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Schneiderman's First TV Ad

AG Eric Schneiderman, who reserved millions of dollars worth of air time in advance, but held off actually releasing any ads, is about to debut his first TV spot of his re-election campaign.  

The ad, titled "One Set of Rules for Everyone," starts airing statewide today (covering the five major media markets) and will run through Election Day. 

You can watch the ad here

This is part of a multi-million dollar buy, and that's just a fraction of what's to come as the Democratic incumbent battles his GOP opponent, former Pataki administration official John Cahill.

Back in June, Schneiderman reserved $1 million worth of air time for the final weeks of the campaign. He doubled down on that in July, adding another $1 million, and recently added several hundred thousand dollars more - just as he formally kicked off his re-election campaign. 

This ad depicts Schneiderman as tough on crime no matter who the perpetrator might be - from big banks, to fellow elected officials, to drug kingpins. 

Schneiderman's campaign noted that since taking office in January 2011, the AG has prosecuted more than 50 corrupt officials, including former NYC Councilman Ruben Wills, ex-Sen. Shirley Huntley and former Met Council chief William Rapfogel.  

The AG has also helped secure more than $60 billion in settlements from the big banks that caused the financial crisis, $4 billion of which has been allotted to New York families and communities hurt by the crash, his campaign said.  

And Schneiderman has made hundreds of arrests for heroin, cocaine and crack related offenses, and his office has broken up 18 major drug rings in cities across New York.

Cahill has tried to paint Schneiderman as not tough enough to be the state's top attorney - especially when it comes to cracking down on public corruption. 

In fact, Cahill's first ad, which came out in August, played up the private sector attorney's toughness and sought to link Schneiderman to the Moreland Commission mess. 

At Gov. Andrew Cuomo's request Schneiderman deputized the commission's members to empower them to investigate the state Legislature.

The AG has been mum on what he knew and when regarding the governor's meddling in Moreland, but he has said repeatedly that he is working with US Attorney Preet Bharara as he probes the commission's demise and continues the cases it started but didn't have a chance to finish. 

The state GOP recently started running an anti-Schneiderman TV ad that also ties the AG to Moreland, but the spot doesn't even mention Cahill. 

As of mid-July, Cahill had just under $1 million on hand, and planned to spend $750,000 on his first ad. Schneiderman had $6.8 million on hand, and hadn't yet begun to spend significantly on his campaign. 

A late August Siena poll showed Schneiderman had extended his early lead over Cahill to 27 percentage points (54-27), though 59 percent of New Yorkers still have no idea who he is. A whopping 80 percent of poll respondents didn't know anything about Cahill. 

An internal poll Cahill recently shared with donors showed the AG race considerably tighter. The Republican's campaign was forced to file portions of the poll with the state Board of Elections after it was made public. 

Stefanik Lands Indy Line

Republican NY-21 candidate Elise Stefanik's name will appear on three ballot lines in November, thanks to a late endorsement from the Independence Party. 

Independence Party leaders met over the weekend and voted to give their line to Stefanik, a former White House aide and first-time candidate for public office.

They also approved a Wilson-Pakula for her, which enables a candidate not registered in a particular party to run on its line.  

The Independence Party had given a very early nod to Stefanik's erstwhile GOP primary opponent, businessman Matt Doheny. 

But Dohney endorsed Stefanik after she defeated him in the June primary, and asked Independence Party leaders to find a way to remove his name from the ballot. 

At that late date, there weren't too many options. Dohney could either die, move out of state or be nominated for a judgeship (as an attorney with at least 10 years of membership to the bar, he is eligible to run for a seat on the bench). 

The Conservative Party, which endorsed Stefanik before the primary (incurring Doheny's wrath in the process), did the Independence Party a favor and nominated Doheny for a state Supreme Court judgeship in Kings County (otherwise known as Brooklyn). 

Conservative Party leaders confirmed Dohney's name will appear on the ballot in Brooklyn this November. 

In a statement, Stefanik said she is "honored" to accept the Independence Party's line, and she thanked Doheny "for providing the Republicans a great opportunity to win back this seat serving the people of the 21st District."

Stefanik is facing another first-time candidate, Democrat Aaron Woolf, whose name will also appear on the Working Families Party line, and Green Party contender (and a third political newcomer) Matt Funiciello. 

A recent Siena poll found Stefanik leading Woolf 46-33, with Funiciello receiving 10 percent of the vote and 11 percent undecided. 

