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At long last, we present the return of Primary School’s only official holiday: FEC Week. For any readers who have joined us since last cycle: the Federal Elections Commission requires candidates to file a report on their campaign’s finances every 3 months, covering Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, Jul-Sept, and Oct-Dec, as well as supplementary reports before and after elections. The reports are due the first business day 15 days after the periods end, which was Thursday in this case, so we have our first batch. While finances aren’t everything about a campaign, they can tell us a lot about the strengths and focuses of campaigns.
CA-29: Angelica Dueñas isn’t raising much money, but she raised close to nothing last time around, and still got 43.4% of the vote in 2020.
CA-30: Brad Sherman, one of the Democratic Party’s biggest war hawks, has two challengers at the moment: Shervin Aazami, deputy director of communications at the National Indian Health Board, and Aarika Rhodes, an Andrew Yang acolyte who’s been running since June of last year. Both are running on progressive campaign platforms, and both are not in exactly great financial situations, but it’s very early.
CT-01: see item
FL-20: Barbara Sharief really should be doing better than this financially. That $100,000 loan is an okay start, but it won’t finance a whole campaign, and she doesn’t seem particularly able to fundraise elsewhere.
HI-01: Ed Case isn’t facing a primary challenger right now, but that’s an embarrassingly bad quarter for an incumbent. Just thought we’d point it out.
IL-08: In 2019, the authoritarian, anti-Muslim, Trump-esque Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi came to the US for a political reception. Only one Democratic member of Congress attended: Raja Krishnamoorthi. This went over quite poorly with the Muslim community in his district, as well as national Muslim organizations. Krishnamoorthi, a member of the moderate New Democratic caucus, had never been a favorite of progressives anyway, ever since his first election to succeed Tammy Duckworth in Chicagoland-based IL-08, but support for Modi is another level of awful. Enter Junaid Ahmed, who runs a local IT consulting firm. Ahmed launched his campaign in mid February, on a progressive platform that includes standbys like Medicare for All and free college, but also makes sure to note that he will “hold foreign governments accountable for their persecution of religious, ethnic, caste based and other minorities”. At the time, his candidacy was barely noted by the local press, and he told Politico Playbook that he was inspired to run by Bernie Sanders and that he hoped to “out-organize” instead of compete with the incumbent on the financial battlefield. Despite that inauspicious comment—organizing is essential, but it’s also not free—Ahmed raised over $215,000, meaning this campaign is for real.
MD-05: Mckayla Wilkes didn’t raise a lot of money to begin her rematch with #2 House Democrat Steny Hoyer: only $32,000. But $32,000 is enough to start with, and last time her fundraising didn’t really pick up until the election got close anyway.
OH-11: We discussed Turner’s and Brown’s hauls last week, so the major news this week is that no one else is really getting any traction, huh? see item
OR-05: Last cycle, Kurt Schrader spent over a million dollars on the project of pummeling his progressive challenger, underfunded mayor Mark Gamba, as thoroughly as possible. If he’s expecting another expensive race this time around, he isn’t showing it.
NY-12: Last time around, Carolyn Maloney ran out of money and resorted to digging into her personal funds at the end. This $385,000 quarter is, on one hand, a sign that she wanted to build up something of a war chest before what is guaranteed to be another bruising primary, but also a sign of why she ran out of money last time. She’s a committee chair, and she represents Wall Street. She should be able to knock out $500,000 without trying very hard, and a million with some effort. Carolyn Maloney will probably have a financial advantage here, but it will be slight. Adbelhamid raised over $100,000 on her first day alone.
TN-05: Is Jim Cooper running for reelection? No, seriously, is Jim Cooper running for reelection? $7,660 is one of the worst quarters an incumbent member of Congress has had in years. It may be the single worst for any incumbent this quarter. He was never a superstar fundraiser, but he would at least bring in 6 figures in the past. And it’s not like he has that much money on hand. This really does look like he figures that the GOP will demolish his Congressional district, so he’s just given up. Or, at the very least, that he’s not willing to do the work of call time until he knows whether he’ll have a district to run in.
TX-30: Dallas political fixture Eddie Bernice Johnson says she’s retiring after this term, and she hasn’t filed with the FEC to run again, so she may actually mean it this time, but she’s been mulling retirement for a while. No politicians are quite ready to jump in yet, except for non-profit coordinator Jessica Mason, whose campaign appears to be off to a rocky financial start. (Not that Johnson is particularly intimidating on the financial front: she has less than $400,000 in the bank, pretty low for an incumbent.)
