Spin Cycle

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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.

Schneiderman now says political consultant appeared before AG office

Aides to New York Attorney General Eric T.

(Credit: AP / Richard Drew)

ALBANY -- Republican John Cahill on Monday slammed Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for his use of a political consultant who has also represented clients before the attorney general’s office.

Cahill was responding to an article in Crain’s New York. Months ago, Schneiderman’s office said the attorney general’s ex-wife, top political consultant Jennifer Cunningham, who still advises...

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8th SD: A candidate's November posters defaced, early

Poster defacement takes different forms in an election

The juvenile pranks seem to be starting early.

As noted by reporter Celeste Hadrick, posters for Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick), who's running against Legis. Michael Venditto (R-Massapequa) for the vacant 8th Senate District seat, proclaimed "Nobody Fights Harder" before somebody changed them to "Nobody Taxes Harder" -- which is spelled incorrectly, as shown above. The seat was vacated...

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Low voter turnout likely for Tuesday's primary, if history is any guide

Tuesday’s Democratic primary contests for governor and lieutenant governor are expected to draw as usual only a thin band of party members to the polls.

But the question of who and how many will show up creates suspense.

Well-known and well-funded, first-term Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo faces Zephyr Teachout, a little-known and little-funded New York City law professor making her first run...

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Funds pile up for Sen. Gillibrand's 'Off the Sidelines' PAC

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) speaks at a

(Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton)

With Tuesday’s release of New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's book "Off the Sidelines," the question arises: Is her PAC of the same name on the sidelines?

Reports for May, June and July show it raised $582,752 and has $1.5 million in the bank -- but provided just $35,000 to congressional races.

A PAC spokesman answered: “Not at all.”

The problem is, the PAC can only give up...

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L.I. Senate Democratic candidates pitch minimum-wage as issue

Long Island Democrats are seeking to use minimum wage as an issue in their attempt to win control of the state Senate.

   State lawmakers agreed in 2013 to raise the wage in three phrases, climbing to $9 per hour in 2016. Advocates, who held a rally in Westbury Friday, are calling for a higher wage and giving municipalities the ability to set their own wage.

  Four Island...

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Judge races: Nassau Dem head Jacobs OK with Indie candidate

Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs may have had his problems with the Independence Party, but he says he will not to fight a cross-endorsement of State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Whelan of the Independence Party at Democrats’ bicounty judicial convention Sept. 22.

Jacobs said Whelan’s ties to Independence Party chairman Frank MacKay, with whom he battled earlier this year, are "not determinative...

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SCCC probe goes to ethics board

The “breach of confidentiality” probe at Suffolk County Community College has been handed over to the county’s board of ethics, according to county and college sources.

Paul Pontieri, chairman of the trustees personnel committee that launched a $5,000 investigation using an outside firm, declined to comment, saying, “I’m not going to speak out of turn.”

College officials have declined...

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B'khaven: Mazzei in part-time job as assistant town attorney

Cross-endorsed County Court candidate Tim Mazzei may have

(Credit: Newsday / David Pokress)

Cross-endorsed County Court candidate Tim Mazzei may have resigned early as a Brookhaven Town board member, but the Republican started the next day as a part-time assistant town attorney.

Town Attorney Annette Eaderesto said Mazzei will help with the newly established housing court -- in which the district court sets aside one day a week to deal with town code enforcement and quality of life...

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Gubernatorial TV debate: Cuomo again becomes the piñata in absentia

Republican Rob Astorino and Democrat Zephyr Teachout, challengers

(Credit: Howard Schnapp / Danielle Finkelstein)

With Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo refusing to debate opponent Zephyr Teachout before Tuesday’s Democratic primary, she faced off again with his Republican challenger, Rob Astorino, in a 30-minute televised debate that aired Saturday night.

Saturday’s debate on New York City station WPIX offered the candidates another opportunity to denounce Cuomo’s first four years as governor, after debating one...

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Speed camera misinformation used in campaign

Political campaigns constantly misrepresent candidates' records or, in some cases, omit pertinent facts.

Consider a Facebook attack on Nassau Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick), who is running against fellow legislator Michael Venditto (R-Massapequa) for the State Senate seat vacated by Charles Fuschillo, a Merrick Republican.

The latest headline in a Facebook page called “The Real Dave...

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