Category Archives: 2014 NYS Comptroller’s Race

2014 – Year In Photos



From Bill Clinton swearing in Bill de Blasio on the steps of City Hall as 2014 began

Former President Bill Clinton administers the oath of office to Mayor Bill de Blasio.  1/1/14
Former President Bill Clinton administers the oath of office to Mayor Bill de Blasio. 1/1/14

to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara looking at Andrew Cuomo as 2014 ended

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (back of head to camera) looks toward Governor Andrew Cuomo as the funeral for NYPD Detective Rafael Ramos concludes.  12/27/14
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (back of head to camera) looks toward Governor Andrew Cuomo as the funeral for NYPD Detective Rafael Ramos concludes. 12/27/14

we have a photo gallery of 2014 in New York Politics.

Click here to view it. Continue reading

Ballot Propositions – Comptroller Candidate Views



There are three ballot propositions on the November ballot. If approved by voters they will: 1) Create a redistricting commission to draw the new state legislative and House of Representatives’ district lines every 10 years, with the commission members appointed by the state legislative leaders, 2) amend the current constitutional requirement of distributing paper versions of proposed bills to state legislators to allow for electronic distribution and 3) authorize New York State to borrow up to $2 billion for school funding, with a stated purpose of “improving learning and opportunity for public and nonpublic school students”, including the purchase of equipment, expanding school broadband access, building classrooms for pre-K and replacing trailers and installing “high-tech security features.”

I’ve asked comptroller candidates Tom DiNapoli and Bob Antonacci for their positions on each of the propositions.  DiNapoli opposes the first proposition, supports the second and  refrains from offering a view on the third citing his office’s role should that proposition be approved.  Antonacci opposes the first and third propositions, the redistricting commission and school bond issue, but supports the second proposition allowing electronic bills in place of paper bills in the state legislature.

I spoke with DiNapoli on October 8th, as he was endorsed by a large group of Bronx Democratic elected officials, and I spoke with Antonacci immediately after their televised debate Wednesday night.

N.B.  Gubernatorial candidate views on the ballot propositions are here.

Dueling Speeches – Comptroller Candidates at the Business Council



Comptroller candidates Tom DiNapoli and Bob Antonacci’s closest encounter ahead of a scheduled October 15th debate was their back to back speeches at the New York State Business Council annual meeting.

DiNapoli:

Democrat Tom DiNapoli is the seven year incumbent, appointed by the legislature in early 2007 to fill virtually all of Alan Hevesi’s term, and elected to his current four year term in 2010.  A member of the assembly for 20 years immediately prior to becoming comptroller, he has well-developed political skills.  DiNapoli has a low profile for a statewide office holder, little known to the public, but is well liked in the political world.  Importantly, he enjoys broad labor support.

DiNapoli barely mentioned his campaign in his speech, saying only that “I certainly hope and I expect to be the New York State Comptroller for the next four years.”  He instead focused on his accomplishments in office, presenting a lengthy list of programs and initiatives coupled with a broader claim to have “restored confidence to an organization that had been dragged into scandal.”

Antonacci:

Republican Bob Antonacci is the seven year incumbent Onondaga County Comptroller.  An attorney and certified public accountant, he has a base of professional expertise well-suited for the office.  He faces steep odds in his race against DiNapoli, however, with a recent Quinnipiac University poll putting him behind DiNapoli 56%-28%.  He has little money, struggling to meet the thresholds under the new public financing regime and thereby receive state matching funds.  He’s received minimal public attention, partly because the office itself receives little and partly because it’s widely viewed as a non-competitive race.  As noted above, DiNapoli is well-liked, particularly by labor, and voters need a good reason to consider drumming him out of office.  While Antonacci has argued that he’ll do a better job and discussed some specific things he would do differently, he hasn’t offered a clear argument to voters for drumming DiNapoli out of office.  Finally, there’s a general similarity between the two in personality and physical appearance that further muffles any strong sense of contrast.

In his speech Antonacci addresses items that he contends “we need to fix New York State”, but it’s aimed more broadly at Albany and state government than directly at DiNapoli.

