Winners & Losers

This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

Who’s up and who’s down this week?

Time to pull out the chessboard. West Seneca Supervisor Gary Dickson is the newly minted Republican nominee against Democratic state Sen. Tim Kennedy in the Buffalo area congressional special election. The district is a Democratic stronghold, and Dickson will need a lightning strike to win. It can happen – looking at you, Bob Turner – but even if it doesn’t, making a tough run now could be a good chess move for Dickson if he’s thinking of elective office beyond town hall later. Speaking of political chess, Joe Sempolinski knows a thing or two about how to play the game. His 112-day stint in Congress in 2022 has positioned Sempolinski to be the odds-on favorite to capture a Southern Tier seat in the state Assembly.


Joe Borelli, Vito Fossella, Nicole Malliotakis -

If New York City’s law allowing non-citizens to vote in local elections was going to get overturned anywhere in the city, it was in Staten Island. A Staten Island judge struck down the new law back in 2022. And this week, an appellate court upheld that ruling, deeming the law – which had yet to go into effect – unconstitutional. It’s a big win for City Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli and his fellow Staten Island Republicans, Borough President Vito Fossella, and Rep. Nicole Malliotakis. As Borelli poetically put it, “I won, baby, I won.”

Sarahana Shrestha -

Assembly Member Sarahana Shrestha secured the Ulster County Democratic Committee’s endorsement over primary challenger Gabi Madden, a former state Senate staffer. Madden has backing from mainstream Democratic elements in the 103rd Assembly District, but not getting the nod complicates things as Ulster County makes up much of the district. Shrestha, who won by a wide margin,, now moves toward the primary knowing that her progressive leanings won’t be the issue that her challenger made them out to be.

Letitia James -

When a judge ruled last week that former President Donald Trump owed north of $450 million in the civil fraud judgment against him, it was more than just a legal victory for state Attorney General Letitia James. The whopping fine was the cherry on top of a sundae that showed James is pulling off the all-too-rare feat of actually following through on a campaign promise.


Kathy Hochul -

When a joke doesn’t land, one would hope that the worst that would happen is some awkward silence. Unfortunately for Gov. Kathy Hochul, she had to issue a whole apology for kind of, accidentally, joking that New York would genocide Canada if it attacked Buffalo in an outlandish hypothetical. And implying that Israel, in its very real military response to the Oct. 7 attack, had the right to wipe the Gaza Strip off the map as a means of self-defense. It only took a few hours after the clip of Hochul’s remarks became public for her to issue an apology, but by then, the video had already made the rounds.

Kevin Rabbitt -

NYC Ferry operator Hornblower saw its overnight cruise business sink in  a bankruptcy filing made this week, which it blamed on the lingering economic impacts of COVID-19 and rising interest rates. Stepping in to save the day is a creditor, private-equity firm Strategic Value Partners, which will get majority ownership if the Chapter 11 filing is approved, throwing CEO Kevin Rabbitt a life preserver that “injects new capital” into Hornblower to keep the city’s ferry service afloat.

Meg Kelly -

You do not want to be on the wrong side of a Letitia James investigation. Just ask Andrew Cuomo and Donald Trump. The state AG’s office dropped a report that found that former Saratoga Springs Mayor Meg Kelly, along with then-Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton and then-Police Chief Shane Crooks, violated protesters’ constitutional rights during and after the 2020 Black Lives Matter demonstrations. The top officials allegedly ordered arrests of protesters when no crimes had taken place and suggested the city send Child Protective Services to check on the children of a protest leader, apparently as an intimidation tactic. Through a FOIL request, the Daily Freeman got ahold of some of Kelly’s texts to fellow city leaders: “I hate these people,” she wrote.