Republican gubernatorial nominee Marc Molinaro has an uphill battle to fight. The last time a Republican won a statewide office in New York was 2002, and a recent Siena College poll showed him trailing by 22 points.
Molinaro has sought to distance himself from President Donald Trump, while Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign routinely calls Molinaro a “Trump Mini-Me.” Molinaro says Cuomo’s team is trying to falsely label him as an ultra-conservative who’s incompatible with New York state’s views. Instead, Molinaro claims, he is a moderate more open to differing opinions than his opponent. But what does Molinaro’s voting record in the Assembly, where he served from 2007 to 2011, actually show?
Molinaro voted against the Marriage Equality Bill in 2011, and he also voted against similar same-sex marriage bills that failed in 2007 and 2009. He also voted against a 2010 law that allowed unmarried partners to adopt a child and bills in 2010 and 2011 that sought to prohibit gender identity discrimination. Molinaro says his position has “evolved” on same-sex marriage. Now, he says, “of course it is” a civil right.
In 2008 and 2010, Molinaro received an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund, which come out every election year. In 2009, he voted against state legislation that would require microstamping identification on semi-automatic pistols to track bullets. Also in 2009, he voted against legislation requiring renewals for pistol permits.
Molinaro consistently received scores from the EPL/Environmental Advocates, a New York environmental organization, that rated him as better than the average Assembly Republican. In 2010, he went against most other Assembly Republicans and voted for a bill that temporarily suspended the issuance of new permits for drilling natural gas or oil wells that utilized hydraulic fracturing. Cuomo, under intense pressure from environmentalists, went on to ban hydrofracking in New York.
Molinaro did vote for Cuomo’s tax deal that extended the ‘millionaires’ tax’ in 2011. While only one section of the bill, the legislation created a higher tax bracket for the highest-income residents in New York and reduced the rates for millions of middle-class residents. Described by some as a cut and others as an increase, it lowered the rate for high-income earners, but set it higher than it would have been had the previous rate simply expired. Molinaro also voted in 2011 for Cuomo’s 2 percent limit on property tax increases. The measure, popular with fiscal conservatives, was aimed at curbing soaring property taxes.
In 2009, Molinaro voted with the party line against a bill that would amend labor laws for farm workers. The bill would have given farmworkers more rights, including 24 hours of rest per week, overtime pay and workers’ compensation benefits. In 2010, he voted against the Wage Theft Prevention Act, which sought to expand employees’ rights to seek civil and criminal avenues of remedy for their employers failing to follow labor law. And in 2011, Molinaro voted against legislation that would establish wage protection for independent contractors who do not receive agreed-upon payments from clients.