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Assemb. Earlene Hooper speaks during a town hall

Assemb. Earlene Hooper speaks during a town hall meeting in Hempstead on Feb. 22, 2017. Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

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Daily Point

New rant from old playbook

The gloves are off in the 18th Assembly District, where 30-year incumbent Earlene Hooper is lashing out at a credible Democratic Party primary opponent.

Hooper, who also is the Assembly’s deputy speaker, launched a racist rant at a meeting last week of the New Hempstead Democratic Club, according to the New York Post, which obtained a video of the event. Hooper accused opponent Taylor Raynor, a business analyst, of benefiting from “plantation” politics and being a pawn used by white power brokers. Both Hooper and Raynor are black.

“It reminds me of what happened before the Civil War, when we were on plantations and someone decided to run, and the person who happened to be in massa’s good graces would tell on Big Jim, who’s planning to run away when it’s dark, when there’s a new moon. So, that’s what happened now, we have a plantation,” Hooper said, according to The Post.

The event was supposed to be an opportunity for the club to meet Raynor but Hooper gathered up a few dozen of her supporters and crashed it, according to Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs, the figurative plantation owner in Hooper’s tale.

“She’s done this before and I’ve heard it from clergy and other people where she’s made these references to me being a white plantation owner,” Jacobs told The Point. “The long and the short of it is, I’m tired of it. It’s a distraction. She tries to distract people from the fact she doesn’t have a record, and the record she does have is poor.”

The New Hempstead Democratic Club was an interesting choice for Hooper to make a stand. It’s run by the son of former Hempstead Village Mayor Wayne Hall. Hooper last year endorsed Hall’s Republican opponent, Don Ryan, and used her Assembly mailing privileges to send out an anti-Hall flyer in the campaign’s waning days. Ryan won.

Raynor was a registered blank whose switch this spring to the Democratic Party won’t take effect until after the September primary. She needed a Wilson-Pakula authorization from Jacobs to run on the party’s line.

Jacobs said Raynor has a “50-50 shot at the least,” adding that previous opponents have not put the effort or money into knocking off Hooper.

“The overwhelming number of my county committee want someone new,” Jacobs said. “Now she’s going to have a race where there will be money. I am sure that after what she just said the people I am friendly with and myself will have a greater motivation to find the resources [for Raynor].”

Michael Dobie

Talking Point

Seeking female clicks

On Facebook at least, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul has identified a key constituency: women.

Her re-election campaign sponsored seven ads in July, and women accounted for more than 95 percent of the impressions on those ads (meaning the number of times people saw the ads on a screen).

This disparity does not appear to be typical for New York politicians, as can be seen with a search through Facebook’s archive of political advertisements bought since May. Hochul’s campaign also sponsored three other ads in June whose impressions have a more balanced gender breakdown.

But perhaps Hochul’s campaign has zeroed in on what it believes to be a winning Democratic primary strategy against progressive insurgent Jumaane Williams, who just this weekend was endorsed by NYC Democratic Socialists of America. A member of the City Council from Brooklyn, Williams has faced questions on his personal beliefs about LGBTQ and abortion issues, which his campaign says have evolved. During his unsuccessful race for City Council speaker last year, he sent a letter to colleagues reiterating his support: “I support marriage equality for our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQIA communities. I support a woman’s right to have access to a safe, legal abortion.”

Hochul’s ads this year attempt to tar Williams as insufficiently socially liberal at a time when President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee could shift the balance on abortion.

“Now more than ever, NY needs leaders who are 100% personally committed to passing pro-choice laws,” one ad says.

A representative for Hochul’s campaign said, “Our campaign is working hard to connect with women every day.” Her campaign did not respond to questions about the ads being targeted, but a Democratic operative unaffiliated with gubernatorial races who places digital advertising explained that Facebook ads can be carefully targeted. Campaigns can either focus on users via the information users have provided to Facebook, or campaigns can upload their own contact lists and target people that way, more like direct mail.

Mark Chiusano

Pencil Point

D.W.P.S. — driving with plastic straw

Quick Points

Just perfect

  • President Donald Trump’s nominee to run the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program is the former top lawyer for Dow Chemical, under whose direction Dow, which is responsible for a slew of toxic cleanup sites, was accused of incorrectly representing scientific evidence, submitting data that were in dispute, and delaying cleanups. Perfect.
  • Pope Francis accepted the resignation of the Rev. Theodore McCarrick from the College of Cardinals after allegations of decades of sexual abuse of seminarians and minors, and he ordered McCarrick to live a “life of prayer and penance.” Some might prefer that McCarrick experience the secular version of penance.
  • President Donald Trump tweeted that he’s willing to shut down the government if Democrats don’t give him the funding for his border wall. Here’s guessing the Democrats will be happy to let him do that.
  • New reporting suggests that Russian hackers are more interested in disrupting America’s electric grid than the midterm elections. Just to ask the obvious, wouldn’t an attack on the electric grid on Nov. 6 also disrupt the elections?
  • Anthony Scaramucci criticized the White House’s reprimand of CNN’s Kaitlan Collins because of her questioning of President Donald Trump, saying officials should view tape of former ABC News reporter Sam Donaldson screaming questions at Ronald Reagan for perspective. When The Mooch critiques your press etiquette, you’re in trouble.
  • This summer’s record heat and extreme weather events have surprised even climate scientists, and they predicted this would happen. That’s really not good.
  • A 23-year-old Hawaiian surfer, Koa Smith, recently rode a wave off Namibia on the west coast of Africa for an unheard-of two full minutes, staying upright on his board for nearly a mile. Just because we all deserve to smile, even if it’s not for two full minutes.

Michael Dobie

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