Liuba Grechen Shirley, Democratic primary candidate for U.S. Congress NY...

Liuba Grechen Shirley, Democratic primary candidate for U.S. Congress NY 2nd District. Credit: James Escher

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Pencil Point

Eye of the storm

More cartoons of the week

Daily Point

Nabbing the spotlight

Congressional challenger Liuba Grechen Shirley scored a big print platform Monday: She was pictured at the bottom of The Washington Post’s front page, next to the headline “Super-viral campaign ads.”

It was a tease for an article in the Post’s Style section that details the creation of Grechen Shirley’s ad “Personal” and uses it as a prime example of the digitally viral ads that candidates are using to introduce themselves to voters without paying for TV. Other candidates such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of the Bronx are mentioned, but the article focuses mostly on Grechen Shirley (the Post was in Grechen Shirley’s house as the ad was being filmed this summer).

The placement is another example of national coverage for Rep. Pete King’s challenger, who nabbed the spotlight in the spring for her push to get the Federal Election Commission to allow her to use campaign funds for child care. Her team seems to be savvy at plugging Grechen Shirley’s name into the national conversation. According to her campaign, media agency WIN, which created the “Personal” ad, was the link with The Washington Post. The agency is led by campaign gurus Bill Hyers and Matt McLaughlin and has created high-profile ads for candidates like Wisconsin’s House candidate Randy Bryce and New York gubernatorial challenger Cynthia Nixon.

Will the good press get Grechen Shirley more help from the coffers of Washington’s movers and shakers? The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee just announced more support for Grechen Shirley’s neighboring Democrat, Perry Gershon, who is challenging Rep. Lee Zeldin.

Mark Chiusano

Talking Point

GOP gets on board

Perhaps State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan is taking a page from Cynthia Nixon’s playbook.

Nixon, after all, made New York City subway service problems a key issue during her primary campaign.

And now, it seems the Long Island Rail Road is going to become Flanagan’s latest political football.

On Monday morning, Flanagan, flanked by his fellow Long Island Senate Republicans, held a news conference at the Bethpage LIRR station and suggested that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority shouldn’t hike LIRR fares “until service improves.” A sign on the podium declared that the “Senate Republican Conference” was “Protecting LIRR Riders.”

It seems like an easy campaign issue — and it’s one Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro also has picked up as part of his broader proposals to fix the MTA.

But bashing the LIRR is a nonpartisan issue.

Democratic State Sen. Todd Kaminsky issued a news release Monday agreeing with the fare freeze, but calling his Republican colleagues “incredibly cynical and rich” for getting involved in the issue now.

Kaminsky is set to release results Tuesday of an LIRR service survey he issued that asked more than 550 riders, among other things, whether they were satisfied with the railroad’s service and whether they were getting their “money’s worth.” And for Kaminsky, this isn’t a new issue. Back in January, when LIRR service was particularly atrocious, Kaminsky was the only member of the Long Island delegation to attend budget hearing testimony by MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota, and the only state senator to grill Lhota about the LIRR.

Nine months later, it seems the Republicans are hoping to catch that train, too.

Randi F. Marshall

Quick Points

Opting out

  • President Donald Trump has grown increasingly wary of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, new reporting shows, irritable about praise of Mattis as the adult in the room and worried that he is a Democrat at heart. Trump was one of those himself, but never the other.
  • With the state Education Department and Board of Regents apparently set to eliminate proposed financial penalties for school districts with high numbers of students declining to take state tests, it seems the state has decided to opt out of tougher opt out rules.
  • President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Paul Manafort’s cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller has nothing to do with Trump’s campaign. Manafort and Mueller might have a different opinion.
  • Sen. John N. Kennedy (R-La.) said Sunday that so far the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process has been “an intergalactic freak show.” Now that a woman accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when both were teens has come forward and is willing to testify, and Kavanaugh has said he’s willing to retestify, one wonders what is wilder than an intergalactic freak show?
  • New York’s rising progressive star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declined to answer a question about where she planned to find an unaccounted-for $38 trillion needed over 10 years to fund her campaign pledges. It’s a lot more fun to be promising than delivering.
  • Is there any high-level Trump campaign aide or close associate who is not cooperating with Robert Mueller? No, family doesn’t count.
  • As a test of character, Cincinnati police and fire department applicants have to answer questions about their most unusual sex acts and how many times they’ve had sex in a public place. No, it’s not pass-fail. And they’re not being graded on a curve.

Michael Dobie