Open congressional seat: Day 29
Two new Long Island congressional hopefuls threw their hats in the ring this weekend.
Republican Assemb. Andrew Garbarino filed paperwork Friday afternoon for the CD2 seat being vacated by Rep. Pete King. And on Saturday Greg Fischer, who has vied unsuccessfully for State Senate and county executive, filed for the Democratic primary to take on Rep. Lee Zeldin in CD1 to the east.
In a brief interview with The Point, Garbarino, who works at his family law firm in Sayville, called himself an elected official in the mold of King: a “hometown guy” who distances himself from what he likened to today’s partisan atmosphere. He is in his fourth term in the minority in Albany.
Fischer, of Calverton, also has been around the LI political scene. He ran as a Democrat in longshot bids against GOP mainstay State Sen. Ken LaValle and got the Libertarian nod in his county executive attempt this year. He previously pushed for an elected Long Island Power Authority board.
The new entries are part of a crowded field in both districts. Multiple Democrats have jumped at the chance to challenge Zeldin in CD1 in Suffolk, where 2018 nominee Perry Gershon came within 4 percent in a wave-election last year. And the surprise announced retirement of King in CD2, which includes parts of both counties, prompted an outpouring of contenders considering the opportunity of an open seat. Each district boasts six candidates registered with the Federal Election Commission as of Monday.
—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
Scaramucci’s deep pockets
Anthony Scaramucci has been out of national politics since his brief run as White House communications director in the summer of 2017. But this fall, he got involved in more local races by donating to Democrats Laura Gillen and Madeline Singas.
The Manhasset resident gave $5,000 in September to Gillen’s tough-but-losing fight to win re-election as Hempstead supervisor, and $10,000 in late October to what was Singas’ easy glide to a second term as Nassau County district attorney, according to recent campaign finance filings.
Scaramucci, a businessman who fell out of favor with President Donald Trump and raised eyebrows with a colorful and insult-happy interview with a New Yorker reporter, has donated to Republicans and some Democrats in recent years. That included the likes of Sen. Mitt Romney and former congressman Michael Grimm, plus the NYC mayoral campaign of Bo Dietl in 2017, and former Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman in 2015 and 2016. He also supported Trump’s 2016 bid and donated to Singas in her tighter 2015 race.
But Federal Election Commission records don’t show any federal contributions from the Mooch in 2019.
What made him look local this year? Gillen tells The Point she met Scaramucci by “complete happenstance” while on vacation with her family in Turks and Caicos in July. He was visiting the British overseas territory as well, and Gillen says she chatted with him and he "liked what I was about, good government."
Singas spokeswoman Ilana Maier said in a statement, “As this election proves, the District Attorney has broad bipartisan support from people who trust her law enforcement experience and appreciate all she's contributed to making our County safer."
Scaramucci did not respond to requests for comment about his donation pattern and recent contributions to Democrats. But he has been trying to distance himself from Trump on other platforms. His pinned tweet is an August missive that says “I made a mistake supporting @realDonaldTrump. I don’t need to be absolved of that. But now I will do what it takes to help make things right.”
The tweet links to his Washington Post op-ed in which he lays out his critiques of Trump, from Charlottesville to immigration policy.
“For those paying attention, my public criticism of the president has been mounting over the past two years,” he writes.
—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
Not very merry
For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/opinion
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren earned nearly $2 million as a consultant for corporations and financial firms, which, to be charitable, means she knows what she’s talking about when she decries the evils of big corporations.
- Former Vice President Joe Biden told Axios on HBO he would forbid his son Hunter, as well as other family members, from accepting positions overseas and cashing in on his name if he wins the presidency. Good move. A little late.
- President Donald Trump says Saudi Arabia’s King Salman called to express “sincere condolences” after a Saudi Air Force officer in a training program killed three U.S. sailors Friday on a base in Florida. Trying to remember whether the condolences were similarly sincere after 15 Saudis led the 19-member group that carried out the 9/11 attacks.
- GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz says Rudy Giuliani’s recent trip to Ukraine amid the Ukraine-centered impeachment hearings of Giuliani’s client, President Donald Trump, was “weird.” Rudy, you know you’ve crossed into unchartered waters when Gaetz says your behavior is weird.
- Criticizing what he says were the contributions of master builder Robert Moses toward racial segregation, State Assemb. Daniel O’Donnell of Manhattan is sponsoring a bill to rename Robert Moses State Park — but many beachgoers will still have to travel to the park on Robert Moses Causeway. Guess there’s a limit to O’Donnell’s indignation.
- Confidential British government documents on Brexit trade talks were leaked just days before this week’s general vote in the UK, leading social media platform Reddit to ban 61 accounts suspected of voter manipulation in the matter. You get three guesses as to what country the account-holders were from and the first two don’t count. (Hint: It starts with R and rhymes with Prussia.)
- An Italian artist’s work of a banana duct-taped to a wall sold for $120,000 at a Miami art show. Days later, a man took the banana off the wall and ate it as a piece of “performance art.” The gallery director told the banana eater, “This is so stupid.” But the $120,000 rotting banana was not?
- Carroll Spinney, the longtime voice and operator of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, has died. No one ever blended sweet and sour so deftly.
—Michael Dobie @mwdobie