Once we dug our way out from under the massive stack of campaign finance filings announced this week, we looked around and discovered more than the usual summertime shenanigans. One example was a deliberate error of omission, as a Daily News FOIL request revealed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s artful technique for making his correspondence invisible, and another was an error of comission – someone in Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office hit the New York legislative equivalent of the big red button, accidentally revealing lawmakers’ Social Security numbers. But we’re sure it will be okay, because given the way people usually think of the politicians in our state capital, who would ever want to steal their identities? Besides all that, there were the usual scattered field of winners, and their counterparts, the losers.
Anthony Weiner – The former congressman went from recluse to mayoral/public advocate candidate in a matter of weeks, helped along by a sunny pictorial in People magazine and buoyed further by the unassailably sympathetic position of his wife, Huma. Add to the mix the fact that Huma was defended in Congress by both Rep. John Boehner and former Republican presidential candidate John McCain from spurious charges leveled at her by Michele Bachmann, and you have a candidacy that all of a sudden seems more fact than fiction.
Jeff Klein – There’s nothing new under the sun, supposedly, but then last week it was discovered that State Sen. Jeff Klein, a Democrat (albeit part of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference), had also been given the Republican ballot line on which to run. The IDC raised enough money in the most recent campaign filings to insulate them from the immediate threat of electoral defeat, and Klein’s own fundraising is so prodigious that he felt able to spend many thousands of dollars from his own campaign fund on balloons, magicians, chocolate gelt and stuffed bunnies. We’re betting he’s one happy senator.
Bill de Blasio – For the second straight fundraising period, the New York City public advocate pulled in more cash than his rivals — and looks all but sure to now max out in the 2013 mayoral race. Though a high pre-election burn rate is still worrisome, he at least has been able to catch up a bit with Scott Stringer and Christine Quinn, who had the advantage of big pre-existing war chests after not facing serious races in 2009. Still, we must note reports of de Blasio getting about 10 percent of his recent funds from the taxi industry — for which he has become a recent strong supporter — put a bit of a damper on things.
Michael Grimm – The Staten Island congressman got some much-needed good press this week when the Office of Congressional Ethics cleared him of any fundraising violations. Of course, the independent watchdog only looked at Grimm’s activities since he took office, while the pesky allegations first reported in the New York Times centered on his 2010 campaign while he was still a candidate. But with the FBI reportedly investigating him too, and with his Democratic opponent, Mark Murphy, on the attack, every bit of good news helps.
Dan Maffei – The former congressman sure must want to get back to Washington. In the latest campaign filings, Maffei was one of the few challengers who had more cash on hand than the incumbent, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, with over $880,000 in the bank compared to $765,000 for his opponent. If there’s any consolation for Buerkle, it’s that she narrowly outperformed him from April through June, but Maffei also picked up the pace over the last few weeks of June. If the Tea Party doesn’t come out strong this time around, Maffei could knock off the vulnerable Buerkle, who eked out a win over him two years ago.
Steve Richman – Over and over, the general counsel for the New York City Board of Elections said the BOE could not change its flawed, dubious vote-counting procedure because of pesky state law. That’s despite the fact that nearly every other county in the state took a different legal interpretation. This week, the state Board of Elections itself said the flawed procedure could be changed, and the Board voted to do so. What took so long?
Len Lenihan – The bespectacled leader of the Erie County Democrats announced this week that he’ll be stepping down in September, ending months of teetering on the fence before finally making it official that’s he’ll make his exit. Though he had notched key victories in recent years, including the election of Rep. Kathy Hochul and Mark Poloncarz’s win over Chris Collins for Erie County executive, in the end it wasn’t enough to mend the divisions in the Democratic Party in western New York – nor to win the favor of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose minions were blamed for pushing Lenihan out.
Christine Quinn – The Speaker has one of the toughest jobs in the city, but she took it from all sides over her noncommittal position on paid sick leave in an unusually difficult week. Union and low-wage workers, immigrant groups, and even our favorite feminist icon Gloria Steinem pressured her to support sick leave legislation and allow the City Council to vote on it. And if that weren’t enough, our favorite feminist tennis icon Martina Navratilova wrote a sternly worded letter urging Quinn to speak out against horse-drawn carriages, after one of the drivers was caught on tape using anti-gay slurs. We bet the speaker can’t wait to get out of City Hall and catch a few U.S. Open matches.
Myungsuk Lee – Poor Mr. Lee. His attempt to succeed Grace Meng in a crowded assembly race took a spill when the Post found that his Korean-language newspapers contained several lascivious ads from massage parlors. Now the Queens District Attorney’s vice squad is apparently investigating the matter, which will guarantee the story stays in the papers for a few more weeks. Something tells us this isn’t the happy ending Mr. Lee was expecting.
Wendy Long – She romped in the Republican primary to become the party’s candidate to take on U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand this fall, but so far Long’s fiscal conservatism hasn’t translated into basic things like spending less on her campaign than she brings in. And with Gillibrand way ahead in campaign funds, visibility and public support in the polls, it looks like Long’s going to need to run an error-free campaign to have even an outside shot of winning.
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