Governor Andrew Cuomo revved up his reelection campaign Saturday with a three city bus tour. Visits to Albany, Syracuse and Rochester included a rally and speech in each, followed by a gaggle, the somewhat informal press Q&As in which the press and the subject stand in a tight circle for their back and forth.
Today’s bus tour was billed as a “Women’s Equality Party” tour, with Governor Cuomo focused on his “Women’s Equality Act.” His reelection campaign has mostly been conducted through the Women’s Equality Party ballot line he’s created for November, with his focus on codifying, and thereby protecting, the right to an abortion.
To start our report, here is video of each of his three gaggles and speeches. Questions were primarily about the Women’s Equality Party and Women’s Equality Agenda and Cuomo’s comments on addressing sexual harassment throughout society. Among the other topics were Rob Astorino’s characterization of recent Cuomo comments as “race baiting”, the Vito Lopez matter and it’s handling by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, an Onondaga Lake construction project and the reports of travelers at Newark Airport who may have the Ebola virus (all in the Syracuse gaggle).
For the third time in three days Governor Andrew Cuomo made a campaign appearance and spoke briefly with the press. Today he attended a GOTV rally held by the Hotel Trades Council at it’s midtown headquarters, joined by Kathy Hochul, his designated candidate for lieutenant governor, and Adriano Espaillat, a state senator endorsed by the HTC in his reelection campaign. Cuomo has attended few, if any, campaign events since the State Democratic Party convention in May. After marching in Saturday’s Labor Day Parade he attended a Flushing rally in support State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and yesterday he attended a Bronx rally in support of State Senator Jeff Klein.
Update – Cuomo Speech:
In his third, and penultimate, primary campaign speech Governor Cuomo gave a barnburner, rousing his audience with calls of economic growth, defeating Albany dysfunction, women’s rights, encouraging immigration and more. Here’s his full speech:
Accompanied by Kathy Hochul and Adriano Espaillat, Governor Cuomo spoke with the press immediately following the rally. After a light hearted beginning, question topics included his expectations concerning Kathy Hochul’s separate primary, where he expects votes to come from, his “position” in the John Liu/Tony Avella senate primary, reports of pressure from Cuomo’s staff and allies on Democrats to refrain from endorsing Zephyr Teachout, Teachout’s comment that her qualifications include “not under federal investigation”, whether Teachout is qualified to be governor, whether votes for Teachout are an anti-Cuomo protest, his encounter with Teachout at the Labor Day Parade and Tim Wu’s related comment that Cuomo “failed a basic test of decency and civility”. Kathy Hochul was asked about her recent statement that the Moreland Commission deserves credit for its accomplishments and her statement condemning NFL player Ray Rice. As he exited and headed for a campaign appearance in Buffalo, Cuomo was asked about his election night plans. That appeared to squelch a “shuffling off to Buffalo” departure line.
Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a strong speech in support of State Senator Jeff Klein this afternoon, joining a GOTV rally in the Bronx. Klein, leader of the breakaway “Independent Democratic Conference” which controls the state senate in cooperation with the Republican minority, faces Oliver Koppell in a Democratic primary on Tuesday.
Post-rally Press Conference:
Cuomo, joined by his lieutenant governor running mate Kathy Hochul and Klein, spoke with the press following the rally. After a statement touting Hochul and Klein’s candidacies, he answered press questions. Topics included his encounter with Zephyr Teachout at the Labor Day Parade Saturday, Hochul’s candidacy, his engagement with the IDC and Republicans, whether he’s “advanced progressive ideals” and his “ethics agenda”. The press conference concluded with an attempt to ask Hochul about being referred to during the rally as a “young lady.”
Update – Speech Highlights:
Speakers included Governor Cuomo, Hochul, Assembly Member Jeff Dinowitz, Assembly Member and Bronx County Democratic Chair Carl Heastie, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr and Klein.