TX-35: Lloyd Doggett may be in for a tough reelection. He represents progressive Austin, as well as a strip of Hispanic, Democratic voters down through San Marcos to San Antonio. It’s a tough combination for an older, white rep, and it may get blown to pieces in redistricting. We’re including him here because chances are quite high he has a challenger in 2022, and that amount of cash does not inspire confidence in his ability to fend off a primary.
WA-09: As with Lloyd Doggett, Adam Smith only just got his challenger, so the cash on hand figure is more important than the actual money raised, and we are once again struck by how he never seems to have much in the bank, even after facing Sarah Smith in 2018 and despite being in an obvious position to rake in money from the defense industry as chair of the House Armed Services Committee.
Special Elections Update
This as-yet-unscheduled special election to replace the late Rep. Alcee Hastings is turning into a clown car clusterfuck in record time. Florida House Minority Leader Bobby DuBose and Fort Lauderdale attorney/ex-cop Marlon Onias officially jumped in this week, while Palm Beach County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor filed with the FEC; they join state Sen. Perry Thurston, Broward County Commissioners Dale Holness and Barbara Sharief, attorney and two-time Hastings challenger Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, and former National Urban League chief of staff Elvin Dowling, who were already running (in Sharief’s and Cherfilus-McCormick’s cases, since before Hastings’s death.) According to a Public Policy Polling survey obtained by Florida Politics, Holness and Thurston start as favorites no matter what the field looks like; PPP, unfortunately, polled three different scenarios, none of which will actually represent the field (two include state Sen. Shevrin Jones, who has announced he will not run, while DuBose is excluded from the only Jones-free poll as well as one of the Jones-including polls; Cherfilus-McCormick, Onias, Taylor, and Dowling are excluded from all three, and Cherfilus-McCormick and Taylor have actually been on the ballot in large portions of the district before.) So, in short, we’re not going to look too closely at this poll, which also shows the electorate is mostly undecided; we’ll just note that Holness and Thurston are in the lead, with DuBose and Sharief very much in the game too.
As we enter the last days of the campaign, feel free to enjoy our subscriber special about Troy Carter’s campaign, a deep dive into the extensive Republican funding being received by the Biden orbit’s preferred candidate. Otherwise, just sit back and watch the ideological differentiation occur. Karen Carter Peterson spent last week of the campaign doing her best to prove that she is the more progressive option. In a debate between the two, she tacked to his left on minimum wage ($20/hr) and healthcare (Medicare for All), while attacking him for his anti-Defund The Police resolution. She has also sent out mailers tying him to Trump and the Republican Party, connections he’s angrily denied. (She’s not wrong: while he’s no Trump supporter, he’s awfully eager to tout endorsements and take money from Republican politicians.) A recent Carter mailer, meanwhile, attacks Carter Peterson for supporting Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in 2016, a clear attempt to dissuade Chambers’s progressive supporters from showing up. Potentially blunting that attack? Just this afternoon, she rolled out an endorsement from AOC.
Carter Peterson has otherwise stayed mostly positive, talking up her issues and endorsements on air, while letting any negative messages get delivered by third parties. She makes sure to mention the Stacey Abrams and Gary Chambers Jr. endorsements in every ad. Every indication is that she is quite serious about winning over every Chambers voter she can.. Carter, meanwhile, is going harshly negative in his two closing ads. The first, a full minute of Troy Carter talking to the camera, is entirely made up of him calling Carter Peterson a liar. The second, a hastily-produced voiceover-and-stock footage hit, focuses solely on attacking her over the mailer about his Trump connections. (Not sure why he’d want to amplify her attacks, but...okay.) It wouldn’t be a race in Louisiana without things getting ugly towards the end.
Shontel Brown finally got some media coverage for something other than being Nina Turner’s opponent. Unfortunately for her, it’s not good.
The Intercept found that during Brown’s time on the Cuyahoga County Council, Brown voted to steer tens of millions of dollars in local government contracts to firms connected to her partner, Mark Perkins, and his family. In doing so, she broke a 2014 campaign promise to recuse herself from votes on contracts connected to Perkins, plunging headfirst into a glaring conflict of interest in favor of her partner’s family (who happen to have long been reliable donors to Brown’s campaigns.)
