A behind-the-scenes look at New York politics.
Updated: 2 years 28 weeks ago
Don’t miss Friday night’s episode of “New York Now” on WMHT. Highlights include:
“New York Now” airs at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. Sunday on WMHT; check local listings for viewing around the state.
It will take the State Board of Elections a few more days to post preliminary results, but here are numbers I grabbed from CNN and started playing with in a spreadsheet, which I offer to you, dear readers, for your sorting and crunching pleasure.
Republican candidate Carl Paladino won 12 counties in New York, including his home base of Erie (which he carried by over 55,000 votes) and the surrounding counties. Indeed, Paladino won every county west of Monroe (Rochester) and Livingston (Geneseo) as well as Steuben county. He also carried Hamilton county in the deep Adirondacks and Schoharie county, which he won by 29 votes.
Democrat Andrew Cuomo won the rest, stopping Paladino’s tide with a 62-35 win in Monroe County, the home turf of Lt. Governor-elect Bob Duffy. Cuomo’s biggest margins came in New York City (not surprisingly) where in Brooklyn and Manhattan he netted over 400,000 votes.
Let me stress: these are preliminary numbers, and there are a few precincts missing. So let’s not write Gospel until the state Board of Elections puts out some final numbers. But this should serve as a good snapshot for those of us who can’t wait to start digging.
Tom Reynolds, an ex-congressman who served as Erie County Republican Chairman for the first half of the 1990s, said that even if Mark Grisanti comes up short in his quest to unseat Sen. Antoine Thompson, he’s already won by running such a close race.
“There was Carl Paladino impact there. Carl Paladino carried the county — not by as much as he did in the primary — and he carried it with nearby counties,” Reynolds said. “Grisanti did very well in the remaining Italian-American communitiites in the district, he did well among Republican districts and he did well among independents. He also had a personal appeal to Democrats. We had light turnout in the inner city base where Thompson comes from, a medium vote in moderate parts and heavy turnout in Grand Island which is a suburban town.”
“Also, the turnout of ethnic pieces that were there — Grisanti appealed particularly to Italian-American communities,” he said. “That race is an upset to be at the point that it is, let alone if he wins it.”
Grisanti is leading by 598 votes. Absentee ballot counting starts Monday.
The Commission on Judicial Misconduct found that Gilbert Abramson, a judge in Saratoga County Family Court, repeatedly failed to notify defendants of their right to legal representation and should be removed from office. The order means he can never be a judge again.
“In four separate cases, litigants served for periods ranging from 21 days to 268 days in jail after the judge failed to comply with the appropriate constitutional and statutory mandates,” the commission says in a press release. “The record in its totality demonstrates [Judge Abramson’s] profound disregard for the rule of law and his continuing insensitivity to the overriding importance of protecting the rights of litigants despite the Commission’s cautionary warning and despite his assurances that he ‘dramatically changed’ his practices after that warning.”
The judge compounded this misconduct by making “egregious and inexcusable” comments of a sexual nature on two separate occasions to a litigant in Saratoga County Family Treatment Court. “His gratuitous remarks, which were prompted by an innocuous caricature on a litigant’s T-shirt, were ribald and replete with sexual innuendo,” the Commission said. By making these comments about the “benign and non-sexual” image, Judge Abramson violated his obligation to be the exemplar of dignity and decorum in the courtroom and to treat those who appear in the court with courtesy and respect.
The determination is above. The sexual comments start on the bottom of page 14.
Abramson lost a Republican primary to Jennifer Jensen Bergan, who was elected earlier this week over Clifton Park Town Justice Bob Rybak, the Democratic candidate. Jensen Bergan is the first woman elected to a Saratoga County judgeship since 1791. (Whoa.)
Abramson resigned in mid-October after losing the primary. The commission’s determination was issued Oct. 26.
With the Republicans feeling more and more confident about taking the Senate, they are starting to discuss some key personnel moves should they take power.
One of the first would be to appoint a Senate Secretary and I hear that veteran Frank Patience has been tapped for that job.
He would replace current Democratic Senate Secretary Angelo Aponte if the GOP takes 0ver the chamber — assuming the vote counts go their way.
