Review Category : Poltics

Incumbent Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz Wins Democratic Primary

schatz.senate.gov(HONOLULU) — The Hawaii Democratic Senate primary has finally been called.

For a week, it was too close to call, but now incumbent Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz has defeated his Democratic primary challenger Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa.

Schatz was already leading after last Saturday’s primary, but he was not named the winner of the prolonged race until the last two precincts on the Big Island of Hawaii were able to vote.

Due to the damage from Hurricane Iselle, just under 8,000 voters had to wait until Friday to go to the ballot box.

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Sarah Palin Endorses Joe Miller in Alaska’s Republican Senate Primary

John Moore/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has endorsed Tea Party favorite Joe Miller in Alaska’s Republican Senate primary.

The former Vice Presidential nominee also endorsed Miller in 2010, when he won the GOP primary against Senator Lisa Murkowski. Murkowski THE ended up defeating Miller in a successful write-in campaign.

But this time around, it’s different– according to ABC’s Shushannah Walshe, one of Miller’s opponents is Dan Sullivan, a man Palin appointed Attorney General when she was governor.

The winner of Tuesday’s primary will face Democrat Mark Begich in November.

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GOP Weekly Address: Rep. Doug Collins Urges Democrats in Senate to Act

Office of Congressman Doug Collins(WASHINGTON) — In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia urged the Democratic Senate to act on jobs bills that have been passed in the Republican-held House of Representatives.

Collins says in his statement that Democratic inaction in the Senate is the cause of much of the Washington gridlock in terms of jobs efforts. “Our bills are piling up on Harry Reid’s desk, collecting dust,” he says.

Despite the gridlock, Collins says Republicans “aren’t going to slow down” and will “keep passing common-sense solutions to help American families.”

Here is the full transcript of this week’s Republican address:

Earlier this week, I visited with folks in Blue Ridge, a small community of less than fifteen hundred between the Chattahoochee National Forest, the Cohutta Wilderness Area, and a big, beautiful lake where families often go to camp, kayak, or just catch a few trout.

At the local high school, we had a good, honest conversation about growing the economy, creating more jobs, and expanding opportunities for all Americans.

I listened as workers and parents who are living paycheck to paycheck shared their concerns about the future of their families and also of our country.

Like most Americans, my constituents are frustrated with the status quo.

They wish Washington would stop meddling in things that aren’t broken, and start fixing the things that are.

They think there’s too much talk, and not enough action on real solutions.

Those I talked to want to know, why can’t our leaders just do their jobs?

I know how they feel, because my Republican colleagues in the House and I have made the American people’s priorities our priorities.

We’ve passed bill after bill to help our struggling economy, save taxpayer dollars, lower the cost of gas and groceries, and help every child get a good education.

But Democrats in the Senate have essentially decided to do nothing.

Our bills are piling up on Harry Reid’s desk, collecting dust.

Even when it comes to a crisis like the one on our southern border, House Republicans passed a common-sense solution, and Senate Democrats left town without doing the hard work to pass their own.

That’s just irresponsible – there’s no other word for it.

In recent weeks, Republicans have led efforts to enact job training legislation that helps people get back to work.

We’ve given veterans stuck in an outdated federal bureaucracy timely access to the care they need.

And we’ve prevented major highway projects from being shut down.

But there is much more work to be done.

President Obama enjoys complaining about Congress, but the fact is, his own party controls the Senate, and they need to get to work.

Of the bills that have been signed into law, more than 75 percent of them have originated in the House.

What’s more, right now, Senate Democrats have failed to take action on more than 340 bills passed by the House.

Many of them have bipartisan support, including most of the 43 jobs bills that are stuck in this do-nothing Senate.

So if they’re truly interested in making progress, the president and his party have a lot of catching up to do.

Republicans aren’t going to slow down; we’re going to keep passing common-sense solutions to help American families, and we’re going to keep the pressure on Senate Democrats to do their job.

Thank you so much for listening.

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Obama Discusses Affording Higher Education in Weekly Address

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — In his weekly address, President Obama pointed to the upcoming start of a new school year and the impotrance of higher education.

