Meet Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old who took out Joe Crowley

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) in a stunning primary upset Tuesday, is a 28-year-old former Bernie Sanders organizer — and she just won her first political campaign.

Ocasio-Cortez bested Crowley, 57-42, after campaigning on abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and pushing the Medicare-for-all bill carried by Sanders, the independent Vermont senator.

“We met a machine with a movement,” the stunned Ocasio-Cortez said on NY1, rendered speechless by the strength of her returns.

Born in the Bronx, Ocasio-Cortez is the daughter of a Puerto Rican mother, and graduated from Boston University.

Ocasio-Cortez was an organizer on Sanders’ 2016 presidential bid, and PACs linked to Sanders’ bid supported Ocasio-Cortez, including Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats. She was endorsed by Our Revolution, Democracy for America and the New York City Democratic Socialists of America.

A majority of residents of the district, which includes parts of Continue reading “Meet Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old who took out Joe Crowley”

Nixon hits a wall as Cuomo finds his footing

ALBANY — They must not read “The Nation” in the Bronx.

On the same day that the liberal magazine put Cynthia Nixon on its cover and endorsed her Democratic primary challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the actor rallied with volunteers in the state’s fifth-most populous county. Eleven people signed up.

After a rapid rise in the weeks following her March 19 announcement, a Siena College Research Institute poll released Tuesday showed her 35 points behind the two-term incumbent among likely Democratic general election voters, 61-26.

In the meantime, the governor’s team has found its footing and shored up institutional support. And Nixon has begun the far tougher task of turning fame and media buzz into a functioning campaign that will move voters in the state’s primary in September and lift her higher than the 30 percent plateau.

“It looks like things are not working out for her,” said New Continue reading “Nixon hits a wall as Cuomo finds his footing”

Despite pressure from his left, Cuomo resists calls for tax hikes

ALBANY — As he seeks to fend off an aggressive primary challenge from Cynthia Nixon this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo isn’t bragging about tax cuts, as he did when he sought a second term four years ago. But, unlike his opponent, he is ignoring loud calls from progressives in his party to raise taxes for improvements to subway service or to increase education spending — priorities of the state’s institutional left.

The winner of this year’s gubernatorial race will have the strongest hand in deciding what to do about the millionaire’s tax, a levy of 8.82 percent on income over $1 million that brings in about $4.5 billion a year and is set to fall to 6.85 percent in 2020.

Nixon says she would increase the top tax rates, and, like Democrats who dominate the Assembly, she would add new brackets on even higher income bands. Cuomo, Continue reading “Despite pressure from his left, Cuomo resists calls for tax hikes”

Cuomo’s rivals say his #MeToo measures fall short

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of sexual harassment in the #MeToo era is coming under fire from both his Republican and Democratic opponents — including Cynthia Nixon, the former “Sex and the City” actor who is challenging him in the Democratic primary — as the incumbent campaigns for a third term and eyes a potential presidential bid.

Cuomo advocated for and signed new sexual harassment legislation, boasting last month that it’s “the strongest government sexual harassment policy in the United States” and saying that amid silence in Washington, “again New York is leading the way.” But his opponents, both of whom face an uphill battle against the governor, say he hasn’t done enough to change Albany’s patriarchal culture and hasn’t been aggressive enough in cutting ties with known harassers.

Nixon, who remained more than 20 points behind Cuomo in a recent poll, released a video last week juxtaposing Continue reading “Cuomo’s rivals say his #MeToo measures fall short”

Hillary Clinton endorses Cuomo, says he’s ‘getting things done’

HEMPSTEAD — Hillary Clinton backed Gov. Andrew Cuomo for a third term at the Democratic state convention Wednesday, praising the incumbent’s record in one of her first political appearances of this cycle.

"People in every corner of this state are mounting a massive resistance,” Clinton said, noting Cuomo’s work to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria and his push to raise the minimum wage. “We need leaders who believe in producing results, and getting things done. Leaders like Andrew Cuomo and [Lt. Gov.] Kathy Hochul.”

Cuomo, who served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the administration of President Bill Clinton, is facing a Democratic primary challenge from actor Cynthia Nixon. The incumbent governor was overwhelmingly nominated by the New York State Democratic Committee on Wednesday.