Who’s the most anonymous Democrat in Congress? Tough question, right? It’s asking what names don’t come to mind. You could make a case for a few of them. Lucille Roybal-Allard might be the answer, maybe David Price. But there’s a case for John Larson. Quick: name one thing he’s done in his 22 years in Congress. If you google news about John Larson, the memorial fish fry for an entirely unrelated Capt. John Larson sits above any mention of the actual sitting congressman. Larson has been in politics 40 years, and represents an urban area that has gotten more diverse with each passing year. When he took office, Hartford was about half white. That figure is now 15%. Larson may have adapted away from his earlier anti-tax warrior image, but he should still be vulnerable. Despite that, he’s never shared a ballot with a primary challenger. Not once out of 10 re-elections. Well, now he has two.
Muad Hrezi, an ex-staffer for Sen. Chris Murphy, is running as a progressive, and while he hasn’t laid down a full set of policies yet, he does mention that he supports Medicare for All and the Green New Deal on his website, and has elsewhere mentioned marijuana legalization and ending the revolving door as priorities. Andrew Legnani, an EMT, is running a somewhat less polished campaign, supporting similar issues, with additional campaign planks including UBI, defunding the police, and reparations. Both candidates have said they are actively seeking support from national groups such as Justice Democrats and the Sunrise Movement. Hopefully this means they don’t intend for both of them to be on the ballot, risking a plurality win by Larson. Now that they’ve both turned in a campaign finance report, it looks very much like Hrezi, who raised close to $90,000 in about 2 months, is the serious threat to Larson here, while Legnani is raising close to nothing.
Barely a few days after the first Justice Democrats candidate launched their campaign, we have a second. Meet Rana Abdelhamid. Abdelhamid, the child of Egyptian immigrants, grew up in Queens, and first entered the world of activism at 16 when, inspired by a hate crime she had recently endured, where a man attacked her randomly on the street and tried to tear her hijab off her head, she founded Women’s Initiative for Self-Empowerment (WISE), an organization that teaches self-defense classes to Muslim Women. Since then, she’s gone to college and grad school, taken a marketing job at Google, joined the board of Amnesty International, founded her own nonprofit, and moved back to her native Queens.
She provides quite the contrast to incumbent Carolyn Maloney. Maloney’s a Manhattanite millionaire who entered politics in 1983 with a successful election to the City Council, and then moved up to Congress a decade later, by defeating a Republican who had stuck around until the 90s. Incredibly, she lost Manhattan in that race, and only won because redistricting had added small parts of Queens and the Bronx to the district. The voters of the Upper East Side were very reluctant Democrats—they still sent at least one Republican to the state legislature until 2003—so it is perhaps reasonable to view Maloney's early career as that of a swing-district representative. Unfortunately, that's where she’s stayed. She was what would be considered a progressive in the 90s, but she's failed to adjust to changing times. In fact, on foreign policy, she seems to be one of those politicians whose brains were permanently scrambled by 9/11, and her foreign policy took a sharp right turn after. Who could forget that time she took the floor in a burka for a speech urging an aggressive War on Terror? The Iraq War, the Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act—if the Bush administration was pushing for something under the auspices of national security, Maloney was voting for it. She also became a huge Iran hawk, fighting for sanctions and against the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal. She memorably compared her choice to run for Senate to Iranian democracy activists, for some reason. Truly, the words of someone with a healthy sense of perspective. (She ended that campaign a couple weeks after using the n-word in an interview.)
You might be thinking that Maloney sounds out of touch with how the Democratic electorate has moved, and you’d be right. After going decades without any serious opponents, Maloney was challenged in 2018 by hotel chain owner Suraj Patel. Patel was clearly more progressive than Maloney, but was held back by his personal faults. His career as a wealthy hotel owner meant a lot of progressives didn’t trust him, some deeply creepy comments from his past were dredged up, and the whole campaign emanated a slick, manicured, corporate vibe. From the ads, to Patel’s media appearances, to his practice of “Tinder banking,” the vibes were, simply, off. Patel did quite well in Brooklyn, but lost by a margin of 60% to 40%. Patel tried again in 2020, but so did a pair of socialist candidates, Lauren Ashcraft and Peter Harrison. Maloney sensed she was in trouble, even to the point of self-funding to keep her campaign out of the red, and when the dust settled, the race was so close her campaign had to send lawyers down to the absentee ballot counting in anticipation of fighting over every ballot. She cobbled together just 42.8% of the vote, the second worst of any incumbent Democrat (behind only Eliot Engel, one borough to her north.) That was enough to win over a split field, with Suraj Patel at 39.4%, Lauren Ashcraft at 13.6%, and Peter Harrison at 4.2%.
