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Capitol Watch: Cuomo outspends Nixon as primary nears

August 18, 2018

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — In New York state government news, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is significantly outspending rival Cynthia Nixon as next month’s Democratic primary nears.

While recent campaign filings show both candidates raised about the same amount, Cuomo outspent the former “Sex and the City” star by more than 10 to 1.

Meanwhile, Cuomo’s campaign is reporting that it has given away hundreds of thousands of dollars it previously received in donations from developers recently convicted in a corruption case.

A look at stories making news:

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CUOMO DIPS INTO WAR CHEST

Recently released campaign finance reports show just how formidable an advantage Cuomo has over Nixon when it comes to campaign cash.

Both candidates reported taking in nearly $400,000 between July 17 and August 13, the period covered by the most recent filings. But Cuomo spent around $7.5 million compared with Nixon, whose campaign spent $600,000 in the same time frame.

Most of Cuomo’s spending went to television ads, meaning voters can expect to see a lot more of the governor in the weeks before the Sept. 13 primary.

Cuomo’s prodigious fundraising in the past makes it all but impossible for Nixon to catch up. The two-term governor has more than $20 million remaining unspent, compared with less than $450,000 for Nixon’s campaign.

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TAINTED CONTRIBUTIONS DONATED

The Cuomo campaign has given away more than $400,000 in contributions it received from developers convicted last month in a federal bid-rigging case linked to state economic development programs.

Cuomo has vowed to return more than $500,000 in total that he received from executives and companies linked to recent corruption cases. Three executives at LPCiminelli and COR Development — Louis Ciminelli, Steven Aiello and Joe Gerardi — were all convicted last month along with Alain Kaloyeros, the former head of SUNY Polytechnic and formerly a top economic development official in Cuomo’s administration.

The campaign finance filings show Cuomo gave the money to 16 different groups including Planned Parenthood, the National Institute for Reproductive Health and a Puerto Rico hurricane recovery effort.

Cuomo hasn’t said what he’ll do with the remaining $100,000.

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MISSING SPEED CAMERAS

There’s still no sign that Republican lawmakers will heed the advice of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and return to Albany to resurrect the city’s school zone speed cameras.

The Legislature ended its 2018 session in June without reauthorizing the cameras, letting the state law allowing the cameras expire last month.

Democrats blamed the Senate’s Republican leaders for the lapse after that chamber adjourned without passing an extension already passed by the Democrat-led Assembly.

While the cameras can no longer be used to ticket speeders, they’re still turned on, giving the city an idea of how many cars have sped by since the law expired. The total: more than 130,000.

“These drivers will face absolutely no consequences for this lethal behavior,” de Blasio said last week. “The state Senate must end their vacation early and act before the first day of school, which is just weeks away. Our children’s lives depend on it.”

So far Republicans have balked at requests to return to Albany to take up the bill, blaming Cuomo for the impasse.

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UPCOMING:

Aug. 27: The state Assembly will hold a public hearing on water quality in Long Island Sound in Manhasset.

Aug. 29: Cuomo and Nixon debate at Hofstra University.

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