The speech reinforced Cuomo’s support from establishment Democrats who backed the former secretary of State in her most recent presidential Continue reading “Hillary Clinton endorses Cuomo, says he’s ‘getting things done’”

Preet Bharara being drafted for war on Trump

Preet Bharara is seeing all the texts, phone calls and DMs urging him to run for New York attorney general, including from some top operatives and Democratic donors. He’s hearing it from people coming up to him on the street.

And though Bharara is leaning against making a play for the job, according to three people close to him, the onetime powerhouse U.S. attorney fired by Donald Trump pointedly hasn’t said no, either. He wants to see how the next few weeks play out.

Among the people who’ve reached out, the sources said, are Mike Bloomberg consigliere Howard Wolfson and independent-minded GOP consultant John Weaver, along with a host of top Democratic operatives, donors and fundraisers.

“He’s the Eliot Ness that we need today,” said Weaver, who confirmed that he reached out to Bharara despite not previously knowing him. “I understand that he wouldn’t want to campaign, and it Continue reading “Preet Bharara being drafted for war on Trump”

Cuomo postpones Israel trip

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is postponing his planned trip to Israel amid ongoing violence on its border with Gaza, his spokeswoman said.

Cuomo, a Democrat seeking a third term in a contested race, said last week that he hoped to travel to Israel to show solidarity after forces allied with Iran launched missiles into the northern part of the Middle East nation.

The American decision to dedicate a new embassy in Jerusalem — which both Israelis and Palestinians claim as their capital — has fueled violent demonstrations along the border between Gaza and Israeli Defense Forces in which the IDF has shot and killed dozens of protesters.

“Last week after missiles were fired toward the Golan Heights, Governor Cuomo announced a trip to visit the area and meet with Israeli leadership,” Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever, said in a statement. “Israel is now engaged on multiple fronts, including significant hostility Continue reading “Cuomo postpones Israel trip”

Schneiderman succession jockeying grips New York

NEW YORK — The scramble to succeed disgraced former New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — and assume one of the most prominent prosecutorial roles in national Democratic circles — is roiling New York’s election-year politics.

A wide pool of potential contenders quickly emerged following Schneiderman’s surprise resignation Monday night amid abuse allegations, ranging from three members of the state’s congressional delegation to New York City Public Advocate Tish James. Schneiderman had played a key role among Democratic state attorney generals in challenging the Trump administration, and the question of who succeeds him will have implications for future City mayoral races — and possibly even this year’s gubernatorial primary.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has appointed an interim successor, Barbara Underwood.

James appeared to quickly gain momentum early this week. A well-known character on the New York City political stage, she’s a former public defender with a law degree from Howard Continue reading “Schneiderman succession jockeying grips New York”

New York Democrats huddle on Schneiderman replacement

New York Democrats huddled with state assembly speaker Carl Heastie on Capitol Hill Thursday as Heastie attempted to push back on reports he’s already lined up his preferred pick for the state’s open attorney general job.

Heastie insisted he is committed to an open process for selecting someone to temporarily fill the role after Eric Schneiderman’s resignation, according to multiple sources in the room. New York’s 213 state legislators are tasked with appointing a new attorney general; Heastie leads a bloc of 104 Democratic votes.

His comments behind closed doors came amid reports that New York City Public Advocate Letitia James has gained the speaker’s favor, in part because of a belief that elevating her would boost Heastie ally Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. in a potential 2021 campaign for New York City mayor — a job both covet.

The New York Post even reported that James had Continue reading “New York Democrats huddle on Schneiderman replacement”

Cynthia Nixon’s family foundation contributed to groups that endorsed her

ALBANY — Working through her family foundation, actor Cynthia Nixon has donated tens of thousands of dollars to several progressive groups that are now supporting her campaign for governor, a POLITICO review has found.

Nixon, who‘s challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a Democratic primary by saying he is not a true progressive, has contributed at least $54,000 from 2012-2016 to four organizations that either have endorsed her run or have affiliates backing her, according to tax returns for the foundation filed with the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

The “Sex and the City” star’s team says the contributions demonstrate her commitment to progressive causes, including education equity, and leaders of the groups in question say their endorsements and support are based on Nixon’s stances.

