State Senator Adriano Espaillat led a group of supporters up Broadway Saturday afternoon, looking for attention and votes ahead of Tuesday’s 13th Congressional District primary. The Espaillat caravan included about 50-75 walkers and 20-25 cars, all led by the flag-bedecked Espaillat campaign bus. The caravan began with a public endorsement of Espaillat by State Senator Bill Perkins who, together with Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez and Mark Levine, joined Espaillat for the walk uptown.
The race to succeed Charles Rangel has become increasingly racially driven in the past several days, with numerous allegations of impropriety. In a brief pre-walk Q&A with reporters Perkins dismissed allegations by Assembly Member Keith Wright that Espaillat and his supporters are trying to suppress African American voter participation in the Tuesday election. Espaillat stood by silently as Perkins spoke, only offering that he’s asked the Department of Justice to monitor the election in order to “make sure that everybody has access to vote unimpeded.”
Espaillat’s reception was good, but not overwhelming, as he walked up Broadway from 135th. The very modest reaction in the first 10-15 blocks increased as he passed through the northern stretch of Harlem and into the heavily Dominican Washington Heights. Cheers and shouts rang out further uptown, with some downtown drivers rolling down their windows to shake hands with the uptown traveling candidate. There were no signs or displays of support for any of the many other candidates in this election. The only contrary expression (at least as far as a non-Spanish speaking reporter could discern) was a small group of men near 175th Street chanting “Trump, Trump, Trump.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke with the press this afternoon, following a Staten Island bill signing ceremony marking the passage of a law intended to combat the growing scourge of opioid addiction. This was Cuomo’s third such appearance of the day, preceded by visits to Buffalo and Farmingdale.
Question topics included Cuomo’s assessment of the recently completed legislative session, details of the anti-opioid law signed today, Cuomo’s recent demand that the MTA address a rise in reported sexual assaults in the subway system and the reported lane Lincoln Tunnel lane closure by NYPD officers ensnared in a corruption investigation.
Chants of “Trump, you are not my friend” and “Donald Trump, for Wall Street” rang out this afternoon in front of Trump Tower as 40 protesters denounced Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Among the topics addressed by speakers at the protest, organized by the Hedge Clippers campaign, were Trump’s fundraiser scheduled for tonight and his previous claims that he would not raise “corrupt” money, Trump’s comments on the Orlando massacre and the lack of any subsequent Congressional action on guns, the lack of action on Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis and Trump’s recent attempts to describe himself as a friend of the LGBTQ community. Singled out for specific condemnation were Trump fundraisers Steven Feinberg, Wilbur Ross and John Paulson.
Three counter-prostesters joined the excitement, with two working their way into the group and holding their “Make America Great Again” hats out for the cameras. The smaller and more successful of the two worked her way to the front of the group, sparking some blocking and had her hat snatched and tossed aside. A third counter-protester appeared at the conclusion of the protest, carrying a sign declaring that “Obama + Hillary Support Slavery.” It seemed to be Obamacare related, but that’s not entirely clear.
New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito went to Donald Trump’s home and office Monday, holding a press conference outside Trump Tower to condemn Trump’s claims that a federal judge hearing a lawsuit focused on “Trump University” could not be fair to Trump because, in Trump’s words, “[h]e’s a Mexican.” Mark-Viverito was joined by Council Member Carlos Menchaca, the first Mexican-American elected official in New York City.
Dean Skelos, former New York State Senate Temporary President and Republican Majority Leader, was sentenced today in federal court on corruption charges. Skelos received a five year prison sentence, while his son Adam received a six and a half year sentence.
Father and son arrived separately but departed together, navigating a media crush each time.
After both Skeloses had made it into a waiting car a family member had a brief altercation with a reporter. Grabbing a reporter’s wrist, A nephew of Dean Skelos, Basil (Billy) Skelos, grabbed a reporter’s wrist and flung her phone across the street. After being surrounded by press as he walked away Basil Skelos was stopped by the NYPD and charged with misdemeanor assault.
Republican presidential candidate John Kasich spoke with the press today following an MSNBC town hall recorded in Jericho, New York. Network appropriate peacocks roamed the grounds of the Milleridge Inn, site of the town hall, occasionally squawking as Kasich spoke.
Question topics included advice or promises for young voters struggling to make it economically, how he can overcome his current gap in convention delegates, undocumented immigrants and the possibility of offering a path to legalization (but not citizenship), what he would say if either of his daughters “came out as gay”, his view of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s relationship with Republicans in the state senate and whether he’s lost any delegates due to inadequate organization.
Ohio Governor John Kasich held a rally at Iona College in New Rochelle Saturday, the first of the three remaining Republican presidential candidates to hold a campaign event in Westchester County. His audience of about 1,000 was supportive, beginning and ending with standing ovations and reacting positively throughout his remarks.
