Presidential Pool: First Out?

IMG_3616It can’t last.  It won’t last.  The 17 candidate Republican primary field will shrink of course, the unknown is when and in what order.  Give us your best guess for the following three questions:

1)  Which of the 17 “major” Republican candidates will be the first to end his/her campaign?

2)  How many of these 17 candidates will still be in the race (actively campaigning) on the day of the New Hampshire primary?

3)  Who will win the Republican presidential nomination?

Email your guesses here, or tweet me at @jjk607.

Candidate Withdrawal Date
Jeb Bush
Ben Carson
Chris Christie
Ted Cruz
Carly Fiorina
Jim Gilmore
Lindsey Graham
Mike Huckabee
Bobby Jindal
John Kasich
George Pataki
Rand Paul
Rick Perry
Marco Rubio
Rick Santorum
Donald Trump
Scott Walker


Buddy The Cat (Updated)

Buddy the Cat is running for president.  Four “candidates” yesterday joined the ranks of those filing with the Federal Election Commission as 2016 presidential candidates, including Scott Walker and “Buddy the Cat.”  Including Buddy the Cat, there are now 545 declared 2016 presidential candidates.  (There’s no word on whether Pataki the Cat will join Buddy.)

It’s unclear whether the FEC will permit the “Buddy the Cat” filing to remain.  We’ve emailed the FEC with that question – we’ll update you when we hear back from them.

Update:  The FEC did not directly answer my question of whether the Commission would take any affirmative steps to review or investigate that filing.  A Commission rep replied more generally, stating that “the Reports Analysis Division (RAD) of the FEC reviews reports to ensure compliance with federal campaign finance laws and Commission regulations. If there appears to be any potential issues of noncompliance, RAD may send the filer a letter, called a Request for Additional Information (RFAI), to seek clarification or corrective action.”  Buddy the Cat’s filing remains on the FEC website as of August 21st.

N.B.  Here’s a look at the names the 17 “major” Republican candidates filed under and whether they’re complying with the legal requirements.

What’s In A Name (Updated)

“Name of Candidate (in full).” It seems like a simple instruction, but some of the 17 “major” Republican candidates were not able to comply with that simple directive on the Federal Election Commission form required of all presidential candidates.

Federal election law requires that every person running for president file a “Form 2 Statement of Candidacy”, listing their name, address, party affiliation and the name of their campaign committee.  It’s a one page form, as simple as it sounds.  A look at the 17 “major”declared Republican candidates revealed varying compliance with that directive.

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He’s A Candidate – Walker Files (Updated)

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker today filed his formal “Statement of Candidacy” with the Federal Election Commission.  Although Walker made an announcement speech on July 13th and had separately created his campaign committee on July 2nd, he did not appear to have filed the “Form 2 – Statement of Candidacy” that candidates are required to file within 15 days of becoming a candidate.

In a review this week of the 17 “major” Republican candidates’ Form 2s, I noted that the FEC website contained 16 such forms, but none for Walker.  In an initial response the Walker campaign responded that they had filed a letter in lieu of the actual form.  From my reading of the relevant statue that’s permitted for candidates who do not expect to raise or spend more than $50,000, criteria that Walker did not meet.  (The FEC website did not include an image of any such letter filed by Walker.)

The FEC website now includes a Scott Walker Form 2 – Statement of Candidacy dated today, August 5, 2015.


Pataki Campaign Money: Chapter 2

IMG_3174The super PAC is super low on dough.

We The People, Not Washington, the super PAC supporting George Pataki’s presidential bid, reports having $67,000 on hand as of June 30th.  In comparison, Jeb Bush’s super PAC reported raising $103 million and having $97 million on hand.

We The People managed to raise about $859,000, but spent most of it.  As we’ve reported in detail, Pataki’s presidential campaign committee reported cash on hand of $207,000 as of June 30th.  Absent a marked increase in contributions to either or both of the super PAC and campaign committee Pataki’s longshot bid may not survive the summer.

Although Pataki was initially involved with the super PAC, like all presidential candidates he’s prohibited from “coordinating” with the super PAC(s) supporting him after his legal declaration of candidacy in early June.


We The People‘s contributor list is laden with longtime Pataki supporters.  That’s a natural base to start with and important to have, but it doesn’t appear deep enough to support Pataki’s candidacy into winter and spring 2016.  Topping the contributor list at $75,000 each are Earle Mack and John Catsimatidis’ company United Refining Company.  Mack is a real estate developer with a long Pataki relationship.  Catsimatidis has also long supported Pataki and received Pataki’s support during his 2013 mayoral campaign.

