A Democratic incumbent in the state Senate has more than $1 million in cash on hand. Gov. Kathy Hochul has picked up Long Island endorsements from former House members. And Rep. Tom Suozzi continues to focus on the governor’s use of state aircraft.
Here’s a roundup of Friday’s campaign news in New York:
Skoufis raises $300K in six months
Democratic state Sen. James Skoufis will report raising more than $300,000 since July in his bid for a third term to his Hudson Valley district, his campaign said.
Skoufis is expected to report more than $1 million in cash on hand. At this time two years ago, his campaign reported about $320,000 in the bank.
Skoufis flipped a Republican-held seat in 2018 following the retirement of the late Sen. Bill Larkin.
“I’m eager to continue representing my constituents in the years ahead and am humbled by this strong showing of support heading into the 2022 election,” Skoufis said.
Hochul endorsed by two former Long Island House members
Gov. Hochul picked up more endorsements on Friday, this time from Democratic former Reps. Steve Israel and former Rep. Tim Bishop. Both are Long Islanders, and their endorsements come as Hochul is being challenged by Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Long Islander lawmaker himself.
“It is an honor to receive the endorsements of two Congressional giants who have been instrumental in shaping the Long Island of today and delivering results for working families across New York State,” Hochul said. “Representatives Israel and Bishop are shining examples of effective leadership, and I’m glad that I can count on their support.”
Hochul’s campaign later in the day was endorsed by some officials closer to her hometown of Buffalo, winning the backing of a slew of Democrats from Niagara County.
Suozzi continues to press on flights
Suozzi’s campaign, meanwhile, continued to criticize Hochul’s use of state aircraft when attending political events.
The Democratic challenger for the nomination called again for an attorney general probe and questioned Hochul’s trip to Buffalo to attend a Bills game on Sept. 12 (Hochul’s residence prior to becoming governor is in Buffalo).
“If Kathy Hochul is now saying she didn’t know she was in breach of the long-standing principle that government business be separate from political fundraising, then Kathy Hochul either does not think these regulations apply to her or she doesn’t care enough to set the right example for her administration,” Suozzi said.
Hochul’s office has said her campaign has already reimbursed the state for $19,000 after a review of the trips and continues to conduct an assessment of which trips could warrant further repayment.
“As I’ve said on day one, my administration would conduct itself with the highest ethics, those are values I subscribe to, transparency, and accountability. I’ve told my team: Follow the rules,” she said Friday following a briefing on the pandemic.
While there have been several rulings on the issue, Hochul said, there should be no “gray areas” for her office.
“It’s black and white, do the right thing,” she said.
But the flap over the aircraft use has highlighted how often Hochul has fundraised since taking office, and not every meeting between her office and lobbyists have been disclosed.
Hochul said her office will continue to turn out publicly available schedules.
“We’re going to continue doing that and we’ll be making sure there are proper reimbursements,” she said.
Conventional wisdom for Hochul’s support
Hochul has rolled up a series of endorsements in recent months from prominent elected officials and advocates in the state’s political ecosystem. But can the nomination be hers by acclimation at the convention?
State Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs thinks that’s unlikely, even if she is expected to garner most of the support from the delegates.
Candidates must reach a 25% threshold to win ballot status for the June primary or go through the petitioning process.
“I don’t see Congressman Suozzi hitting that 25% threshold,” Jacobs said Friday. “There is enough support from the far left members of the state party that are members of the committee to make it possible for (New York City Public Advocate) Jumaane Williams to get the 25%. It certainly has the potential.”