Patience was the GOP Senate’s personnel director until the chamber flipped in 2008. He’s filled a variety of roles over the years, and he currently serves as the Republicans’ top administrator.
Even if the Democrats remain in power there have been some questions about Aponte’s future, given the role he played in last month’s Inspector General report that so harshly criticized Senate Democrats for their handling of the Aqueduct VLT bid. Aponte, according to IG Joseph Fisch accused Aponte along with Senate Democratic Majority Conference Leader John Sampson of leaking information on the bids to their favored bidder AEG, which initially won the bid but had to withdraw after it became clear they were unlicensable.
Update: Senate Democratic spokesman Austin Shafran reminds us that the races are not yet over (in fact some of the ballot counts could easily for on for more than a week):
Here’s his statement:
“Elections come before staff appointments and office assignments. We
Good morning! Another rainy day here at the capitol, but noticeably more quiet than last week. We’re watching for numbers in three Senate races. We’re waiting for details on a lame-duck session. Some of us are probably anxious to read George Bush’s new book. In the meantime, read these headlines…
Hank Morris tried to plead guilty for his role in a pay-to-play scandal but a judge stalled. (NYP)
Writes Danny Hakim: “Mr. Morris, who served as a middleman between pension officials and investment firms seeking to manage the fund, will plead guilty to a single felony, according to people with knowledge of the agreement reached with Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo…The news comes as Mr. Cuomo, who was elected governor on Tuesday, seeks to wrap up the high-profile pension fund case before leaving office next month. Four weeks ago, Mr. Hevesi pleaded guilty to a felony related to his involvement in the corruption inquiry.//Still unsettled is the question of Steven L. Rattner, the financier whose firm, the Quadrangle Group, has admitted to paying Mr. Morris $1.1 million as it sought business with the pension fund.” (NYT)
Jeffrey Sachs is among those helping with Cuomo’s transition. (DN)
Caveat: good prosecutors are not necessarily good at running a government. (NT2)
Ballot counting continues in three Senate races, where its unclear which party will control the chamber. (TU)
Gov. David Paterson thinks the Republicans have won. (NYP)
There might be a Florida-style recount. “It certainly could drag out past January,” said Martin E. Connor, an election lawyer and former state senator from Brooklyn who has been hired by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee to help Thompson’s case. “Everyone is hoping it doesn’t. My clients are saying, ‘Let’s get this resolved quickly; that people need a government.’ But things take time.” (BN)
What will Cuomo do about the MTA? (CapNY)
Sandra Lee won’t technically be the first lady. (DN)
“Ms. Lee isn’t expected to have any official duties, staff or title, said a person familiar with the matter. And Albany residents hoping for Ms. Lee to introduce her recipes such as “Having-It-All Caramel Shortbread” or “Cheesy Chorizo Chili” to the capital’s culinary scene will find themselves disappointed: She has no plans to relocate to the executive mansion from her residence in Mount Kisco, where she and Mr. Cuomo live.” (WSJ)
As it cuts some programs, UAlbany is adding a certificate in computer security. (TU)
Mike Connors has begun raising money for…his next run. (TU)
Rep. Scott Murphy’s loss was the product of structural, not personal, hurdles. (Newsweek)
Chesapeake Energy bought mineral rights on 500,000 acres. (PSB)
Mike Kaplowitz hasn’t conceded to Greg Ball. (North County News)
Mario Cuomo gave a lengthy radio interview. (NYO)
And here are some national headlines…
Can Barack Obama change? (Politico)
George W. Bush dislikes Sarah Palin, and faults John McCain for picking her as a VP candidate. (DN)
He’s been largely invisible since leaving office, but is gearing up to promote a memoir. (WP)
Nancy Pelosi is mulling a run to stay in the minority leadership. (Politico)
New York’s Democratic representatives have lost some clout. (BN)
Rep. Bill Owens may rise a bit above the basement. (WDT)
Republicans are thinking about how vociferous their opposition should be, with their new-found Congressional clout. (WP)
The Federal Reserve Bank chose to buy $600 billion of treasury bonds, sending stock prices up. (WP)
And below, Liz B. (in Puerto Rico) talks to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver:
The National Conference of State Legislatures has been looking at statehouse races nationwide, and the GOP sweep of Congress appears to be resounding in state capitols as well.
