Tenney to face Herkimer sheriff in 101st primary

Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney will be facing off in a Republican primary against Herkimer County Sheriff Chris Farber, according to state Board of Election records.

Tenney, from New Hartford, recently lost her challenge to Rep. Richard Hanna in a Republican primary for the 22nd Congressional District but had enough time to run again for the seat she holds in the sprawling 101st Assembly District.

The 101st Assembly district nicks the borders of Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties and meanders northward through Delaware, Otsego, Herkimer and Oneida counties.

Tenney is serving her second term in Albany and the seat is up for reelection in November, with a primary in September.

There is no Democratic challenger.

As of July, Farber reporter $5,973.44 in his campaign account versus Tenney’s $10,558.84 in the same period.

Posted in Orange, Sullivan, Ulster, Up in Albany | Leave a comment

One less candidate, primary in crowded Assembly race

The cast of candidates seeking Annie Rabbitt’s vacated Assembly seat has dipped to seven from eight with the invalidation of the Democratic petition filed by a Rockland County contender, Jacqueline Boulin Romain.

The state Board of Elections’ updated list of candidate petitions also indicates the Independence Party paperwork submitted by Monroe resident Elisa Tutini — who’s also seeking the Democratic nomination and is assured the Working Families line in the November general election — has been thrown out. That reduced to three from four the number of primaries being held next month for the 98th Assembly District, which crosses southern Orange County and includes part of the Town of Ramapo in Rockland.

There are now four Republicans and three Democrats running in the Sept. 9 primaries. Two Republicans — Karl Brabenec and Dan Castricone — also will compete in a separate primary that day for the Conservative Party line. Brabenec now has the Independence line as a certain perch on the the general election ballot. Castricone is expected to run on the United Monroe line, which also would guarantee him a ballot spot in November.

The Democratic candidates are Aron Wieder, Krystal Serrano and Tutini. The Republicans are Kevin Hudson, Michael Morgillo, Brabenec and Castricone.

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Casino interests give $9,000 to Neuhaus campaign (updated)

Leading a county with the largest pool of casino applicants in the state paid some dividends for Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus in the last few months: the finance report his campaign filed last month after his first six months in office show he collected $9,000 in donations from a major casino company and real estate firm involved with three of the six bids for a casino license in Orange.

His report lists contributions of $2,000, $1,000 and $1,000 on May 8 and July 10 from developer David Flaum and his Rochester-based firm, which secured the 115-acre site in Woodbury on which Caesars Entertainment hopes to build an $880 million casino resort. Genting New York LLC, an affiliate of the Malaysian company with casino resort proposals in Tuxedo and Montgomery, donated $5,000 to the Neuhaus campaign on May 20.

All told, Neuhaus raised more than $47,000 in campaign funds between Jan. 11 and July 11, but he spent almost as much, leaving him with a net gain of $8 over that reporting period and around $16,000 in his coffers by its end, according to the financial statement. (Update: this sentence initially described his net cash increase as $8,000 instead of $8, inadvertently adding three zeros where they didn’t belong. Apologies for the mistake.)

Other large contributions included:

– $4,000 on June 3 and June 12 from Laborers Local 17, one of four building and construction trade unions that donated money to Neuhaus.

– $2,500 on May 8 from Jay Holt, managing director at Holt Construction, the Pearl River company that oversaw major additions to the SUNY Orange campuses in Middletown and Newburgh and has been hired to steer the planned overhaul of the Government Center.

– $2,500 on June 18 from Mediacom Communications Corp., the cable TV company that opened its new headquarters in Blooming Grove last year.

– $2,500 on March 14, June 12 and June 17 from Tern Construction and Development LLC in Carmel, N.Y.

– $2,000 on May 20 from Atlas Security Services Inc. in Goshen, which provides security in county buildings.

Among Neuhaus’ largest expenditures during the same period was a $20,000 payment on June 25 to the political consulting firm of Jay Townsend, who has advised Republican candidates and office holders at all levels, including Neuhaus’ predecessor as county executive, Ed Diana.

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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.

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

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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