Democratic challenger Antonio Delgado led Republican Rep. John Faso by as much as six percentage points in a Monmouth University poll that offered two ways to read the results based on voter turnout in November in the race for New York’s 19th Congressional District.
Delgado, an attorney who lives in Rhinebeck, led the freshman congressman from Kinderhook by 45 percent to 43 percent, with 9 percent undecided, among all 410 potential voters the New Jersey university called from Sept. 6-10. Using two models for how many voters might actually turn out on Nov. 6, Monmouth said that Delgado would lead by 48 percent to 45 percent if it’s a typical midterm election and by 49 percent to 43 percent if there’s a Democratic surge.
Both leads were within or nearly within the margins of error, which were 4.9 percentage points for the full sample and 5.4 points for the two turnout models.
Steven Greenfield, a Green Party candidate for the 19th District, had 1 percent support in the poll, and unspecified independent candidates took another 1 percent of the vote. Two independents whose petitions were invalidated by the state Board of Elections — Diane Neal and Dal LaMagna — have filed court cases to try to reverse those rulings.
A poll by Siena College in August had Faso ahead of Delgado 45 percent to 40 percent, a lead that also fell roughly within the margin of error. That poll didn’t ask about Greenfield or any independent candidates.
Skoufis, Rabbitt keep Reform lines in write-in primaries
Senate candidates James Skoufis and Annie Rabbitt both beat back write-in challenges on Thursday to keep the Reform Party ballot line for the general election.
Skoufis, a Woodbury Democrat running for the 39th Senate District seat, and Rabbitt, a Greenwood Lake Republican seeking the 42nd District, both had been cross-endorsed to run on the low-vote Reform line on Nov. 6. But opponents in both races filed what are known as opportunity-to-ballot petitions to force primaries in which voters — those enrolled in the Reform Party or who had no party — could either check a box for the endorsed candidate or write in another name.
Skoufis, a third-term assemblyman who faces Stony Point Republican Tom Basile in the general election, stomped the write-in votes by 899-56. That gives him four ballot lines and Basile three lines in November.
Skoufis celebrated the outcome as a “great win for our campaign” in a press release on Friday. “This victory demonstrates that the people of Orange, Ulster, and Rockland know full well who is better equipped to clean up Albany and protect the Hudson Valley’s middle-class interests,” he said.
Rabbitt beat the write-ins 544-462. Pramilla Malick, who lost a Democratic primary to Jen Metzger on Thursday in the 42nd District race, filed the petition that caused the Reform primary, but Metzger also urged supporters to write in her name in that vote. The number of write-in votes each Democrat got won’t be known until the ballots are read and tallied.
Maloney raised $755,000 in last two weeks of AG race
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney came up short in the Democratic primary for attorney general on Thursday, but not for lack of campaign funds.
The third-term congressman pulled in almost $755,000 in campaign donations of $1,000 or more in the final two weeks of the race, a fund-raising feat that dwarfed the big-dollar donations to his three rivals for the nomination. By comparison, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, the candidate who won the primary, raised about $100,000 in donations greater than $1,000 in September. Zephyr Teachout, who came in second, took in slightly more than James, at $105,000.
Maloney already had raised more than $2 million before September and also had shifted $1.4 million from his congressional campaign account to support his attorney general run.
Maloney, who will now run for a fourth House term after failing to win the nomination for attorney general, said in a statement Friday that serving in Congress is an honor that he doesn’t take for granted, and that he looked forward to “returning home to listen and talk to my neighbors about my future in Congress.”
“With Trump in the White House, it’s never been more important that Democrats take back Congress,” he said. “You can bet that I’ll do my part to make sure we do. Serving in Congress is the honor of my life, and a huge responsibility that I do not take lightly. I’m proud of my record and the work we’ve done for those we serve. My future in the Congress will be decided, as always, by my friends and neighbors in the Hudson Valley.”
Orange County Legislator Jim O’Donnell, the Republican challenging Maloney for the 18th Congressional District seat, again accused the incumbent of using Congress as his “fallback plan” in a statement about the primary results. He said the “people of the Hudson Valley deserve a representative who is 100 percent committed to representing their needs, not those of New York City liberals.”
Former aide charged with forging petition signatures
A former aide to Assemblyman Brian Miller was charged with five felony counts of forgery this week for allegedly forging voters’ signatures on Miller’s Conservative Party petition.
Kajus Normantas, a 22-year-old Albany resident, was arraigned in Albany City Court on Wednesday and released to await further court action, state police said in a press release.
The City and State website reported in July that Normantas, a paid intern in the Republican freshman’s office, had collected 73 signatures — the exact number Miller needed to qualify for the Conservative line — that all looked similar, and that 14 voters whose names were listed told a reporter they hadn’t signed the petition. Miller later told the Times Herald-Record that Normantas, after being “repeatedly dishonest” with him, admitted he “took matters into his own hands and may have broken the law.” Miller said he fired the aide, and pledged to cooperate with any investigation.
Chad McEvoy, the Democrat challenging Miller for the 101st District seat, sued to try and invalidate the Conservative petition, but an Orange County judge dismissed the case last month, ruling that Miller’s petition had enough valid signatures to qualify even if all 73 that Normantas collected were stricken. As a result, Miller will retain four ballot lines for the Nov. 6 general election, and McEvoy will have three.
The 101st District spans seven counties and includes seven towns in Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties: Montgomery, Crawford, Shawangunk, Wawarsing, Neversink, Denning and Hardenburgh.
McEvoy, whose campaign first noticed and called attention to the suspiciously similar signatures, said in a press release about Normantas’ arrest on Friday that the alleged caper showed Miller’s “lack of vetting and oversight,” and that he hoped the criminal case will conclude before the Nov. 6 election so voters will know if the aide “acted on his own.”
Sussman proposes debates with other AG candidates
Michael Sussman, the Orange County civil rights attorney running for attorney general on the Green Party line, suggested Friday that the Democratic and Republican candidates for that office hold a series of televised debates with him so voters “know of our records, our accomplishments, our flaws.”
“They need to make an informed choice, and it is our responsibility to help them do so,” Sussman said in a press release.
Sussman touted his being “the only litigator in the race” and his four decades of legal experience, including his successful court fights against segregation in Yonkers schools and the attempted privatization of Orange County’s public nursing him. He said he’s taking no more than $180 per donor in campaign contributions and has no ties to either major party or the “pay-to-play culture that permeates this state.”
New York City Public Advocate Letitia James won a four-way primary on Thursday to become the Democratic nominee for attorney general. The Republican candidate is Keith Wofford, a partner in a Manhattan law firm. Three candidates besides Sussman are running on third-party lines (Kenneth Schaeffer, Working Families Party; Vincent Messina Jr., Independence Party; and Nancy Sliwa, Reform Party).