New York Democrats Take Center Stage This Week
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New York Democrats Take Center Stage This Week

Reformer Zephyr Teachout Battles To Take Trump to Court While Nixon Hopes to Upset Cuomo

Trump could face more legal problems if associate law professor Zephyr Teachout, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general, is elected.

Teachout, who is facing three other candidates Thursday in New York’s primary, has been advising the attorneys general in Washington and Maryland in their emoluments lawsuit against Trump. She faces New York City public advocate Letitia James, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and former Hillary Clinton aide Leecia Eve in the primary.

The last major poll, conducted in July, found that 42% of voters were undecided.

In the gubernatorial race, incumbent Andrew Cuomo was facing criticism over a bridge named after his father and a flyer paid for by the State Democratic Party tying together a picture of his opponent in the primary, Cynthia Nixon, and the word “anti-Semitism.”

“This is an attack not only on my children and my character but on all New Yorkers,” Nixon said. “It’s sickening, at a time when anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and other hate crimes are on the rise, to exploit people’s real fears like this.”

Marcus Molinaro, the Republican candidate for governor, called for an investigation of the bridge opening by the National Transportation Safety Board. Cuomo celebrated “the grand opening” Friday of the eastbound span of the bridge over the Hudson River, but the bridge hasn’t actually opened because of safety concerns.

Elsewhere this week …

New Hampshire and Rhode Island also hold primaries this week.

In New Hampshire, 11 candidates are running Tuesday in the Democratic primary for the seat held by retiring Rep. Carol Shea-Porter. Six people are seeking the Republican nomination.

The front-runners in the Democratic primary are Maura Sullivan, a former Marine who served in the Obama administration, and Chris Pappas, a former state lawmaker.

Sullivan has raised $1.8 million, 96.7% from out-of-state donors. Pappas has raised $823,289. Other candidates include Levi Sanders, the son of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Naomi Andrews, Shea-Porter’s former chief of staff.

On the Republican side, the candidates include former state Sen. Andy Sanborn and Eddie Edwards who was the enforcement chief for the state liquor commission. Sanborn has raised $865,400. Edwards has raised $628,699.

The Rhode Island primary is Wednesday. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, the Democratic incumbent, has no opposition. Neither does the Republican candidate, Bob Flanders.

Voters’ Resources

Represent.Us – A bipartisan anticorruption site with information on current laws, policies, national and local resources to help make a difference in political financing.

U.S. House of Representatives Financial Disclosure Database – Use this site to view the financial disclosure statements for U.S. representatives and candidates.

U.S. Senate Financial Disclosures – This site provides the financial reports for senators, former senators and candidates from January 2012 to present. Senator reports are available until six years after the senator leaves office; candidate reports are available for one year after running.

Trump Undercuts D.C. Area Republicans

Trump put a political shiv in Rep. Barbara Comstock’s attempt to win a third term by announcing he was canceling pay raises for 2 million federal employees.

Comstock and fellow House Republicans Scott Taylor and Dave Brat are trying to defend their competitive Virginia districts, where many federal employees live, as Republicans try to stop Democrats from winning a majority in the House.

Comstock, considered by many the most imperiled GOP House incumbent, trailed Democrat Jennifer Wexton by about 10 percentage points in a June poll.

Reverting to Form in the Deep South

Since 2012, county election officials in Georgia have closed 214 precincts, or nearly 8% of the state’s polling places. The precincts have been eliminated without federal government oversight.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2013 removed requirements under the Voting Rights Act for some local governments to get federal approval before changing voting practices. The counties hit hardest by precinct closures are often in rural, impoverished areas that don’t get much public scrutiny.

National outrage stopped the Randolph County elections board in Georgia from closing seven of its nine polling places.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is expected to issue a report Wednesday on minority voting rights access.

Democrats Challenge the Old Guard

Eighteen House incumbents seeking re-election have not faced a primary opponent in at least a decade. For some, that’s almost three decades. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) hasn’t faced an in-party primary opponent since being elected in 1990.

Historically, House incumbents in both parties have either run unchallenged or beat their opponents. Less than 10% of incumbents get a serious primary challenger.

Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) and Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) are two of the four incumbents who lost their primaries this year. The other two are Republicans. Crowley lost to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Capuano, who was elected to Congress in 1998, lost the Democratic primary to Ayanna Pressley by 17 points.

“Because of President Trump, voters are fired up and turning out, something we saw even in city elections last year,” said Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone. “The city is becoming younger and more diverse, and they are asking more of their leaders.”

Capuano, who had been unchallenged in primaries for years, won Somerville by just 122 votes, or slightly over 50%, but Pressley, a Boston City Council member, crushed him in Boston which has most of the district’s votes. She won there with 64%.

September 10, 2018