That 2020 race shows a tremendous amount of promise for the left. Despite raising little money, getting little institutional help, and being seen as mostly non-viable, a couple of low-profile leftists had won 17.8% of the vote, mostly from Sanders and Warren supporters dissatisfied with both options before them. Maloney lost both Queens and Brooklyn, and was saved, ironically, by those same wealthy Manhattanites that had chosen the Republican in her original 1992 election. But even in Manhattan, she fell below 50% of the vote.
Maloney is in deep, deep trouble for 2020. If she has two lifelines, they are 1) Suraj Patel and 2) redistricting. Patel has said he’s running for a third time, and that Abdelhamid’s entry into the race did not change his mind. If you’ve got two equally matched opponents, 42.3% of the vote is more than enough to win again. If Abdelhamid wants to win, she’ll need to convince progressives that she’s the more progressive, and more viable, challenger. The reason that redistricting could be such a help to Maloney is that NY-12 is a fantastic district for progressives. It nearly voted for Cynthia Nixon in her longshot gubernatorial bid in 2018. The Brooklyn and Queens portions voted for a variety of DSA candidates in 2020. But, look at the current configuration:
It’s a strange, squiggly map, split between three boroughs. If New York loses two congressional districts, as some projections say it might, something downstate will need to be eliminated, and dissolving the 12th makes a lot of sense. If it gets kept, it may look quite different, perhaps including more of Manhattan to shore up Maloney (or potentially forcing Maloney into a district with Jerry Nadler.) On the other hand, it could go even further into Queens and Brooklyn, making life easier for Abdelhamid. We said redistricting could be a lifeline for Maloney, but it could just as easily doom her (or, also just as easily, doom both Maloney and Abdelhamid by giving the non-Manhattan parts to neighboring Reps. Meng, Velázquez, and Ocasio-Cortez, and giving the Manhattan parts to NY-10 Rep. Nadler.)
We tried very hard to find a suitable segue to this, and failed: Abdelhamid entering the race inspired New York Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs to lose his absolute fucking mind in very public fashion. We present to you one of the most unhinged press releases to come from a state’s Democratic Party we’ve ever seen. Despite the fact that Rana Abdelhamid, while a member, has not been endorsed by the DSA, he devotes an inordinate amount of energy to the group, and ends the whole thing with a strange accusation that...uh...Justice Democrats target their races based on where they think they can win? It’s bizarre, but not as bizarre as the fundraising email he followed it up with, a long-form screed about the danger posed by socialism.
We’ll say this about Justice Democrats and the Democratic Socialists of America: you know you’ve made it big when this is how scared a mere candidate announcement can make people.
This past week, at the Washington Education Association’s annual Representative Assembly meeting, schoolteacher Stephanie Gallardo announced her candidacy for WA-09, which in its present form is a majority-minority district stretching from Seattle to Tacoma. Gallardo, a history teacher in the Tukwila School District and the daughter of a Chilean refugee, is an elected member of the board of both the Washington Education Association and the National Education Association, so she assuredly has some connections in the labor movement. She also enters the race with endorsements from the Seattle chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America and two school board members in the district.
Gallardo cites her family’s immigration history (her father fled the US-backed Pinochet regime), her experiences as a teacher, and the wild gap between paltry education spending and the bloated military budget as reasons for running. Incumbent Rep. Adam Smith is a powerful cog in the war machine as the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and he’s a very deserving target if one’s concern is the forever war: he urged the Biden administration against pulling out of Afghanistan by May, and only expressed cautious approval for the administration’s decision to finally end America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan in September. This is nothing new; he’s long been a war hawk, voting for the Patriot Act and the invasion of Iraq. And some of his worst stuff managed to evade much media attention: for example, an amendment to the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, cosponsored by Smith and Republican Rep. Mac Thornberry, lifted a ban on government propaganda being broadcast in the United States. That is, oddly enough, not as bad as it sounds; the law being modified, the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, was woefully outdated, and arguably made it technically illegal to download content produced by VOA (the US’s international state news outlet) within the borders of the United States. Even the ACLU was in favor of changing that bit. However, the amendment increases the ability of the government to propagandize within its own borders—so long as the propaganda itself is not intended primarily for a domestic audience, by our reading of the bill text and relevant analysis. (Or, at least, so long as someone in the government will claim it isn’t intended primarily for a domestic audience.) Not great!
