Democratic Challenger Zephyr Teachout to Andrew Cuomo: "Game On"

Photo by Anna Merlan
Teachout talks to her supporters outside the trial last week.
"I feel great," Zephyr Teachout said, actually seeming to mean it. "It's not fun to have anybody staring you down, and trying to knock you off your game. But all this has done is proved that I am a New Yorker."

It was Monday morning, a few hours before Teachout, the Democratic longshot candidate challenging Governor Andrew Cuomo in the gubernatorial primary, would find out if the Cuomo's effort to have her knocked off the ballot had been successful. In late July, two college students affiliated with the Cuomo campaign had filed legal challenges to Teachout's candidacy, arguing she hadn't lived in New York the requisite five years required to run. After a two-day trial in Brooklyn Supreme Court, Judge Edgar G. Walker was going to issue his decision at 2 p.m. In a greasy spoon diner near her campaign headquarters, working her way through a fruit smoothie and a plate of eggs over easy, Teachout was showing no signs of strain.

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Democratic Challenger Zephyr Teachout Wants Cuomo to "Resign Immediately" After Allegations of Meddling In Corruption Panel

As far as Albany skulduggery goes, this one is almost too on-the-nose: a New York Times investigation out today alleges that Governor Andrew Cuomo's office interfered with an anti-corruption commission, making sure it was unable to investigate any alleged corruption emanating from people or groups with close ties to the governor.

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A Look Back at Michael Bloomberg's Tremendously Awkward First Campaign

Video still via New York City Campaign Finance Board
A 2001 Bloomberg, being gestured at by Democratic opponent Mark Green.
After twelve years, it is, at long last, almost the end of Michael Bloomberg's time as mayor. Bill de Blasio will be inaugurated at noon on January 1, in a ceremony he's promised will be "one of the most open and accessible swearing-in events in New York City history," with tickets available to the general public and tours of Gracie Mansion on January 5.

On an icy January morning in 2002, Michael Bloomberg stood on the same City Hall steps de Blasio will occupy next month and made a series of more modest promises. Four months after the September 11 attacks, he paid tribute to those who died on that day, promised to cut the size of government and asked businesses to please, please not leave town.

It was a quiet, modest start to what would become, like it or not, one of the most influential mayoral tenures in the city's history. But as we look back at Bloomberg's ascent to the mayor's office, it's still a bit surprising he made it to those steps at all, given that his first campaign was so uphill it was basically a vertical climb up a glacier with the aid of a pickaxe. To review:

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Eliot Spitzer Is Using His House as Headquarters for Petitioners?

Photo Credit: Red Carlisle via Compfight cc
Will Spitzer get enough signatures before today's deadline?
Ladies and gentlemen, do we have an odd bit of news for you: One of our readers, who has asked to remain anonymous for professional reasons, wrote to us about their experience with one of the Spitzer petitioners, and discovered that the place to go "get involved" was actually Eliot Spitzer's home address. I am currently amassing a squadron for a sock-drawer expedition as I write.

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Religion and Campaign Finance Reform Mix: Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf To Talk Elections

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf
Remember the "Ground Zero mosque" that wasn't just a mosque but actually a community center but still had people enraged back in 2010 because they thought it would be a victory monument to terrorism?

We hadn't really thought about it much recently, either -- until today, when we heard that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, one of the original religious leaders behind the project, would be involved in a new local effort: campaign finance reform.

Tomorrow, religion and politics are mixing at an event hosted by a local good government group that is pushing to get campaign finance reform underway this year in the state -- and as part of their efforts, they're bringing together high-profile religious figures to discuss politics.

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John Liu Continues to Battle Tough Headlines; Bill de Blasio is Focused on Israel, Iran

liu and de blasio.JPG
Sam Levin
City Comptroller John Liu, front, and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, right, at event earlier this month.
In the race to replace Mike Bloomberg as mayor, two expected candidates -- who are trailing behind two frontrunners, according to a recent NY1 poll -- have made headlines this week that are of interest.

City Comptroller John Liu has tried to stay on-task and on-message since he was dealt a major blow with the arrest of his campaign treasurer in February. This fundraising controversy has raised questions about whether Liu will actually have a fighting chance next year, and Liu -- who is trudging along with different initiatives and audits in his current job, frequently dodges questions about his campaign. Maybe with some help from his new communications director -- who appears to be focused on controlling Liu's public appearances and keeping them on-topic -- the fundraising drama has somewhat stayed out of the news in recent weeks.

That changed, though, yesterday when the New York Times reported that a federal grand jury has officially indicted the former campaign treasurer for Liu on the charges that she helped funnel illegal campaign dollars to his 2013 campaign.

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Grace Meng Raises $300,000 for Congressional Race; Says it Will Be a Historic Campaign

Sam Levin
Assemblywoman Grace Meng, who is running for Congress, in Flushing today.
Queens Assemblywoman Grace Meng, who would be New York's first Asian-American member of Congress, has raised $300,000 in ten days.

Obviously, she's thrilled.

"We are definitely excited. I think this is going to be a historical campaign that people all throughout New York and the country are looking at," Meng told the Voice this afternoon after the mayor held a press conference on senior centers in Flushing, Queens.

Meng, the candidate of choice of the Queens Democratic Party, is running in a crowded race that includes City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (the cousin of Rep. Joe Crowley, chairman of the Queens Dems, who has endorsed Meng), Assemblyman Rory Lancman (who yesterday got support from former mayor Ed Koch), and Republican Councilman Dan Halloran, who kicked off his campaign last week.

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Parent Group Visits All Schools In Need of Improvement In Struggling Bronx District

PAC Bronx 1.JPG
Sam Levin
Sasha Warner-Berry, Parent Action Committee organizer, points out the schools in need of improvement to a guidance counselor passing by.
Juana Gonzalez, 35, standing on a quiet corner outside P.S. 58 in the Bronx yesterday afternoon, said she was feeling a bit nervous.

The mother of three, whose two sons attend struggling schools in one of the city's lowest performing school districts, was waiting for dismissal -- but she wasn't there to pick up her children.

For the first time, Gonzalez, with her three-year-old daughter by her side, was participating in the newest campaign of the the New Settlement Apartments Parent Action Committee, a Bronx-based advocacy group that focuses on increasing parent involvement in local public schools.

"I'm just going to talk to them from my point of view as a parent," she told the Voice as she waited for parents to arrive to pick up their children.

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New York Picks Barack Obama Over Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum: Poll

New Yorkers told pollsters: "I Heart Barack Obama" in a Quinnipiac University survey released this morning.

They gave him a 50-46 percent job-approval rating, unchanged from his 50-45 percent in December. And 50-45 percent want Obama to stick around and think he deserves to be re-elected to a second term in office.

No surprise here, but New York's voters don't really like any of the Republican candidates that much. Obama beats Mitt Romney 52-35 percent, Newt Gingrich by 57-31 percent, and Rick Santorum by 53-35 percent.

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Forty-Year-Old John Lindsay Campaign Billboard Uncovered in Flatbush

John Lindsay was the mayor of New York City from 1966 to 1973. That's definitely far enough in the past that you'd think his campaign materials would be long gone. Check out this photo, though:

Frank Jump

That's a Lindsay campaign billboard from the late 60s, recently uncovered on the corner of Bedford and Flatbush Avenues in Brooklyn.

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