Hayworth beats Maloney for Independence line

A trickle of Independence Party voters awarded former congresswoman Nan Hayworth their party’s coveted ballot line Tuesday in an opening skirmish in her rematch battle this year against Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the Democrat who unseated her in 2012.

Only 6 percent of the 22,506 active Independence Party voters in New York’s 18th Congressional District went to the polls for the primary, giving the Republican challenger a 732-650 victory over Maloney in unofficial results, which don’t include absentee ballots. The primary took place because party leaders allowed both candidates to compete for the Independence line.

“I am grateful for the support I received throughout the entire district,” Hayworth said in a victory message.  ”The people who supported me have sent a message they want Washington to get out of the way and let us grow jobs and opportunity in the Hudson Valley economy.”

“I thank the voters and realize they want a Representative who will reach across the aisle to provide a genuine voice for the Hudson Valley.  I will continue to be that voice.”

The press release touted Hayworth’s “impressive victory” in the heavily Democratic City of Poughkeepsie, where she collected a grand total of 33 votes to Maloney’s 20.

Maloney congratulated Hayworth on the win.  ”I’m going to wake up tomorrow morning and keep putting points on the board for my hardworking Hudson Valley neighbors,” he said. “The best politics is doing my job and getting results by creating good paying jobs here at home, reducing taxes for middle class families and small businesses, cutting wasteful spending and protecting Medicare and Social Security.”

Maloney won by 381-347 in Orange County, which holds about half of the 18th District’s voters. The nearly 1,000 enrolled Independence voters in bloc-voting Kiryas Joel, who could easily have swayed the election results, appear not to have exerted themselves on behalf of either candidate. Hayworth won the three other counties the district crosses, including Maloney’s adopted home county of Putnam.

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KJ adds Independence voters for upcoming primary

Kiryas Joel leaders have strengthened their village’s clout in Tuesday’s Independence Party primary between Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and Nan Hayworth by enrolling 82 newly minted voters in the Independence Party on a single day in April, giving their community almost 1,000 potential voters in what will likely be a low-turnout election.

Board of Elections records show the mass registration of Kiryas Joel 18-year-olds  – 35 of whom are students at the village’s rabbinical college — took place on April 4, about a week before Maloney and Hayworth both filed petitions to seek the Independence line.

Tuesday’s primary, open only to registered Independence Party voters, is the first round in a rematch between Maloney, a freshman Democrat, and Hayworth, the Republican he unseated in 2012 after her one term in office. There are 24,335 Independence voters in the 18th Congressional District, which encompasses all of Orange and Putnam counties and parts of Westchester and Dutchess.

High turnout in bloc-voting Kiryas Joel could almost certainly swing a close primary. The question is which candidate the village’s two blocs will support, which may not be known until voting instructions are distributed next week. The larger bloc representing Kiryas Joel’s majority faction backed Hayworth in 2012, while the smaller one supported Maloney.

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Romney supports Hayworth comeback bid

Nan Hayworth’s campaign released a quote today from Mitt Romney endorsing her bid to win back the congressional seat she lost to Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney in 2012, the same year Romney ran unsuccessfully for president.

“Nan Hayworth’s impressive experiences as a doctor, mother, and businesswoman make her an exceptional candidate to represent the people of the Hudson Valley,” the former Massachusetts governor said in the statement. “Nan is a doctor you can trust to help fix our broken health care system and a compassionate voice for those struggling in this difficult economy. I am proud to support Nan in her campaign to return to Congress.”

Hayworth returned the praise in the same release, saying that Romney’s “exceptional record in the private and public sectors make him a respected and principled leader of the Republican Party, and his endorsement energizes our campaign and its constituents. I am honored to have Governor Romney’s support.”

Democrats immediately and merrily pounced on the endorsement. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee shot off a statement accusing Hayworth of “still running like it’s 2012″ and calling Romney’s endorsement “the latest blast from the past on her time warped campaign.” President Obama beat Romney in the 18th District by 51 percent to 47 percent, the DCCC pointed out.

In a separate release, Maloney spokesman Stephanie Formas said, “Mitt Romney and Tea Party Congresswoman Nan Hayworth are two peas in a pod — out-of-touch millionaires who want to replace Medicare benefits with vouchers just to pay for more tax breaks for themselves. Mitt Romney’s statement makes it clear that even her supporters have little to say about Congresswoman Hayworth’s failed Tea Party record.”

