republican seat, and for all of us, as elected officials to come together to continue to work for, and deliver for the taxpayers,” Mr. Ball said.” “My sole focus now, as always, is on job creation, lowering taxes and working with our critical Senate Majority and with Governor Cuomo to get New York State back on track,” said Senator Greg Ball.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver held a press conference in the Red Room at the State Capitol to pat themselves on the back for reaching a budget agreement on time for the second straight year. On-time budgets have been approved in Albany just seven times in the last 37 years.
“This state government has come a very long way in a very short period of time. At one time, this state government was a joke. They were literally laughing about it on the late night shows, it was a point of ridicule for many, many years,” Governor Cuomo said. “We went from a model of dysfunction to I believe a model of function.”