Former Obama Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. is running for governor of Maryland? I guess? Never mind the fact that he was the education commissioner for the state of New York before he served as US Secretary of Education for the last year of the Obama administration. Sure. Fine. We’re not going to pretend this makes much sense, but his HUD colleague Shaun Donovan is running a similarly nonsensical campaign for mayor of New York, so maybe former Obama Cabinet officials are feeling peer pressure to run for offices they probably won’t win.
King joins Comptroller Peter Franchot and former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker in the race; Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, former DNC Chair Tom Perez, and U.S. Reps. David Trone and Anthony Brown are among the big names still considering a run.
The Working Families Party endorsed Jennifer Carroll Foy this week. Now that Carroll For has access to the money of Clean VA and the organizational support of WFP, we may finally, blessedly, be transitioning into a race where there is a clear opponent to centrist former governor Terry McAulife.
National progressive group Democracy for America has endorsed Del. Sam Rasoul for Lieutenant Governor. Rasoul is the leading progressive in the race, though Sean Perryman is still viable; Norfolk City Councilwoman Andria McClellan and Dels. Hala Ayala and Mark Levine are more moderate than Rasoul or Perryman, logically narrowing DfA’s choices down to two. Elizabeth Guzmán, the third progressive option in this race, dropped out this week after campaign fillings came in. She was blunt about the reason - she simply didn’t feel like she had enough money to compete. Guzmán will be running solely for reelection to her state house post.
32BJ SEIU, a major Northeastern regional union representing over 175,000 workers such as janitors, airport workers, and security guards, endorsed Attorney General Mark Herring for reelection. Herring, a moderate Democrat, faces a primary challenge from somewhat progressive Del. Jay Jones; 32BJ represents about 7,000 Virginia workers.
State Rep. Sara Innamorato endorsed fellow state Rep. Ed Gainey for mayor this week. We’d like to say this was completely a given, but unfortunately some politicians associated with the progressive movement in Pittsburgh (*ahem* Emily Kinkead), have chosen incumbent Mayor Bill Peduto in this race. Campaign finance filings came in this week, and they show Peduto with a growing financial edge over Gainey, thanks to a large number of high dollar contributions, raising $356,000 to Gainey’s $80,000, and now has a cash on hand advantage of $423,000 to $113,000. The good news for Gainey is that two unions—Operating Engineers Local 66 and SEIU Healthcare PA—have put together a $150,000 fund, Justice for All, to attack the mayor, aided further by $30,000 worth of phone-banking from progressive group One Pennsylvania. This slightly exceeds the $133,000 available to a similar Peduto-aligned group. Justice for All will be making the case that Peduto has failed Black Pittsburghers in the coming weeks.
Mayor: The Vulcan Society (representing Black NYC firefighters), the Grand Council of Guardians (representing Black police officers), and the New York chapter of the Latino Peace Officer Association for Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams; Queens Rep. Greg Meeks and Queens state Sen. Leroy Comrie for Ray McGuire; United Federation of Teachers for Comptroller Scott Stringer; former Republican-caucusing Staten Island state Sen. Diane Savino for Kathryn Garcia (second choice); Council Member and former mayoral candidate Carlos Menchaca for a job with Andrew Yang
By far the biggest mayoral endorsement of the week came from the Working Families Party. While the rise of DSA complicates things, WFP has spent years as the only kid on the progressive block worth a damn at getting candidates elected, and they still have enormous resources and public sway at their disposal. They were the only group left who had a chance to really shake up the mayoral race. They may have whiffed it. They endorsed Scott Stringer for #1, Dianne Morales for #2, and Maya Wiley for #3. All of those are, in abstract, defensible endorsements, but between polling and special election results, it’s clear that there’s a gulf between how ranked choice voting works in theory and how voters actually respond to it. Consolidation is still necessary, and with a field as wide open as it is right now, endorsing three candidates just muddles your message at a time when voters really need to hear who the progressive alternative to Bitcoin Bloomberg is. We hope we’re wrong, and it’s not like the WFP doesn’t have a record of knowing what they’re doing (they did, after all, massively embarrass the then-untouchable Andrew Cuomo by pulling off a long-shot effort to keep their ballot line in the face of new, Cuomo-engineered restrictions on ballot access in November 2020), but right now it looks like the consolidation that needed to happen isn’t.