As you’ll see in our highlight reel, the speeches displayed much of what Team Cuomo has going for it; four years in office with some significant legislative accomplishments, nearly universal support from elected Democrats and their political organizations, enormous amounts of state money spent over the past four years which, whether well spent or not produces support from recipients, and a powerful speaker at the top of the ticket. There’s humor, a few exaggerations and basic politicking mixed with some contortions around the fact that Klein and his IDC have kept the Senate Republicans in shared power and the fact that governor has embraced many of those same Republicans. Among the contortions, Dinowitz’s statement that “Jeff Klein has never supported a Republican. Not once, not ever, not one itty bitty time.” Klein ran on the Republican line in 2012, getting 15,000 of his 80,000 votes on that line.
This afternoon Governor Andrew Cuomo campaigned and held a press conference. Accompanied by Kathy Hochul, his designated candidate for lieutenant governor, Cuomo spoke at a Flushing rally held in support of State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky,
Immediately after the rally Cuomo spoke with press, beginning with short statements in support of Stavisky and Hochul. (Under New York election law, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, even if they’re informally allied as Cuomo and Hochul are, run in separate primaries.) The press conference was brief, running about six minutes in total, but included some interesting questions and answers.
When asked why he is not doing many campaign events (despite having a primary on Tuesday Governor Cuomo has done virtually no campaign events since the state party convention in May), Cuomo responded “I campaign by doing my job.” When asked how his “run in” with rival Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout was at this morning’s Labor Day parade, Cuomo replied “I didn’t get a chance to talk to her.” (Watch their encounter, in which Cuomo appears to assiduously avoid acknowledging her, here.) Cuomo spoke about why he offers few endorsements of political candidates, despite being the most powerful political figure in the state. He was also asked about his refusal to debate Teachout, and specifically about his recent comment that “I’ve been in many debates that I think were a disservice to democracy.”
Here is his full press conference.
This evening Kathy Hochul continued a full day of campaigning with an Upper West Side subway stop appearance. Accompanied by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Congressman Jerry Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and State Senator Brad Hoylman, Hochul greeted commuters at the 96th & Broadway subway station.
Shortly after they got underway came a surprise, as Tim Wu appeared. Here’s what happened:
Update – Israel:
The candidates’ views on Israel have received attention recently. Yesterday Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and other elected officials, seemingly at the behest of Governor Cuomo, held a press conference to denounce what they see as insufficient support for Israel from Tim Wu and running mate Zephyr Teachout. In this clip Wu discusses his general views on Israel. (Wu is responding to a question from the New York Observer’s Will Bredderman). We spoke with Kathy Hochul about Israel this afternoon, available here.
Update #2 – Eric Schneiderman:
Here’s what happened when Conor Skelding (of Capital NY) and I asked NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman a few questions. Schneiderman represented the Upper West Side as a state senator.
Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul returned to the Upper West Side of Manhattan today, visiting the Goddard Riverside Senior Center. After speaking to a lunchtime crowd, she spoke with the press.
In the past 24 hours, Cuomo/Hochul supporters have heavily criticized Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu for their reluctance to discuss their views on Israel and the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict. I asked Hochul for her views on the United States’ diplomatic engagement in the region and whether she believes the Obama administration is handling the conflict correctly.
(Update – We spoke about Israel with Hochul’s opponent Tim Wu Friday evening, available here.)
Here’s her full Q&A, which began after a seemingly light-hearted pitch to start with a “tennis lob.”
In an outdoor City Hall press conference Mayor Bill de Blasio today publicly endorsed Kathy Hochul, Andrew Cuomo’s selected candidate, for lieutenant governor. Although the Democratic Party’s nominees for governor and lieutenant governor will run as a combined ticket in the November general election, they’re selected in separate primaries. The primaries, scheduled for Tuesday September 9th, have Cuomo aligned with Hochul and Zephyr Teachout aligned with Tim Wu. Wu is widely seen as having a greater (albeit still slim) chance at victory than Teachout.
