The Jewish Press declined to endorse either Governor Andrew Cuomo or Cynthia Nixon in the Democratic primary race for governor. As we said, there was just too much silliness going on between the two. For one thing, we pointed out that both candidates acted as if the most important issue that should concern New Yorkers is who is more anti-President Trump. State taxes, economic growth, transportation, infrastructure, violent crime, education, health care and the like all seem to be relegated to the status of afterthought.
Anyway, nothing about the gubernatorial race attracted our interest. And in the campaign between Governor Cuomo and his Republican challenger, Marc Molinaro, Mr. Cuomo continued the silliness despite Mr. Molinaro’s valiant efforts to talk about the issues.
This came to a head of sorts in Tuesday night’s one and only debate between the two, with Molinaro again trying to talk about the issues, and Cuomo ignoring the particulars in favor of invoking the looming dark presence of Donald Trump and his arch-conservative agenda.
Thus several times Cuomo tried to tie Molinaro to Trump calling him a Trump “acolyte” and “mini-me,” repeatedly asking whether he supports the president. “Do you support Donald Trump? Do you support Donald Trump?” Cuomo asked after Molinaro began to discuss the Trump economic policy.
When Molinaro said, “Let’s get out of this conversation,” Cuomo responded with the charge that Molinaro is part of “this extreme conservative, divisive cancer that you have brought to this state from Washington.”
This is all the more unfortunate since Molinaro has had long experience in government – most recently as the County Executive of New York’s Dutchess County since 2011 – and the debate could have served to provide reasoned debate over particular policy issues.
To be sure, we can understand why Governor Cuomo would try to milk any Molinaro connections to President Trump. The president is not all that popular in New York. But the result was a missed opportunity for some edification about things that concern New Yorkers.
We endorse Letitia James for the office of New York State Attorney General. Ms. James is a well known public servant in New York City, having served as a member of the New York City Council and currently as the City’s Public Advocate. In both capacities she demonstrated a serious concern for the needs of those requiring help from government. She also served as the first Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Brooklyn regional office in 1999. These posts provide invaluable experiences given the major anti-fraud and consumer protection responsibilities of New York State’s Attorney General, and its role as “the People’s lawyer.”
Further, in those offices, she has taken on hate crimes and anti-Semitism. She has also visited Israel and strongly supports the State of Israel. In the City Council she represented Crown Heights and has a longstanding relationship with the Jewish community. She has been sensitive to the special needs of yeshivas and Jewish community institutions. She has also supported making kosher meals available to Jewish public school students.
Her record has shown that Ms. James also brings to the table an important political dimension – in the best sense. While many believe that decisions to criminally prosecute or pursue civil claims flow ineluctably from the robotic application of laws and regulations, in truth there has always been a human dimension to such determinations. In today’s American judicial system, prosecutors view their role as doggedly seeking victory as in a private lawsuit. The recent frenzied actions of federal prosecutors and various special counsels are important lessons. What is needed in an Attorney General, however, is someone who takes into account, in advance, any mitigating factors.
Ms. James’ opponent in the race for Attorney General, Keith Wofford, is an extraordinarily accomplished, attorney. Harvard Law School-trained, and partner in a major international law firm and specializing in recovering funds from companies going through bankruptcy, he seems eminently qualified for any assignment he undertakes.
On balance, though, in this time and place, and the particular needs of the citizens of New York, our nod goes to Letitia James.
United States Senate From New York
We endorse the Republican-Conservative-Reform candidate Chele Farley in her race against the incumbent Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand. Ms. Farley stands firmly behind President Trump’s efforts to promote U.S. interests in the Middle East by his unprecedented support for Israel’s closest ally, Israel, and has ringingly embraced his economic policies which have rejuvenated this country. She would also be another vote in the Senate to counter the mindless obsession of many Democrats with removing President Trump from office and otherwise thwart his legislative agenda and Supreme Court nominations.
But Ms. Farley commends herself to us not just because she happens to agree with us on the issues – although that is obviously important to us. It is also because Ms. Gillibrand’s increasingly pronounced anti-Israel actions are really troubling. After being a principal sponsor of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act which would combat the BDS movement, she seized upon some bogus legal analysis by the heavily George Soros-funded ACLU that it stifled legitimate political speech, to withdraw her support. Significantly, she did so after meeting with the ACLU and being challenged by radical anti-Israel groups which supported BDS. Ms. Gillibrand also provided key support for President Obama’s widely discredited nuclear deal with Iran and also opposed President Trump’s efforts to strike a revised and more favorable to the US deal.
She heaped praise on the virulent anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour in a profile she wrote for Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people last year and ignored the requests by Jewish groups to call Sarsour out for some of her outrageous anti-Israel comments.
When one contemplates the leftward, anti- Israel lurch of the national Democratic Party and the continuing anti-Trump cabal, it is not for nothing that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand comes immediately to mind. She has become an active participant in efforts to delegitimize both Israel and the Trump presidency generally. Yet in our system, elections are supposed to settle matters until the next one. Her antics are nothing less than corrosive to our democratic way of life.
All things considered, we would be far better off with a Chele Farley victory over Kirsten Gillibrand.
