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King, de Blasio, and the NFL

Rep. Peter King speaks at the Jewish Community

Rep. Peter King speaks at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Long Island in Plainview on April 15. Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

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Daily Point

De Blasio, the boogeyman. Again.

Bashing New York City and Mayor Bill de Blasio is a familiar playbook for Long Island Republicans, and this summer the GOP is returning to it. State Sens. Carl Marcellino, Elaine Phillips and challenger Jeff Pravato recently ran Facebook ads warning of what might happen if “NYC Democrats” take over the upper chamber in Albany.

The ads were paid for by the New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee and include identical language, according to a review of Facebook’s political ad archive.

“NYC Democrats control every branch of state government EXCEPT the State Senate, where Republicans hold a one-seat majority,” the ads say, with the added contention that education funding for Long Island schools was cut when NYC Democrats controlled the State Senate in 2009 and 2010, after the Great Recession.

The ads end with a quote from de Blasio: “ ‘If there is a Democrat majority in the State Senate . . . that’s undoubtedly good for the people of New York City.’ (NYC Bill de Blasio, NYC.gov, 4/4/18).”

A transcript from de Blasio’s office for that day shows his quote was different, referring to a Democratic majority being good for both the state and city: “If there is a Democratic majority in the State Senate, that is undoubtedly good for the State of New York and that’s undoubtedly good for the people of New York City.”

Facebook archives indicate that the State Senate Republican Campaign Committee also paid for other anti-de Blasio ads, including one against James Skoufis, a Democratic assemblyman running for State Senate in the Hudson Valley, and another ad on behalf of Pravato, who is challenging State Sen. John Brooks, about de Blasio’s plan to register detainees on Rikers Island to vote. The overall theme: that the de Blasio-Democratic way of life is inimical to the mayor’s nearby neighbors.

“Each time I think Bill de Blasio has reached the pinnacle of craziness, things gets [sic] worse,” the text of the Pravato ad says. “Now he’s actively registering criminals to vote. No shocker when it comes to this radical Mayor I guess.”

Mark Chiusano

Talking Point

King’s pass intercepted

Recent tweets from Rep. Peter King about community events and a Central Islip H.S. valedictorian were rewarded with a few dozen “likes,” “retweets,” or replies. Then there was the Seaford Republican’s NFL tweet on Friday.

“NFL kneeling is inexcusable and anti-police. Can’t watch NFL games this season,” King tweeted.

As of Monday, that message had received more than a thousand “likes,” more than 350 “retweets” and more than 5,000 replies, many of them from people who disagree with King.

Clearly King was wading into a potent issue. President Donald Trump also has stoked devotion and anger with his focus on NFL players who protest in some form, dating to quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest of police misconduct and racial inequities in 2016.

By Saturday morning, King’s challenger in this fall’s election, Amityville Democrat Liuba Grechen Shirley, had sent out a fundraising appeal about King’s “divisive” tweet, noting in part, “I wish Peter King got this upset about rising healthcare costs for our working families.” Her Twitter response to King’s tweet got hundreds of likes and retweets, too, more than other recent messages. King told The Point in an email that he received "many text messages and emails of support."

Both candidates seem happy to talk about this issue, perhaps calculating that it will help rev up their respective bases. Polling has shown that opinions on the kneeling protests fall on typical racial and partisan lines.

Mark Chiusano

Pencil Point

Same old, same old

Closing Point

(Tax) return to sender

The longer City Council member Jumaane Williams holds out on releasing his tax returns, the longer incumbent Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul has to bash her primary challenger as unfit or unprepared for the office.

Hochul has been relentless, running ads that point out Williams’ Brooklyn home has been foreclosed with $625,000 in debt, and that he owes the state a little more than $10,000 in unpaid taxes on a failed restaurant. “If he can’t manage his own finances, do you really want him managing yours?” she says in a social media ad.

Williams, who dismissed Hochul’s tax-return ad as a “disingenuous talking point,” said in a statement that the documents are coming soon. As his cudgel against the incumbent, Williams demanded that Hochul agree to a debate before he releases his returns. On Friday, Hochul seemed to one-up him by accepting an invitation from Gotham Gazette to a debate on the morning of Aug. 29. Now Williams’ camp seems to be quasi-backpedaling, demanding a prime-time debate before his tax returns become public.

The primary is exactly a month away.

Rita Ciolli

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