GOP State Senator Greg Ball, an outspoken Hudson Valley legislator who repeatedly knocked then-Rep. Nan Hayworth last year–even threatening to run a primary campaign against her–is taking his hat out of the ring. In a statement released late this morning, Mr. Ball said he was focused on his work in Albany and had no overriding desire to defeat the Democrat who ultimately beat Ms. Hayworth, Sean Patrick Maloney.
“I want to make it clear that I am focused on finishing this legislative session and delivering for my current district and not running for Congress,” he said. “As for my re-election in the current State Senate seat, I will make a final decision on that as the time nears.”
State Sen. Dan Squadron’s campaign for public advocate continued to hum along today as he announced six endorsements from Albany’s lower legislative chamber: Assemblymembers Deborah Glick, Brian Kavanagh, Micah Kellner, Dan Quart, Joan Millman and Nily Rozic.
Several days ago, State Senator James Sanders reacted to the news that his predecessor wore a wire in an attempt to reduce her corruption sentence, by criticizing her for “snitching.” Well, the New York Post didn’t take kindly to that, and this morning, the publication editorialized harshly against Mr. Sanders, claiming he “seems to be endorsing the crime-abetting law of street thugs.”
Mr. Sanders released a follow-up statement this afternoon taking exception to the Post‘s characterization. “Snitching,” Mr. Sanders wrote, was only in the context of entrapment, which he insisted the editorial missed.
Less Than Ideal Statements
The U.S. Attorney’s office is holding a press conference any moment now to detail the charges against State Senator John Sampson, who was arrested this morning for his alleged involvement in a bribery scheme. Specifically, Mr. Sampson is charged with two counts of embezzlement, five counts of obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements.
One particularly interesting moment in the indictment, which can be viewed below, is when FBI agents approached Mr. Sampson at the end of July to ask about the alleged criminal schemes. According to the complaint, “At the conclusion of the interview, agents advised the defendant John Sampson that he had lied to federal agents, which constituted a federal crime. After being asked whether he wished to revise his statement, Sampson stated, ‘Not everything I told you was false.’”
Another Shoe Drops
State Senator John Sampson, who up until recently led his chamber’s Democratic conference, is set to turn himself into federal authorities today after being ensared in a bribery scandal, according to The New York Times and New York Post.
It’s unclear to what extent Mr. Sampson may have been cooperating with federal prosecutors prior to this point. His involvement in an alleged scheme with then-State Senator Shirley Huntley, who already pleaded guilty to her own charges, was revealed last week when a sentencing letter made public Ms. Huntley’s own cooperation. The Times reports Mr. Sampson be charged with obstruction of justice.
Entering the Fray
Former State Senator David Storobin officially filed for term-limited Councilman Mike Nelson’s district today, setting the stage for what will likely be one of the few competitive general election race in heavily-Democratic New York City.
Politicker actually bumped into Mr. Storobin last night at a fund-raiser for socially conservative Democratic mayoral candidate Erick Salgado–although Mr. Storobin, a Republican, said his presence wasn’t an endorsement. The buzz among several attendees was that the former state lawmaker would indeed run for the seat, so we asked him where he was at in his decision-making process. He claimed to be undecided.
State Senator Greg Ball has been on a bit of a media tour since he tweeted his support for torturing the Boston Marathon terror suspect in the aftermath of his arrest, and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. To wit, his round of interviews took him to at least two news shows yesterday evening, Capital Tonight and Piers Morgan Live, where he put his argument into rather direct form.
“All I can tell you is what I would do as an American. If we saw what just happened where we had men, women and children–a child–killed,” he said at one point, for example. “I can tell you that as Greg Ball, if I felt that torture–whether it be making them listen to music at night, or using a baseball bat–would save one innocent life, including that of a child, I would use it. But I’m just speaking for Greg Ball.”
What You Should Know
The State Legislature is set to look at tightening New York’s infamously loose campaign finance rules in the wake of a recent slate of corruption scandals, but State Sen. Rubén Díaz believes legislative attention should instead be focused on Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“I would like to recommend that ethics reform in New York State begin in the Governor’s mansion,” Mr. Díaz declared today in one of his regular “What You Should Know” statements. “While we consider how to restrict Senate campaign donations that are used to pay for meals, I would like my readers to know that many of my colleagues are routinely invited to the Governor’s mansion to eat his food and drink his wine with no oversight to who pays those bills.”
Law & Order
Two of the most colorful characters in New York City politics, Democratic State Senator Malcolm Smith and GOP Councilman Dan Halloran, were arrested earlier this morning, according to multiple news outlets. They were among six people reportedly charged, including Bronx GOP chair Jay Savino and Queens GOP vice-chair Vince Tabone, in an alleged bribery plot to secure Mr. Smith a slot to run in the Republican mayoral primary.
Mr. Halloran is known for many things in city politics, including his outspoken embrace of libertarian philosophy, disputed reports of an intentional snowplow slowdown after 2010′s infamous blizzard, and his pagan religion. Meanwhile, Mr. Smith might be best known for his zoot suits complete with suspenders and pinstripes, picking strange political battles like a press conference denouncing the rapper Dwayne “Lil Wayne” Carter, and his somewhat surprising decision to seek City Hall’s top job on the other side of the partisan aisle without actually changing his voter registration. He would have needed the support of three GOP county leaders to do so, which federal prosecutors are alleging is at the heart of today’s case.
Earlier this week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city’s Human Resources Administration unveiled a new, rather direct ad campaign to discourage teen pregnancy featuring children citing blunt statistics about teen parents. “Honestly mom, chances are he won’t stay with you,” a baby in one ad declares, while another reads, “I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen.” The campaign, which is paired with an shame-themed choose-your-own-adventure text experience, understandably gained attention and sparked controversy.
Though City Hall seemed eager to make a splash with the in-your-face ads, other local politicians have condemned the campaign.