US House of Representatives
6th Congressional District (Queens): We endorse Grace Meng for re-election. Since her election in 2013, she has emerged as a strong friend of the Jewish community and an important ally on issues of concern that are brought to her attention.
10th CD (Manhattan, Brooklyn): Our strong choice is Naomi Levin over the incumbent, Jerry Nadler. In her interview with The Jewish Press, she expressed support for many of the concerns of our community, including religious rights, Jewish education, U.S. Middle East policy under President Donald Trump, to name just a few. As far as we see things, she would bring a lot that is positive to the Congress.
But it is also the negatives that Mr. Nadler brings to this election. He was key to President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal swindle by offering him much needed political cover. His embrace of the Obama line on what is in Israel’s interests has troubled many of us. And his unyielding anti-Trumpism is breathtaking. In recent days he has suggested that if the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives he would be in a position to mount investigations of President Trump with a view toward impeachment and he would also re-open the investigation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Simply put, he is in knee deep in the various efforts to reverse the results of the 2016 presidential elections. He has abandoned the long-held American notion that elections are supposed to provide a sense of finality as to who gets to make decisions for us – at least until the next election.
Mr. Nadler’s antics are unpardonable.
11th CD (Brooklyn, Staten Island): We endorse Dan Donovan for re-election. He is an incumbent Republican, so his re-election is important to the continued viability of the Trump agenda. Since his election in a special election in 2015, he has also been accessible to and a friend of the Jewish community. As a former Staten Island District Attorney he is a no-nonsense member of Congress with a special interest in porous borders and unchecked illegal immigration.
14th CD (Queens): We endorse Joseph Crowley. We deem it a matter of utmost urgency that Joseph Crowley be re-elected in the 14th CD. His surprise defeat in the September Democratic Party Primary at the hands of self-styled Democratic-Socialist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, need not end the matter. He is on the ballot as the candidate of the Working Families Party. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is plainly not someone we want in Congress – not only because of her views about Israel, but because she is in the vanguard of those advocating the toppling of President Trump and is championing spending programs that would break the bank.
19th CD (Queens): We support John Faso who has provided strong support for President Trump against the efforts of Democrats to delegitimize his Administration. Aside from his cooperation with the Jewish community in his district, as an incumbent Republican, it is crucial that he retain his seat – and vote – in the House of Representative. Indeed, President Trump has effusively supported him for re-election.
We endorse NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli for reelection. Since being appointed as Comptroller in 2007 he has become known as a fiscally savvy leader and for his integrity and independence. Under his stewardship New York’s pension fund, which he oversees, has regularly realized higher than industry average returns on its investments. He has been a leader in public pension fund investment in Israeli projects which have also resulted in similarly positive returns.
15th Senatorial District, Queens: We endorse Tom Sullivan. He has a varied background in the retail business and financial sectors. He is a member of the National Guard and has been involved in many local civic projects. He is running as the Republican candidate against the long-time incumbent, Democrat Joe Addabbo. Additionally, Sullivan is strongly supported by Councilman Eric Ulrich.
17th SD (Brooklyn): We endorse Sen. Simcha Felder who has distinguished himself in the way he has gone about advocating the interests of his constituents. He has leveraged his role as a key member of the recently disbanded Independent Democratic Caucus, a group of Democratic State Senators who caucused with Senate Republicans to cement Republican control of the Senate despite their lack of sufficient numbers to form a majority on their own.
Of particular import, by virtue of the clout of the IDC, Felder successfully sponsored legislation in the Senate providing greater protection of the rights of parents to educate their children in parochial schools. That legislation mandates that substantial weight must be given to the educational benefits of the exacting Torah studies component of a yeshiva’s overall educational programs when evaluating whether the yeshivas provided a program “substantially equivalent” – the legal standard – to what is provided in public schools. Although the IDC has disbanded, Felder has vowed to continue to caucus with Senate Republicans which will provide a one vote majority for the Republicans. This will empower him to leverage that support on behalf of his constituents.
19th SD, Brooklyn: We endorse Roxanne Persaud for re-election. Since being elected in November 2015, she has been shown great concern for the needs of communities in her district, including the Jewish community. She represents one of the most diverse districts in Brooklyn and has played a continuing role in trying to bring all elements together.
20th SD: We support Sen. Jesse Hamilton for re-election. Hamilton has been in the Senate for three and a half years, counting members of the Lubavitch community of Crown Heights as among his constituents. He has been a loyal friend to the community, supporting tax credits for yeshiva tuition, spoke out against the Iran nuclear deal and helped organize opposition to it. He has been vocal opponent of BDS and has secured hundreds o thousands of dollars for Crown Heights mosdos. He has earned our support. We also note that he was a member of the Independent Democratic Caucus which enabled him to secure Republican support for measures benefitting his constituents.
22nd SD, Brooklyn: We endorse Martin Golden for re-election. Since his election in 2002, he has been an important and dependable resource for the large Jewish community that is spread throughout his district. He has always been sensitive to our special needs whether regarding education, transportation, safety or neighborhood viability. A former New York City police officer and member of the City Council, he has a thoroughgoing familiarity with the ways of government. He continues to enjoy the support of some major Jewish organizations and most recently received an award from the Igud Harabbanim (Rabbinical Council of America).