The Conference says Republicans have picked up at least 680 legislative seats nationwide, and they’ve got majorities in both chambers in at least 26 states — which will surely work to their advantage in redistricting.
That National Journal adds that Republicans have what they call the redistricting “trifecta” — both legislative chambers and the governor’s office in 15 states.
According to the NCSL, the New York Senate remains in the undecided column along with state senates in Oregon, Washington and the “House” in Colorado.
Below is a fuzzy image of the NCSL’s map of statehouses and who controls them; click here of anywhere on the copy of the map below for the organization’s sharper interactive graphic:
Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer is leading her GOP challenger Bob Cohen by 466 votes, with all but two election districts in Westchester County reporting.
(Click here on SD–>37 to see)
“Suzi is gaining strength and closing strong, as we expected. Once all votes have been counted, it will be clear, Democrats retained the majority,” said Democratic spokesman Austin Shafran.
If Oppenheimer hangs on, along with Sens. Craig Johnson and Antoine Thompson, Democrats will keep a 32-30 majority in the Senate. Both Thompson and Johnson are running behind, however; the latest tally put Thompson down by 598 votes to challenger Mark Grisanti.
There will be court action tomorrow morning regarding the seat, I’m told by GOP lawyers. Both Democrats and Republicans filed motions with courts in Erie and Niagara counties (respectively) to prevent any ballot counting from occurring outside of a judicially blessed process. Republicans filed their suit in Niagara County around 2 a.m. Wednesday morning; the thinking is they’d get better treatment from a judge there than Erie County, where Democrats filed their action.
A judge will hear the Democratic case tomorrow in Buffalo. Republicans hope things will be quick, and that the action will be subsumed by their own litigation, which is returnable in court on Monday.
And, while Casey says I’m cruel for doing this, I can’t resist posting the below video. You can treat it as any kind of metaphor you wish.
The previously defiant Hank Morris has decided to take a plea in the pension fund scandal. Morris was a longtime political operative for former Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who took his own plea last month. Morris pleaded not guilty when he and David Loglisci were indicted in March 2009.
Loglisci took his own felony plea in March, but has yet to be sentenced.
Here’s the bulletin from AP:
Officials say a longtime adviser to New York’s disgraced former state comptroller has agreed to plead guilty in an influence peddling scandal. Political consultant Hank Morris was charged last year with using his cozy relationship with comptroller Alan Hevesi to extract millions of dollars in kickbacks from financial firms seeking state investment contracts.
Lawyers for the attorney general’s office and for Morris told a Manhattan judge Thursday that a plea bargain had been reached in the case. The details of the deal were not made public during the brief hearing.
An attorney general spokesman said the judge declined to consider the plea Thursday, saying it was put before him on too short notice. Morris’ lawyer did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
Here’s a fun spreadsheet (I’ve got one more to post, too) showing the county-by-county results from the attorney general’s race.
It shows Sen. Eric Schneiderman, D-Manhattan, running within two points of Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan in Upstate America and within 2.5 percent in the suburban counties surrounding New York. Donovan won 65 percent of the vote in his home borough of Staten Island but lost by nearly 50 points overall in New York City.
Schneiderman is pretty unabashed about being a New York City liberal — he made a leftward run to win a five-way Democratic primary, and sources on both sides of the aisle agree that Donovan’s strength would have been to play to a more receptive audience upstate.
Two Republican sources have complained to me about this, and one noted that Bob Antonacci — the Onondaga County comptroller who stepped aside and spared Donovan a primary — wasn’t visible in his role as upstate campaign chairman.
When I asked him about this in flushing, Donovan disputed it.
“We’ve been upstate a lot. We’ve been to every region,” he said. “I visited…I was in Rochester and Buffalo this weekend. We’ve been up in the North County, the Southern Tier, the Capital Region — we’ve been all over the state.”
Schneiderman’s spokesman James Freedland had this to say about the results:
“From day one of this campaign, we said we would compete in every corner of the state and not concede a single vote. While we’re very happy for all the votes Eric got in New York City, we’re extremely proud of the overwhelming show of support for Eric’s record as an independent reformer statewide, where he essentially tied in both upstate and the suburbs, winning numerous counties in both regions.”
