Police, business groups endorse Basile for Senate

Tom Basile, the Republican candidate for the 39th Senate District, announced endorsements this week from various law enforcement groups and business organizations.

The supportive police groups included unions representing New York City police officers, captains, lieutenants and detectives, as well as the Orange County Shields, the Orange County deputies’ union, and the union for state park rangers and campus police officers. Sheriff Carl DuBois, a fellow Republican, also endorsed Basile.

“As the longest serving Sheriff in Orange County history, I’ve seen elected officials that serve the people, and those that serve their party,” DuBois said in a campaign press release. “Tom Basile has the guts and fortitude to serve the people, and to make the hard decisions.”

The business groups that endorsed Basile this week are the Business Council of New York State, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Associated General Contractors of New York State and Unshackle Upstate.

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Delgado skips NY19 debate in Delaware County

Democratic challenger Antonio Delgado was the only 19th Congressional District candidate to skip a debate in Delaware County Tuesday night.

“Antonio Delgado just moved to the district in 2017, registered to vote soon after, and then filed to run for Congress the very next day after that,” Joe Gierut, communications director for Rep. John Faso’s campaign said in a statement. ”His absence last night was glaring. It’s clear his priority is not representing everyone in Upstate New York. His priority is representing the out of district Democratic Socialists from New York City and Massachusetts who perform his voter contact efforts, and the national liberals who fund his campaign.”

Allyson Marcus, Delgado’s campaign manager, said in a statement that Delgado informed debate organizers he couldn’t attend due to scheduling conflicts back when they invited him.

“We have agreed to four debates with John Faso to reach people across the district,” Marcus said. “We’ve recently held public events in Delhi, Margaretville and Bovina. We even held a public town hall a few days ago at the same location in Walton. Faso has never held an open, public town hall to answer questions from his constituents. Antonio has held seven town halls and we look forward to holding four more before election day.”

The Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, the Delaware County Farm Bureau and the League of Women Voters of Oneonta and Cooperstown hosted the debate at the Walton Theatre.

The 19th District includes all or part of 11 counties, including all of Ulster and Sullivan.

A video of Tuesday’s debate can be found on the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page.

The four debates Faso and Delgado are scheduled to appear at are:

  • Friday, Oct. 19 at 1 p.m., hosted by WMHT
  • Monday, Oct. 22 at 1 p.m., hosted by WAMC
  • Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Woodstock Playhouse, hosted by Spectrum News
  • Monday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. at SUNY Sullivan, hosted by the Times Herald-Record


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Orange County BOE extends hours to give out absentee ballots

The Orange County Board of Elections will extend its hours on two dates and open on two Saturdays to distribute absentee ballots to voters who will be out of the county for the Nov. 6 general election.

Voters can pick up absentee ballots at the board office at 75 Webster Ave. in Goshen during regular business hours, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, through Nov. 5. In addition, the board will stay open until 8 p.m. on Oct. 30 and Nov. 1, and will open from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on two Saturdays, Oct. 27 and Nov. 3.

Orange County voters also can call or email the Board of Elections to request an absentee ballot application or print one from its website, www.orangecountygov.com/elections. The board’s phone number is 845-360-6500 and its email address is elections@orangecountygov.com. Ballot applications must be postmarked by Oct. 30.

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Maloney leads O’Donnell in campaign cash after AG run

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney had almost three times as much campaign money as his Republican challenger for the final month of their race for New York’s 18th Congressional District, despite Maloney diverting almost $2.4 million to his unsuccessful run for attorney general this summer and doing relatively little fundraising for Congress.

Campaign finance reports filed on Monday show the Cold Spring Democrat, who’s seeking a fourth House term, had about $583,000 on hand as of Sept. 30, compared to $192,000 for GOP Orange County Legislator Jim O’Donnell of Goshen. Maloney, who was campaigning for New York attorney general until the Sept. 13 Democratic primary, raised $121,000 for his congressional campaign account in the third quarter of 2018, much of it from political action committees on Sept. 30, the last day of the reporting period.

O’Donnell raised around $59,000 for his congressional campaign over the three months from July 1 to Sept. 30.


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Women’s groups endorse Skoufis for Senate

Democratic assemblyman and Senate candidate James Skoufis announced endorsements on Tuesday from Planned Parenthood Empire State Votes PAC, the National Organization for Women, and the National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund.

“Women can count on James Skoufis,” Sonia Ossorio, president of the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women, said in a campaign press release. “He has a 100% pro-choice record in the Assembly and has been proactive on the issues that matter to us: stopping sexual harassment, removing firearms from domestic abusers, and fighting for a Reproductive Health Act in our state.”

The Reproductive Health Act would codify the abortion rights of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision and replace the state’s 1970 abortion law, allowing an abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy or if “there is an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.” The Democratic-controlled Assembly passed the bill each of the last two years, and the Republican-controlled Senate has blocked it in committee, making it a campaign issue in this year’s battle for a Senate majority.

