Category Archives: 2014 NYS Governor’s Race

Cuomo on NTSB Report Criticizing MTA

When asked for his reaction to a recent series of reports by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) harshly criticizing the MTA, Governor Cuomo said only that he has “not gone through it in detail” and that his “team is looking at it”.  As governor Cuomo effectively controls the MTA, although other elected officials also appoint MTA board members.

On Tuesday the NTSB released reports on five MTA accidents, with the NTSB chairman issuing a statement that “[s]eeing this pattern of safety issues in a single railroad is troubling.  The NTSB has made numerous recommendations to the railroad and the regulator that could have prevented or mitigated these accidents. But recommendations can only make a difference if the recipients of our recommendations act on them.”  Senator Charles Schumer is reported as saying that the NTSB “report represents a horror house of negligence.”

Bi-Borough Cuomo Gaggling: The South Bronx & Harlem Edition (Updated)

Governor Andrew Cuomo campaigned energetically today, with four New York City rallies.  At events in the South Bronx, Central Harlem and East Harlem*, Cuomo touted his record, aggressively attacked Republican opponent Rob Astorino and urged his supporters to turn out on election day.  Cuomo twice spoke separately with the press, in the South Bronx and East Harlem.

During the South Bronx rally Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia-Padilla made an amusing reference to wardrobe planning confusion which resulted in Governor Cuomo appearing in a navy blazer and Governor Garcia-Padilla in a leather jacket.  Both gaggles began with a reference to that moment.

South Bronx:

Question topics at a post-rally gaggle included whether Governor Cuomo is confident that his margin of victory will come from black and latino neighborhoods, his reaction to a recent National Transportation Safety Board report that harshly criticized the MTA, whether the 1st offense penalty in the newly-effective driving-while-texting law is too harsh, the principal of a bio-hazard cleanup company sued by then-Attorney General Cuomo, the necessity of political fundraising, his recent reference to the Working Families Party as a “fringe party” and whether he has any advice for the Governor of Puerto Rico concerning marriage equality.

East Harlem:

Question topics included whether there are similarities between past defenses of states banning interracial marriage and current defenses of states banning same-sex marriages, his reaction to NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks’s resignation, whether campaign contribution limits are too high and what Cuomo intends to seek as campaign finance reforms if reelected, whether he’s going to the Somo el Futuro conference in Puerto Rico next week, whether he’s worried that “minorities” will not turn out on election day and how his recent references to recent New York Republicans as being “moderates” reconciles with his past statements about “ultraconservatives” in the state senate.

Continue reading Bi-Borough Cuomo Gaggling: The South Bronx & Harlem Edition (Updated)

Clinton Campaigns for Cuomo; Chapter 2 (Updated)

For the second chapter of Clintons campaigning for Cuomo it was Bill Clinton, following in his wife’s footsteps, joining Andrew Cuomo Thursday evening for a campaign rally at SEIU 1199’s midtown headquarters.  Many New York elected Democrats, including Charles Rangel, Jerrold Nadler, Scott Stringer, Tish James and Adriano Espaillat, joined them.

Cuomo gave a strong campaign speech, battering his Republican opponent and praising Clinton’s presidency.  Clinton, speaking for more than 25 minutes, forcefully supported his former cabinet member but also meandered through other themes.  He spoke of the broad consequences of the upcoming election, casting it primarily about the federal government and the changes that a Republican controlled senate could have.  While engaging, his speech was not as solid an election battle cry as Cuomo’s speech.


Here are highlights of the speeches:

His County:

Among the Cuomo attacks on Astorino was an exaggerated claim based on the long-running HUD lawsuit against Westchester County.  Dramatization and hyperbole are a standard element of campaign speeches, but Cuomo’s assertion that Astorino “won’t allow … minorities to live in his county” pushed the boundary.  Another of Cuomo’s recent campaign rallies also had racially charged comments. Continue reading Clinton Campaigns for Cuomo; Chapter 2 (Updated)

The Forgotten Parties

Governor Andrew Cuomo has campaigned actively on only two of his four ballot lines; the Democratic Party and Women’s Equality Party lines, publicly ignoring the Independence and Working Families Party lines.

At recent press Q&A’s I’ve asked Cuomo about his two neglected lines.  When I asked him what the Independence Party means to him, Cuomo replied “just what it says” and then launched into a description of his four ballot lines.  On Saturday, at a Women’s Equality Party rally, I asked Cuomo whether he plans to campaign actively on the Working Families Party Line.  “I’m campaigning actively, that’s what I’m doing out here.”  When I noted that he’s appeared at Democratic Party and Women’s Equality Party events and began to ask if he plans to appear at any Independence or Working Families Party events, he replied “people can vote for me on any line that they want to vote for me.”

Astorino in Rockaway

Rob Astorino returned to Rockaway today, touring Beach 116th Street on the two year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.  As his visit wrapped up, he spoke with reporters at the beach end of Beach 116th.