And now, Citizens Union is pushing for all counties to do the same, reasoning that it could help avoid election day confusion and snags.
From Citizens Union:
An analysis released today by Citizens Union showed that the boards of elections in twenty-six counties in New York State – representing almost half of all counties – posted sample ballots online for voters to familiarize themselves with the ballot and races prior to entering the polling place. The analysis also contained a map showing which counties post sample ballots online. Following complaints by voters throughout the City about the confusing format, lack of familiarity, and small font size of the NYC general and primary election ballots, Citizens Union again urges the Board of Elections in the City of New York (City Board) to post sample ballots online representing the races, candidates and referenda expected to appear on the ballot in advance of future elections.
The City Board of Elections has previously and repeatedly refused to post such sample ballots online, arguing that doing so would increase the likelihood of fraud and that ballots for some election and assembly districts are not finalized until just before the election.
“We heard many complaints on election day from voters about the ballot being difficult to see, about not being told of referenda on the back of the ballot, and about complex and confusing directions on the ballot. Posting a sample ballot online in advance of the election would help to address these issues. If voters can see exactly what their ballot will look like, they will be better prepared to accurately and completely cast their votes more quickly on Election Day,” said Dick Dadey, Executive Director of Citizens Union.
Citizens Union on Election Day this past Tuesday joined with its good government colleagues and the New York City Council, which has oversight authority over the City Board, in conducting surveys of New Yorkers exiting the polls on their voting experience. These exit surveys, which were supplemented by online ones, revealed that many voters reported the ballot being difficult to read, voters not being aware of the city charter revision questions on the back, and voters finding the directions on the ballot confusing. These survey findings were echoed in reports to major media outlets and the blogs that took accounts from voters on their experience at the polls.
“Posting a sample ballot online is a common-sense measure that is being done by twenty-six county boards of elections throughout the state,” said Alex Camarda, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy. “From Warren to Niagara to Dutchess County, county boards are recognizing this is an important tool in better preparing voters for election day. It’s inconceivable why the City Board has been unwilling to follow suit and inform voters of what their ballot looks like before they actually go to vote. Had the City Board done so, many problems encountered at the poll sites could have been avoided.”
Citizens Union did a comprehensive survey of every county in the state to determine which Boards of Elections post ballots online. Staff visited the websites of each county board of elections, and noted whether sample ballots were available, as well as the manner and form in which they were presented on the site. Several counties with large cities, including Monroe (Rochester), Onondaga (Syracuse), and Broome (Binghamton) all provide sample ballots online. In all instances, the sample ballots appeared to present the actual races and candidates expected to appear on the ballot.
“Of the twenty-six boards of elections posting ballots online, seven demonstrate exceptional practices by linking the sample ballot to the poll site finder for users of the site,” explained Rachael Fauss, Policy and Research Manager. “This enables voters to see the ballot that is tailored to their specific election and assembly district rather than a ballot that is very similar but may differ slightly from the one they will see on Election Day. Twenty of the twenty-six boards also provide a link to the sample ballot on their home page, another feature that should be adopted by the City Board to make ballots most accessible to the public.”
The analysis contains a chart that reveals which counties post sample ballots online, and the manner in which they are hosted and presented. Some of the county boards that do not tailor sample ballots to the exact election and assembly district of voters do provide multiple sample ballots for voters to access based on the political subdivision in which they live – by city, town, or ward.
Citizens Union and its good government colleagues – including the Brennan Center for Justice, Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY (CIDNY), Common Cause/NY, League of Women Voters of the City of New York, New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), and the Women’s City Club of New York – have long requested that the City Board put a sample ballot online. However, the City Board has not yet acted on these requests pointing to unsubstantiated concerns over fraud and more recently, late changes that can occur to ballots.
Citizens Union has testified before the City Council in the last month and met with Council members and staff on this issue, and is exploring ways with the Council to use its authority over the City Board’s budget, if not its legislative authority, to require that it post a sample ballot online, in addition to other changes to improve the administration of elections following widespread problems during the Primary Election.
An update on our earlier post about the fate of the Taxpayers line: A source at the Working Families Party says that its canvass of results suggests this Carl Paladino-funded project is unlikely to clear the 50,000 mark needed to secure a four-year slot on the ballot.
