The heat this week couldn’t have helped in politics, as surrogates like David Paterson and Jay Townsend did more harm than good for their principals, and the sugar-addicted watched in dismay while Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to take the obesity epidemic down a peg by banning oversize sodas. And just as surely as a new week brings public opinion polls and scandals bubbling up around JCOPE, the state’s new ethics commission, there are winners, and there are losers.
Dean Skelos – Despite news this week that David Storobin had finally pulled out a win in the 27th Senate District race, the ultimate winner was obviously the Senate Majority Leader, who bulked up his conference. Storobin might not carry the seat in November, but if former City Councilman Simcha Felder wins the seat as a Democrat, he’s made it clear that he’d be more likely to choose Skelos as conference leader in a tie-breaking vote than choose Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson.
Milton Glaser – the creator of New York’s iconic I ♥ NY campaign never expected it to become so universally beloved, but new evidence of that fact was on display this week as Cuomo rolled out a new state tourism campaign that gently modified the original, asking New Yorkers to insert their own symbols, such as ☃, and ♌ and ♖, in place of the familiar heart. It’s a testament to Glaser’s achievement that the format felt so embedded in the culture the Cuomo administration thought it could take out the defining symbol and still make the slogan recognizable, but detractors’ visceral negative reactions to any thought of meddling with what has become, since it was introduced in 1975, a legendary design, also shows just how special New Yorkers think Glaser’s work really is.
Ed Cox – It was a game of inside baseball to say the least, but Cox still emerged a winner for getting his pick as an RNC delegate, former state chairman Bill Powers. That was despite opposition by four of New York City’s county chairs, who were backing Wall Street executive Tom Belesis. It’s a small battle, but one with larger implications as Cox tries to keep a firm grasp over the state Republican Party.
Eric Ulrich – We’re sure the young New York City councilman was happy about landing the Conservative nod and Rep. Bob Turner’s endorsement in his state Senate primary race in Queens. But what really warmed Ulrich’s heart must have been a New York Post story, citing almost entirely anonymous sources, stating that his nemeses in the Queens Republican Party were under FBI investigation. Of course, it was Ulrich’s on-the-record charges against Queens GOP leadership, concerning alleged pay-to-play endorsements of its consulting businesses, that were cited by the Post as the reason for the reported probe. It remains to be seen whether the enemies Ulrich is making through those comments will pay off for him in the long run.
Janet DiFiore -The governor’s new ethics chief had to defend her own ethics this week when accusations were made public about food stamps and other federal benefits she may have inappropriately secured for her housekeeper. The charges came from a political foe, but the negative press is undoubtedly an irritation for DiFiore and Cuomo, her boss. And the case raises an even more baffling question: With all the trouble they can bring, why do politicians even have housekeepers in the first place?
Timothy Dolan - Cardinal Dolan, one of the Catholic Church’s rising stars, was brought back to earth with the revelation that he paid pedophile priests to resign back when he was Milwaukee’s archbishop. At the time, he said the idea he paid off a priest was “false”, but now it looks like the clergyman has different ideas about the nature of the truth. At least Dolan got decent job approval ratings in a recent poll, though New Yorkers think Dolan and other Catholic leaders are still too involved in politicking.
David Paterson - Retired New York politicians haven’t been doing the best lately to support their favorite candidates for president. First, Rudy Giuliani ended up talking up his own record when trying to boost Mitt Romney. Now Paterson, the former governor and current radio host, has once again stuck his foot in his mouth by reviving the birther controversy surrounding President Obama, saying if it were true that he was born outside the country, the president already got away with it.
Jay Townsend – It’s almost never good news for a flak to wind up the story, especially when the headline of the article quotes you raving, “Let’s hurl some acid at those female Democratic senators.” Maybe Townsend, who went down in flames as the GOP’s nominee against Chuck Schumer in 2010, isn’t used to his behind-the-scenes role as Rep. Nan Hayworth’s campaign spokesman, but after this week’s flare-up he’d be wise to stay out of sight, lest some nut decides to hurl acid at him.
Gary Ackerman – Ackerman’s endorsement of Assemblywoman Grace Meng for his congressional seat was tempered a bit by the fact that Meng’s primary campaign consultant is actually Ackerman-owned. But given all the money that’s coming into the consulting firm from various quarters, a little negative attention is probably worth the price of doing business for Ackerman, who strongly denied any connection between his firm and the endorsement.
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