Cuomo’s allies are questioning the donations, and note that Nixon has so far not released her personal tax return — something she reiterated this week Continue reading “Cynthia Nixon’s family foundation contributed to groups that endorsed her”

Working Families Party endorses Nixon over Cuomo

ALBANY — The Working Families Party endorsed actor Cynthia Nixon over two-term Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday, fueling Nixon’s left-flank challenge and deepening a split among New York Democrats.

“You are the heart and soul of the progressive New York that we want to create,” Nixon said. “The last eight years under Andrew Cuomo have been an exercise in living with disappointment and dysfunction and dishonesty.”

Nixon has promised to legalize and tax marijuana, end cash bail, push for single-payer health care and increase funding to public schools — raising taxes if necessary. Cuomo has said he has a record of progressive achievement and is an effective leader in the fight against President Donald Trump.

The WFP endorsement all but guarantees a formal nomination — which will come at a convention in May — and assures the “Sex and the City” star a spot on the November ballot, even Continue reading “Working Families Party endorses Nixon over Cuomo”

Cuomo cedes WFP line, labor unions pull out of party

ALBANY — In a move that virtually guarantees Cynthia Nixon a spot on the November ballot, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced late Friday that he would not seek the Working Families Party’s nomination — ceding it to the “Sex and the City” actor who is running against him in a Democratic primary.

The governor’s announcement came after the remaining labor unions pulled out of the party on Friday, citing frustration with the activist groups within its ranks that have backed Nixon and are poised to direct the party nomination to her — perhaps as early as Saturday.

The exit of 32BJ SEIU and the Communications Workers of America was the latest in a long exodus of unions from the WFP that began in 2014, when the party nearly endorsed Zephyr Teachout, Cuomo’s left-flank challenger that year. Cuomo won, but the WFP became further dominated by groups like Citizen Action and Make Continue reading “Cuomo cedes WFP line, labor unions pull out of party”

As challengers push, Cuomo campaign still requires assembly

ALBANY — Despite challengers nipping from the left and right, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s political apparatus seems largely dormant seven months before Election Day.

There’s no separate campaign office or spokesperson. The campaign website is several years out of date. And with the recent corruption conviction of Joe Percoco — a key political adviser and manager of Cuomo’s campaigns over the last 16 years — it’s unclear who will ultimately take the helm.

It’s a sign of a certain flat-footedness, political operatives here say. The governor’s team was caught off guard last month when Cynthia Nixon, the “Sex and the City” actor, announced she would challenge Cuomo in a Democratic primary. And, looking beyond his immediate reelection bid, Cuomo has started positioning himself for a possible 2020 presidential bid, but he’s nowhere close to matching other possible candidates who are already hiring aides in and traveling to early primary states.

POLITICO Continue reading “As challengers push, Cuomo campaign still requires assembly”

No easy path to victory for Cynthia Nixon

Cynthia Nixon’s campaign advisers aren’t running a protest candidacy against two-term Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. They are in it to win, and their plan doesn’t rely on getting the nomination of a third party. It’s beat Cuomo in the Democratic primary, or bust.

Nixon’s advisers concede it’s an uphill battle, but in New York’s typically low-turnout primaries, it’s also a game of arithmetic.

Of the state’s 5.9 million Democrats in 2014, fewer than 600,000 — less than 10 percent — cast ballots in the primary between Cuomo and law professor Zephyr Teachout.

Will New Yorkers dissatisfied with Cuomo turn out in significant numbers on Primary Day this time around? And will the traditionally powerful get-out-the-vote operation of New York’s labor unions, who are increasingly siding with Cuomo, overpower Nixon’s nimble digital team?

The path to victory, however unlikely, relies on eager volunteers who’ve already signed up by the hundreds Continue reading “No easy path to victory for Cynthia Nixon”

New York closes in on workaround to Trump’s new tax law

ALBANY — New York is set to create an optional payroll tax and new charitable funds that will allow its residents to skirt new federal limits on the deductability of state and local taxes, officials said, becoming the first state to enact workarounds to the Trump administration’s new tax law.

It’s a win for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat positioning himself for a possible presidential bid, who along with other blue state governors has blasted Republicans in Congress for targeting their high-tax, high-wealth precincts through certain provisions of the $1.5 trillion Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The legality of the workarounds is in question, and New York lawmakers could prompt a court challenge. New York is among a handful of states that have considered enacting ways to help residents find ways to avoid losing the tax benefits they’ve enjoyed from deducting state and local taxes on federal returns.