“In today’s economy,” the president said, “whether you go to a four-year college, a community college, or a professional training program, some higher education is the surest ticket to the middle class.” A typical American with a bachelor’s degree, Obama pointed out, makes about $28,000 per year more than someone with just a high school diploma, and is also significantly more likely to be employed at all.

Pointing to his experience and that of First Lady Michelle Obama, the president acknowledged the difficulty some college graduates have paying off their college loans. Just as he has pushed for loan reform, the president urged students to push themselves academically, to challenge themselves to “reach higher.”

Read the full transcript of the president’s address:

Hi, everybody. Over the next couple weeks, schools all across the country will be opening their doors. Students will suit up for fall sports, marching band, and the school play; moms and dads will snap those first-day-of-school pictures – and that includes me and Michelle.

And so today, I want to talk directly with students and parents about one of the most important things any of you can do this year – and that’s to begin preparing yourself for an education beyond high school.

We know that in today’s economy, whether you go to a four-year college, a community college, or a professional training program, some higher education is the surest ticket to the middle class. The typical American with a bachelor’s degree or higher earns over $28,000 more per year than someone with just a high school diploma. And they’re also much more likely to have a job in the first place – the unemployment rate for those with a bachelor’s degree is less than one-third of the rate for those without a high school diploma.

But for too many families across the country, paying for higher education is a constant struggle. Earlier this year, a young woman named Elizabeth Cooper wrote to tell me how hard it is for middle-class families like hers to afford college. As she said, she feels “not significant enough to be addressed, not poor enough for people to worry [about], and not rich enough to be cared about.”

Michelle and I know the feeling – we only finished paying off our student loans ten years ago. And so as President, I’m working to make sure young people like Elizabeth can go to college without racking up mountains of debt. We reformed a student loan system so that more money goes to students instead of big banks. We expanded grants and college tax credits for students and families. We took action to offer millions of students a chance to cap their student loan payments at 10% of their income. And Congress should pass a bill to let students refinance their loans at today’s lower interest rates, just like their parents can refinance their mortgage.

But as long as college costs keep rising, we can’t just keep throwing money at the problem – colleges have to do their part to bring down costs as well. That’s why we proposed a plan to tie federal financial aid to a college’s performance, and create a new college scorecard so that students and parents can see which schools provide the biggest bang for your buck. We launched a new $75 million challenge to inspire colleges to reduce costs and raise graduation rates. And in January, more than 100 college presidents and nonprofit leaders came to the White House and made commitments to increase opportunities for underserved students.

Since then, we’ve met with even more leaders who want to create new community-based partnerships and support school counselors. And this week, my Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, announced a series of commitments to support students who need a little extra academic help getting through college.

This is a challenge I take personally. And to all you young people, now that you’re heading back to school, your education is something you have to take personally, also. It’s up to you to push yourself; to take hard classes and read challenging books. Science shows that when you struggle to solve a problem or make a new argument, you’re actually forming new connections in your brain. So when you’re thinking hard, you’re getting smarter. Which means this year, challenge yourself to reach higher. And set your sights on college in the years ahead. Your country is counting on you.

And don’t forget to have some fun along the way, too.

Thanks everybody. Good luck on the year ahead.

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Mary Landrieu’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

Office of Senator Mary Landrieu(WASHINGTON) — It’s been a tough week for Sen. Mary Landrieu.

If it wasn’t bad enough that the three-term Louisiana Democrat was already considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the 2014 midterms — whose seat could determine control of the Senate — this week, Landrieu’s re-election bid was rocked by turbulence over a private jet scandal and the announcement that her leading opponent now has more money to spend in the campaign.

The campaign of her GOP challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy, announced Thursday that he had pulled ahead of Landrieu with $5.6 million cash on hand, according to new FEC filing posted for Landrieu and Cassidy. That’s compared to Landrieu’s $5.5 million.

It’s a small lead of only about $100,000, but a significant one for Cassidy. This is the first time he has managed to outdo Landrieu’s deep fundraising pockets, and his campaign celebrated the achievement.

“We are incredibly excited about the state of our campaign,” Cassidy campaign spokesman John Cummins said in a statement Thursday. “Dr. Cassidy’s message of common-sense conservative reform is resonating. That’s why he has proven one of the most prolific fundraisers of this cycle and is the only Senate challenger in the country with more cash on hand than the incumbent.”