Our coverage of the gubernatorial candidates at the Business Council includes Astorino’s speech and a Cuomo/Astorino encounter.

Bronx Love for DiNapoli



Bronx Democratic elected officials today endorsed New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli for reelection.  More than a dozen elected officials participated, including County Chair and Assembly Member Carl Heastie, Rep. Eliot Engel, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr, State Senators Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Gustavo Rivera and Jose Serrano, Assembly members Marcos Crespo, Carmen Arroyo, Victor Pichardo, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Mike Benedetto and Jose Rivera and Council Members Andy Cohen and Vanessa Gibson.

DiNapoli’s race against Republican candidate Bob Antonacci does not appear to be competitive, with DiNapoli favored by a 56% to 28% margin in a Quinnipiac University poll released today.  In 2010, however, DiNapoli’s race was by far the closest statewide race, with 115,000 of his 200,000 vote margin coming from the Bronx.

State Senate:

I asked DiNapoli about his own plans for campaigning for Democratic state senate candidates and whether he thinks Governor Cuomo’s actions, or lack thereof, in campaigning for Democratic state senate candidates are sufficient.

Ballot Propositions:

There are three ballot propositions on the November ballot: 1) Creation of a redistricting commission to draw the new state legislative and House of Representatives’ district lines every 10 years, with the commission members appointed by the state legislative leaders, 2) amend the current constitutional requirement of distributing paper versions of proposed bills to state legislators to allow for electronic distribution and 3) authorize New York State to borrow up to $2 billion for school funding, with a stated purpose of “improving learning and opportunity for public and nonpublic school students”, including the purchase of equipment, expanding school broadband access, building classrooms for pre-K and replacing trailers and installing “high-tech security features.”

We asked DiNapoli for his position on each of the three propositions:

Antonacci v. DiNapoli



We recently spoke with Republican comptroller candidate Bob Antonacci about his opponent, incumbent New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.  Among the topics we discussed:  official interactions between Onondaga County Comptroller Antonacci and State Comptroller DiNapoli, the outlook for debates between them and how Antonacci thinks he can counter the incumbent’s advantage from nearly seven years in office.

Neither Antonacci or DiNapoli has a primary, so they’re headed directly to facing each other in November’s general election.

We spoke with Antonacci at Brooklyn Cyclones game, where he was accompanied by “Bobby the 4th“, a human bobble head likeness of Antonacci.

Republican Comptroller Candidate Bob Antonacci



Here’s your chance to get to know the lesser-known candidate in the least-known statewide election of 2014.

With little money or name recognition, New York State Republican Comptroller nominee Robert Antonacci faces long odds in November against Democratic incumbent Tom DiNapoli.  A Siena College poll released today gives incumbent Tom DiNapoli a 58-24 advantage over Antonacci.  Antonacci, who goes by Bob, also faces a funding disadvantage, reporting just $75,000 on hand as of July 11th.

Antonacci is the first candidate to participate in New York State’s recently enacted campaign financing program.  Modeled after New York City’s campaign finance program, it applies only to candidates for state comptroller.  To receive any matching funds, however, a candidate must raise $200,000 from 2,000 New York donors contributing $10-$175 each.  As of July 11th, Antonacci’s total raised was well below half of that threshold amount and he may not qualify for any state matching funds, further limiting his already modest campaign.

An attorney and accountant, Antonacci was elected Onondaga County Comptroller in 2007, and is now in his 7th year in office.  He first ran for office in 2003, losing, but returned to run again and win in 2007, with reelection in 2011.  We recently spoke with Antonacci as he visited Breezy Point, at the tip of the Rockaway Peninsula, with Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino.  It was my first time meeting him and I began by asking how he came to first run for elective office.

P.S.  Antonacci is, as far we know, the only candidate with a human bobble head doppelgänger.  (His human bobble head doppelgänger also has a second twitter identity – the doppelganger’s doppelgänger perhaps.)  We only learned of this after our interview – we’ll be bringing you more on this soon.