The Capitol: This Week’s Winners and Losers
The temptation to make mayoral hopeful Tom Allon, president and CEO of Manhattan Media (which owns and publishes City Hall and The Capitol) a loser this week was strong – Vanity campaign? Little chance of winning? Making our lives more difficult? – but the respectable level of news coverage he generated caused us shrug it off. So instead of delving into that thorny brush, we present a list of boldfaced names who had both good weeks and not so good weeks:
Jonathan Lippman — The paltry paychecks paid to New York’s judges, a key complaint of Chief Judge Lippman, are poised to get padded if Gov. Andrew Cuomo agrees with the members of a board he formed to explore the issue. The state’s judges aren’t struggling to survive on their six-figure salaries, but board members this week said they expect substantial increases to pay levels that have not changed in over a decade, which would pull New York out of last place for judicial salaries. Bill Thompson, the Cuomo ally leading the board, acknowledged the low salaries make it hard to recruit and retain the best and brightest legal minds. Lippman has his case. Now he’ll have to wait for a ruling from Cuomo.
Nan Hayworth — The Republican congresswoman from the Hudson Valley reported strong fund-raising numbers this week, and the news was followed shortly by the announcement that her past rival would not run against her again. John Hall, the incumbent that Hayworth ousted in a close race last fall, blasted her record but said he would not challenge her at the ballot due to family obligations. Hayworth, an eye doctor, raked in $381,024 in the latest quarter, an impressive haul for a rookie lawmaker. It looks like her constituents appreciate her vision.
Christine Quinn — The Council speaker outpaced all the other 2013 mayoral candidates in fundraising, a surprise to no one. But when the filing comes out today, we’ll know just how much of her support she got from her centrist real estate base, and more interestingly, how much is from grateful LGBT donors, thanking her for her advocacy on the gay marriage bill. Her frank stance on her sexual orientation, which can be a liability in so many other places, instead put her front-and-center on an issue that all the other mayoral candidates actually do support. But Quinn, by virtue of circumstance and shrewd judgment, sees her private life as an asset, one that in this case was able to rake in major cash.
Bob Turner — His week started with the Queens and Brooklyn Republican parties burying the hatchet and unifying behind him as the Republican nominee in the special election to replace Anthony Weiner. Then Ed Koch said that he wouldn’t support the Democrat in the race, David Weprin, because the former mayor wants the race to be a referendum on President Barack Obama’s Israelpolicies. That was topped off by Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who holds some sway in the district’s Orthodox community, saying he had a problem with Weprin’s vote in favor of gay marriage. Turner’s still a long shot, but any traction the Irish Republican can gain in the district’s sizable Jewish community against the Orthodox Weprin is an unexpected boost.
Mark Grisanti — The recent filings confirmed what everyone seemed to know: that after voting in favor for same-sex marriage, Mark Grisanti would reap a windfall from grateful pro-gay rights groups across the country. And boy did they make it rain: $10,300 checks, $5,000 checks, $4,000 checks. All told, the Western New York senator raked in northward of $153,000, putting him a swell position to defend himself against any Democratic or Conservative party challenger. Not that any would run against one of the allies of the uber-popular Cuomo. The governor told the Times this week he would support those Republicans who risked life and limb to vote “yes.” And of the four Republicans who did, Grisanti, who represents an overwhelmingly Democratic district, is most in need of this type of assistance.
Rupert Murdoch — The FBI is probing the media magnate’s phone hacking scandal, Rep. Pete King is outraged that 9/11 victims may have been targeted, and even Mayor Michael Bloomberg is distancing himself from his embattled fellow mogul. Compared to that, the fate of a $27 million no-bid state Education Department contract for testing software from a Murdoch subsidiary is small potatoes. But if angry pols block the contract, Murdoch’s dream of diversifying his empire by entering what he believes is a $500 billion education market will be dealt a grievous blow.
William Boyland, Jr. — For politicians, a scandal can mean that all other good accomplishments come second in the eventual synopsis of their lives. But indicted Assemblyman William Boyland, Jr., charged with corruption and bribery along with Sen. Carl Kruger, doesn’t really have that problem. As the legislative session wrapped up, and attendance records showed Boyland had not only sponsored zero bills in the session, but also neglected to show up 33 percent of the time in a 60 day session, it became clear the pol hadn’t really done anything the whole year, a feat for which he drew a $79,500 salary. Slacking is for summer, not spring.
John Liu — When John Liu got a juicy nugget of information about the CityTime scandal a month ago, the comptroller couldn’t wait to hold a press conference about it—only for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to essentially tell Liu to clam up. This week, Liu’s mayoral campaign couldn’t have been more close-mouthed about his fundraising totals, demanding that any article containing them be essentially about him, making the other candidates who willingly gave up theirs seem gracious. Either way, Liu’s press strategy seems to be that everything must be about him, all the time. While that may grab a few headlines in the short-term, in the long run it unlikely to win friends in either political circles or the press.
Kirsten Gillibrand — It turns outNew York’s junior senator may have gone too far in trying to raise cash for her reelection campaign. OffTheSideLines.org, created by Gillibrand to get women “off the sidelines and make a difference in their community,” was hammered earlier in the week as a naked fundraising tool. The page has since been remodeled and now mirrors her campaign website. Already expected to haul in millions for 2012, many were left to ask: was this really necessary?
Mike Gianaris — The Queens Democrat was tapped to rectify an impossible situation: raise enough money for embattled and debt-ridden Senate Democrats and position the conference for a comeback in 2012. And he did his part, raising more than $1 million in six-months. Too bad the conference is still $2.3 million in debt. And with prodigious fundraisers either raising for their own breakaway conference, like Jeff Klein, or under indictment, like Carl Kruger, or for their own personal PACs, like Liz Krueger, Gianaris is unlikely to find any outside assistance before its too late.