But the Landrieu campaign countered that Cassidy’s cash on hand number is “inflated” by the inclusion of $400,000 that could only be used after Nov. 4 in the event that no one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, in which case the two candidates with the largest number of votes would proceed to a runoff.

“We have always had the funds necessary to run the campaign we planned and will raise all the money we’ll need to get out the message that Mary is fighting for Louisianans in the Senate,” Landrieu campaign communications director Fabien Levy said in a statement. “Congressman Cassidy has chosen to inflate his fundraising numbers by including nearly $400,000 in runoff contributions that will be sitting in the bank when Sen. Landrieu wins this election on Nov. 4.”

Cassidy’s cash announcement was just the final straw in Landrieu’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.

Things started to get bumpy on Tuesday when a media report alleged that Landrieu had used taxpayer funds to pay for a charter flight to attend a campaign fundraiser. Landrieu spent $3,200 on a round-trip flight from New Orleans to Lake Charles, Louisiana, where she attended a $40-per-person fundraiser with women supporters Nov. 8. The flight should have been paid for by Landrieu’s campaign but was instead reportedly paid for by her Senate office, which is a violation of federal law.

The report came on the heels of a USA Today report a week earlier that said Landrieu was among one of the Senate’s biggest spenders in chartering flights for official Senate business, racking up a $47,000 tab in 2013.

Landrieu campaign communications director Fabien Levy told ABC News it was a mistake that taxpayer dollars were used to pay for the flight to Lake Charles and that the campaign took action “immediately” to correct the error when it was first discovered by her office on July 29.

“We take our finances very seriously and are glad we caught the vendor’s mistake and were able to rectify the matter as soon as possible,” Levy said in a statement to ABC News on Wednesday.

Though the Landrieu campaign had already corrected the error, which it blamed on the charter company, Landrieu’s opponents cried foul.

“Sen. Landrieu’s disregard and abuse of taxpayer money is unacceptable and, reportedly, illegal,” Rep. Cassidy said in a statement. “She should return all the taxpayer money she has spent on charter flights, open up her travel logs for further review to ensure there are not more violations, and apologize to American taxpayers immediately.”

Candidate Col. Rob Maness, the tea party favorite in the race, suggested that the $3,200 flight was just the tip of the iceberg.

“In recent weeks, a disturbing pattern-of-behavior has been exposed revealing Sen. Mary Landrieu’s constant abuse of taxpayer dollars,” Maness said in a statement.

Then, the conservative America Rising PAC managed to squeeze a little extra play out of the media maelstrom that formed Wednesday with the rapid release of a Web video “Mary Landrieu, Louisiana’s Frequent Flier,” that mashed up sound bites on the story from local news reports.

Just as it seemed the story might die with the 24-hour news cycle by Thursday morning, a second media report was published late Wednesday night revealing that Landrieu would also reimburse a separate charter flight, for which her Senate office paid $5,700.

Landrieu had chartered the flight through her Senate office to attend an official event in Shreveport, Louisiana. While the Shreveport event qualified as official expense, the same plane then took Landrieu to Dallas, where she attended a fundraiser before returning to Washington.

“Out of an abundance of caution in case there was a cost allocation error connected to this flight, the Senate will be reimbursed for the [Shreveport to Dallas] flight,” Landrieu’s Senate spokesman Matthew Lehner told ABC News in a statement.

Cassidy’s campaign spokesman John Cummins called the second flight reimbursement “a pattern” of disregard for taxpayer money.

“This second offense shows a pattern of mismanagement of her office expenses,” Cummins said. “Sen. Landrieu only complied with federal law, nearly a year later, after she was caught red-handed. She then said she only complied with federal law out of an ‘abundance of caution.’ If an average Louisiana taxpayer broke the law, and then a year later tried to correct it, they couldn’t get away with platitudes.”

Adding fuel the fire, the conservative Keep Louisiana Working group announced soon thereafter that it had filed an FEC complaint against Landrieu over the charter flights; and the Louisiana Republican Party launched an “Air Mary” campaign, complete with a Twitter handle @AirMaryLa. The tongue-in-cheek Twitter handle provides this description: “Taxpayer Funded Flights since 1997, because clout doesn’t fly coach.”

