Gibson votes to sue Obama; Eldridge attacks

Rep. Chris Gibson joined all but five of his fellow Republicans in the House Wednesday evening, voting to sue President Barack Obama.

The vote almost immediately elicited an attack from his Democratic contender Sean Eldridge, saying it was a waste of time, money and proof of Gibson’s less- than-moderate status.

In an almost completely party-line vote, the motion to sue the president passed, 225-201. Five Republicans and all 196 Democrats voted against the measure.

The vote gave authority to Speaker of the House John Boehner to initiate litigation “for actions by the President or other executive branch officials inconsistent with their duties under the Constitution of the United States.” It authorizes the House to take on Obama about delaying a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that would require most employers to provide health insurance to their employees.

Shortly before the vote that occurred at 6:28 p.m., Gibson released a statement on his Facebook page explaining his vote to sue the president, saying it was “long overdue” but said his vote is not against Obama but against executive overreach dating back to World War II.

“When I state “long overdue” here, I am not referring to President Obama. I mean past Congresses should have reined in the President decades ago,” Gibson writes.

In a lengthy explanation, Gibson, from Kinderhook, frames his vote as a fight against the consolidation of executive power, referring entirely to the executive’s authority to go to war without Congressional approval. He doesn’t mention the intention of the particular lawsuit, aimed at the Affordable Care Act.

Gibson, who represents all of Sullivan and Ulster counties in the 19th Congressional District, is facing off against Eldridge from Shokan this November.

Eldridge released a statement similar to that of other House Democrats after the vote, saying there are “countless issues Congress should be working on, from rebuilding our infrastructure, to raising the minimum wage, and tackling comprehensive immigration reform. Instead, it’s more party politics and political gimmicks.”

He used the vote to try to paint Gibson as less moderate, a tactic he’s used throughout his campaign.

“Chris Gibson claims to be a moderate, No Labels representative for our district. Yet tonight, when five Republicans joined Democrats in voting against this senseless lawsuit, Chris Gibson was not one of them,” Eldridge writes.

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Schumer, Gillibrand advance effort to rename Monroe post office

Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have introduced in the Senate a bill already passed by the House of Representatives to name the Monroe post office after a Monroe native who died overseas while working for the CIA.

The bill, introduced in the House by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-Cold Spring, would designate the post office in the ShopRite shopping center off Route 17M as the “National Clandestine Service of the Central Intelligence Agency NCS Officer Gregg David Wenzel Memorial Post Office.” Wenzel, a Monroe-Woodbury High School graduate who was inspired by the 2001 terrorist attacks to join the CIA, was killed at age 33 in 2003 in a car accident in Ethiopia.

The House passed the bill without opposition in June. Maloney’s Republican predecessor, Nan Hayworth, had sponsored identical legislation that also passed in her chamber but fizzled without a Senate sponsor.

Schumer and Gillibrand issued the following statements on Monday:

“Mr. Wenzel was a great New Yorker and a true American hero. Called to serve his country following the horrific events of September 11th, he made the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect the freedoms we all know and cherish,” Schumer said. “Someone as heroic as Mr. Wenzel deserves to have his legacy live on in an enduring way, and that is why I am honored to be able to introduce this bill in the Senate. Naming the Monroe Post Office after such an incredible local hero would be a truly fitting tribute to his courage, dedication and sacrifice.”

“Officer Gregg David Wenzel served his country during a time when it was needed the most,” Gillibrand said. “He put his life on the line to protect our freedom and will always be remembered by the Monroe community. Naming the Monroe Post Office after Officer Wenzel will honor his life and create a memorial to forever commemorate his legacy.”

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Cahill’s campaign war chest bursting vs. Zimet

The latest campaign disclosure forms filed with the state Board of Elections show incumbent Assemblyman Kevin Cahill with a growing war chest versus his primary rival, Susan Zimet.

In reports filed for July, Cahill, D-Kingston, raised $63,630 for the first half of the year, bringing his campaign war chest to $112,597.28 after spending $33,675.29.

Zimet, the New Paltz town supervisor, only announced that she would primary Cahill back in May, giving her little time to catch up to Cahill, a longtime incumbent who’s held the seat since 1992. Her July report says she had a closing balance of $1,612.77, after getting $6,949 in contributions and spending $5,336.23.

Zimet and Cahill are challenging each other in a Democratic primary for the 103rd Assembly seat. Kevin Roberts, an Ulster County legislator from Plattekill, is challenging on the Republican side.

Zimet’s lone corporate contribution came from The Kemper Corporation of White Plains, an insurance provider, who gave $1,000. Most of her contributions came from four individuals.