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Pataki Campaign Money: Chapter 1

IMG_3174The good news for George Pataki – his presidential campaign reports having over 80% of the money it’s raised still on hand, spending less than 20%.  The bad news for George Pataki – the amount on hand totals just over $200,000.

In his initial campaign finance report the former New York governor reported raising $255,000 and spending $48,000. This filing covers the 2nd quarter of 2015, April 1 to June 30th.  Pataki’s campaign committee was created on May 19th, just ahead of his May 28th formal announcement in Exeter, New Hampshire and his June 2nd FEC “Statement of Candidacy”, so it’s a shortened time period of actual fundraising.

The amount raised by Pataki’s campaign is meager, able to fund some low-cost trips to New Hampshire and Iowa, but not nearly enough to truly compete.  There’s a significant known unknown, however.  Pataki created a super PAC in early January and that super PAC, “We The People, Not Washington”, has yet to file its initial report.  Super PACs may raise unlimited amounts, with no contribution limits, so a small number of (or even a single) wealthy and willing contributors can provide substantial funding for a presidential bid.  Pataki’s financial outlook could be dramatically different, depending on his super PAC’s results.  (Stay tuned – we’ll update you on the super PAC filing as soon as its available.)

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NYC Electeds Demand Federal Assistance For Puerto Rico (Updated)

IMG_3161New York City’s three citywide elected officials – Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Tish James and Comptroller Scott Stringer – and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito joined a press conference today demanding federal action to address Puerto Rico’s deep fiscal and financial crisis.  Puerto Rico’s government and related public authorities owe more than $70 billion to creditors, an amount which Puerto Rico’s governor recently termed “unpayable”, with looming large payments pushing the Commonwealth toward a critical moment.

The City Hall Plaza press conference, hosted by the Hispanic Federation, called for a laundry list of federal actions, including implementing “a federal investment plan”, eliminating Jones Act requirements that goods shipped between Puerto Rico and other places in America be transported on U.S. ships with U.S. crews, changing the U.S. bankruptcy code to allow Puerto Rico and its government related enterprises to file bankruptcy petitions and urging President Obama to “explore a Federal Reserve loan” and “oppose severe austerity.”

Puerto Rico’s crisis is decades in the making.  With a shrinking population and a shrinking economy Puerto Rico has long borrowed to fund operating costs.  As described in a recent report commissioned by the Puerto Rican government, Puerto Rico’s fiscal shortcomings have been masked and ultimately worsened by poor fiscal and accounting practices.

The press conference produced an infrequent appearance of all three citywide elected officials and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito – the “CW3+MMV”, perhaps – at an event.  There appeared to be polite interaction among them, but no sign of great warmth.



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Cuomo Gaggles: The Point Breeze Edition (Updated)

Governor Andrew Cuomo came to Breezy Point this afternoon, holding a bill signing ceremony at the Point Breeze Clubhouse.  Joined by State Senator Joe Addabbo and State Assembly Member Phil Goldfeder, Cuomo signed into law a bill extending an exemption for Breezy Point residents from an pre-existing requirement that they obtain a special permit from New York City for rebuilding or repairs.  Cuomo also announced a state study of raising the elevation of homes in Breezy Point.

Cuomo spoke with the press following the signing ceremony.  Question topics included Bill de Blasio (multiple times), Uber, Cuomo’s recently increased rate of public appearances, concerns expressed by district attorneys on Cuomo’s executive order appointing the NYS attorney general as a special prosecutor in all police killings of unarmed civilians and the City’s Sandy recovery programs.

Update – Uber:

Cuomo suggested that his administration will wade into the escalating confrontation between Uber and the de Blasio administration:

Bronx Love: The Cuomo/de Blasio Edition

IMG_3065There was lots of Bronx love tonight for Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio – but no sign of any love between them as they separately appeared at the Bronx County Democratic Committee dinner.

Cuomo arrived slightly after his scheduled 7:00 speech time, mixing for a few minutes.  He stayed for a short while after his speech, listening to Carl Heastie speak before departing.  He spoke briefly with a few reporters, concluding that Q&A and driving off just before 8:00.  Mayor de Blasio, scheduled to speak at 7:30, arrived about 5-10 minutes after Cuomo’s departure.

