It’s been all Shelly all the time in New York politics following the arrest of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on corruption charges. But life goes on, and here are a few other developments:
• Republican Senate candidate Kevin Stocker, who lost to Democrat Marc Panepinto in a November race that also featured incumbent Mark Grisanti (a Republican running on the Independence line), still boasts a $160,000 campaign account – mostly his own money. Stocker acknowledges he is contemplating another run.
“When my wife is around, I say there’s no way; when she’s not, I say I never quit,” he quipped. “I’m looking forward to the rematch.”
Stocker, who won the September GOP primary, might need another three-way ballot for a shot at Panepinto in the heavily Democratic district. But right now, he sounds ready for 2016.
With a history of failing to file those pesky campaign finance reports, however, Stocker should note that he is tardy once again with his January filing to the state Board of Elections.
• Speaking of that Senate race and campaign donations, the latest filings reveal the sentiments of former Democratic Mayor Tony Masiello, who maintains his old account and gave $5,000 to Republican Grisanti.
The former mayor, by the way, leads former County Executive Joel Giambra in the unofficial Battle of Pols Turned Lobbyists. The latest score: Masiello $318,000; Giambra $310,000.
• Not to be outdone, Giambra gave $5,000 to the Conservative Party of Chairman Ralph Lorigo – an apparently former archenemy. “It doesn’t mean I forget petty infighting and how people treat me,” Lorigo says, “but I’d rather have friends than enemies.”
• Dave Pfaff, a longtime associate of political operative Steve Pigeon, is joining Panepinto’s staff. The move underscores the Democratic no-man’s-land in which Panepinto now treads – recently donating to Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner’s organization, while counting much of the dollars behind his recent campaign to union forces aligned with Pigeon and supporting Zellner challenger Mark Manna last fall.
• Next time you drop some bucks on your favorite politician, consider your money is often bound for attorneys’ coffers. Republican Sen. Pat Gallivan, for example, sent $17,000 to Hodgson Russ in December alone, though he had no opponent in November. Democratic Sen. Tim Kennedy, meanwhile, has dropped an astounding $86,000 since 2012 on the Connors and Vilardo firm.
Both senators insist the fees stem from election law compliance only.
• Howard Zemsky, the Buffalo developer who serves as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Western New York point man and is slated to become his top economic development official, appears to hold a soft spot for his chairmanship of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. While Zemsky acknowledges “fair questions” surround whether conflicts will complicate his various state positions, he told an NFTA committee a few days ago he will do everything in his power to remain at the transit agency helm.
• Still on gubernatorial appointments, a definite “Hoyt influence” surrounds two new state posts. John Maggiore, former aide to Assemblyman Sam Hoyt (now a Cuomo economic development official) is the governor’s new policy director. Rich Tobe, who will coordinate upstate development under Zemsky, was once top aide to the late Assemblyman Bill Hoyt.
• Tonawanda Town Attorney John Flynn is emerging as a top contender for a Cuomo appointment to the Court of Claims bench, according to several Democratic sources. Then again, Flynn has expressed interest over the years in lots of positions: sheriff, judge, state senator, district attorney and even party chairman.
• Quote of the Week comes from a top Republican observing County Clerk Chris Jacobs and County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, the two top GOP names mentioned as potential challengers to County Executive Mark Poloncarz this year: “Stefan makes the most noise about running and has no money; Chris has lots on hand and can get even more, and is nowhere near committed.”