Winners and Losers, January 17, 2014

Written by City & State on . Posted in Winners & Losers.





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It’s a time of transition. Many new mayors across the state have encountered early difficulties – some with forks. U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer found out he will need a new roommate soon, and we know how scary that process can be. Could be worse though. One statewide elected official heading into a reelection year opened the New York Times to read about how he may or may not wear eyeliner. Considering New York State’s demographic makeup that may not necessarily be a bad thing for him. Here’s who made this week’s Winners and Losers list:

 

John Boehner - For nearly 100 years Republicans had a stranglehold on the North Country congressional district. That was until Rep. Bill Owens’ came along. A series of fortunate events allowed him to win two races up there, frustrating Republicans. So, Speaker Boehner had to be happy when he got the news Owens was not running again. It is still likely to be a competitive race, but without an incumbent on the ballot the GOP stands a better chance not just in the district, but of hitting that magic number to keep its majority in the House.

Andrew Cuomo - The governor hasn’t even launched a bid for reelection, and already his campaign is reporting a whopping $33 million in the bank. The state’s GOP chair, Ed Cox, is pleading with members of his party to resist endorsing the Democrat, but big name Republicans like Al D’Amato are alreading siding with Cuomo. Potential Republican challengers are squabbling over who should be the nominee, but none of them has even entered the race. And with the Bridgegate scandal hounding another popular governor just across the Hudson, can you really blame Cuomo if he starts thinking about a presidential run in 2016?

Tom DiNapoli - Environmentalists in New York may be unhappy that the governor isn’t giving them enough attention this year, but at least they have a state comptroller who is using what power he has to take up their cause. This week DiNapoli used his clout as the sole trustee of the state’s pension fund—and, thus, a hugely influential investor—to persuade a major electric company to take steps to reduce its carbon footprint. Whether it results in more profits for the state’s retirees is unclear, but the move could set a precedent and spur other energy companies to follow suit.

Michael Gianaris - Back in the 2010 election cycle, state Senate Democrats in a last ditch attempt to hold onto control took out huge loans to try and win a couple of competitive districts. At the time, the thinking was ‘As long as we win we will be able to raise the money back quickly.’ Well, they lost. Saddled with more than $3 million in debt Queens state Sen. Mike Gianaris took over the conference’s campaign committee and it has been a long trek back. This week the committee reported that it was debt-free. No small accomplishment and good news heading into what is sure to be another competitive election cycle where both parties are going to need every dollar they can muster.

Malcolm Smith - Don’t hate the playa, hate the game. The former Senate Majority leader may be under indictment, but that didn’t prevent him from raising a cool $100k for his campaign. The state’s lax laws allow him to splash that cash on the lawyers he needs. And if things in his legal case start to head south he could always use that money for a nice dinner out on the town.

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Bill de Blasio - Forkgate!

Fred Dicker – Reporters usually like it when their stories make the front page—except when the story is about them. That’s what happened to the radio host and columnist for the Post, who landed on the cover of the rival Daily News. On his radio show this week, Dicker called the Newtown, Conn., shootings that shocked the nation a year ago “a little convenient massacre” since they paved the way for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s gun control law. Dicker defended his remark as sarcasm, but relatives of the Newtown victims weren’t laughing.

Dennis Gabryszak - “Is this what you wanted?” quoth the Bard. Oh, wait, that’s a line from stomach-turning (alleged) serial sexual harasser Dennis Garbryszak’s now Albany-famous bathroom stall video. To be honest, we’re not sure what kind of sex act he was trying to simulate in that video or whether it was some sort of coprophilia (look it up at your own peril), but whatever it was, it was almost as vomitous as the now former assemblyman trying to explain away his super inappropriate pervy advances as “mutual banter.” Yuck! We’re all losers for having seen that video.

Eric Stevenson - The former Assemblyman ended last week by saying he didn’t realize he wouldn’t have to testify at his own trial. It probably wouldn’t have helped much as the jury convicted him in his bribery case even after a key witness admitted to shutting off his wire and receiving oral sex from a prostitute. Hopefully the Bronx pol has gotten in enough of driving around in the Jag the feds say he used bribe money to help pay for because he faces up to 55 years in prison when he’s sentenced.

Lovely Warren - Well, that was fast. Less than two weeks after taking office, new Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren was on the defensive, trying to explain why she had hired a two-man security detail—a first for a mayor of the city—and appointed her uncle, a retired state police investigator, to lead the unit. Already the elite squad leader (code name: Unc) has driven into controversy, having been pulled over speeding through Fulton County with the mayor in tow at either “a little bit above 77 to 80 (mph),” if you believe Warren, or 97, if you believe the Times Union. Now the City Council has called for an ethics investigation to determine if the mayor’s hiring of her uncle violates the city’s anti-nepotism policy. You think?

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