The left-leaning WFP has been asking county boards for results of all the non-major parties in its calls around the state, and while only about 70 percent of the boards were forthcoming with non-WFP numbers, those results show some 22,000 Taxpayers votes so far.
The WFP’s other findings, with more than 95 percent of results in:
I’m still awaiting a call back from Paladino’s people — if they’re still his people, that is.
Senate Republican spokesman Mark Hansen swung by to say that, after a re-canvass in Erie and Niagara counties. Sen. Antoine Thompson is now trailing by 598 votes. There are still about 2,700 absentee ballots, with about a thousand-or-so affidavit ballots.
“Mark Grisanti has a significant lead, and we remain confident about the absentee ballots that have been returned,” Republican spokesman Scott Reif said. “Grisanti looks like a winner.”
Erie County Chairman Len Lenihan didn’t have numbers from Niagara County, but based on Erie County’s re-canvass Thompson was trailing by 495. He and other Democrats said Reif’s number is possible.
Republicans say they have won a 32-30 majority in the Senate, defeating Thompson and Sen. Craig Johnson, D-Long Island. Democrats are contesting those victories, and recounts will start next week.
And on the right, a voter from Erie County took a picture of an ad that ran on Election Day, the back of the main section of the Buffalo News. It’s a group of major lawyers in Buffalo, questioning Thompson’s attack on Grisanti for representing criminal defendants.
Remember Park51? The planned Muslim community center fell off the radar almost entirely after the one-two punch of the Sept. 11 anniversary and the GOP primary. For those nostalgic for MosqueMania, here’s the Associated Press’ report on retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ expression of support for the project:
… The 90-year-old Stevens said it is wrong to lump all Muslims with the terrorists who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks that killed 3,000 people. “Guilt by association is unfair,” he told a Japanese-American group in Washington.
The center’s location two blocks north of where the Twin Towers once stood has upset some relatives of Sept. 11 victims and stirred nationwide debate and angry demands that it be moved. Critics say the site of mass murder by Islamic extremists is no place for an Islamic institution, while supporters of the center say religious freedom should be protected.
But Stevens, a World War II veteran, compared the criticism of the mosque to the emotion he said he initially felt when he saw Japanese tourists at Pearl Harbor.
Among the thoughts that he said flashed through his mind during a 1994 visit to the memorial to the Japanese attack that brought the U.S. into World War II was, “These people don’t really belong here.”
He said many New Yorkers might have had a similar reaction to news about the mosque in lower Manhattan.
But Stevens said he realized he was drawing conclusions about a group of people that did not necessarily fit any one of the tourists he saw at Pearl Harbor.
“We should never pass judgment on barrels and barrels of apples just because one of them may be rotten,” said Stevens, who left the court in June. He commented on an issue of public debate in a way he most likely would have avoided had he still been serving as a justice.
He said that a nation built by people who fled religious persecution “should understand why American Muslims should enjoy the freedom to build their places of worship wherever permitted by local zoning laws.”
Stevens said the National Japanese American Memorial in Washington offers a similar message in its recognition that the internment of thousands of U.S. citizens of Japanese descent during World War II was wrong.
He called the monument a “a powerful reminder of the fact that ignorance — that is to say, fear of the unknown — is the source of most invidious prejudice.”
Appearing on Susan Arbetter’s Capitol Pressroom and talking to the press afterwards, state Budget Director Robert Megna offered some details about the midyear budget gap that Gov. David Paterson addressed in his own radio appearances this morning.
“We think we’re short by about 315 million,” said Megna, who described the shortfall as a factor of both flattened revenue over the past few weeks and the steeper-than-predicted rise in the Medicaid rolls due to joblessness (4.9 million people rather than the projected 4.2 million).
Paterson is asking for across-the-board cuts of $375 million, which would allow the Legislature to revisit some of the programs and items that were eliminated by the summer VetoThon.
“The governor feels if we have to come back and solve the $315 million problem, why don’t we go a little bit further,” Megna said.
The cuts Paterson had in mind would require a cut of 1.5 percent to 2 percent, Megna said.