Republicans have attacked Skoufis with a campaign mailer calling the bill “a radical expansion of abortion.” Planned Parenthood Empire State Votes PAC swung back last week at Tom Basile, Skoufis’ Republican opponent, calling him an extremist and accusing him of “spreading falsehoods” about the Reproductive Health Act. Skoufis’ campaign said Tuesday that the GOP mailer “smeared and distorted attempts to protect Roe v. Wade in New York State.”

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Delgado outraises Faso by $2.8M in third quarter (updated)

Democratic challenger Antonio Delgado raked in $3.8 million in campaign funds in the third quarter of the year, almost quadruple the $1 million that Republican Rep. John Faso raised over those same three months, according to campaign finance reports the two candidates filed on Monday.

As of Sept. 30, just over a month before the Nov. 6 election for New York’s 19th Congressional District, Delgado had $1.7 million in his coffers and Faso had $1.4 million. Delgado, an attorney who lives in Rhinebeck, had far outspent the freshman congressman he hopes to unseat from July through September: $2.7 million to $841,000.

Delgado, who entered the race shortly after Faso took office last year and went on to win a seven-way Democratic primary in June, has far outraised the Republican incumbent since last year. Delgado has collected a total of $6.6 million, and Faso has taken in $3.3 million.

Faso has gotten a boost from the Congressional Leadership Fund, which has spent $894,000 so far on ads attacking Delgado.

(Update: House Speaker Paul Ryan attended a fundraiser for Faso in Albany and then sat with him for a TV interview on Tuesday, during a swing through New York to support Republican incumbents.)

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NRA endorses Basile for Senate

Republican state Senate candidate Tom Basile announced on Monday the endorsements of the National Rifle Association and the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, saying he had earned “A” grades on their questionnaires.

“Tom Basile is the right man to represent Hudson Valley sportsmen and women,” George Kydon, an NRA-ILA FLA coordinator, said in a campaign press release. “A man of principles, Tom will ensure that when we need a voice in Albany, especially against radical New York City-interest who want to take away due process and other rights of law-abiding gun owners, we have a someone defending us.”

Basile criticized Assemblyman James Skoufis, his Democratic opponent for the 39th Senate District seat, for supporting a bill that would allow judges to issue “extreme risk protection” orders to prevent people who have been deemed dangerous to themselves or others from buying or possessing a gun. Basile argued the proposed “red flag” legislation would disregard due process and erode New Yorkers’ gun rights.

The Democratic-controlled Assembly passed the “red flag” bill in a 108-30 vote in June. The Republican-controlled Senate didn’t take it up.

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Reproductive rights group endorses Metzger for Senate

Democratic state Senate candidate Jen Metzger announced Monday the endorsement of the political arm of the National Institute for Reproductive Health, a Manhattan-based group that advocates for abortion and contraception rights in Washington and state capitals.

“Jen Metzger understands the importance of access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion services, and is ready to fight for the values of the Hudson Valley in Albany,” Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund PAC, said in campaign press release. “Her opponent, on the other hand, repeatedly voted against legislation to protect New Yorkers’ reproductive rights when in the Assembly.”

Metzger, a Rosendale councilwoman, and Republican Orange County Clerk Annie Rabbitt, a former assemblywoman, are competing for the 42nd Senate District seat that retiring Sen. John Bonacic is vacating.

Metzger also announced recently the endorsements of Eleanor’s Legacy, an organization that supports Democratic women who are running for office in New York and are pro-choice. She and state Sen. Liz Krueger took part in a rally for women’s rights in Warwick this month, at which Metzger was endorsed by Planned Parenthood Empire State Votes PAC.



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Health care disputes dominate Faso-Delgado race for NY-19 congressional seat

The battle for New York’s 19th Congressional District has focused on Republican Rep. John Faso’s vote last year to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and a fierce dispute over how the House Republicans’ bill would have affected health premiums for older enrollees and coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

At least four TV ads with that theme have hit the airwaves in the last two weeks, two from Democratic groups that say the GOP proposal – which the House passed but never became law – would have let health insurers raise premiums for customers over 50 and refuse coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Both feature video of a poignant moment in which Andrea Mitchell, a constituent who had survived a brain tumor, confronted Faso and demanded he defend the Affordable Care Act’s protection for people like herself with pre-existing conditions.

Faso hugged Mitchell and said, “I promise” – a pledge that his challenger, Antonio Delgado, and Democratic groups contend he violated by supporting the Republican repeal-and-replace bill. (The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee attributed the decision to campaign donations, saying in a commercial that Faso “sold us out for thousands in corporate contributions.”)

Faso fired back with his own ad on Wednesday, accusing Delgado and “his liberal allies” of repeating misleading claims about an “age tax” (state law in New York would have prevented insurers from charging older customers more) and suggesting their tactic was meant to conceal Delgado’s support for single-payer health care.

