Not So Special Elections
Gov. Andrew Cuomo doesn’t have any plans to fill vacant seats in the State Legislature through special elections, despite the approach of a new legislative session and many seats to fill.
“We don’t have any plans right now to call special elections,” Mr. Cuomo told Politcker at a Hurricane Sandy-related press conference on Staten Island today.
Members of New York City’s Congressional delegation, long relegated to the sidelines of local politics, are increasingly filling the void left by the declining influence of political party apparatchiks.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in Brooklyn, home to Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio and his GOP rival Joe Lhota, as well as public advocate runoff contenders Letitia James and Daniel Squadron. The latest trend from the borough of hipsters, Hasidim and Caribbean homelands is the toppling of incumbents with the help of U.S. Representatives Hakeem Jeffries and Nydia Velázquez.
It was a rough night for redemption-seekers.
Four scandal-scarred candidates–Eliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner, Vito Lopez and Micah Kellner–all failed to win their bids last night, despite, in some of their cases, vaster war chests and soaring name recognition.
All four candidates succumbed to an onslaught of toxic press and apparent voter fatigue over the circus-like atmosphere of the election after Mr. Weiner and Mr. Spitzer jumped into the fray.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn set out to do two things yesterday evening: gather Latino voters for her mayoral bid and undermine scandal-scarred Vito Lopez’s own campaign for the City Council.
Ms. Quinn, the one-time mayoral front-runner, trudged up and down Williamsburg staircases with Mr. Lopez’s electoral rival Antonio Reynoso, the 30 year-old former council staffer the Democratic establishment hopes can block Mr. Lopez from a second act in politics.
Veni vidi vito
After being forced to resigned after a lurid sexual harassment scandal that tarnished powerful Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, now-City Council candidate Vito Lopez has become the leper of the Democratic establishment, shunned by formerly loyal supporters and castigated in the harshest terms.
But ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who is locked in an increasingly negative race for comptroller, stands out as the rare candidate willing to offer a few kind words.
Former Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who resigned after a sexual harassment scandal and is now running for City Council, has a background that is basically made for an attack ad. For example: extremely lurid reports of official misconduct.
But that doesn’t mean he can’t send out negative mailers of his own.
Two Brown University alumni named Stephen are facing off in a Brooklyn City Council race, but their similarities have not dulled the heat in one of the more contentious downballot contests in the city.
Councilman Steve Levin, facing a re-election challenge from Stephen Pierson, has endured a barrage of attacks from Mr. Pierson since the soft-spoken publisher launched his uphill campaign. The latest involves the Pierson camp claiming that Mr. Levin has been courting the support of a controversial real estate Super PAC.
Assemblywoman Deborah Glick is dismissing as “fiction” a report alleging she is leading a coup of female lawmakers to depose Shelly Silver as Assembly speaker.
The New York Post’s Fred Dicker reported this morning that Mr. Silver is facing a “serious leadership threat’’ from 30 Democratic Assemblywomen fed up after being forced to defend him in the wake of the Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal.
The Battle for Bushwick
While two scandal-scarred pols hog the media spotlight, another fallen candidate is laying the groundwork for a return to power.
Vito Lopez, the former Democratic boss forced to resign his Assembly seat in disgrace, raised almost $20,000 during the latest filing period and has filed the necessary signatures to make it on the ballot. And–observers say–he just might win.
“Vito is a highly formidable candidate,” an ally of Mr. Lopez’s opponent, Antonio Reynoso, told Politicker today. “He is the favorite in this race.”
another day in albany
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that he will follow through on his threat to create a Moreland Commission–a powerful committee with subpoena powers–to investigate state legislators after they failed to come to a deal on a proposed new public campaign financing system the governor has tried to sell as an anti-corruption bill.
“That is the direction I am planning to proceed,” Mr. Cuomo told reporters at a press conference in Albany this afternoon, as the legislative session winds to a close.