Category Archives: 11th Congressional District

Donovan On Senate Republicans Letter To Iran



Republican congressional candidate Dan Donovan today avoided taking a position on the letter sent by 47 U.S. Senate Republicans to the leadership of Iran.  The controversial letter, criticized by the Wall Street Journal, prompted the NY Daily News to label those 47 United States senators as “traitors.”

When I asked for his view on the letter Donovan replied with a suggestion of disagreement, saying “I think our government has to get on the same page” and “I think sometimes politics gets in the way of governing”, but did not offer any clear statement on the letter.  When I asked if his initial response meant that he “think[s] it was a bad idea to send that letter” Donovan replied “I just said what I said.”  Donovan spoke at a press conference where he received the endorsement of the NYPD’s Captains Endowment Association and the Lieutenants Benevolent Association.

Here’s what Donovan had to say:

Would It Be Good To Have A Republican in 11th Congressional District?



Would it be logical for Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York’s Democratic members in the House of Representatives to accept or even welcome a Republican winning the upcoming special election in the 11th Congressional District?  That seat was held by Michael Grimm, the only Republican House member from New York City.  Republicans hold a 245 to 188 edge over Democrats in the House and a member of the majority may be more successful than the minority members in advancing New York City’s interests.  Mayor de Blasio, when asked that question by Anna Sanders of the Staten Island Advance, didn’t buy it.

Gentile Press Q&A: The Nomination Edition



Newly designated congressional candidate Vincent Gentile spoke with press following his selection and speech to the Richmond County Democratic Committee.  Topics included the Eric Garner case and the absence of any direct discussion of it in his acceptance speech, his plans for continuing post-Garner “healing”, opponent and incumbent District Attorney Dan Donovan’s prosecutorial abilities, the absence of an indictment in the Garner case, a poll (which did not include Gentile) showing Donovan as the leading candidate, his assessment of President Barack Obama and his assessment of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

A detailed look at his assessment of Obama and de Blasio is here.  Here’s Gentile’s full Q&A:

Gentile On Obama, de Blasio



Obama – great, or good, job.  de Blasio – meh.  That’s the essence of Council Member and congressional candidate Vincent Gentile’s response when asked about the two Democratic elected officials.  Gentile spoke during a press Q&A following his nomination to run as the Democratic candidate in the 11th Congressional District special election scheduled for May 5th.

Obama:

When I asked Gentile to rate President Obama’s overall performance he responded with an answer solely focused on the economy.  Gentile termed Obama’s performance “great”, although he also amended his answer to “good”, saying that “I’m prepared to say that he’s done a great, a good job with the economy.”  Although viewed by many as a political liability, President Obama carries substantial support in some areas.  He won Staten Island in his 2012 reelection bid, 78,000 to 74,000, after having lost it in 2008 by 7,000 votes.  It’s also worth noting, however, that Bob Turner won a neighboring district congressional special election in 2011 (to replace Anthony Weiner) by galvanizing discontent with Obama’s approach to Israel.  It’s unclear at this early stage whether Obama will be a meaningful part of the campaign, but Gentile’s initial positioning is supportive of his fellow Democrat.

Here’s Gentile on Obama:

Continue reading Gentile On Obama, de Blasio

de Blasio Press Q&A: The M/WBE Edition



Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference this afternoon following a closed-door “Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise Stakeholder Meeting.”

Questions during the off-topic portion of the press conference included his opinion of the expected Democratic candidate in the 11th Congressional District special election and whether he’ll campaign for Gentile, the prospect of Department of Homeland Security losing funding, religious organizations renting City school facilities for prayer/worship services and the related lawsuit, a NY Post report criticizing a newly-created NYPD training program, reported terror threats against shopping malls, the absence of a Lunar New Year message from the mayor and his non-attendance at the Lunar New Year parade, his reaction to Governor Cuomo’s comment that their relationship will be “the best relationship between a mayor and governor in modern political history,” his scheduled trip to Albany on Wednesday and delays in federal funding of Sandy rebuilding.

