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Opinion

Steve Bellone rakes in PAC funding

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone in Hauppauge on

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone in Hauppauge on Nov. 5. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Daily Point

Big bucks for Bellone

The Long Island Law Enforcement Foundation was all in for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone this year — spending more than $800,000 to put its guy over the top.

The super PAC, funded by Suffolk County police unions, allocated those expenses in the lead-up to Bellone’s reelection. It was also after Suffolk cops came to an agreement with the county on new labor contracts this spring. It’s a hefty thank-you gift considering that Bellone’s campaign itself spent some $3 million over the same three campaign finance reporting periods.

The mega-dollars for Bellone are much more than the super PAC spent for the Democrat in recent years, including in election year 2015, when campaign finance records show the group spent about $60,000 for him.

The super PAC also spent big this year on Suffolk legislative incumbents: close to $300,000 for William Lindsay, who lost a very tight race to Anthony Piccirillo; nearly $100,000 for Sarah Anker; and more than $50,000 each for Robert Calarco, Bridget Fleming, and Republican Kevin McCaffrey. 

What did that outside money buy for the candidates supported by Suffolk law enforcement? Much of it went to Brooklyn-based Red Horse Strategies for advertisements and campaign literature. Then there was the more than $200,000 buy at Billboards on Wheels. Christine Nolan, assistant to the company president, tells The Point it sent out six trucks with messaging for various legislators, and five trucks alone for Bellone.

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Talking Point

Howie Hawkins’ hurdles

Consider this possibility for New York’s Green Party.

One of the recommendations from the state campaign finance reform commission would raise the threshold for a party getting automatic access to the ballot. Such parties would qualify only if they nab 130,000 votes or 2% of the total votes cast every two years, whichever is higher, in both gubernatorial and presidential elections. That starts in 2020. 

So let’s take the Greens’ Howie Hawkins, whose performances in his 2010, 2014 and 2018 bids for governor were more than enough to do the trick for the old 50,000-vote threshold. He’s now running for the Green Party’s nomination for president. Should he get the nomination, it would be up to him to automatically qualify the Greens for the 2022 gubernatorial ballot — in which it wouldn’t be crazy for Hawkins to be the nominee once again.  

Talk about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.

Hawkins, a retired UPS worker from Syracuse, tells The Point he’s been campaigning hard across 32 states recently, and he’s always trying to do more: “It’s a bottomless pit.” 

He thinks the proposed threshold is too high, considering that the Greens have rarely broached 130,000 in the state in recent memory (he did it in 2014).

Having to petition one’s way onto the ballot would be very difficult, he says. 

Does he think he’ll find himself running for governor again under new rules? 

“It’s up to the Greens,” he said, laughing. “I’ve never sought it. I’ve been available.”

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

With friends like these...

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Puzzle Point

Test your impeachment knowledge

With the House Intelligence Committee releasing its impeachment report Tuesday, here’s a little word game to test how closely you’ve been following the proceedings ahead of Wednesday’s Judiciary Committee hearings. Each string of letters below is an anagram for someone who has played an important part in the process. Re-arrange the letters to discover the person.

For example, DINED ALL MANGO would yield DANIEL GOLDMAN, the Democratic counsel for the House Intelligence Committee.

Have fun!

1. OLD DRUM PANT

2. VEINED NUNS

3. CHAFF MAIDS

4. DINNER EXAM VANDAL

5. I HALF LION

6. ICY NOVA VIA MOTHER

7. LONG NOD AND RODS

8. RUE THEN BIND

9. WILTY ORAL MAIL

10. LOVED HIM SAD

.

.

.

Answers: 1. Donald Trump. 2. Devin Nunes. 3. Adam Schiff. 4. Alexander Vindman.  5. Fiona Hill. 6. Marie Yovanovitch. 7. Gordon Sondland. 8. Hunter Biden. 9. William Taylor. 10. David Holmes.

—Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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