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Attention Suffolk County voters: It could be that only you will be able to vote for Cynthia Nixon this fall.
Nixon, who lost the Democratic gubernatorial primary to Andrew M. Cuomo last month, technically remained in the hunt for the Albany mansion as the candidate for the Working Families Party.
A decision is expected Wednesday about whether Nixon will be booted off the statewide ballot, and one of the only ways to do that is to find her another race. Since Nixon is an actress, not an attorney, the usual route of a judgeship isn’t an option. And one plan to have her run on the WFP line for the Assembly from the district in Manhattan where she lives wasn’t greeted too warmly by incumbent Democratic Assemb. Deborah Glick, who feared Nixon could actually win.
However, Nixon also owns a home in East Hampton and Suffolk is the place with the most pliable ballot line in the state, so why not? The WFP line for Suffolk County clerk is another of the paths available if the WFP and Nixon decide to remove her from the ballot, a WFP source confirmed to The Point. Incumbent Judy Pascale has the Republican line.
Does this race for Suffolk County clerk ring a bell? Maybe that’s because Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory got bumped to the Democratic line for county clerk after he was moved off the WFP line for Congress in the 2nd District when he lost the primary in June to Liuba Grechen Shirley.
You can’t make this up, unless, in fact, Suffolk County finds on election night that the Manhattan progressive will be the person recording their mortgages.
Rita Ciolli and Mark Chiusano
Belmont, Kaminsky in the crosshairs
A high-powered, political strategy and consulting firm, a Hollywood-based political and branding consultant, and a well-known Barack Obama impersonator have joined the fight against retail development at Belmont Park.
Their target, for the moment: State Sen. Todd Kaminsky.
“We’re just being proactive, thinking of the worst that could possibly happen here,” said Elmont resident Tony Bhatti, who is a member of a new organization called Elmont Against the Megamall.
But there’s more.
The group has registered as a lobbyist with the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics, with an address in West Hollywood and a contact listed as Howard Kushlan, who told The Point he’s helping to organize the group and work with the residents.
Kushlan and his team helped to connect the group to Reggie Brown, whose website calls him “the world’s #1 Barack Obama impersonator.” Brown recorded a YouTube ad for Elmont, blasting Kaminsky and the Belmont Park project. The ad doesn’t mention the planned New York Islanders’ arena at Belmont at all, although Bhatti said the group is against that, too, and also wants a promise that there won’t be sports betting at the site.
“Senator Kaminsky, if I can fix health care, you can fix this,” the Obama look-alike says in the polished, professional-looking ad.
Elmont Against the Megamall also is utilizing Mercury Public Affairs, a top public relations and political consulting company. Mercury has a long track record representing Simon Property Group, which owns Roosevelt Field, particularly in its ultimately successful fight against a luxury mall at the former Cerro Wire property. For years, Simon joined Oyster Bay residents to battle rival Taubman Centers over the Syosset parcel. Simon bought both town public works property and adjoining Taubman land. With Castagna Realty, which owns the Americana Manhasset, Simon aims to develop the land into Syosset Park, a mix of townhomes, condominiums, shops and more.
Kaminsky, for his part, says he’s always willing to listen to community concerns about Belmont. However, there’s a big “but.”
“They should also not be fooled by the deceptive advertising, both deceptive in it not being President Obama, but also deceptive in the fact that there are outsiders and big corporations who are obviously making it look like the community is 100 percent behind these efforts, when it is in fact darker than that,” Kaminsky told The Point. “They should look under the surface a bit, and I don’t think they’re going to like what they find.”
You can watch the full ad here.
Randi F. Marshall
A mystery is afoot
Sometimes, a less-known candidate trailing the more established politician by a wide margin can portray low voter recognition as an upside, arguing that voters need only learn about the upstart to fall in love.
For Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro, though, the timing of his race with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and a political world focused almost entirely on the U.S. Supreme Court and a controversial nominee make that a tough sell.
A Siena College poll of likely voters released Monday shows 56 percent of voters have never heard of Molinaro or don’t know enough about him to have an opinion. As for whom voters plan to support, Cuomo leads the Dutchess County executive 50 percent to 28 percent, and that’s even if Cynthia Nixon stays in the race on the Working Families Party line.
The activist and actress Cuomo defeated in the Democratic primary polls 10 percent statewide, with other third-party candidates combining for 4 percent.
Molinaro spent last week releasing a plan for broad and deep tax cuts in snippets, with the big reveal of the whole framework planned for Friday. But all week long, the focus was on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the Senate. Friday afternoon, when his “Empire State Freedom Plan” actually dropped, the questions on politically active minds were about FBI investigations and postponed votes, not reforming the Empire State Development Corp. and cutting unfunded state mandates.
Molinaro’s plan, which is very detailed on how he’d slash taxes and very vague on how to pay for the cuts, did get some media play over the weekend. That coverage just didn’t engender much buzz. And now, the late primary schedule Republicans so strongly favored to give its Senate incumbents time to get back in their districts and fight to keep the Senate majority after the legislative session may hurt them in the gubernatorial race. The Nixon-Cuomo battle sucked up all the air through mid-September, and now, with 36 days until the general election, Washington is.