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House passes bill to rename Monroe post office for fallen CIA agent

A federal bill renaming the Monroe post office after Gregg Wenzel, a CIA agent and Monroe native who died in Ethiopia at age 33 in 2003, sailed through the House of Representatives Tuesday and awaits a sponsor and action in the Senate.

Sponsored by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-Cold Spring, the bill would designate the post office at 787 Route 17M as the “National Clandestine Service of the Central Intelligence Agency NCS Officer Gregg David Wenzel Memorial Post Office.” Maloney paid tribute to Wenzel on Tuesday with a speech on the House floor in support of the bill, saying Wenzel had joined the CIA after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks of 2001 to serve his country and “live for a greater purpose than himself.”

“To live for a greater purpose than himself: That is the legacy and expression of service that we can all learn from,” Maloney said.


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Rep. Maloney and partner Randy Florke getting hitched on Saturday

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and his longtime partner, Randy Florke, are getting married on Saturday in Cold Spring, the Putnam County village where they and their children settled after Maloney began his campaign for Congress in 2012.

The ceremony will take place in the evening at the Church of St. Mary-in-the-Highlands, an Episcopal church, and will be officiated by the Rev. Shane Scott-Hamblen, Maloney’s office announced. Maloney’s brother, Mark, will be his best man; Florke’s sister, Renae Malloy, will be matron of honor, according to the couple’s wedding website on theknot.com.  A black-tie reception will be held outdoors at the couple’s home, known as Lower Windwolde.

Maloney and Florke have three adopted children: Reinel, 24; Daley, 13 and Essie, 11.

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Pending bill provides aid for two new Orange villages

Two Orange County villages that formed in 2006 would begin receiving the same type of state aid as other New York municipalities under a bill passed by the Assembly last week and awaiting action in the Senate in the final days of the legislative session.

The bill by Assemblyman James Skoufis, D-Woodbury, would entitle the villages of Woodbury and South Blooming Grove to state funding known as Aid and Incentives for Municipalities, which they hadn’t been getting because of wording in state Finance Law that didn’t anticipate the creation of new municipalities. Two other newly formed villages had been denied aid for the same reason.

In a press release Monday, Skoufis said he helped secured a total of $92,000 for the two villages in his district in the last two state budgets, but proposed amending state Finance Law to make the funding permanent.  The Assembly passed the one-paragraph bill (A.8761-B) in a unanimous vote on Thursday. The Senate version, sponsored by Sen. William Larkin Jr., R-Cornwall-on-Hudson, is under review in the Finance Committee.

“It’s outrageous to have to jump through hoops each year so that Woodbury and South Blooming Grove villages receive the aid they deserve,” Skoufis said in the release. “This state funding adds up year after year, so it is critical that it be made permanent in order to prevent any future losses for village taxpayers.”

Annual funding would be $19,000 for Woodbury and $27,000 for South Blooming Grove, according to Skoufis.

Two grateful mayors are quoted in the release:

“It’s always a relief when state funding, which we rely on, is restored, and I thank Assemblyman Skoufis for his hard work and dedication,” said Woodbury Mayor Michael Queenan. “Every dollar helps, especially when it comes to making sure our village is able to hold the line on taxes.”

“We are very thankful for Assemblyman Skoufis’ dedication and ability to secure this valuable funding for the second year in a row,” said South Blooming Grove Mayor Rob Jeroloman. “Making this permanent would be one less worry for us during our budgeting, and we will certainly do what we can to help make that a reality.”

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Maloney leads Hayworth by $1 million in campaign funds (updated)

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-Cold Spring, has almost three times as much money in his campaign coffers as Republican rival Nan Hayworth, according to financial reports filed Thursday ahead of the primary the two candidates will wage on June 24 for the Independence Party ballot line.

In slightly more than two months, Maloney, D-Cold Spring, raised $243,914 and spent $202,261, leaving him with $1.5 million on hand as of June 4. Hayworth, unseated by Maloney in 2012 after serving one term, collected $101,659 and spent $253,681 during the same period, from April 1 to June 4. She had $510,561 on hand for her bid to win back the 18th Congressional District seat.

Hayworth’s campaign recently distributed a fundraising appeal making evident the hunger of its volunteers, and not just for victory on Nov. 4. If you don’t have time to help work the phones, knock on doors and plant lawn signs, the message read,  ”The next best thing you can do to help our volunteers is to chip in for some pizza, snacks, bottles of water, and all the other things that make a campaign work from day-to-day.”