Q&A Excerpts:

Here are selected excerpts.  Among the question topics are transportation infrastructure, Governor Cuomo’s lack of appearances in Rockaway, what he would do differently concerning the state’s Sandy recovery efforts and whether he views Governor Cuomo’s heavy use of official events as “abusing the power of his office.”

Republican Electeds Support:

I asked Astorino about the limited support that he’s received from Republican elected officials.

Our coverage of Astorino’s prior visits to Rockaway are here and here.

Cuomo In Oakdale (Updated)

Governor Andrew Cuomo hosted a Sandy-themed presentation at the Oakdale campus of St. Johns University this afternoon, along with Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Congressman Tim Bishop, Southhampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, Environmental Facilities Corp. President Matt Driscoll, Stony Brook University Samuel Stanley and DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.  The presentation described Sandy-related projects underway, including a $380 million project to improve the sewer service in Suffolk, $880 million to improve the Bay Park sewage treatment plant in Nassau County and a newly-announced project to conduct research on nitrogen loading.

Press Q&A:

Contrary to his recent gaggles, Ebola was only a modest part of the gaggle.  Sandy figured prominently in the questions and in his opening statement.  Here is Governor Cuomo’s full Q&A session with press:

Update – Ebola Excerpts:

The gaggle featured three Ebola-related questions.  The first was whether there is confusion concerning the evolving quarantine policy and whether there is any “daylight” between New York and New Jersey on that policy, the second asked whether he’s concerned about differing CDC and state policies and whether those differing policies send a “mixed message.”  The final Ebola question concerned travelers “grabbing a connecting flight” and how the quarantine policy will apply to them.

Cuomo essentially repeated his points of yesterday, asserting that his policy has been consistent as “announced” on Friday and later “detailed.”  He noted that the United States Army has adopted a 21 day isolation policy for soldiers returning from the Ebola zone and, pointedly observing that the CDC has yet issue a policy, asserted that the “CDC should talk to the Army … and work it out with them first.”

Concerning the question of whether or how passengers transiting through the Port Authority airports (and presumably meeting the other quarantine policy standards) will be treated, Cuomo replied “that’s gonna then depend on the jurisdiction, the home jurisdiction.”  It’s unclear what he meant or whether the Port Authority has a clear policy for dealing with such passengers.

This video excerpt has the three Ebola-related questions and answers:

Ebola Politics

In a democratic society where government leaders are selected through political elections, fully separating politics from policy is never possible.  It’s important to try, however.  That notion applies to the unfolding problem of the emergence of Ebola in New York.  There’s no absolute script to follow, and it’s important and fair that government officials should be given room to adjust and change their plans and actions as they digest new information and problems.  Governor Cuomo’s statement that “this is just evolving and we’re just learning and you adjust to the facts as you learn them” is reasonable.  One of his most recent actions, however, has looked more politically focused, due to the manner and circumstances of his announcing it. Continue reading Ebola Politics

James, Astorino & Bull Connor

At a Cuomo campaign rally in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James compared Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino to Bull Connor, the infamous Commissioner of Public Safety in Birmingham Alabama who unleashed fire hoses and attack dogs on civil rights marchers in the 1960’s.  After the rally I asked Governor Cuomo, who was on stage as James spoke, whether he shared that view.

Cuomo and Astorino have often exchanged barbs around a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development against Westchester County, where Astorino is County Executive.  Astorino has previously accused Cuomo of “race-baiting” in comments about the lawsuit.

More coverage from the rally is here.

Cuomo in Long Island City (Updated)

The second stop of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “Women’s Equality Express” campaign tour today was in Long Island City.  Appearing at before an audience composed primarily of trade union members, Cuomo added an extended reflection on his Queens roots to his campaign speech.

Press Q&A:

Cuomo spoke with the press following the rally.  With the exception of the last question, the topic was exclusively Ebola.

Update – You Can Take the Boy out of Queens …:

Cuomo began by speaking about his Queens roots.  It’s not a part of his standard stump speech, but a special addition for this Queens appearance.


Here is Cuomo’s full campaign speech.

Coverage of his Brooklyn campaign rally is here.

Cuomo in Bed-Stuy (Updated)

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s reelection campaign brought him to three stops today, with the third and final stop a rally in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant.  Accompanied on the full tour by his running mate Kathy Hochul, he was joined in Bed-Stuy by New York City Public Advocate Tish James, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Assembly Member Annette Robinson and New York City Council Member Robert Cornegy.

Press Q&A:

Cuomo spoke with the press following the rally.  The questions, with one exception (more on that later here), focused on Ebola.

Update:  We look at the comment by Public Advocate Letitia James comparing Rob Astorino to Bull Connor here.


Here is Cuomo’s full speech:

Coverage of Cuomo’s Long Island City rally is here.