The audience was a mix of ages, with a strong but not predominant number of Iona students, and overwhelmingly white. The audience members I spoke with were about evenly divided between strong Kasich supporters and interested but undecided.
Kasich offered himself as an accomplished alternative to Trump and Cruz, touting his lengthy tenure in Congress and his gubernatorial experience as effective preparation for the White House. His presentation was heavy on exhortations of the importance of caring and the value in fully developing each person’s true self. It’s somewhat Oprah-esque; offering a sense of caring that contrasts sharply with Donald Trump and, to a lesser extent, Ted Cruz. It also contrasts sharply with the apparent mood of many voters in an election dominated by anger.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders returned to his childhood block today, holding a brief rally in front of his childhood home. Speaking to a crowd of several hundred in Midwood, with several hundred more in an overflow area, Sanders reminisced a bit but largely stuck to his established campaign themes.
Seven candidates for the 13th congressional district seat currently held by Charles Rangel met for a candidate forum Sunday. Hosted by the Allianza Dominicana Cultural Center, the forum featured Adam Clayton Powell IV, Michael Gallagher, Assembly member Keith Wright, Suzan Johnson Cook, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Clyde Williams and Assembly member Guillermo Linares.
The New Hampshire Republican party drew seven presidential candidates to a town hall held two weeks ahead of the New Hampshire primary. Candidates participating included Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina and Jim Gilmore. Chris Christie cancelled, returning to New Jersey as a major snowstorm hit his state, with his wife Mary Pat Christie appearing on his behalf.
Ohio Governor John Kasich claimed a practical victory Tuesday night, placing second in the New Hampshire Republican primary behind Donald Trump. Kasich’s late rise in the last few days, moving him out of the governors mini-pack he cohabited with Jeb Bush and Chris Christie and modestly but clearly past Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, vindicated his New Hampshire-centric strategy.
Kasich continued his campaign theme of a self-described positive focus with a renewed denunciation of negative advertising, declaring that “tonight the light overcame the darkness of negative campaigning.” In an atypical statement from a candidate celebrating a favorable primary election outcome Kasich pledged not to accelerate and work even harder, but to slow down. Speaking of deeply personal encounters with people sharing their struggles at his town halls Kasich said “from this day forward I’m going to go slower and spend my time listening and healing and helping and bringing people together to fix our great country.”
Was Tuesday night his high point or just the beginning? Kasich faces a challenging road ahead as his New Hampshire-centric strategy means that he has limited organization and support in the upcoming primary states, with limited time and money to capitalize on his New Hampshire success. A winnowing field and an expected spike in media attention will provide opportunity, but no guarantee of success.
Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich rolled through New Hampshire with an ad hoc band of brothers last Friday, continuing his New Hampshire-focused campaign. Kasich was joined by former U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey, former Air Force pilot and P.O.W. Tom Moe who was held in the “Hanoi Hilton” alongside John McCain and who later served as the Ohio Director of Veterans Services under Kasich, and Tim Penny, a former Democratic member of the House of Representatives from Minnesota. Tom Rath, a former New Hampshire Attorney General and Republican power broker, also accompanied Kasich but did not address the audience.
Speaking to a modest-sized audience of about 40 people in Franklin, the four travelers appeared to greatly enjoy each other’s company. Their presentations were heartfelt, quickly moving into deeply personal territory. Moe’s experience as a prisoner of war for five years, with beatings and other torture, is riveting and inspiring even 40 years later. While discussing Moe’s time working in the Kasich administration as state director of veterans services and their meetings with families of soldiers lost in war, Kasich discussed the loss of his own parents, killed together in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. His introduction of Tim Penny, a former Democratic congressman who served alongside Kasich, included the fact that Penny’s wife died about ten years ago. Although hardly light and breezy, it all seemed to fit together and gave a window into Kasich and his compatriots. Continue reading Band of Brothers→
Jeb Bush held a town hall in Hampton, New Hampshire Thursday evening, engaging his audience and finding support yet tangled in his many challenges. Bush spoke to about 150-200 people for an hour and 20 minutes, with another 25 minutes spent saying hello, shaking hands, taking pictures and at times hugging everyone who wanted to do so.
Bush has many strengths; he’s skilled at retail politics and the back and forth of a town hall, with substantial experience as a two-term governor and knowledge of many issues and topics. He continues to be hampered by his weak points, however. Foremost among those weak points is a decidedly different personality from what voters have, so far anyway, indicated that they are looking for in a 2016 Republican candidate. He’s not low-energy but he is largely low emotion, seemingly interested in ideas, data, how to change things and not structured around visceral anger. In a campaign season dominated by Donald Trump’s disgust at the state of America and Ted Cruz’s attacks on government tyranny the analytical Bush is a man adrift.