Goo-Goos Seek Comptroller Scrutiny of Tax Credits

Eight good government groups recently wrote to state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, asking his office to "significantly increase its scrutiny of the state’s estimated $1.7 billion in annual subsidies provided by 50 business tax credits."

In a Sept. 8 letter, the organizations suggested that DiNapoli begin by reviewing the largest credits, which amount to close to 75 percent of authorized business tax subsidies. 

That includes the brownfield cleanup progam, the film and TV production credits and Empire Zones. 

"In particular, we ask that you assess whether those programs have robust, independent, and controls and a fair and transparent process for awarding subsidies," the groups wrote.

This has been an ongoing issue for the good government community, which has long complained about the (well documented) lack of transparency with these programs, which give away millions of dollars worth of credits annually. 

The goo-goos noted that a 2013 report by former state Comptroller H. Carl McCall and Peter J. Solomon (who co-chaired one of two tax reform commissions appointed by the governor), also raised concerns about this issue, determining that "tax incentives undermine transparency."

Astorino Wounded For 2018?

Democrats certainly hope so. 

Privately, state party members are pointing to high unfavorable numbers for the Republican candidate for governor reflected in recent battleground congressional district polls. 

A Siena College poll of central New York's 24th congressional district, for instance, shows Astorino with a 40 percent unfavorable rating, while only 23 percent of voters hold a favorable view of him. Meanwhile, 37 percent don't know enough about him. 

Of course, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's numbers in these districts aren't good, either: The Democratic incumbent in the 24th has a 47 percent unfavorable rating in the NY-24. In the NY-19, his unfavorable rating is 60 percent. 

But the polls still show him defeating Astorino in a head-to-head match ups. 

A good part of this can be attributed to the cash disparity between the two campaigns: Records show Cuomo's re-election campaign spent $5.9 million to quash his primary challenger, while the state Democratic committee has pounded Astorino with negative advertising, and they did it early on. 

The drum beat of Astorino attack ads began in May, painting him as an "ultraconservative" on a complex affordable housing settlement in Westchester County and abortion, which he opposes.

Astorino has decried the advertising as false and nasty, especially the ad in which he's accused of racketeering, the basis of which came from a lawsuit filed by a colorful Westchester County businessman now under indictment for fraud. 

But for Astorino, Democrats hope the damage may be more longterm. 

While the GOP candidate has insisted he's running to beat Cuomo this year, Astorino may still have an eye on 2018, the next time the governor's office is up for election. 

Astorino in 2005 was pounded by incumbent Westchester County Executive Andy Spano.

But after three terms of Spano fatigue in the Democratic-heavy county, the Republican came back to defeat him in a lopsided victory in 2009. 

The long game for Democrats may be this: Knock the best bench player Republicans in New York have out of the game now, before the candidate himself can burnish his statewide profile. 

Cuomo, of course, hasn't given any public indication about whether he'd seek a third term if re-elected. 

A Green Year?

One silver lining for Astorino in these congressional polls has been the performance of Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, who is reaching double digits. 

The hope for Republicans is that Hawkins, perhaps drawing in disaffected Democrats and supporters of Zephyr Teachout's primary campaign, will eat enough into Cuomo's lead in the general election. 

Hawkins is a proven vote getter: In 2010, he received more than 50,000 votes on the Green Party, thus securing ballot status for the party this time around. 

Without having to spend time petitioning for the ballot, the Hawkins campaign has been putting its efforts into field work and fundraising. 

Republicans are pointing to Cuomo's public swings from emphasizing liberal issues in the lead up to the primary two weeks ago and then a quick dash back to the center on economic concerns as he tries to burnish his support in the business community as unpalatable for liberal voters.

Still, the Cuomo campaign plans to field a robust and vast GOTV effort, with an emphasis on digital advertising, person-to-person voter contact and a push to get women, even Republican women, out to the polls to vote. 


Happening Today

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and Erie County.

President Obama is in New York City for the UN climate summit. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will also attend the summit in the morning, and departs for Manchester, England, this evening.

The Catskills/Hudson Valley casino public comment event takes place today in Poughkeepsie. It will be live streamed here.

At 7:30 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on Fox 5′s “Good Day New York.”

At 8 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at the UN climate summit.

At 8:30 a.m., Astorino will greet commuters with Sen. Marty Golden at the R Train, 77th Street and 4th Avenue, Brooklyn.

At 9 a.m., de Blasio holds a media availability, 46th and 1st Avenue, Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul tours the replica ship Half Moon with Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, South end of the Corning Preserve near the Walking Bridge, OGS Pumping Station, Albany.