The bulk of contributions to Cahill comes from corporate and other monetary sources. On the corporate side, Cahill raised $14,700, mostly from businesses representing insurance and healthcare.

Cahill is chair to the Committee on Insurance in the state Assembly.

Under the “other monetary” category, Cahill received contributions from a myriad of different law firms, political action committees, or PACs, and groups that represent physicians and insurers and pharmaceutical companies.

You can view the full list here, but some of the biggest contributors on that side include Enterprise Holdings Inc. NY PAC (Enterprise rent-a-car’s political arm) contributing $2,500 and Fidelity National Financial Inc. (a provider insurance and mortgage services)  contributing $4,100.

All in all, Cahill received $44,700 in “other monetary” contributions.

Roberts has lent himself $3,000 of his own money and had a total balance of $2,906.44 in his July filing.

In Ulster County, the 103rd Assembly District includes the towns of Esopus, Gardiner, Hurley, Marbletown, New Paltz, Olive, Plattekill, Rochester, Rosendale, Shandaken, Ulster, Woodstock and the City of Kingston.

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Eighth candidate joins Assembly race

Another Democrat has joined the already crowded field of candidates hoping to fill Annie Rabbitt’s vacated Assembly seat, having filed petitions received by the state Board of Elections four days after the July 10 filing deadline but apparently postmarked by that date.

According to the board’s updated roster, Elisa Tutini, the Town of Monroe’s Dial-a-Bus coordinator, filed Democratic, Independence and Working Families Party petitions, which will put her in Democratic and Independence primaries on Sept. 9 and give her a guaranteed ballot line — Working Families — for the general election on Nov. 4.

Here’s the full list of contenders for the 98th Assembly District seat:  Democrats Krystal Serrano, Jacqueline Boulin Romain, Aron Wieder and Tutini; and Republicans Michael Morgillo, Daniel Castricone, Kevin Hudson and Karl Brabenec.


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Hayworth rips Maloney for wedding video shot by drone

Former Rep. Nan Hayworth is going after the Democrat who unseated her, Sean Patrick Maloney, for ariel footage recorded recently at his wedding by a drone, saying he should have known from serving on a committee that oversees the Federal Aviation Administration that the agency was investigating businesses that use drones.

Hayworth, who is campaigning to win back New York’s 18th Congressional District seat, twice called on Maloney to give up his seat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee — first after the Daily News broke the story about the wedding video and an FAA ban on commercial drone use, and then again after the Associated Press reported that the FAA is investigating  “a report of an unmanned aircraft operation in Cold Spring, New York, on June 21 to determine if there was any violation of federal regulations or airspace restrictions.”

“It is a blatant conflict of interest to be sitting on a committee while being investigated by an agency it oversees,” Hayworth said in a press release. “As a member of the committee, Representative Maloney was fully aware that the FAA has investigated businesses across the country for commercial use of drones, yet he apparently decided the law doesn’t apply to him.”

The FAA banned commercial drone use in 2007 out of fear that unmanned aircraft would crowd the skies and collide with planes, but has been ordered by Congress to develop regulations that would govern how such enterprises may operate. Those rules have not yet been written.

Maloney spokeswoman Stephanie Formas said the photographer hired for Maloney’s wedding to longtime partner Randy Florke got another business to do the aerial footage, conducted by what she described as a “remote control helicopter.” That video has since circulated online and includes overhead scenes of the church where the ceremony took place and the outdoor reception at the couple’s estate.

She dismissed the jabs from Hayworth’s campaign, saying Maloney intends to keep his seat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. She also provided a USA Today article about a federal court ruling in March that declared there was “no enforceable FAA rule” or regulation that applied to a business that had shot drone video at the University of Virginia and was later fined $10,000 by the FAA.

“On their wedding day Sean and Randy were focused on a ceremony twenty-two years in the making, not their wedding photographer’s camera mounted on his remote control helicopter,” Formas said. “The operator of the photography business was following the most recent rulings regarding FAA regulations.”

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Orange County businessman donates $70,500 to Cuomo campaign

Jim Taylor, owner of Taylor Recycling in Montgomery and a prodigious giver to political campaigns, poured $70,500 into Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign within the last six months, much of it in the span of one recent week, according to the financial report Cuomo’s campaign filed Tuesday.

Taylor, who has been trying for years to open a pioneering garbage gasification plant at his Montgomery property and awaiting a federal loan guarantee to finance the construction, made six separate donations to Cuomo, either from himself at his Town of Newburgh home address or under two corporate names. He gave Cuomo a total of $50,000 on June 26 and July 2, according to the financial report.

