Cuomo Campaigns & Holds Press Conference

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.

Labor Day Parade, 2014 (Updated x 3)

Today’s Labor Day Parade featured many elected officials and candidates.

Teachout & Cuomo:

Among those attending, gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout.  She tried to say hello to her opponent, Governor Andrew Cuomo, as the parade was about to begin.  Here’s what happened:

Update – Cuomo Description:

Governor Cuomo was asked (by Newsday’s Matthew Chayes) about his parade “run in … with Teachout” at an afternoon press conference.  Here’s how he described their encounter:

Watch his full press conference here.

Update #2 – Wu & Cuomo:

Lieutenant governor candidate Tim Wu, allied with Zephyr Teachout, also went over to Governor Cuomo at the start of the parade.  Here’s what happened, along with Wu’s post-encounter recap:

Wu appeared at a Hochul campaign stop on Friday evening to say hello to his opponent. Watch.

Update #3 – Cuomo Responses:

Governor Cuomo has held three press conferences since leaving the parade on Saturday morning, and he’s been asked about his Teachout encounter each time.  We’ve included each of his responses in this updated edition of the parade video.

Hi Kathy, I’m Tim (Updated)

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.

Hochul Returns to UWS

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.)
Full Q&A:

Here’s her full Q&A, which began after a seemingly light-hearted pitch to start with a “tennis lob.”

Ruffalo, Teachout & Wu

On Wednesday Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout and lieutenant governor candidate Tim Wu held a press conference featuring actor Mark Ruffalo.  Standing on the steps of Manhattan’s Tweed Courthouse Ruffalo endorsed both candidates, emphasizing their opposition to fracking.  Their press conference preceded by one hour a Bill de Blasio press conference just around the corner, on the steps of City Hall, endorsing Wu’s primary opponent Kathy Hochul.

Here is their Q&A, which includes both press questions and some questions from supporters.

de Blasio Press Conference; Round 2

Mayor Bill de Blasio held a second press conference this afternoon, focused on his universal pre-kindergarten program.  Shortly before this press conference, de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and 20 other members of the City Council held a press conference endorsing Kathy Hochul for lieutenant governor.

de Blasio spoke about the pre-K effort, which launches tomorrow, lauding it’s potential and discussing bumps in the implementation.  The bumps consist of nine sites which the City has decided to not use and 36 sites where a need for further preparation have forced a delayed start.  Most of the press questions also focused on the pre-K roll-out, although two questions covered the decision by the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee to admit an LGBT group.

Here is the full press conference:

Hochul & Hizzoner (Updated)

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.

Hochul’s Exit:

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.

Wu Likes Liu, Not Hochul

Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Tim Wu today condemned rival candidate Kathy Hochul’s record on immigration issues, while sua sponte endorsing John Liu in his state senate primary.

Liu Endorsement:

Former City Council member John Liu, who faces State Senator Tony Avella in a Democratic primary, did not ask Wu for his endorsement and press reports quote Liu as emphatically rejecting it.  Here’s video of Wu’s endorsement, beginning with his statement and his response when I asked whether he’s spoken with Liu and Liu’s reaction.  We’ve also included a clip from a second segment of the press conference in which Capital New York’s Conor Skelding asked Wu about Liu’s recent appearance with Kathy Hochul.

Acknowledging that Liu had not shown any interest in receiving his endorsement, Wu spoke of a “Cuomo fear factor” and what he sees as Liu’s “active fear of reprisal”.  He offered that “I imagine he’s been nervous to communicate with our campaign because of Cuomo.”

Lieutenant Governor Role Model:

I asked Wu whether he views any prior New York governor or lieutenant governor as a role model:

Teachout Tour (Updated)

We caught up with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout as she visited Ghent Thursday evening, mid-way through her three day bus tour across the state.  Teachout was enthusiastically received at a meeting hosted by the Columbia County Democratic Committee, speaking to approximately 100 attendees.

Update – Appearance Highlights:

Teachout faces seemingly overwhelming obstacles in her campaign; little time, a 100-1 money disadvantage, no prior campaign experience and a widely-known opponent who controls both state government and the state Democratic Party, to name a few.  She does have a clear positive, however.  Teachout is a solid retail campaigner; smart, a good speaker, knowledgable on at least some major issues, she warms to an audience and cameras.  Smiling and friendly, she addressed the questions asked in Ghent while effectively pivoting to her broader campaign themes.  She also appeared to genuinely enjoy being there.