The Budget Director said the administration is still leery of tapping the Tax Stabilization Reserve Fund to make up all or part of the midyear gap, “because we really feel that that would be jeopardizing our position if we really had no money in the bank.”
On the matter of the 898 layoffs planned by Paterson before the end of the year, Megna said “we did everything we could to minimize the number of layoffs.” He referred to the difficulty of making the cuts without knowing the full extent of the savings to be derived from the retirement incentive program in sectors like SUNY and the judiciary that are not under the governor’s control.
In state agencies, many of those who retire under Paterson’s plan will not be replaced — but the executive lacks the authority to do the same for other portions of the state workforce. “We can’t direct (SUNY or the judiciary) not to replace those workers, so we can’t count on those savings,” Megna said.
“We try to be as scientific as we can about this,” he said.
He said he was confident that the lame-duck factor wouldn’t slow efforts to trim the budget. With both Paterson and a number of lawmakers leaving office at the end of the year, there’s no telling what they may or may not do during a session. Megna though, said he believes the governor has a “fiscal mandate” to help as much as he can on the budget.
One bit of good news: Megna said it looks like the state will have enough cash on hand to make one of the large periodic payments they make to school districts statewide next month. That, if you recall, became an issue last year when the state held back school aid payments due to cash flow problems.
“We think we’re in better shape this year,” said Megna.
The best part about that quote is that it was uttered by none other than the senator himself.
That’s right, folks! You could have smelled this coming a mile away, but in the event of a 31-31 tie, Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., D-Bronx, has promised to live up to all expectations that he will not be a loyal Democratic soldier, declining to rule out voting for a Republican as the Senate majority leader.
“It doesn’t look good for us. But you have to know that if they have 31-31, I believe that the lonely amigo will create more problems than ever before,” Diaz just told me by phone. “I ran on the Republican line and I ran on the Democratic line. Both parties helped me win. I have the backing of both parties, and I believe people know what I want, and I believe that even if we become majority again, there is so much problems.”
I just wrote someone an e-mail noting that this week is, well, oddly familiar to my first week at the Capitol in 2008. Before there was a coup, before there was a toll-less MTA bailout, before we knew who John Sampson was, there were the original “gang of four” refusing to play nice with Malcolm Smith, who once upon a time was more than the Democrats nominal leader.
So if I type with a sense of frustration, dear readers, please be understanding. A source close to Carl Kruger told me the morning after election day that it was “a little premature” for Kruger to start shopping as a mercenary, “but if things go differently, of course.”
“Remember: the two other guys [Sens. Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate] got burned,” the source said. “And remember Carl’s got that U.S. attorney looking at him, so he’s being cautious.”
But circumstances make even cautious men do risky things. I asked Diaz whether he would like to be majority leader.
“Me? Nah. Get outta here. I don’t want nothing. The only thing that I want? No gay marriage. I don’t want nothing. I don’t negotiate. People know what I want, and what I believe, and my philosophy,” he said.
“It’s going to be very interesting to see what Senator Diaz will do. Believe me,” he told Jimmy Vielkind, who can also refer to Jimmy Vielkind in the third person. “Let’s see what happens.”
UPDATE: Carl Kruger called.
“I want to be absolutely clear: Nobody speaks for me. I always speak for myself,” Kruger said, calling the above characterization “outrageous.” Maybe the person I called wasn’t so close to him.
“I’m telling you very, very succinctly and clearly: John Sampson is my friend, he is my political partner, he is my neighbor, I suport his leadership, I am part of the Democratic conference, I am the chairman of the Finance Committee in the majority and we intend to be in the majority come January, 2011.”
I asked if there was any way he could vote for a Republican for majority leader.
“We are in the majority currently, and we intend to be in the majority in 2011,” Kruger said. “And I want to thank you again, Jimmy, for understanding just what I’m saying.”
A handful of folks have asked for a determination on whether Carl Paladino managed to attract 50,000 on his Taxpayers line, a threshold that would put it on the ballot for the next four years.