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Four candidates may seek Monroe board seat

As many as four candidates may compete for the Monroe Town Board seat that has been left vacant since former Councilman Harley Doles took office as town supervisor in January.

In addition to the Democratic petition filed last week by Susan Roth, the Orange County Board of Elections now reports having received Democratic, Working Families and Independence Party petitions from Blanca Johnson on Monday.

Two other candidates are expected to file independent petitions before an Aug. 19 deadline: Dennis McWatters, who ran unsuccessfully for the board last year, plans to run again on the United Monroe ballot line; and Kiryas Joel dissident Ben Friedman has announced his intent to run for office on a “Truth & Justice” line.

The winner of the Nov. 4 general election would serve the remaining year of Doles’ unexpired four-year councilman term.

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Maloney leads Hayworth by $700K in campaign cash

Finance reports filed Tuesday by the campaigns of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and Republican challenger Nan Hayworth show Maloney had $700,000 more in his coffers than Hayworth had in hers as of June 30, with a little more than four months to go before their rematch election.

The Cold Spring Democrat reported raising around $337,000 and spending about $52,000 between June 5 and June 30, leaving him with almost $1.8 million on hand. The reporting period was shorter than the usual quarterly statements because of an interim filing before the candidates’ June 24 primary for the Independence Party line, which Hayworth won.

Hayworth’s camp declared $158,000 in donations, $85,000 in expenses and a $500,000 personal loan Hayworth made to her campaign during that same 25-day period. Her campaign had already announced the infusion of her own money, as well as a surge in donations after her victory in the Independence primary.

Hayworth had about $1.1 million in her account as of June 30.

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Gibson outraises Eldridge in 2nd quarter

Sean Eldridge’s campaign for Congress raised more than $770,000 from more than 1,600 donors in the 2nd quarter of 2014, according to a statement from his campaign.

But Rep. Chris Gibson’s campaign announced Tuesday that his campaign raised $819,000 in the second quarter, more than $330,000 more than he raised in any quarter since first running for Congress, according to a release from his campaign.

But Eldridge ends the quarter with more than $2.1 million cash on hand, while Gibson’s campaign has $1.91 million on hand for the 2014 election.

Sean Eldridge matched contributions to his campaign to the tune of $375,000 and touted that he did not accept donations from corporate PACs.

“More than 77 percent of Sean Eldridge’s 2nd quarter contributions were $50 or less,” Eldridge’s campaign said, “I’m incredibly grateful to the more than 1,600 individuals who invested in our race this quarter – most of whom contributed $50 or less – and are helping us build a grassroots campaign throughout NY-19,” Eldridge said.

Gibson’s campaign manager Stephanie Valle hammered Eldridge with criticism over his experience and recent move to the district.

“Although our opponent continues to use his billion dollar fortune to try and artificially prop up his campaign, his money can’t paper over the fact he has no ties to the district, almost no experience, and is plagued with hypocrisy,” Valle said.

Eldridge’s campaign attacked Gibson for accepting money from corporate PACs.

“Unlike Chris Gibson, we publicly disclose every contribution we receive, and we refuse to accept money from corporate PACs that have too much power in Washington already,” his campaign said.

For the second quarter, 86 percent of Gibson’s contributions were from individuals, with almost 60 percent of individual contributors residing in the 19th Congressional District and 77 percent of individual contributors being from upstate New York.
Eldridge, a Democrat who lives in Shokan, is looking to unseat Republican Gibson, from Kinderhook, in the 19th Congressional District this November. The district includes all of Ulster and Sullivan counties.


Posted in Down in D.C., Orange, Sullivan, Ulster | Leave a comment

Hayworth pumps $500,000 into her campaign

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney outraised Republican challenger Nan Hayworth in the second quarter, but Hayworth surpassed his income by pumping $500,000 of her own money into her campaign coffers as a loan, according to fundraising previews the two camps gave before filing official reports next week.

The cash intake is accelerating for both campaigns. Maloney, D-Cold Spring, reported raising $550,000 between April 1 and June 30, and more than half of that money came in the 26 days since the June 4 cutoff for a previous financial filing. His announcement didn’t say how much the campaign has on hand. The previous tally, as of June 4, was $1.5 million.

Hayworth’s campaign reports having $1 million on hand after raising more than $250,000 in the second quarter and kicking in her $500,000 of her own. In the six days after beating Maloney in an Independence Party primary on June 24, Hayworth collected $95,164 in donations.

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