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New York State Democratic Committee chair Byron Brown warned us Tuesday. He was about to read the names of politicians joining Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for a general election kickoff rally at the Sheraton in midtown Manhattan.
“Sit back and relax because it’s a long list,” he said.
Lots of people apparently wanted to be associated with Cuomo and his dominant Democratic ticket post-primary. That included Mayor Bill de Blasio, along with past and present D.C. power brokers including Queens Rep. Joe Crowley, Manhattan Rep. Jerry Nadler, Brooklyn Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, and a list of officials and union leaders that took some five minutes to read.
Long Island challengers were front and center, including State Senate hopefuls Kathleen Cleary, Louis D’Amaro, James Gaughran, Monica Martinez and Kevin Thomas. Rep. Peter King’s challenger, Liuba Grechen Shirley, carried her 2-year-old son, Nicky, with her to her assigned seat and met with Cuomo afterward. The only other congressional challenger mentioned from the stage was Staten Islander Max Rose.
Rose sat not far from de Blasio, whom Rose slams in a new campaign ad for forgetting the forgotten borough.
But the theme of the day was unity, with even Cuomo and de Blasio trading niceties. De Blasio was the “great” mayor of NYC, said Cuomo. De Blasio said that he and the governor “talk all the time.” (His spokesman later told The Point that yes, de Blasio’s speech was an endorsement of Cuomo.)
Gone was the Cuomo of last week who took a victory lap at a sometimes cutting post-primary news conference that downplayed the wins of further-left candidates in New York. Cuomo stayed with unity and anti-Donald Trump energy on Tuesday, a theme he seemed to relish. He said that white supremacists at Charlottesville, Virginia, “didn’t even bother to wear their hoods,” and he compared President Donald Trump with Bernie Madoff as a scammer. And he further sharpened his newfound insult of Trump, calling him a “boy,” a far cry from 2016 when he often declined to mention his fellow Queens native at all.
All eyes on the 10th District Court
The judicial nominating convention for state Supreme Court judges in Nassau and Suffolk counties, known as the 10th Judicial District, is an under-the-radar event dominated by the needs of party bosses to fix up messes and mistakes in the primaries.
That need exists around the state, which is why there’s talk of State Sen. Jeff Klein, leader of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference who worked with Republicans and was defeated in last week’s primaries, getting a Bronx judgeship as a consolation prize.
In other instances, the judicial convention can be used to get a placeholder on a minor party line off the ballot so the third party can shift its loyalties to the winner of the major party line — the Working Families Party lining up with Democrats, for example, or Conservatives teaming up with Republicans. As long as the placeholder is a lawyer, the discarded candidate can be nominated for a Supreme Court judgeship in any county in New York in races they are sure to lose.
This year’s event for Long Island judges will be held Thursday evening at the Holiday Inn in Plainview, and it could wind up being quite a game of Twister. All eyes are on what will happen to Deborah Poulos, a Suffolk Family Court judge who was nominated by the county Conservative Party as its candidate for surrogate.
At first, District Court Judge Marian Tinari had both the Conservative and Democratic lines as part of a nine-judge deal. When Tara Scully, who has the Republican Party nomination, blew up that plan by petitioning her way into the Democratic primary, the bosses conferred and Tinari dropped out. Family Court Judge Theresa Whelan, a registered Democrat, won last week’s primary for her party’s line.
Now will the Conservatives, as part of a deal with Democratic leader Rich Schaffer, oust Poulos in favor of Whelan? And would Poulos get a Supreme Court spot on Long Island or be relegated to a losing slot somewhere else in the state?
The other scenario circulating is that Schaffer and Conservative Party leader Frank Tinari could go back to their original plan, giving Tinari’s wife, Marian, both lines, and removing Whelan and Poulos as Surrogate’s Court nominees.
Once again, Long Island might need to find a way to deposit its electoral waste somewhere else.
Crunching the numbers
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo held his big rally in Manhattan Tuesday to get Democrats focused on November’s general election, but he might just as well have held the event on Long Island, where his winning percentage over Cynthia Nixon was higher than in any other part of the state except the Bronx.
He won 78 percent of the vote in Nassau County, second only to 83 percent in the Bronx. Suffolk took the bronze medal with 74 percent. While the suburbs are only 18 percent of the Democratic vote statewide — Cuomo won in Westchester with 72 percent — it helped the governor roll up the score.
For the curious, Cuomo won Queens with 73 percent of the vote, but in Brooklyn, that artisanal, progressive bastion, he dipped to 62 percent.
Cuomo was quite pleased with the turnout, according to Nassau Democratic chair Jay Jacobs, who said the incumbent called him Thursday within the hour after the 9 p.m. poll closing. “He was very happy; he was raving about the turnout here,” said Jacobs.