The Continue reading “New York closes in on workaround to Trump’s new tax law”

Cuomo helps free journalist detained at New York Capitol

ALBANY — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo helped free a newspaper reporter from police custody Wednesday after the reporter was detained for talking on his cellphone in the state Capitol.

Kenneth Lovett, Albany bureau chief for the New York Daily News, was detained shortly before 1 p.m. in the lobby of the New York State Senate chamber. Witnesses and officials said Lovett was talking on his cellphone as he walked through the area — where access is generally not restricted, although a sign says cellphones “Must be turned off” in the “Senate chamber.”

Lovett, 52, was first stopped by sergeants-at-arms who work for the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans in alliance with the Independent Democratic Conference, whose eight members are Democrats allied with Republicans. The Senate aides then called the New York State Police, who handcuffed Lovett and took him to a substation near the Capitol.

News Continue reading “Cuomo helps free journalist detained at New York Capitol”

Asked if de Blasio is out to get him, Cuomo cackles about Putin

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that Cynthia Nixon’s whispered maybe-primary challenge to him could be fueled by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Or maybe Vladimir Putin?

During a conference call with reporters about the snowstorm, the Democratic governor — who has been positioning himself for a possible presidential bid in 2020 — was asked about the possibility that the “Sex and the City” star would challenge him later this year.

“I know you were asked briefly about the potential of Cynthia Nixon entering the race,” NY1 reporter Zack Fink said. “Do you interpret that in any way as the mayor either putting her up to it or pressuring her to get in as a way to sort of swipe at you?”

“Let me say this to that question,” Cuomo replied. “I think it was probably either the mayor of New York or Vladimir Putin. I’m Continue reading “Asked if de Blasio is out to get him, Cuomo cackles about Putin”

‘Sex and the City’ actress threatens Cuomo’s 2020 ambitions

Cynthia Nixon is unlikely to beat Andrew Cuomo in the New York Democratic primary. But she’ll be the biggest demonstration yet of the visceral loathing and distrust of the governor among liberals that will clearly haunt him if he tries to run for president in 2020.

The “Sex and the City” actress is in serious conversations about jumping in and has begun reaching out to potential campaign staffers, according to a person familiar with her plans, though she has not yet pulled the trigger.

Though there’s been chatter for months that Nixon would run, Cuomo’s team was caught by surprise Tuesday, several people close to the governor said, as word spread that she was getting more serious. The famous plotting politician received the news without any polling on Nixon or any other potential primary challenger. The governor and his team didn’t expect one to materialize.

The potential showdown captures the Continue reading “‘Sex and the City’ actress threatens Cuomo’s 2020 ambitions”

Dylan Ratigan declares for Congress, shakes up Stefanik race

SARANAC LAKE — Former MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan declared his candidacy for Congress on Wednesday, cannonballing into the wide, shallow pool of Democrats hoping to challenge Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik in the northern reaches of New York state.

The 45-year-old is the ninth Democrat to seek the nomination in the 12-county 21st Congressional District, which has been a safe Republican bastion — minus five years of Democratic representation by Bill Owens during the Obama administration — since the Civil War. Stefanik was elected in 2014.

Ratigan said he has long thought about running for Congress, but had trouble untangling himself from a business that encourages veterans to set up solar-powered hydroponic farms and was increasingly dismayed with the “carnival” atmosphere of current political discourse.

“I’m presenting myself as who I am, with an intention to present myself as someone who can bring a level of resources and opportunity to this Continue reading “Dylan Ratigan declares for Congress, shakes up Stefanik race”

Gillibrand accepts nomination for another term, promises to serve all of it

ALBANY — The New York State Democratic Committee formally renominated Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for her second full term, and cheered as she promised to be an ongoing voice in Democratic struggles against President Donald Trump.

“I’ve also been very humbled by helping to start this national conversation about ending sexual violence. Whether it’s sexual assault, sexual violence — wherever it happens,” Gillibrand said Friday to a meeting of the state committee.

“Do we value women? We do. Our party does value women. We as New Yorkers, we value women. And that is why we can never give up on these issues, we can never give in on these issues,” she said. “I pledge to you that even with President Trump in our Oval Office, I will never stop fighting to solve these problems. I will never stop fighting to find common ground because that is literally the only path to Continue reading “Gillibrand accepts nomination for another term, promises to serve all of it”