Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics

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Rick Brand

Rick Brand, a Newsday reporter for nearly three decades, writes about politics and government on Long Island.

The veteran reporter has covered a variety of assignments for Newsday in Washington, Albany and around the country and was part of the Long Island staff that won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s coverage of the crash of TWA Flight 800.

During his career, Brand has been the paper’s lead reporter covering Suffolk county government, and spent three years as the paper’s beat reporter covering LILCO during the height of the controversy over the Shoreham nuclear power plant. He has also headed the paper’s East End bureau and even spent a summer doing a gossip column on the Hampton’s social whirl.

Brand had also worked several stints in Newsday’s Albany Bureau during the Carey and Cuomo administrations. He covered the upset victory of Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, Long Island’s first woman congresswoman, and the 1997 U.S. Senate battle between Alfonse D'Amato and Chuck Schumer and part of the marathon Senate campaign that led to the election of Hillary Clinton.

Before joining Newsday, Brand, a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, worked as news editor of Suffolk Life Newspapers and as a reporter for the Long Island News and the Buffalo Courier Express.

C.D.3: Labate drops recount effort, concedes to Lally in GOP primary

The 3rd Congressional District race between incumbent Steve Israel (D-Huntington) and Republican Mineola attorney Grant Lally can start in earnest now that GOP candidate Stephen Labate has withdrawn from the race.

On Monday, Labate a Deer Park financial planner, who lost to Lally by 11 votes in the June 24 primary, announced he was withdrawing from the race, and dropping previously announced...

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Challengers swing at Cuomo from left and right

ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s opponents on the left and on the right joined forces Tuesday to try to hit the Democrat on the issue that helped usher him into office four years ago.

Republican and Conservative candidate Rob Astorino and liberal candidate Zephyr Teachout criticized Cuomo for what the challengers called rampant corruption in Albany.

“One thing we can agree on is that...

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NARAL Pro-Choice backs Irwin in Senate race against Hannon

Ethan Irwin, Democratic candidate for New York State

(Credit: James Escher)

NARAL Pro-Choice New York, a political action committee which opposes restrictions on abortion rights, has endorsed Democrat Ethan Irwin in his candidacy against Republican State Sen. Kemp Hannon in the 6th District.

NARAL, which typically endorses Democratic candidates cited Irwin’s efforts to promote women’s health and equality.

“Irwin will not back down in the face of those who wish...

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Poll: Cuomo maintains large lead over Astorino

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, left, delivers

(Credit: AP / Mike Groll)

ALBANY -- A poll of likely voters shows that Democrat Andrew M. Cuomo continues his strong lead in the governor's race, but the poll also found continued opposition to the higher academic standards of the Common Core, a cause targeted by Republican challenger Rob Astorino.

Cuomo held a 37-point lead over the Westchester County executive in the Siena College Research Institute poll released...

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Florida CFO calls Cuomo ‘a huckster’ over NY’s rosy TV ads

ALBANY _ The Sunshine State sent a snarky greeting Monday to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo over TV ads aimed at luring employers to New York with a promise of temporary tax breaks.

"We know a huckster when we see one," chortled Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater after releasing a letter to Cuomo Monday.

“It is perfectly understandable that you would want to stay in touch with so...

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FEC draft opinion to Di Iorio: Your campaign can be reality show, but not for pay


FEC spokeswoman Judith Ingram says the FEC issued a draft of the advisory opinion, subject to a vote by the FEC commissioners, that is being made available for comment until 9 a.m. Wednesday. That correction will be noted below.

The FEC today issued a draft of an advisory opinion, subject to a FEC commissioner vote, saying that Nick Di Iorio, the Republican candidate challenging...

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LIRR pact aftermath: Old dispute, new questions

A Long Island Rail Road train pulls into

(Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara)

Last week’s contract agreement averting a Long Island Rail Road strike left questions in its wake — including just how much pension and health care concessions would offset wage costs, and how New York City bus and subway workers will respond in their next contract round, having settled under different negotiating conditions for lesser wage hikes in April.

On the revenue side, that billion-dollar-plus...

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De Blasio's pick for civilian review board comes at key moment

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, now in Italy, first tapped well-known attorney Richard Emery last week as part-time chairman of the NYPD Civilian Complaint Review Board. In March, Emery and his firm announced a lawsuit against a different city entity, the Campaign Finance Board, on behalf of former mayoral candidate John Liu.

But city conflict-of-interest rules do not bar part-time board...

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Democrats dispute value of an all-GOP L.I. Senate delegation

Showing a united front -- and buttressed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's recent vow of support -- State Senate Democrats are trying to turn around the usual Republican pitch to voters that keeping all nine Long Island seats in GOP hands maximizes the clout of Nassau and Suffolk in Albany.

"If there's going to be a Democratic majority, we would want to have as many senators as possible," Suffolk...

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Surprises keep coming on Tappan Zee funding

The surprises keep coming regarding Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposal to rebuild the Tappan Zee Bridge.

A legislative panel last week approved the governor’s idea to help fund the project with money traditionally earmarked for drinking water and sewage projects. Just before the vote, the Cuomo administration divulged that it cut the requested amount in half, to $255 million, after environmentalists...

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