34th SD: We endorse Sen. Jeffrey Klein for re-election. Klein has often been a “go to guy “ for members of the Bronx and general Jewish community, particularly on issues relating to yeshivas. He has passed legislation targeting the BDS movement, ensuring anti-Semitic attackers are penalize to the fullest extent of the law.
42nd AD (Brooklyn): We endorse Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte for reelection. She has become a familiar presence at Jewish events in the district and speaks passionately about her support for Israel and of her legislative fight against BDS. She also is recognized for her efforts to build bridges between and among different communities. Additionally, She has been an advocate for realistic efforts to provide constitutional financing of parochial school education.
47th AD (Brooklyn): We endorse William Colton for re-election. He has represented the 47th since 1996 and has always been attentive to the Jewish community there.
48th AD (Brooklyn): We endorse Simcha Eisenstein in the 48th AD. Although he is a veteran governmental operative, having played important roles in Albany on behalf of New York City, this is his first effort at elective office. He impressed us in his Jewish Press interview with his political savvy and understanding of issues, and we believe he is a rising star.
In the elections for Justice of the Supreme Court, 2nd Judicial District (Brooklyn), there are 11 candidates and voters can choose 7. We endorse the following 3 candidates:
Judge Ingrid Joseph. An Acting Supreme Court Justice of the Supreme Court, Judge Joseph serves as the supervising judge of the Civil Court in Kings County. She is widely respected for her calm and unflappable judicial demeanor and serious commitment to seeing to it that all litigants get a fair shake. She is adept at promoting the timely disposition of cases and making the courts user friendly.
Judge Lisa S. Ottley. Judge Ottley currently serves as an Acting Supreme Court Justice where she presides over Guardianship matters. First elected to the Civil court in 2008, she has served as the Supervising Judge of the Civil Court in Kings County. In addition to her legal knowledge, she is known for her administrative skills.
Justice Eric I. Prus. Currently sitting on the Supreme Court in the Matrimonial Part, Justice Prus seeks re-election to a second term. He is an experienced judge with an excellent reputation for fairness, a thorough knowledge of the law and the ability to cut through and resolve seemingly intractable conflicts between those who appear before him. He is a valuable asset to the Supreme Court bench.
Kings County (Brooklyn, county-wide): We support Judge Loren Baily-Schiffman for re-election in the county-wide race for Civil Court in Brooklyn. A 20-year veteran on the Civil Court bench, Judge Baily-Schiffman also serves as an Acting Supreme Court Justice. She has earned a reputation for maintaining a level playing field for litigants appearing before her and for ensuring that all are given the right to be heard. She is also renowned for the fairness of her legal rulings.
Kings County (Brooklyn, 4th Municipal District): We are backing Jill Epstein, Esq. An experienced practicing attorney, Epstein lost a Democratic Party primary race for civil court in 2016 but has retained strong political support. We endorse her on Nov. 6.
Kings County (Brooklyn, 8th Municipal Court District): We endorse Gina Levy for election. Personable and sensitive to the apprehensions ordinary citizens have about the legal system, Levy has a thoroughgoing knowledge of the law and its procedures having served as the longtime law clerk to a veteran Supreme Court Justice.
Kings County (Brooklyn): Judge Harriet Thompson serves on the New York Civil Court and is running for Surrogate’s Court in Brooklyn. She is running unopposed but we nonetheless note again that she gave an extraordinarily moving interview.
Richmond County (Staten Island): We endorse Assembly Member Matthew Titone for election to the Staten Island Surrogate’s Court. An 11-year veteran of the Assembly, Titone is an accomplished attorney who has had broad experience with many areas of the law, including trusts and estates and other issues that regularly come before the Surrogate’s Court. At his Jewish Press interview, he also exhibited an infectious passion for those issues.
Governor: We urge our Florida readers to come out on November 6 and vote for Republican and Trump supporter Ron DeSantis for governor. Throughout his career in Congress DeSantis has been a vocal supporter of Israel. He has supported the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, has strongly opposed the BDS movement and, if elected, would seek to promote trade between Florida and Israel.
He also plans to partner with Israel to clean up the pollution that plagues Florida’s coastal waters, taking advantage of Israel’s highly regarded expertise in that field. We are confident that as governor, he would use his “bully pulpit” in support of Israel. His opponent, Democrat Andrew Gillum, supports BDS and strongly opposed the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. He was also a supporter of he Iran nuclear deal.
Senator: We support Rick Scott for U.S. Senator from Florida. Scott has been a strong supporter of Israel and his opponent, the incumbent Bill Nelson has sharply attacked him for it. Scott was singled out by Prime Minister Netanyahu for special recognition when he was in Israel attending the relocation of the American Embassy to Jerusalem with other American officials. Nelson accused him, though, of neglecting Florida, a charge that fell flat on its face when it was shown that Scott had remained on top of all developments in the state. Scott would also be expected to provide another vote for President Trump in the Senate, as the president contends with the anti-Trump “resistance” there.