"We speak English here!" is often the answer I get at Republican or Tea Party gatherings whenever I skim the crowd looking for a Spanish speaker that can produce a soundbite for my television story. I wonder if they are the same people who cringe when an automated machine tells them to "press one for English, para español, oprima el dos."
Until four years ago, New York's 19th House District in the lower Hudson Valley was considered Republican territory. But in 2006, former rock star John Hall of the band Orleans used a grassroots coalition of environmental and peace groups to beat the six-term Republican incumbent. Now, he faces a well-financed challenger in Nan Hayworth, who is campaigning for votes with a message of fiscal restraint and small government.
According to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, seven incumbent House Democrats face formidable Republican challengers in New York. For the Republicans, one of their best prospects for a pick-up is New York's 1st Congressional District that includes Long Island's Hamptons and Eastern Suffolk County.
Federal investigators are looking into how a Nebraska firm, Election Systems Software, won a $50 million contract to provide the city with new optical-scan voting machines, a law enforcement source confirms.
Welcome to It's A Free Country's The Mix, where we take some of the notable Politics Bites clips and other voices found on WNYC this week and mix 'em up. Here's what we've got on tap. Voices are in blue, connections are in bold.
It was Primary Day in New York, and in NYC one of the big stories was the new paper ballots and voting machines -- designers Milton Glaser (the man behind the I [[heart]] NY logo) and Charles Blow of the New York Times were not fans...but by the time all those ballots were counted, the winners were decided, including a defiant Charlie Rangel, Democratic Attorney General nominee Eric Schneiderman, and the new kid on the block, Carl Paladino. Paladino was part of a big night for the Tea Party, which notched victories across the country. That movement is the subject of a new book by New York Times National Correspondent Kate Zernike, who sees parallels in the movement to the 2008 Obama/Biden campaign. Joe Biden was quick to remind his '08 supporters that they would need to be active in what looks to be like a very interesting fall contest.
-Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), House Minority Whip on The Takeaway
On a day when his once-safe race was downgraded by a political handicapper to a "toss up," U. S. Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal had the delicate task of thanking a fellow Democrat who came to raise needed dollars, while maintaining some distance.
That's not easy when the visitor is the ...
Many of the questions State Sen. Eric Schneiderman will have to answer as he emerges from the Democratic attorney general primary are ones that were put to him by his fellow Democratic candidates, and have now been taken up Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan, the Republican nominee. He dismissed them as issues so far, but whether the New York general electorate—which is much larger and more diverse than the interest-group driven base Schneiderman successfully mobilized in an ultra-low turn-out primary—will let him may decide who becomes the next attorney general of the state.
As we launched the It's A Free Country project, we had a number of guiding questions in our mind. What's broken in our current political system, if anything? What exactly does "It's A Free Country" mean? What can a new political hub add to civil conversation? We put this question not just to the professionals on our line-up of reporters and producers, but to you as well. Here are some highlights. You can see the full set of responses here, and continue to add your voice here. Here are some responses to the question What does the phrase "It's A Free Country" mean to you?
After watching how we all comported ourselves during the primaries, I guess the biggest question we should be asking is “have you no shame?” But, that’s a rhetorical question at this point, right? It seems the only thing we’re all actually able to agree on is that our national political and cultural conversation is as dangerously dopey as it’s ever been.
--Paul Loeb, Author of Soul of a Citizen, speaking on The Brian Lehrer Show
The Conservative Party was founded as a response to the liberal Republicanism of Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. Now, ironically, it's providing a ballot line refuge to Rick Lazio, a pro-choice candidate rejected by Republicans for not being conservative enough. To keep its ballot line, the party must receive at least 50,000 votes for governor on Election Day.
Rick Lazio was a tough sell among New York Democrats, who never forgot his menacing approach to Hillary Clinton ten years ago in their debate for U.S. Senate. But just like Carl Paladino became a blank slate for Tea Partiers and Republicans who were frustrated with the establishment, so too can he become a palimpest for Democrats looking for an alternative to Cuomo, who wrapped up the nomination with virtually no discussion.
Pedro Espada urged voters to "Defend What's Ours" in palm cards distributed on Election Day. Instead they kicked him out of office, by a wide margin.
-Nate Silver, blogger for the New York Times' Five Thirty Eight blog
In his win over Rick Lazio, Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino seems to have ridden voter anger and tapped into their distrust of anything associated with the professional political establishment.
In a surprise upset, Gustavo Rivera, a college professor and Democratic activist defeated State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada in the Bronx.
Incumbent Congressman Charlie Rangel has won the Democratic nomination for his seat in New York's 15th district. Despite recent controversy, he'll get a chance to be reelected to the post he's held since 1993, and he says that's not just a good thing for his constituents -- it's good for the president, too.