Here’s what’s posted on the party’s website:
It is still unclear if Carl Paladino got 50,000 votes on the Taxpayers Line. Carl, and many other Taxpayers candidates such as Joe DioGuardi, and Leonard Roberto did not win, we do have some good news to report. Patricia A. Ritchie won her senate seat, Nicole Malliotakis, Steven McLaughlin, and John Ceretto won their Assembly seats. Robert Castelli appears to be a winner, but there is no final count at this moment. Keep checking back and we will keep you updated on the future of the Taxpayers Party Line, and it’s elected representatives.
John Conklin of the state Board of Elections said that officials were still dealing with the primary job of taking in results from all districts before moving on to the secondary task of providing the numbers for the individual ballot lines. Both Andrew Cuomo and Paladino ran on three separate lines.
Conklin said unofficial results with ballot-line breakdowns would likely be released before the final numbers are certified, though when that might come is still undetermined.
It’s going to be a while before we know who took the 37th Senate District, as there apparently has been a snag with some of the new voting machines there.
A look at the Westchester County BOE website, for example, indicates that 80 percent of the votes are counted — Bob Cohen spokesman Josh Hills tells me it’s been at 80 percent since late Tuesday night, early Wednesday morning. Other races in Westchester are stalled as well, according to the BOE tallies.
Office SENATORIAL DISTRICT 37
Republican or Democrat, the head of the Empire State Pride Agenda is pleased with the results of Tuesday’s election and says it showed momentum for the LGBT agenda.
“We think the message to legislators, whether they’re ds or rs is that being on the right side of LGBT issues is good politics,” Executive Director Ross Levi told me by phone, noting candidates who opposed things like same-sex marriage lost their bids for statewide office. “I think that sends the message to any elected official.”
He also said ESPA has picked up votes toward marriage equality: Tim Kennedy will replace Sen. Bill Stachowski, Jose Peralta has replaced Sen. Hiram Monserrate and Michael Gianaris has replaced Sen. George Onorato. The overall pick-up is less certain, as Democrats fight to retain three seats with senators who supported same-sex marriage when it came up to a floor vote (and failed) in 2009.
“The more important question is, will the people who voted one way last time vote the same way, and a big part of the calculus is, what’s the lesson from these elections?” Levi said. “I think after these elections, in fact, an astute politicians realizes they need to be more receptive to LGBT issues.”
Andrew Cuomo called in to WGDJ this morning, and outlined his plans for a transition and his post-game thoughts on the election.
He said he didn’t regret doing just one debate with all the candidates — a forum from which, Cuomo said, Jimmy McMillan emerged as the clear winner — and ducked a question about whether he was glad Carl Paladino was his opponent.
“It’s sort of emotionally exhausting to go through, but I’m excited,” Cuomo said. “I’m proud to be a New Yorker. I really am,” “You had a lot of forces trying to exploit the fear, exploit the anger, and New Yorkers went the other way.”
He declined to offer any big details about what his cabinet might look like, but said that most of the policy work needed to begin his administration has already been done.
“There are different types of transitions. My campaign did extensive policy work. Mock me if you must, seven, eight books of policy,” Cuomo said. “So I don’t need to do a lot of policy work in this transition. Also, we know the budget, we know the numbers, and you update the numbers.”
The work will be work “on the personnel side, and working very hard to attract new talent to state government, or begin to attract new talent. You know, part of this, the decline, part of the degradation, Fred, you have to try to get people to want to go and work there, and be part of that.”
“And that is not an easy sell right now,” Cuomo continued. He then lowered expectations a bit.
“We’re not going to turn that around in three weeks. That is going to be a work in progress. You start to turn it around, you start to develop some credibility, and then people will start to join on. You’re not going to turn that around in January, but I want to start to at least put up a new banner that says, ‘Open for business. Public service can be an honorable profession.’ ”
“We’re re-making a culture here,” he said, a thinly veiled shot at Gov. David Paterson’s administration.
He also took some nice, thinly veiled shots at ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer and his famous pledge.
“If someone wants to say everything should change on day one, I’m going to say, been there, done that,” Cuomo said. “If people expect to see progress, and realistic progress, no one who’s at all well informed would say everything’s going to change on day one.”
Cuomo was asked specifically about Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings, and whether he might find a home as OGS commissioner. Cuomo’s answers were humorously evasive.
“My guess is he wants to stay being mayor.”
“He’s a very talented guy, Jerry.”
“I’m a big believer in mayors.”