At 10 a.m., US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Hakeem Jeffries, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and others call on world leaders to confront the rise in terrorism in the Middle East, E 43rd Street and Tudor City Place, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., the Astorino campaign offers the candidate’s tax returns for inspection, campaign HQ, 222 Bloomingdale Rd., Suite 201, White Plains.

At 11:30 a.m., Astorio will visit the Tomchei Shabbos of Brooklyn Warehouse to assist volunteers in packing holiday food packages for the needy, 6225 New Utrecht Ave., Brooklyn.

At noon, members of the Women’s Equality Party Coalition, including former NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Assemblywomen Deborah Glick and Linda Rosenthal, Manhattan BP Gale Brewer, NARAL Pro-Choice New York and Planned Parenthood Advocates of NY make an announcement, Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Station, entrance on 42nd Street and Park Avenue South, Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., Astorino will tour and greet holiday shoppers at Breadberry Supermarket, 1689 60th St., Brooklyn.

At 12:50 p.m. President Obama speaks at the UN climate summit.

At 1 p.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, 1339 South Park Ave., (near Abby Street), Buffalo.

Also at 1 p.m., US AG Eric Holder speaks at Greenberg Lounge, Vanderbilt Hall; NYU School of Law; 40 Washington Square South, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., the president speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative, Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, Manhattan.

At 2:15 p.m., the Women’s Equality Party makes an announcement at Astorino’s Campaign HQ, 222 Bloomingdale Rd., White Plains.

At 2:30 p.m., Astorino will greet holiday shoppers at Pomegranate Market, 1507 Coney Island Ave., Corner of Avenue L, Brooklyn.

At 4 p.m., Gillibrand will be a guest on MSNBC’s “NOW with Alex Wagner.”

At 4:15 p.m., Astorino will make an announcement with former Hewlett-Packard C.E.O. Carly Fiorina at a press conference at the Women’s National Republican Club, 3 W 51st St., Manhattan.

At 5:30 p.m., House Speaker John Boehner attends a fund-raiser for NY-21 GOP candidate Elise Stefanik, Queensbury Hotel, Glens Falls. (Protestors will greet the speaker outside the event).

At 6:30 p.m., Chemung County Sheriff and GOP LG candidate Chris Moss delivers remarks at the NYPD Columbia Association Dinner, 83-20 Queens Blvd., Queens.

At 7 p.m., The Daily Gazette hosts a debate between state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk and her Republican challenger, former Assemblyman George Amedore. The Times Union’s Casey Seiler is set to join the panel of moderators at Proctors’ GE Theatre, Schenectady.

At 7:30 p.m., Moss delivers remarks at the Whitestone Republican Club/Northeast Queens Tea Party Meeting, Grace Episcopal Church, 14-15 Clintonville St., Whitestone.

On CapTon Last Night:

- Sen. Liz Krueger and MetCouncil Executive Director Jaron Benjamin joined me from NYC to discuss their campaign against Airbnb, the company that links tourists with people willing to rent them rooms - and sometimes even whole apartments or houses. 

Krueger authored the 2010 Illegal Hotel Law, which prevents rentals to so-called "transients" (not family members or friends) for less than 30 days. She says Airbnb is routinely flouting this law, and worsening the NYC affordable housing crisis in the process. 

According to Krueger and Benjamin, Albany might have to step in to strengthen the law, which Airbnb is lobbying to see weakened. 

- Jasmine Gripper of AQE came into the studio to discuss the organization's "We Can't Wait" social media campaign, which calls on state lawmakers to pay school districts the $5.9 billion advocates believe they are owed from the never-realized CFE settlement and GEA cuts. 

- While most college graduates are still searching for their first job, 22-year-old Buffalo native Steve Meyer is running for his.

Meyer is the youngest state legislative candidate in New York, and one of the youngest in the nation this election cycle.

He's running an admittedly uphill battle against GOP Assemblyman Raymond Walter in the 146th AD, and joined us from Buffalo to discuss his campaign. 

Coming Up On CapTon: 

 - Former Sen. George Winner has launched a new PAC to support GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, and joins us to discuss its efforts. 

- The Insiders will be in the studio to review the latest headlines from the campaign trail.

- The Nature Conservancy's Stuart Gruskin will join us to discuss the Community Risk and Resiliency Act, which Cuomo signed into law yesterday in conjunction with Climate Week.  

READ MORE IN OUR EXCLUSIVE MORNING ROUND-UP OF NEWS HEADLINES: "Here and Now."

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