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Lawmakers Rip Ferguson Police Response to Protesters

Credit: Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) — Since protests erupted over the death of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old African American man shot to death by a Caucasian police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, police clad in riot gear have unleashed tear gas and smoke bombs to try to control demonstrators.

The law enforcement response to the protest has been labeled overly combative, even militaristic – and lawmakers are now concerned that the situation is emblematic of a more pervasive problem.

Reps. John Conyers, D-Mich, Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., have officially called for Congressional hearings to examine “the extensive militarization of state and local police.”

In a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlate, R-Va., they noted: “Mr. Brown’s killing highlights what appears to be a continuing pattern of the use of deadly force by police against unarmed African Americans in cities around the nation.”

Hearings could address the “long-simmering racial tensions between an overwhelmingly white police force and a majority African-American population” in many areas, they wrote. “Why do local police dress in military-style uniforms and body armor…? At best, confronting demonstrators with this show of force is a sign of poor judgment.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Georgia., announced plans to introduce a bill restricting the transfer of surplus equipment from the military to police offices through a controversial Defense Department program. He reportedly calls the bill the “Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act.”

Some lawmakers have even suggested that police in Ferguson resembled soldiers in war-torn regions abroad, rather than officers tasked with keeping peace.

“Instead of being respected as citizens of this nation who have the right to vocally oppose what they believe is mistreatment [protesters] were met with tear gas, rubber bullets, and police equipped as though they are militia in a war zone,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio. “What I saw last night reminded me of violent responses to uprisings in countries around the world, not here in my own backyard. We are supposed to be better than that.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., joined the chorus:

This is America, not a war zone. The people of #Ferguson just want answers. We all want answers.

— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) August 14, 2014

Images & reports out of #Ferguson are frightening. Is this a war zone or a US city? Gov’t escalates tensions w/military equipment & tactics.

— Justin Amash (@repjustinamash) August 14, 2014

Democrats aren’t the only ones railing against perceived police brutality.

Tea Party favorite Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., penned an oped in Time Magazine decrying a “systemic problem with today’s law enforcement:”

Some lawmakers went further, drawing parallels between the police response to Ferguson protesters and law enforcement treatment of civil rights advocates.

“The tragic killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown and the events that have transpired since the shooting in Ferguson are reminiscent of the violent altercations that took place during the Civil Rights Movement. Countless African Americans endured unwarranted hostility and excessive force from law enforcement while exercising their right to peaceful assembly and civil resistance,” said Rep. Conyers, a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. “It is a great travesty to find ourselves again witnessing the blatant violation of our right to peaceably assemble.”

Still others took to social media to voice their outrage.

You should not be forced to choke on tear gas to make your voice heard. #Ferguson

— Rep. Steven Horsford (@RepHorsford) August 14, 2014

You should not have to withstand a shower of rubber bullets to assemble. #Ferguson

— Rep. Steven Horsford (@RepHorsford) August 14, 2014

This situation must not spiral further into a national crisis. This began as a tragedy & we need to avoid any further escalation. #Ferguson

— Rep. Steven Horsford (@RepHorsford) August 14, 2014

The citizens of #Ferguson deserve answers from police, not a military-style offensive.

— Rep. John Yarmuth (@RepJohnYarmuth) August 14, 2014

The greatest flaw is not to understand you have a flaw. #Ferguson @CNNSitRoom

— Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (@repcleaver) August 14, 2014

Both the president and Michael Brown’s parents have pled for peace. Following a national outcry, state troopers have supplanted local police to try to calm the situation.

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Lawmakers Rip Ferguson Police Response to Protesters

Credit: Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) — Since protests erupted over the death of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old African American man shot to death by a Caucasian police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, police clad in riot gear have unleashed tear gas and smoke bombs to try to control demonstrators.

The law enforcement response to the protest has been labeled overly combative, even militaristic – and lawmakers are now concerned that the situation is emblematic of a more pervasive problem.

Reps. John Conyers, D-Mich, Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., have officially called for Congressional hearings to examine “the extensive militarization of state and local police.”

In a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlate, R-Va., they noted: “Mr. Brown’s killing highlights what appears to be a continuing pattern of the use of deadly force by police against unarmed African Americans in cities around the nation.”

