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.

4th Congressional District: Rice calls on Blakeman to endorse mimimum wage hike

Democratic congressional candidate Kathleen Rice called on Republican opponent Bruce Blakeman to join her in endorsing a federal minimum wage increase on Monday.

At a news conference in Garden City, Rice, running against Blakeman in New York’s 4th Congressional District, asked him to co-sign a letter she wrote calling on leaders of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Workforce to approve...

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Kennedy to hold first fund-raiser

John Kennedy Jr. on July 24, 2014.

(Credit: Richard T. Slattery)

Suffolk legislative minority leader John Kennedy Jr., a last-minute entry to the county comptroller's race, will hold his first fundraiser — a $250 a head event — Tuesday night at Windows on the Lake in Ronkonkoma.

Kennedy is hoping the fete will draw 100 donors, and expects to raise enough money to show that he'll be a competitive candidate in the fall. He said invitations for the event went...

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Suffolk CC invites Obama to visit in October

President Barack Obama pauses while speaking at Knox

(Credit: AFP/Getty Images / Brendan Smialowski)

Suffolk Community College president Shaun McKay is asking President Barack Obama to come to the Selden campus this fall to learn how the state's largest community college is leading the way to help grow a prosperous middle class for the next generation.

McKay said he decided to invite the president Monday after listening to Obama’s weekend radio address where he talked about higher education...

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A zephyr at her back: Court win, PEF nod, Reddit chat

For someone deemed a 'protest candidate,' Zephyr Teachout

(Credit: AP / Mike Groll)

ZEPH’yr: Noun; a gentle but persistent wind, sometimes with considerable force; often used as a name for trains that take unusual routes.

As much as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has tried to keep Democratic challenger Zephyr Teachout from the cool kids’ table in New York politics, she keeps coming at the most powerful politician in the state, demanding a seat.

Last week she beat the court challenge...

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Weighing the guns of August against the politics of November

From here to the Midwest, the actions of law-enforcement authorities form the big political topic of the summer of 2014.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — often labeled a tea party conservative — drew particular attention for his statements on the troubles in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting death of Michael Brown by a white police officer. He linked a “militarization of law enforcement”...

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New PAC called Forward L.I. hires political operative Tschirhart

Kevin Tschirhart, who was George Demos' campaign manager in the GOP primary for Congress in June, has landed a new political role as executive director of a newly created political action committee, Forward Long Island, that expects to spend $300,000 over the next two years to help Republicans hold the State Senate and win other local races.

The chairman of the new PAC is Amos Goodman of Springs,...

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1st C.D.: Zeldin rival Demos spent $422 per vote in GOP primary

Congressional challenger George Demos' s ended up spending $2,737,280 on his losing GOP primary against State Sen. Lee Zeldin, the bulk of it -- $2.5 million -- self-funded.

Given that Demos only got 6,482 votes, it means each vote her received cost $422.29 cents. Zeldin, who spent $714,029 in the primary, received 10,283 votes, meaning he spent $69.43 for each of his votes.

In the campaign's...

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Martin O'Malley, possible pres. hopeful, dissents from Obama, too

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is a possible 2016

(Credit: AP )

Two years before the next presidential nominations, Hillary Rodham Clinton -- eminence emeritus of New York Democratic politics -- fed the flames of speculation by speaking less than glowingly of President Barack Obama's foreign policy.

Clinton said rather pointedly in a recent magazine interview that " 'Don't do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle." Her remark, a reference to Obama's...

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C.D. 1 Update: Zeldin rejects West's case for impeaching Obama


Republican Lee Zeldin may be inviting provocative former Rep. Allen West to his congressional campaign kickoff on Sept. 8, but Zeldin made clear tonight he doesn't agree with West's view that Obama committed an impeachable offense with the Bergdahl prisoner swap.

The Obama administration negotiated U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl's release by swapping five high-level Taliban leaders...

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As NY teachers union sits out gov's race, second largest state union endorses Teachout

New York’s second largest public employees union gave its endorsement to underdog Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout on Thursday.

The endorsement came the same day the state’s powerful teachers union announced it was staying out of the governor’s race despite issuing endorsements to candidates on both sides of the aisle in other key state and congressional races.


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