Then it broke down the pizza/snack payoff by donation amount:
$25 feeds shift of phone volunteers
$50 feeds phone/canvassing crew
$100 feeds all volunteers, all day
$150 feeds all volunteers, all weekend
A new fundraising message distributed by the Hayworth campaign on Friday takes a harder edge than the one about feeding campaign volunteers. This one rips Obamacare and Maloney for supporting it, although it also delivers a secondary swipe at her opponent for alleged inconsistency on the issue (“actually, he voted for it, then voted against it, and then voted for it again.”)

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Flashback: Cantor in Orange County

Republican Rep. Eric Cantor, whose stunning primary defeat and subsequent resignation as House majority leader has dominated political coverage this week, visited Orange County shortly before the last two congressional elections, both times on behalf of Nan Hayworth, the Republican who prevailed in 2010 and lost in 2012.

Hayworth’s campaign put out a press release after Cantor’s Oct. 29, 2010 stop in Monroe that said the Virginia congressman, then the Republican minority whip, “electrified” the crowd at a private Republican gathering.

Here’s how the release quoted him:

“This is one of the most decisive races in one of the most important elections in our lifetime,” Rep. Cantor told Hayworth supporters gathered at the Monroe home of Don Beeler. “A new Republican majority is going to be a majority that listens to the people. People are out of work and they want to get back to work. And Nancy Pelosi should be out of work next year.”

Both Orange County visits included stops in Kiryas Joel, a pre-election ritual for politicians courting the endorsement of community leaders who control the village’s voting blocs, which are big enough to swing the results of congressional races.

A photo from the 2010 Kiryas Joel visit, later posted on a Satmar website, shows Cantor and Hayworth seated with Kiryas Joel Mayor Abe Wieder, Administrator Gedalye Szegedin and others, just days before Hayworth’s defeat of Democratic incumbent John Hall and a Republican tsunami that would vault Cantor into the House’s No. 2 slot.

Whether because of Cantor’s entreaties or not, Kiryas Joel’s main voting bloc — the Wieder-Szegedin faction, also known as Anash — supported Hayworth in both the 2010 and 2012 elections. But the Democratic-leaning Kiryas Joel Alliance endorsed Hall and Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney, neutralizing to some degree the Anash votes for Hayworth.

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Longtime Democratic chairman will leave post in September

Jonathan Jacobson, leader of Orange County’s Democratic Party since Bill Clinton was president, informed executive committee members Tuesday night that he will step aside in September and supports Brett Broge, a 39-year-old attorney, as his succcessor when the party elects its new chairman.

Jacobson’s nearly 22-year reign stretches back to 1989 but includes a four-year interregnum in the early ’90s, when he served as a workers compensation judge and had to relinquish his Democratic post. He has been involved in party politics since he reached voting age, around 1971.

“It was a difficult personal decision, because I’m a lifer” Jacobson said in an interview Wednesday. “I’ve been on the committee since I was 18 years old.”

Jacobson, a 60-year-old attorney specializing in workers compensation and disability cases, will remain chairman until the party’s reorganization meeting in September. He said he intends to remain active after then, as a City of Newburgh Democratic Committee member, a member of the state Democratic Committee and as a member of the county party’s executive committee.

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Cahill wins Ulster County Democratic Committee endorsement

Assemblyman Kevin Cahill won a decisive victory against Town of New Paltz Supervisor Sue Zimet to win the Democratic nomination Thursday night for the 103rd Assembly District.

Cahill, a 20-year incumbent running for his 10th term,  took about 60 percent of votes from about 150 that attended the county Democratic Convention held at the swanky Hillside Manor in Kingston.

Both Cahill and Zimert were allowed to give five-minute speeches. Cahill was nominated by James Noble, the Kingston’s Alderman-at-large, to a large applause and people waving blue signs that read “Cahill.”

Cahill defended his record on issues  like hydraulic fracturing, campaign finance reform and causing a logjam in the state legislative process that ultimately ended collection of 1 percent extra in sales tax collection in Ulster County for three months.

That sales tax issue became a political firebomb between Cahill and Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and caused democrats to take sides between Ulster County’s two highest profile Democrats.

Cahill defended his stance on the sales tax issue and said he knew he “paid a very high price for that.”

Zimet, holding her arm from a yellow jacket sting, gave a fiery speech attacking “the incumbent,” increased property taxes and other issues.  Her nominations was seconded by Chris White, a former Maurice Hinchey aide who now works in Hein’s administration.

“While we didn’t win the vote, which was expected, we did pretty well taking almost 40 percent against a 20-year incumbent. No one thought this would be easy but the issues like fracking, women’s equality, ethics and the crushing tax burden are just too important not to keep pushing on,” Zimet said afterward on her Facebook page.

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