Hearings could address the “long-simmering racial tensions between an overwhelmingly white police force and a majority African-American population” in many areas, they wrote. “Why do local police dress in military-style uniforms and body armor…? At best, confronting demonstrators with this show of force is a sign of poor judgment.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Georgia., announced plans to introduce a bill restricting the transfer of surplus equipment from the military to police offices through a controversial Defense Department program. He reportedly calls the bill the “Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act.”

Some lawmakers have even suggested that police in Ferguson resembled soldiers in war-torn regions abroad, rather than officers tasked with keeping peace.

“Instead of being respected as citizens of this nation who have the right to vocally oppose what they believe is mistreatment [protesters] were met with tear gas, rubber bullets, and police equipped as though they are militia in a war zone,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio. “What I saw last night reminded me of violent responses to uprisings in countries around the world, not here in my own backyard. We are supposed to be better than that.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., joined the chorus:

This is America, not a war zone. The people of #Ferguson just want answers. We all want answers.

— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) August 14, 2014

Images & reports out of #Ferguson are frightening. Is this a war zone or a US city? Gov’t escalates tensions w/military equipment & tactics.

— Justin Amash (@repjustinamash) August 14, 2014

Democrats aren’t the only ones railing against perceived police brutality.

Tea Party favorite Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., penned an oped in Time Magazine decrying a “systemic problem with today’s law enforcement:”

Some lawmakers went further, drawing parallels between the police response to Ferguson protesters and law enforcement treatment of civil rights advocates.

“The tragic killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown and the events that have transpired since the shooting in Ferguson are reminiscent of the violent altercations that took place during the Civil Rights Movement. Countless African Americans endured unwarranted hostility and excessive force from law enforcement while exercising their right to peaceful assembly and civil resistance,” said Rep. Conyers, a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. “It is a great travesty to find ourselves again witnessing the blatant violation of our right to peaceably assemble.”

Still others took to social media to voice their outrage.

You should not be forced to choke on tear gas to make your voice heard. #Ferguson

— Rep. Steven Horsford (@RepHorsford) August 14, 2014

You should not have to withstand a shower of rubber bullets to assemble. #Ferguson

— Rep. Steven Horsford (@RepHorsford) August 14, 2014

This situation must not spiral further into a national crisis. This began as a tragedy & we need to avoid any further escalation. #Ferguson

— Rep. Steven Horsford (@RepHorsford) August 14, 2014

The citizens of #Ferguson deserve answers from police, not a military-style offensive.

— Rep. John Yarmuth (@RepJohnYarmuth) August 14, 2014

The greatest flaw is not to understand you have a flaw. #Ferguson @CNNSitRoom

— Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (@repcleaver) August 14, 2014

Both the president and Michael Brown’s parents have pled for peace. Following a national outcry, state troopers have supplanted local police to try to calm the situation.

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry Indicted for Abuse of Official Powers

ABC/Matthew Putney(AUSTIN, Texas) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry was indicted on Friday by a grand jury in Travis County, Texas, on accusations that he abused his official powers.

The indictment was announced by Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum on Friday night. The indictment document lists two charges, abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant. Perry, the indictment claims, improperly vetoed funding for the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office.

Perry’s General Counsel Mary Anne Wiley released a statement on his behalf on Friday, saying that “the veto in question was made in accordance with the veto authority afforded to every governor under the Texas Constitution.” The statement also noted that Perry plans to defend his “lawful and constitutional action.”

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry Indicted for Abuse of Official Powers

ABC/Matthew Putney(AUSTIN, Texas) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry was indicted on Friday by a grand jury in Travis County, Texas, on accusations that he abused his official powers.

The indictment was announced by Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum on Friday night. The indictment document lists two charges, abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant. Perry, the indictment claims, improperly vetoed funding for the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office.

Perry’s General Counsel Mary Anne Wiley released a statement on his behalf on Friday, saying that “the veto in question was made in accordance with the veto authority afforded to every governor under the Texas Constitution.” The statement also noted that Perry plans to defend his “lawful and constitutional action.”

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Zephyr Teachout Mounts Challenge to NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Zephyr Teachout is turning New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s reelection race into a dogfight.

