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Opinion

Pete King's war chest grows

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) during a Capitol Hill

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) during a Capitol Hill hearing on June 11, 2019. Credit: Getty Images / Zach Gibson

Daily Point

A King’s ransom?

Third-quarter filing deadlines for House candidates are coming up next week, with all the associated hints about who’s ramping up fundraising and who’s taking it easy so far. 

Those fundraising filings will be particularly interesting to watch for someone like Rep. Pete King, who had a bigger Q2 than he has recently had at this stage in the electoral cycle. 

The Seaford Republican took in $214,000 in the period ending June 30. In the same quarter in 2017 and 2015, he took in just over $66,000 and $53,000, respectively, according to Federal Election Commission filings. 

This year’s haul is more on par with earlier runs. King totaled over $200,000 in Q2 in 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013. 

The sum this year is boosted in part by a $63,000 expenditure refund from McLaughlin & Associates, who has done work for King in the past, plus a $32,000 shot-in-the-arm from the Take Back the House 2020 political action committee. That’s part of more than $110,000 the PAC has given him this year, far more than any similar organization has donated to the reliably safe-seat Republican in recent years. 

Even without the quarterly boosts, it was a more active quarter for King than when he weathered an unusually competitive fight from Liuba Grechen Shirley last cycle. 

When contacted by The Point about the numbers, King batted away the idea that the close race in 2018 had convinced him to raise more money to defend his seat in 2020. 

Asked whether the big haul meant he was fully committed to running again, the question of the hour in his district which potentially could go Democratic after he retires, he wrote in an email, “Yes!”

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Talking Point

Clawing back the jackpot

When the Suffolk County Off-Track-Betting corporation sued the operator of its Jake’s 58 casino, Delaware North, on Monday, it was not surprising that the company’s spending on marketing and advertising was a key part of the complaint. The 10 percent of gross earnings contractually and legally committed to that purpose is practically a built-in boondoggle for slots parlors and racinos in New York. 

What’s fascinating is the timing, and the big legal change that incentivizes Suffolk County to make Delaware North toe the line.

In the week that ended Oct. 5, Jake’s 58’s average daily profit on each of the Islandia facility's 1,000 machines was $623 — by far the highest in the state. That translates to $623,000 a day in daily machine profit, or about $227 million a year.

That means the marketing and advertising budget at Delaware North’s disposal to promote Jake’s 58, where the parking lot and casino are already always full to bursting, is almost $23 million. And until April 1, whatever of that 10 percent was not spent went back to the state’s general fund. 

But the state law has changed. Unspent marketing and advertising money from Jake’s 58 now goes to Suffolk County,  which is one reason Suffolk OTB is very concerned about how Delaware North is spending that money.

Suffolk OTB also alleges Delaware North has taken advantage of the OTB in a number of other ways, but the marketing and advertising money is by far the biggest issue.

—Lane FIller @lanefiller

Pencil Point

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Quick Points

  • A Newsday analysis found that women in Long Island county, town and city governments earn two-thirds of what their male counterparts make. It’s probably just a coincidence that three of the four towns with the smallest pay gap are run by women.
  • As Republican opposition mounts to his plan to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria and expose the U.S.-allied Kurds there to an invading Turkish army, President Donald Trump tweeted that “if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey …” Besides the self-trolling, that’s the same great and unmatched wisdom that hatched the plan in the first place.
  • North Korea’s top negotiator said talks with the U.S. about North Korea’s nuclear program have broken down after they “did not live up to our expectations,” marking only the 451st time that has happened.
  • It turns out that the corrupt former Ukrainian prosecutor whose firing has been criticized by President Donald Trump had a history of using the law as a weapon in his political battles and also has no formal legal training. Yes, the former prosecutor is not a lawyer. Isn’t that just perfect.
  • A 27-year-old Florida woman obsessed with the Columbine High School massacre and the Oklahoma City bombing was arrested after her mother and father found 24 pipe bombs in her bedroom – a case where society can be relieved that a millennial was still living with her parents.
  • President Donald Trump now says he didn’t even want to make the phone call to Ukraine counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky and that it was Energy Secretary Rick Perry who encouraged him to place the call. Oh, and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue dialed the number.
  • A deer with a full set of antlers crashed through a plate-glass window of a Ronkonkoma hair salon before charging back out again — proving that the salon is not a place where the buck stops here.

—Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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