Cuomo Gaggle



Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke with the press today following his speech in Brooklyn.  Questions during the post-speech “gaggle” included the cost of a special election, his reaction to a New York Republican Party 50 Shades of Grey parody of Bill de Blasio and Al Sharpton, Rudy Giuliani’s recent comments about Barack Obama, the expected Republican candidate in the 11th Congressional District special election, state legislature financial disclosure forms, the refusal of Port Authority commissioners to accede to Cuomo and Chris Christie’s request to resign, his planned trip to Cuba, congestion pricing, and UFT comments asserting that the governor has shortchanged New York City schools by $2.5 billion.

Here is the full gaggle:

We also have separate clips of Cuomo’s comments on Rudy Giuliani and the 11th Congressional District special election.

Cuomo On Donovan: He’s OK (Updated)



Governor Andrew Cuomo had kind words for the expected Republican candidate in the 11th Congressional District special election.  That election will select a successor to Michael Grimm, who resigned on January 5th after pleading guilty to a federal crime.  Republican county leaders in Brooklyn and Staten Island, who select their party’s candidate in this special election, have settled on Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan.

I asked Cuomo about his relationship with Donovan, whose tenure as DA overlapped with Cuomo’s term as attorney general, and what he thinks of Donovan as a candidate.  Cuomo spoke highly of Donovan, adding that “I don’t know that I’ll be taking a position in the race.”  Cuomo’s endorsement could be influential as he won this district with 60,973 votes in November over Republican Rob Astorino’s 44,385, and an absence of Cuomo support for the Democratic candidate would be a victory for the Republican candidate.  Donovan’s professional biography includes running in 2010 as the Republican candidate for New York State Attorney General, hoping to succeed Cuomo.  Donovan lost to Democrat Eric Schneiderman.

Cuomo issued a proclamation this morning setting this special election for May 5th.

Cuomo’s full Q&A with the press is here.

Cuomo Gaggle



Governor Cuomo today spoke with the press on several separate topics, including the scheduling of a special election in the 11th Congressional District, the recently revived idea of congestion pricing for motor vehicles in Manhattan, challenges in getting legislators who are also attorneys to disclose their clients, involving judges in grand jury deliberations and possible changes to the grand jury system, Port Authority commissioners not yet tendering their resignations, a federal judge in Texas suspending the Obama administration’s planned changes in deportations and whether Cuomo has spent any additional money on criminal defense counsel since his January campaign finance filing disclosure.

Cuomo On CD11 Special Election



Governor Andrew Cuomo today set a date to set a date, sort of.  Responding to questions concerning the scheduling of a special election in the 11th Congressional District, Cuomo said that “by Friday we’ll set the date.”

The congressional seat has been empty since Michael Grimm’s resignation on January 5th, with the governor solely empowered under state law to schedule a special election to fill such a vacancy.  (A governor has limited scheduling ability however, as state law requires that such a special election be held between 70 and 80 days from the date of a formal proclamation by the governor.)  Yesterday, Senior United States District Judge Jack B. Weinstein issued an order stating that if Governor Cuomo does not schedule an election by Friday, Judge Weinstein will issue an order setting such a date.

Governor Cuomo repeated earlier assertions that he is delaying such an election in order to reduce the costs to taxpayers.  He noted that there may be a second elected office vacancy nearby soon, as NY State Assembly Member Karim Camara is expected to resign his seat and join the Cuomo administration, and suggested that special elections filling those two vacancies should occur on the same day.

Somewhat curiously, however, Cuomo hedged on when/whether Camara will resign and join the administration, saying that “we believe there may be … one more vacancy shortly” and “we’ll know that by Friday.”

Despite referencing the costs of holding an election as a reason for delay, Cuomo did not have any estimate of what such an election will cost.