Rise and Shine: June 26, 2019

We made it to the middle of the week, CivMixers. Welcome to Wednesday.

It’s going to be a warm one, with temperatures in the mid-to-high 80s, and with this sultry situation comes the chance of isolated thunderstorms in the afternoon that may contain strong, gusty winds, according to The Weather Channel. Be on the lookout, especially if you’re going to be in or around the water. Stay safe out there.

And note: If you’re in Saratoga Springs, you’ve got the least chance of getting wet. It’s more likely to be sunny to partly cloudy for most of the day, with just a “stray” shower or thunderstorm developing.

Now, onto the news.

There are lots of primary results to wade through after voters cast their ballots in the first June 25 intraparty contests, with the new date having been set earlier this year by the state Legislature.

It looks like turnout, as predicted, was generally on the low side, likely thanks to a combination of several factors: 1) traditionally low turnout in primary contests, 2) lack of awareness about the new date, and 3) the rain, though that was less of a factor for most upstate counties where polls don’t open until noon.

The Cohoes Democratic committee reported that retired New York State Police troop commander Bill Keeler has won the spot as the Democratic candidate, beating out scandal-scarred incumbent Shawn Morse, 972 to 869, with about 300 absentees ballots still out. (There are four people in this race).

Morse did not officially concede, saying: “It’s a small margin. So that means there’s a whole bunch of people in this city that didn’t buy into the Times Union, who’s home gloating right now, because they spent thousands of dollars of manhours and 60 stories about Shawn Morse being the worst guy in the world. Sometimes you need a break in life.”

In Saratoga Springs, the winner of Democratic line for the post of commissioner of finance remained undetermined after the split between challenger Patricia Morrison and incumbent and party-endorsed candidate Michele Madigan stood at 31 votes, according to unofficial results.

In Troy, incumbent Mayor Patrick Madden claimed the Democratic party line in the November election with a 200-vote victory over City Council President Rodney Wiltshire.

This was a re-match. Madden and Wiltshire ran a close race four years ago. After absentee ballots were counted, Madden finished that primary 47 votes ahead. Wiltshire had the WFP line in the race, and remained on the ballot in November, where Madden secured the win over three opponents.

Albany County Democrats appear to have chosen Albany City Auditor Sue Rizzo in the key primary race to replace retiring Comptroller Mike Conners. Rizzo was leading Albany City Treasurer Darius Shahinfar by about 1,000 votes of the 17,000 cast, according to unofficial results.

A longtime representative of the Albany County Legislature’s District 1 was defeated by a former city elected official. But most incumbents managed to hold off their primary challengers.

The mayor of Schenectady has survived a close primary challenge in his bid for a third four-year term. Incumbent Democrat Gary McCarthy was leading political newcomer Thearse McCalmon 52-48 percent according to unofficial tallies. McCarthy has no Republican challenger in November, so this race is it for him, assuming the results hold.

Republicans in Ballston and Milton saw mixed results yesterday, with challengers both winning and losing. In Ballston, party-backed Supervisor Tim Szczepaniak and Councilman Bill Goslin were overtaken by challengers Eric Connolly for supervisor and Chuck Curtiss and Peter Solberg for town board. Incumbent Curtiss, whom the Republicans would not endorse, did particularly well against Goslin with a two to one vote margin.

In NYC, insurgent Queens DA candidate Tiffany Cabán, a 31-year-old defender and first-time candidate, was leading the establishment favorite, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, in the Democratic primary as of late last night by just over 1,000 votes.

Some 3,400 absentee and paper ballots have yet to be counted, and Katz refused to concede, even as Caban declared victory.

Even if Katz manages to squeak by with a victory when all the votes are tabulated, Caban’s strong showing will shake the once storied Queens Democratic machine to its core, and also solidify the political power of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who backed Caban and herself defeated an establishment candidate, former Rep. Joe Crowley, the ex-Queens Democratic Party chair, in a 2018 primary.

There are a lot more results to be had here.

In other news…

The first Democratic debate of the 2020 campaign season is tonight and includes one of the two New York candidates – NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio – among nine others. A second debate is tomorrow, and includes U.S. Kirsten Gillibrand and nine more candidates. Four Democratic contenders didn’t make the debate cut. The debates will air on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo.

Robert S. Mueller III, the former special counsel, has agreed to testify in public before Congress next month about his investigation into Russia’s election interference and possible obstruction of justice by President Trump, House Democrats announced.

A divided House voted to send $4.5 billion in humanitarian aid to the border to address horrific conditions facing a crush of migrants, attaching significant rules on how the money could be spent in the first action by Democrats to rein in Trump’s immigration crackdown.

The battle over whether to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census was thrown into turmoil yesterday, just as the U.S. Supreme Court was expected to issue a ruling on the dispute this week.

RPI President Shirley Ann Jackson may be leapfrogging back into the ranks of the nation’s highest-paid college presidents, according to a recent tax filing from the school. Her total compensation was listed at $5.877 million in the 2017 tax filing, which was obtained by the Times Union.

The Schenectady Gazette is taking state lawmakers to task for failing to pass stronger regulations over the limo industry following fatal crashes in 2015 on Long Island and 2018 in Schoharie, saying they should be “ashamed” of themselves for being unable to get a deal.

Jessica Donovan, a Colonie woman who was wrongly jailed for three nights in April when her name was mistakenly listed on a Family Court warrant, will be paid $33,000 to settle a claim she brought against the Albany County Sheriff’s department.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie was in northern New York to tour the Bombardier rail car manufacturing plant in Plattsburgh. Now that the legislative session is over, it was his first stop on a summer tour of the state.

The cost of traveling into and around New York City may go up as part of a plan proposed by Port Authority. These new or increased charges would come ahead of — and possibly in addition to — New York’s yet-to-be-determined congestion pricing plan.

Wanna be in pictures? Here’s your chance: “Succession,” the HBO show that filmed scenes in upstate New York this spring, is now seeking “new faces” for a July shoot in Albany, according to a casting call. Grant Wilfley Casting, a New York City talent agency, is seeking Albany locals to play extras on July 1 and 2 for the show’s second season.

Photo credit: Fred Coffey.

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