Good afternoon. Today’s points:
- Weight added to scale of CD3 race
- Problem at Bernie’s launchpad
- Make our cartoonist laugh
Eyes and wallets on congressional race
With the retirement of Steve Israel, the 3rd Congressional District has been highlighted by the National Republican Congressional Committee as a race worth targeting. State Sen. Jack Martins, seeking the seat, has been named as one of the committee’s “young guns.” That means Martins will get significant financial support from the national party.
To combat NRCC support for Martins, former Democratic Suffolk County Executive Pat Halpin is leading a super PAC, Long Islanders for Truth, to raise and spend at least $1 million on Democrat Thomas Suozzi’s bid for the seat.
“Tom is a good friend of mine, a fellow former county executive who I believe is going to be a tremendous congressman,” Halpin said. “He’s smart, and he’s proven he’s not afraid to take on powerful interests in Nassau County and Albany. He’ll do the same in Washington.”
Halpin said he was motivated to lead the PAC after seeing how much money can pour into nationally highlighted congressional races, pointing to the 2014 Tim Bishop-Lee Zeldin 1st District race as an example. And he said the attempt to raise money will succeed largely because people are outraged at Martins’ tactics in the race.
Martins failed to get GOP opponent Philip Pidot knocked off the ballot, but the timing of Martins’ petition challenges made a June primary between the two impossible. Now a judge has scheduled an October primary, and Martins is suing to get the general election moved from November to December.
Martins says he wants to assure that military absentee voters are protected. His opponents say he wants to avoid a general-election ticket featuring Donald Trump and an Election Day turnout spurred by Hillary Clinton.
“People are outraged at the manipulation,” Halpin said.
Whose progressive mantle?
Wednesday night’s launch of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ political group, called Our Revolution, has already been marked by dissension and departures among staff members over the naming of Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ combative former campaign manager, to lead the organization.
Meant to support progressive candidates down-ballot, the fledgling group has faced questions about potential funding from “1 percent” sources. It is also unclear how well the organization will be able to coordinate with the grass-roots support that Sanders praises.
Tascha Van Auken, co-founder of the grass-roots network Team Bernie NY, told The Point that recreating the internal structure and culture of Sanders’ official campaign is “problematic.”
“The Bernie campaign had a lot of significant problems interfacing with the actual grassroots,” Van Auken wrote in a text message. “As far as I can tell, they are just replicating those problems.”
The new group is an ambitious effort that seems to face an uphill road, including organizing and figuring out whom to support. In New York City’s closely watched 65th Assembly District, for example, once home to former Speaker Sheldon Silver, progressive challengers Paul Newell and Yu Line-Niou have both applied for the Our Revolution endorsement.
No word yet.
Here’s a first look exclusively for Point subscribers of the next caption contest from Newsday cartoonist Matt Davies. Check back here later in the week to submit a caption about the LIRR.
It’s Waffle Day
Donald Trump seems to be shifting his position on immigration, talking now about “softening” his stance on how he would deal with immigrants who are in the United States illegally as opposed to rounding them up and deporting them. In other news, Wednesday is National Waffle Day. Seriously.