Teachout, a law professor who worked for Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign, has mounted a challenge to Cuomo from his left.

She’s aggressively drawing attention to the failures of Cuomo’s Moreland Commission — the anti-corruption panel that backed down after it began sniffing around organizations close to the governor, according to a New York Times report.

Cuomo has said his office only advised the commission and denied interference with any investigations.

While still a longshot with little name recognition, Teachout, 42, is picking up support by tapping into progressive discontent with Cuomo’s economic positions.

After recently surviving Cuomo’s attempt to get her thrown off the primary ballot, Teachout picked up the endorsement of the state’s second-largest employee union Thursday, after the state teachers union snubbed Cuomo by not endorsing either candidate.

Despite Teachout’s rising stock, Cuomo has kept silent on his primary opponent and ignored her calls for a debate. His campaign did not return a request for comment on Teachout’s bid.

ABC News spoke to Teachout about her challenge to Cuomo, progressive politics and her thoughts on Cuomo’s presidential chances. The following is a Q&A, edited for brevity:

A judge recently threw out Gov. Cuomo’s legal challenge to your campaign, which argued you weren’t a New York resident.

It turned into an incredible opportunity for us. It’s basically a three-day ad paid for by the Andrew Cuomo campaign. I can’t tell whether he’s scared of a primary, which it seems like he certainly acting like he is.

The governor is afraid of you?

It’s the only logical explanation. It really doesn’t make any sense. The rules are clear. You have to live somewhere for five years. I was there for five years. [A Vermont native, Teachout has worked at Fordham University since June 2009.]

One explanation is that it was a fishing expedition. Another is that he was trying to drain me of money, which backfired, because we’ve raised a lot of money on the court case – I’m truly estimating, but between $70,000 and $100,000.

I’ll put this in a broader context. For years, Gov. Cuomo has managed to keep in control of politics, and now, there are things outside of his control, like what’s happened with the Moreland Commission. You can’t shut down a primary the way you can shut down the Moreland Commission.

You’ve made the Moreland Commission a big part of your campaign.

The [New York Times] report was eye-opening and scalding. It showed that his top aide was attempting to direct the activities of the commission. That kind of disrespect for the idea of law was really audacious.

Four years ago, you supported Cuomo’s initial bid, and considered working for his campaign.

I think I had an experience similar to a lot of New Yorkers. I really admired his dad [former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo] and I saw him as a real moral force in politics.

But he basically hasn’t been a Democrat! There are a lot of things that Gov. Cuomo does that doesn’t make sense in terms of state politics.

Do you consider yourself a progressive in the same vein of New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio?

Well, I am a progressive, but I am a down-the-line, traditional Democrat. I would be right at home in Mario Cuomo’s cabinet.

But the support for DiBlasio is the same kind of support we’re seeing. That hunger, talking about economic inequality and addressing the root issues of it.

Has he supported your campaign?

He supports the governor. In New York, we have a really powerful governor who uses his budgetary power to punish and reward.

It’s very hard for politicians, without hurting their own constituents, to support a challenger to the governor. I’m not talking about DiBlasio, in particular, but more broadly. But there are an increasing number of brave individuals who are joining us.

How did working for the Howard Dean campaign prepare you for this race?

The heart of the campaign, as much as we touted our technical prowess, was the trust of the people. And the heart of this campaign is the trust of New Yorkers and New York Democrats.

For all the technological advances, there are still relatively few campaigns that really tap into the deep grassroots power that’s there.

By most measures, you’re still considered a long shot.

We’re very focused on the voters most likely to vote. In New York, there’s an extraordinarily powerful anti-fracking movement. There’s a powerful parent and teachers movement that has been bird-dogging Cuomo across the state.

There’s a lot of anger on Cuomo’s silence on the national immigration crisis. New York hasn’t taken leadership, and that’s the role New York has traditionally played.

There are these real pockets of intense anger, and that’s what matters in primary races: intensity.

What are your thoughts on the presidential chatter surrounding Cuomo?


I can tell you, from running against him, that Andrew Cuomo will not be president of the United States.

He’s made some junior-league mistakes running against a relative unknown, and it’s going to be hard for him to run for president after he’s been defeated in the Democratic primary.

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