Good afternoon. Today’s points:
- The state GOP line of succession is in play
- Why Paul Ryan is coming to Long Island
- A fabulous Trump fable by former Rep. Gary Ackerman
Special guest coming
House Speaker Paul Ryan, one of the GOP’s top fundraisers, is headed to Long Island later this month to rake in the bucks for Republicans in two of the nation’s hottest Congressional races.
Ryan will be here on Aug. 30 to support Jack Martins, who is running against Democrat Tom Suozzi for the seat being vacated by Steve Israel. The 3rd CD on the North Shore is one of the few blue seats the GOP hopes to pick up as it tries to hold on to its sizeable majority.
Then Ryan, who was the party’s 2012 vice presidential candidate, will go to the Nissequogue home of Steve Louro for a major fundraiser in support of Lee Zeldin. The 1st CD freshman faces an aggressive challenge from Democrat Anna Throne-Holst, the former Southampton Town supervisor.
But Ryan may not be the top attraction. Zeldin also recruited former members of the Mets, Yankees and Giants for the event.
Connecting the Points
Trump’s campaign all shook up
The shakeup of Donald Trump’s campaign team has a distinct Long Island flavor.
Trump’s decision to bring aboard Stephen Bannon of conservative media company Breitbart News — a big critic of Speaker Paul Ryan, with whom Trump has had a rocky relationship — and elevate adviser/pollster Kellyanne Conway, evolved from an East Hampton fundraiser Saturday at the home of New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, according to The Washington Post.
Trump was accosted there by Rebekah Mercer — a big donor and supporter of conservative candidates, along with her father Robert Mercer of Setauket-based Renaissance Technologies hedge-fund fame — over efforts by Paul Manafort and other top advisers to get Trump to be a more temperate candidate.
Rebekah Mercer offered advice about how to change his campaign to better reflect his personality, according to the Post, and praised the combative Bannon, who is as likely to attack mainstream Republicans as hated Democrats; she and her father know him well as investors in Breitbart.
And Rebekah Mercer also knows Trump. If she hadn’t bumped into him in East Hampton, she might have given him advice in her Manhattan apartment, where she’s hosted other fundraisers. It’s on Riverside Drive in The Heritage at Trump Place, where she and her husband bought six adjoining units on three floors. Robert Mercer, of course, has his own fabulous mansion in Head of the Harbor.
Moving on up
Forget 2016, the campaigning for seats that are up in 2017 has already started.
NYS Republican Party chairman Ed Cox is expected to retire when his term expires next year and Erie County chairman Nick Langworthy appears ready to make a run for the party’s leadership. He just formed a “Friends of Nick Langworthy” campaign committee and is holding a fundraiser next month. Langworthy, who decided against a fight to unseat Cox last year, is the political boy wonder of Western NY. He successfully ran campaigns for Congress and the State Senate.
But he’s likely to have some competition from Suffolk County leader John Jay LaValle, who’s also interested in the state GOP post. LaValle has more experience attracting big donors. He held a large rally for Donald Trump before the state presidential primary, recently raised more than $1.2 million for Trump’s campaign, and he’s getting considerable media experience as a surrogate for the GOP nominee.
Then again, if Trump wins, LaValle may have better job offers to consider.
Watch out, Aesop
Rep. Steve Israel isn’t the only prominent 3rd Congressional District Democrat with literary aspirations. Former Rep. Gary Ackerman penned a fable for Newsday that reflects on the election cycle so far — and in particular the rise of Donald Trump. Maybe Ackerman and Israel can join forces for a CD3 writing circle.