Cuomo was asked about his continuing friction with the Mayor and what’s evolved into mutual silent treatment.  “He is not here, I’m going to another event” said the governor about 20 minutes after the scheduled start time of the mayor’s speech, adding after a pause “I’m sure I’ll see him soon.”  The governor appeared relaxed and his additional comments were a bit empathetic, but he didn’t give any indication that improved relations are in the offing.

The Mayor spent close to 30 minutes greeting well-wishers after his speech, but left without answering any questions from trailing reporters.  His spokesperson said that Cuomo and de Blasio “will speak in the near future”, but refused to say when or where.

While the mini-drama is riveting, and offers the prospect of a good picture whenever the two finally meet, it’s beyond time for them to end it.  Their real policy and political differences won’t be resolved by a simple meeting, but the diminishment that they’re now both receiving can end.  Both look increasingly petty, but there’s a simple way for at least one of them to staunch that diminution and look “grown up” – just drive over to the other’s office, go in and say hello.

Cuomo On de Blasio

We work, we do our jobs.  That was the essence of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s response when asked today about his well-publicized friction with Mayor Bill de Blasio.

He confirmed that he has not spoken with Mayor de Blasio recently.  Both men are expected to attend a Bronx County Democratic Committee dinner tonight, with speeches scheduled 30 minutes apart.

Here’s what he had to say:

Cuomo spoke during a Q&A at Hostos Community College – the full Q&A is here.

Cuomo Legal Defense Fees

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s campaign committee revealed yesterday that it has paid an additional $100,000 to Cuomo’s criminal defense lawyers.  In a required semi-annual filing Cuomo’s campaign listed a June 10th $100,000 payment to Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello.  Cuomo was asked about that payment, and whether it means “the Executive Chamber is being targeted by the U.S. Attorney investigation” reported to be underway by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Cuomo replied that the payment was “just another installment in the legal fees that were for services last year, basically for document production.”  He did not provide any more description or detail, so it’s unclear what services his outside counsel have provided.  His reference to the payment being for “services last year” raises additional questions of what work those lawyers have performed in the past 6 1/2 months.  It also suggests an omission from Cuomo’s January campaign finance filing.  Campaigns are required to report, on Schedule N of their semi-annual reports, “outstanding liabilities for goods or services received.”  Cuomo’s January filing reported four items on it’s Schedule N, but none to Morvillo Abramowitz.  If the services covered by the June payment were in fact performed in 2014, and therefor prior to the January 2015 report, the Cuomo campaign’s debt should have been reported in January.

Here’s Cuomo’s full response:

Cuomo spoke during a Q&A at Hostos Community College – the full Q&A is here.

Cuomo Gaggles: The Bronx Edition

His criminal defense lawyer legal fees, Donald Trump, homelessness, the MTA and his “friend” feud.  It was a regular Bronx day for Governor Andrew Cuomo as he spoke with the press this morning.  Cuomo appeared at the South Bronx’s Hostos Community College to sign legislation intended to protect nail salon workers and to announce a state government task force “to root out worker exploitation issues in multiple industries in New York State.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento joined Cuomo as he spoke with the press, although neither had any questions directed their way.  Here’s Cuomo’s full post-ceremony gaggle:

de Blasio Press Q&A: The 20,000 Units Edition

Mayor Bill de Blasio today touted a high level of affordable housing activity in the City, reporting that the City “financed the creation and preservation of 20,325 affordable apartments and homes during fiscal year 2015.”  de Blasio spoke at a Bronx press conference, accompanied by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and several Bronx elected officials including Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Congressman Jose E. Serrano, State Senator Jose M. Serrano and Assembly Members Luis Sepulveda, Michael Blake and Latoya Joyner.

Puerto Rico:

Mayor de Blasio and Council Speaker Mark-Viverito both expressed support for federal government action to address Puerto Rico’s deep fiscal crisis.  de Blasio suggested federal financial assistance, urging the federal government to “take responsibility” for resolving the crisis and that it has both the “obligation” and “capacity” to do so.  Mark-Viverito suggested a change in federal bankruptcy law to allow Puerto Rico to file a bankruptcy petition and operate as a debtor under federal bankruptcy law (Puerto Rico, like states, is not eligible to do so).  Here are their full answers, including the Spanish portion of Mark-Viverito’s.

de Blasio v. NY Post:

The NY Post has extensively covered a single homeless man in recent days, detailing his public urination and other troubling behavior.  Here’s the Post and the Mayor today, beginning with a mayoral snap.

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