For all of his political mastery and electoral successes, Andrew Cuomo doesn’t appear to enjoy campaigning, and certainly not to the degree that Teachout does.  It may in part be due to novelty for Teachout, new to the campaign trail, while Cuomo has been in politics his entire life.  What’s new and fun the first 10,000 times may lose some of it’s excitement after 30 or 40 years.  For Cuomo though, it’s also part personality.  He’s a master of the inside game, unrivaled in New York in the ability to work the levers of state government.  He barely campaigns, however, employing a “2nd floor strategy” as he relishes legislative maneuvering and deal-making while pretending to be uninterested in electoral politics.

Despite an impressive string of endorsements and the notable draw on the NY Times endorsement, it’s difficult to construct a scenario in which Teachoout wins this primary.  It’s easy to see her as a continuing political presence, however.  Representing the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party”, having solid campaign skills and, in contrast to Eric Schneiderman, Tom DiNapoli and Bill de Blasio, a willingness to run straight at Andrew Cuomo, she may find solid post-primary political footing.

Here’s a look at her appearance in Ghent:

Wu Endorsements:

Afterwards I asked Teachout about the endorsements that have recently gone to Tim Wu, her designated Lieutenant Governor candidate, but not to her.  Most notable among these is the New York Times, which was somewhat complimentary of Teachout but dismissive of her ability to actually govern New York.

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.

Eric Garner March (Updated)

Several thousand people marched from the site of Eric Garner’s death past the Richmond County District Attorney’s office, ending at a rally overlooking New York Harbor.  Organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton, the march and rally was about the Garner case and demands for criminal prosecution of the police officers involved, but also about broader complaints and concerns around policing and racial discrimination in New York and throughout the country.

Among the elected officials I spotted: Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Members Helen Rosenthal, Jumaane Williams, Carlos Menchaca, Daneek Miller, Ydanis Rodriguez, Vanessa Gibson, State Senators Adriano Espaillat and Gustavo Rivera and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.  Mayor de Blasio, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Tish James were not there.  Former Governor David Paterson joined, marching with Rev. Sharpton.  Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout was also there.

Update – Teachout:

We asked Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout why she was attending the march and her answer touched on stop & frisk, broken windows policing and Andrew Cuomo’s decision to go fishing.  We spoke with Teachout in the Staten Island ferry terminal as she headed to the march.

(Flashing neon signs produced ever-changing colors and brightness on Teachout as we spoke.)

Melissa Mark-Viverito:

We spoke with Speaker Mark-Viverito on the ferry ride to the march.  I asked her why she was going and what she hoped the march would accomplish:

Rockaway Ferry Supporters Rally At City Hall (Updated)

Rockaway ferry service supporters came to City Hall Thursday evening to urge Mayor de Blasio to continue operating the service past it’s scheduled October cessation.  Initiated in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy while the A train was out of service for months, the ferry is subsidized by the City at an annual cost of approximately $6 million.  The City calculates that the subsidy is at least $25 per passenger/trip.  The de Blasio administration had continued the Bloomberg administration’s short term ferry funding, but has announced that the subsidy will end in October.

The rally featured two citywide elected officials, Scott Stringer and Tish James, as well as Assembly Member Phil Goldfeder, State Senator Joe Addabbo, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Council Members Eric Ulrich and Vincent Gentile.

The Rockaway peninsula’s physical separation from the rest of the City is matched by a sense of political separation.  It’s particularly so in the neighborhoods which most use the ferry, with many residents believing that City Hall is not looking out for them.  Those western neighborhoods, such as Belle Harbor and Breezy Point, overwhelmingly voted for Joe Lhota in 2013 and have little in the way of a political relationship with Bill de Blasio.

de Blasio Departs:

Mayor de Blasio left City Hall during the rally, passing just behind the rally as he headed toward his car.  Rallygoers took note, loudly chanting and calling out to him, but his only acknowledgment or engagement with them was a small wave as he moved past.  The mayor continued talking with an aide, ignoring the chants of “no ferry, no votes.”  Unfortunately for the ferry supporters, he did okay in his last election without their votes.

Update – Elected Officials Speak:

Here are the remarks of the elected officials:

Hochul On The Street

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.