In addition to all the endorsements, there’s been quite a bit of news. The city’s public campaign finance matching funds have been disbursed, providing major financial boosts to many candidates: leftist favorite Dianne Morales got $2.25 million, moderate liberal former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia got $2.27 million, moderate frontrunner Andrew Yang got $3.72 million, progressive Maya Wiley got $906,000, conservative Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams got another $317,000 added to his previous public financing haul, and progressive City Comptroller Scott Stringer added another $589,000 to his previous public financing haul. Garcia and Morales in particular could benefit, as they’ve been mired in the single digits in the polls and struggling on the endorsement front.
Speaking of polls…
NYC Mayor (NY1/Ipsos, 1,000 likely Democratic voters): Andrew Yang 22%, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams 13%, Comptroller Scott Stringer 11%, Maya Wiley 7%, Ray McGuire 6%, former HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan 6%, Dianne Morales 5%, former NYC Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia 4%, undecided 26%
NYC Mayor (Data for Progress, 1,007 likely Democratic voters): Yang 26%, Adams 13%, Stringer 11%, Wiley 10%, Donovan 7%, McGuire 6%, Garcia 4%, Morales 3%, Council Member Carlos Menchaca (withdrawn) 1%, someone else/undecided 18%
NYC Mayor (AARP/Siena, 531 registered Democrats, only voters over 50): Yang 24%, Adams 13%, Stringer 13%, McGuire 9%, Wiley 7%, Donovan 4%, Garcia 3%, Morales 2%, undecided 26%
NYC Comptroller (NY1/Ipsos, 1,000 likely Democratic voters): City Council Speaker Corey Johnson 14%, conservative 2020 AOC primary challenger Michelle Caruso-Cabrera 9%, Assemb. David Weprin 7%, state Sen. Kevin Parker 7%, state Sen. Brian Benjamin 6%, Council Member Brad Lander 4%, Zach Iscol 2%, undecided 50%
NYC Comptroller (Data for Progress, 1,007 likely Democratic voters): Johnson 20%, Lander 8%, Caruso-Cabrera 7%, Parker 5%, Weprin 4%, Reshma Patel 3%, Benjamin 2%, Iscol 1%, Terri Liftin 1%, undecided 48%
Manhattan DA (Tulchin Research, commissioned for the Aboushi campaign): Tahanie Aboushi 11%, Tali Farhadian Weinstein 11%, Alvin Bragg 5%, Dan Quart 5%, Lucy Lang 4%, Liz Crotty 2%, Diana Florence 2%, Eliza Orlins 2%, undecided 57%. (We’d like to note a comment from the New York Working Families Party (who have endorsed Aboushi) characterizing this poll as showing a two-way race, which is just a gold-medal performance in spinning polling. This poll shows a wide-open race with Aboushi and worst-case scenario Tali Farhadian Weinstein tied for a very weak first place with a majority of voters undecided)
New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli made a criminal referral regarding Gov. Andrew Cuomo to the office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James, and James has opened a criminal investigation. The subject? Not sexual harassment. (James and the state Assembly are each already investigating that.) Not nursing homes. (In addition to James and the Assembly, the FBI is also investigating this one.) Not COVID testing. Not the coverup of any of the aforementioned scandals. Not the Moreland Commission, or Joe Percoco, or the Tappan Zee Bridge. No, it’s an entirely different thing: Cuomo’s apparent use of state resources for the writing and promotion of his latest book, which was a paean to the governor’s own leadership during the pandemic that aged poorly in record time. State employees allege they were forced to work on the book, and multiple outlets have confirmed that extensive work on the book was conducted on state property by state employees. The state’s Public Officers Law may prohibit all of that.
Cuomo’s defense isn’t even a defense, it’s just a whiny, sharp-tongued statement by long-time Cuomo mercenary Rich Azzopardi saying DiNapoli and James are doing this because they want to be governor. (Last we checked, that does not exempt Cuomo or his staff from ethics laws in the slightest.) It does speak poorly of New York Democrats that nobody thought to go after Andrew Cuomo—who has spent the better part of forty years being a deranged, crooked, self-obsessed wannabe dictator—until it personally benefited them; it also speaks poorly of Andrew Cuomo that he’s so absolutely insane that everybody with the power to take him on was too scared to do so for all those years.