Winners and Losers 9/19/14
Winners and Losers 9/19/14
Both Governor Andrew Cuomo and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino found themselves under assault this week. Astorino took some hits on the Buffalo TV ad front for being a fan of the Miami Dolphins. Cuomo, on the other hand, got bashed by the Environmental Protection Agency, which rejected a $511 million low-interest loan the governor was banking on to help replace the Tappan Zee Bridge. Care to guess who’s feeling more pain? Here’s your chance to vote on the Winners and Losers of the Week.
Tim Bishop - Facing nagging ethics issues, the Long Island congressman seems like he could be in for a tough re-election fight this fall against state Sen. Lee Zeldin, a rising star in the Republican Party. But according to a poll released this week, Bishop, a Democrat, has a substantial 10-point lead over his challenger. If the final results turn out to be anything like in 2008—when Bishop beat newcomer Zeldin by 16 points—the GOP will be wishing Zeldin had aimed lower and ran again for his state Senate seat, which is up for grabs this November.
Howie Hawkins - Andrew Cuomo tarred Rob Astorino this week for being a—gasp!—Miami Dolphins fan. Astorino retorted with the charge that Cuomo kills unicorns, which, apparently, is some sort of satire. That’s right, post-primary the gubernatorial race has degenerated into silly season. Fortunately, while the governor and his GOP challenger go at it like they’re vying to become president of a frat, there is at least one candidate in the race conducting himself like a grown-up. Hawkins, the Green Party candidate, has hammered away at the issues—imagine that—and his surprising poll numbers seem to reflect that people appreciate him elevating the discourse—or just really don’t want to vote for the other guys.
Susan Lerner - There's been some creatively written ballot initiatives over the years—and yet despite grumblings from good government groups they often end up making it in front of voters in November phrased just the the way lawmakers want them to appear. But not so fast. This year, the goo-goos won. Well, the half of the goo-goos who aren’t supporting the constitutional amendment, which would alter the state’s redistricting process. Common Cause New York's executive director Susan Lerner leant her name as a plaintiff calling for the word "independent" to be stricken from the ballot initiative, and since that’s just what a state supreme court judge did this week, we award this honor to Lerner as a representative of the entire coalition of opponents who pulled off this unlikely victory.
Tom Prendergast - It was a big week for the MTA and its continued recovery from Superstorm Sandy. The R train, out of commission for 13 months because of severe flooding damage, went back on line this week, with repairs completed ahead of schedule and under budget. Prendergast also gets to administer a windfall of HUD money, $1.6 billion to be exact, to bolster the transportation system’s defenses against future flooding events. It’s not often the MTA has extra money to play around with, so here’s hoping Prendergast and company can put it to good use.
NYC Council Softball Team - It was your classic clash of the titans: the City Council versus Mayor de Blasio’s staff in a hotly contested softball game. While reports indicate that the mayor did not exactly rise to the occasion, failing to reach base and making several errors in the field, the Council members busted out the big bats, exerting their dominance over City Hall to the tune of 17-13, including a grand slam by Staten Island Councilman Steve Matteo. What was that about this Council not challenging the mayor?
Andrew Cuomo - This week the governor claimed that the EPA approved a loan for a new Tappan Zee Bridge “in concept,” but the state is getting just $29 million of the $511 million it requested. And after Democrats backing Cuomo attacked GOP challenger Rob Astorino for being a Miami Dolphins fan, Team Cuomo criticized Astorino for ignoring the real issues. But the governor’s spin only goes so far, as a judge ruled that the Cuomo-backed plan for a redistricting commission could not be described as “independent” on the ballot this fall.
Aaron Woolf - The Democratic nominee for the 21st Congressional District hasn’t had the greatest of weeks. First, it comes out that he quietly hired a lawyer to knock his primary opponent off the ballot. Then, refusing to release his full tax return after pushing for tax reform may be seen as a bit hypocritical by voters. These two things wouldn’t be too bad except a poll showed Woolf’s opponent was already leading by 13 points before the news came out this week.
Domenic Recchia - How is it that Recchia is running four points behind an indicted congressman with little money and who once threatened to throw a reporter off a balcony in Washington D.C.? In theory, unseating Michael Grimm should be a cakewalk. Or maybe there’s a deeper lesson here about the sorry state of our Democracy. Either way, Recchia’s still a loser.
Rafael Pineiro - Pineiro, the second in command at the NYPD and the force’s highest-ranking Hispanic officer, filed for retirement on Monday. But it doesn’t sound like the resignation was voluntary—Commissioner Bill Bratton is said to have forced him out. Maybe Piñeiro should have thought twice before declaring himself the best option for the job in November of last year. Or maybe the department is indeed headed in a new direction where Piñeiro has no place, as one “source” told the Daily News. Either way, it’s an undignified end to an otherwise illustrious, 44-year career on the nation’s biggest police force.
Nan Hayworth - Two years ago Hayworth only lost by 4 points to newcomer Sean Patrick Maloney. Since then Maloney has been bashed by the right for potentially violating FAA rules for using a drone to film his wedding and took some heat from the left for voting with House Republicans on the budget. All indications are that nationally it is going to be a strong midterm election for the GOP, so naturally you'd think Hayworth would be a likely pick to regain her seat? Nope. The latest Siena College / Time Warner Cable News poll says she is down 8 points. Even worse, she has a 13-point higher unfavorable rating than Maloney. Maybe jumping back into the fray wasn't the best idea for the former physician.