“What’s Delgado hiding?” the ad asks. “He supports moving to a government healthcare plan that would eliminate employer paid coverage.”

Faso had an earlier ad in which his wife, Mary Frances, talked about her own battle with cancer and says, “John knows first-hand how important healthcare is for families. The truth is he voted to guarantee coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, and to protect seniors on Medicare.”

Mitchell weighed in with her own web video responding directly to Faso after his campaign said the Republican health bill wouldn’t have jeopardized her coverage because she’s enrolled in Medicaid. She gives an emotional account of her health struggles, how the Affordable Care Act helped her and how its repeal would imperil her care.

“By calling me out personally on your official website, and saying that I am lying, that I am misinterpreting my own story in some way, is hurtful,” she said. “I came to you as a constituent in need.”

Both candidates touched on the dispute during separate question-and-answer sessions that the AARP conducted and webcast on Thursday and Friday. Faso said the Republican bill he supported would have protected people with pre-existing conditions and wouldn’t have affected Mitchell. Delgado said he doesn’t support single payer health care, but does support a “public option” that would allow people under 65 to buy Medicare coverage if they choose.

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Planned Parenthood slams Basile for GOP attack on abortion rights bill (updated)

Planned Parenthood went after Republican Senate candidate Tom Basile this week for a campaign mailer that accuses Democratic opponent James Skoufis of supporting a “radical expansion of abortion” for voting for the Reproductive Health Act as an assemblyman.

The group called the claims in the mailer from the New York Republican State Committee a smear against “commonsense legislation preserving Roe v. Wade’s protections for our state’s women.”

“James Skoufis knows that politics has no place in the exam room,” Robin Chappelle Golston, chairwoman of Planned Parenthood Empire State Votes PAC, said in a press release. “While Tom Basile has the luxury of ignoring the reality of our reproductive health care, our state’s women do not. We don’t need extremist politicians spouting falsehoods rather than protecting Roe v. Wade and women’s lives. The simple fact is control of our reproductive health care and rights is absolutely essential to women.”

Skoufis and Basile are competing for the 39th Senate District seat that retiring Sen. Bill Larkin is vacating.

The Democratic-controlled Assembly has passed the Reproductive Health Act each of the last two years, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo supports it, but the Republican-controlled Senate has stopped it in committee. It could become law next year if Democrats win a Senate majority in November elections – a prospect that Democratic candidates have used to help make their case to voters.

The bill would replace a 1970 law that predated the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision by three years and that legalized abortion in New York up to the 24th week of pregnancy. The new version would allow abortions beyond that pregnancy stage if “there is an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.” It would move the abortion right to the health code instead of penal code, where it was inserted in 1970 as an exception to homicide.

The GOP mailer against Skoufis warned that the bill would “allow late-term abortions up to the moment of birth.” On the other side, it showed a photo of a newborn’s feet and asked, “Regardless of your position on abortion, can’t we all agree that late-term, partial-birth abortions are wrong?”

Planned Parenthood’s response says that while that 90 percent of abortions take place in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, serious complications can arise at any stage for which women need access to abortion. “Implying that women and their medical providers would thoughtlessly make the deeply personal decision to end a pregnancy is insulting as well as completely erroneous,” the statement read.

Candice Giove, a Republican campaign spokeswoman, said in an emailed response on Thursday that “James Skoufis and Planned Parenthood know that Roe is the law of the land in New York, and they know that in 2016 the state’s Attorney General wrote a legal opinion validating that. The only thing that’s extremist is Skoufis’ support of the Reproductive Health Act, which goes beyond the parameters set by the landmark Supreme Court Case by allowing non-doctors including, nurses, nurse practitioners and doulas, to perform abortions from 24 weeks up until the moment of birth.”

Republicans also object that moving the right to abortion out of the penal code would prevent authorities from charging someone for killing a fetus by assaulting a pregnant woman.

(Update: Planned Parenthood New York State Votes PAC said the following by email in response to questions about the 1970 law and the Reproductive Health Act: “Because our state law was written 3 years prior to Roe, our law falls short of the constitutional protections of Roe which affirms access to care to preserve both a women’s life and health. It also places the regulation of abortion in the penal code. Abortion is health care, not a crime, and therefore it should be treated as such.”

The organization said only 1.2 percent of abortions in the U.S. take place after 21 weeks of pregnancy, citing a 2013 statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As for allowing health care workers other than doctors to perform abortions, it said that the medical field has changed since 1970, and that early abortion care is within the scope of professional practice for licensed and trained nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and licensed midwives.

“Removing the outdated physician language from the penal code would clarify that physicians and APCs can provide early abortion care within their competency and licensure,” the statement read. “This would ensure that women, especially those in rural areas and low-income women, have greater access to safe and early abortion care.”)

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