For the past six weeks or so Hochul has engaged in low profile, but active, campaigning. She visits often with local Democratic office holders in the City, on little or no advance public notice, tweeting and publishing pictures post-visit. It’s a shrewd strategy, raising her limited name recognition among Democratic clubs and organizations while mostly avoiding answering questions from the press. (Here’s our report on one such Hochul appearance.) As the primary nears, however, Teachout and Wu have garnered a number of endorsements and favorable press coverage, with Wu endorsed by the New York Times. These developments appear to worry the Cuomo/Hochul campaign, producing a very public endorsement press conference today, featuring the mayor, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and 20 other members of the City Council.
Following the press conference Hochul headed back toward City Hall. She was engaged first by a woman asking about her stance on fracking. After separating from her, Hochul was surrounded by reporters, with Juan Manuel Benitez of NY1 asking whether she would support allowing New York City’s expected municipal IDs to be used to enter state government buildings and access state government services. She spoke briefly, deflecting the question and arguing that her widely-noted opposition to then-Governor Eliot Spitzer’s 2007 proposal to issue drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants was rooted in terrorism-related concerns.
Here’s how it went:
Update – Q&A:
His Honor and Hochul answered questions from the press. Among the questions: why would it be bad (in the mayor’s view) for Tim Wu, who is to the left of Kathy Hochul, to be LG, how does the mayor square City safety concerns with Hochul’s past stances on guns, whether as a past New York City Public Advocate de Blasio supports Tim Wu’s idea that the lieutenant governor should act as a statewide public advocate, Hochul’s current views on drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants, whether Hochul supports NYC’s municipal ID program and why Hochul and Andrew Cuomo have refused to debate their primary opponents.
We joined Democratic Lieutenant Governor candidate Kathy Hochul Tuesday evening at a campaign event on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Hochul appeared at the 72nd Street/Broadway subway stop, greeting people emerging from the station.
We discussed the subway, the Buffalo area native’s experience campaigning in New York City, whether the “Women’s Equality Party” is a sham or a stunt and whether she’s considered a future possibility that the United States Attorney for the Western District of New York, her husband William J. Hochul, could investigate state government generally or the Executive Chamber particularly.
Kathy Hochul, Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, was joined at an Upper West Side rally today by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and a group of Manhattan Democratic elected officials that included Congressman Charles B. Rangel, Assembly Members Keith Wright and Linda Rosenthal, Council Members Dan Garodnick and Inez Dickens and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.
The rally promoted the “Women’s Equality Party”, a ballot line created by Governor Cuomo and which asserts that it’s purpose is to “promote issues that are critical to women and our communities.”
Update – Hochul:
What’s lacking in the Democratic Party that leads you to create a new ballot line? I asked Hochul:
Here is Hochul’s full, albeit brief, speech. She begins by thanking House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for attending, noting that in Hochul’s 2011 special election “I hadn’t met you yet, but according to all the TV ads by the Koch brothers and Karl Rove you would have thought we were shopping buddies.” David Koch, one of those same Koch brothers, is a substantial contributor to Hochul’s running mate, Governor Andrew Cuomo. David Koch and his his wife Julia have given Andrew Cuomo a combined $87,000 according to state Board of Elections records. (Here’s a flashback to Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota discussing David Koch’s contributions to Andrew Cuomo.)
Charles B. Rangel:
Congressman Rangel attended, giving a speech in support of Hochul. He gave a particularly memorable performance afterwards, however. From quizzing a New York Observer reporter as to whether he really works for the NY Post to reacting with playful shock at the sight of another reporter who extensively covered Rangel’s recent congressional primary, Rangel parried, attacked and laughed, all while defending Andrew Cuomo. Here’s his full press availability:
Here’s a little iphone video from Kathy Hochul’s 2011 special congressional election victory party. Now named as the 2014 Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Hochul defeated Jane Corwin in a fierce race to fill the vacancy in the 26th Congressional District following Chris Lee’s abrupt selfie-inflicted resignation. (Corwin was asked by Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino to run as the 2014 Republican Lieutenant Governor candidate.) The election night party attendees included then-Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.