Scott Walker leads GOP 2016 competitors in Iowa: poll

Scott Walker is way ahead in early-voting state Iowa, a new poll shows. Wisconsin's Republican governor got the support of 21% of likely Hawkeye State voters, according a new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tied for second place, each receiving the support of 13% of likely GOP voters, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz got 12%. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won the state's first-in-the-nation caucuses in 2008, got 11%. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, considered in many GOP circles to be the party's frontrunner for the nomination, fared poorly in the poll, receiving only 5% of the support of likely Republican voters. In another piece of bad news for Bush, the poll found that nearly 25% of Iowa voters said they would "definitely" not support him — top in the category. Continue Reading

Two GOP judges are retiring from state Court of Appeals

ALBANY — The state’s highest court is losing one of its two GOP judges. Judge Susan Read, 67, announced Tuesday she would retire from the Court of Appeals in August, leaving Judge Eugene Pigott as the lone Republican on the seven-member bench. Read’s departure also means Gov. Cuomo will have two vacancies to fill before the court begins its new term in January. Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman has reached the court’s mandatory retirement age of 70 and must also step down. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Scott Walker leads GOP 2016 nomination race in Iowa: poll

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is the clear frontrunner among his competitors for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination in early-voting state Iowa, a new poll shows. Walker got the support of 17% of likely Republican voters in the Hawkeye State in a new Bloomberg Politics / Des Moines Register poll released Sunday, well ahead of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who both came in second, tied with 10%. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee came in next, both getting 9% support in the survey, which was taken May 25-29 among 400 likely Republican caucusgoers. Continue Reading

Hillary Clinton faces months of hits from GOP, liberals as she enters race

This time she really is the inevitable candidate. In 2008, Hillary Clinton held big, carefully staged rallies designed to create the impression of a juggernaut to the nomination. It didn’t work out that way. As she prepares to announce Sunday, Clinton is hitting the reset button on her image and gearing up for the onslaught of ferocious attacks from the GOP. After a rough month during which she faced bad headlines over her private emails and Clinton Foundation donations from foreign powers, Clinton is planning a carefully controlled rollout with small-scale events in early primary states. RELATED: Obama says Clinton 'would be an excellent president' She has assembled a fresh-faces campaign team — mostly younger staffers without the baggage of her infighting ’08 team. Democrats believe that bodes well. “They are very focused on staying focused. She has a team who knows what it takes to win,” said Democratic strategist and Clinton ally Hilary Rosen. “She will make it clear that choosing her over any of the GOP challengers is the best way to keep the country moving forward. In other words, they are going to stay engaged on what matters.” SCHOEN: How Hillary Clinton can woo moderates Clinton appears to have an easy stroll to the Democratic nomination, despite potential challenges from former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — none of them exactly household names. But some on the left still grumble about her progressive credentials — and while a listening tour could help show her softer side and talk up kitchen-table issues like income inequality and raising the minimum wage, her overall campaign narrative hasn’t been laid out yet. Liberals are pushing her to show she’s one of them. “Hillary Continue Reading

Hillary Clinton makes first appearance in New Hampshire, calls GOP attacks about Clinton Foundation donors ‘distractions’

KEENE, N.H. — Hillary Clinton fired back Monday at questions about a potentially damaging new book — saying that slamming her seems to be the Republicans’ sole topic of conversation. The book, “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,” by former George W. Bush aide Peter Schweizer, is to be published next month and is generating a lot of buzz in conservative circles. “We’re back into the political system and therefore I’ll be subjected to all kinds of distraction and attacks and I’m ready for that,” Clinton said during her first swing in the first-in-the-nation primary state since her campaign announcement. “I know that that comes unfortunately with the territory. It is I think worth noting that the Republicans seem to be talking only about me. I don’t know what they’d talk about if I weren’t in the race,” she said. The crowded GOP field had spent the past weekend in the state lobbing attacks against her. The book asserts that foreign entities who donated to the Clinton Foundation and paid Bill Clinton big speaking fees received favors from Hillary Clinton’s State Department, according to The New York Times, which was given an advance copy. Republicans have been hyping the book — Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been briefed on its charges, said the allegations will “make people question whether or not she should be President.” And Clinton and her allies are showing they’re taking the threat seriously. Clinton preempted a reporter who began to yell a question on the topic after a round-table event, promising to “be right there” after she finished shaking hands. She returned to call the book’s charges Continue Reading

Scott Walker gets boost in GOP poll, Chris Christie sinks

A fresh poll of Republican voters brings good news for expected 2016 presidential contender Scott Walker — and the opposite for New Jersey’s Chris Christie. Walker, governor of Wisconsin, pulls about even with “establishment” frontrunner Jeb Bush and scores a tie with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the Monmouth University Poll released Monday. Christie pulled just 5% support in the poll, compared to 13% for Bush, former governor of Florida, and 11% each for Walker and Cruz. While it’s obviously early in the Republican nomination game, the poll reinforces questions about whether Christie, governor of New Jersey, can produce a convincing rationale for a White House run some observers say he should have waged last cycle. “Some candidates, such as Walker, seem to be better placed to form a winning coalition, while others, such as Christie, find their path to victory getting more narrow every day,” said Monmouth’s Patrick Murray in releasing the new poll. In a hypothetical two-man contest, Walker bested Bush 46% to 42%. Both men easily overwhelmed Christie in head-to-head matchups, Monmouth found. Walker, who has impressed conservative voters with his hardline stance on dealing with his state’s unions, had the highest net favorability rating of the 17 Republicans tested in the poll. He also had the lowest unfavorable ratings among those who identified themselves to Monmouth pollsters as Tea Party supporters or strongly conservative. But while Walker carried the day with a net-positive 35% favorability score, Monmouth noted nearly half the GOP electorate still doesn’t know enough about him to offer an opinion. Bush, who came out of the gate early as a prime fund-raiser in the broad field of candidates, pulled higher favorability marks than Walker, but came in with a lower net score — 18% — thanks to a larger Continue Reading

John McCain rips Rand Paul, calls him worst GOP candidate running for President

There are 20 Republicans running for President — and Sen. John McCain has no doubt who is the worst. McCain on Wednesday ranked colleague Rand Paul at the bottom of the roster, citing his foreign policy stances. "In 2007, he said it would be ridiculous to call Iran a threat to the United States' national security. Last summer, he publicly doubted whether ISIS was a threat to the United States' national security," McCain said on Fox News Channel's "Your World With Neil Cavuto." S.E. CUPP: Rand Paul's conservative-libertarian predicament McCain, the 2008 GOP nominee for President, also slammed the libertarian-leaning Paul for opposing aid to Israel and playing down the threat to that nation's security from Iran. "The record is very clear that he simply does not have an understanding about the needs and the threats of United States national security," McCain said, adding that there is "no doubt" in his mind that Paul ranks last among the 20 or so possible contenders. The Arizona senator went after his Kentucky colleague after Paul derided McCain and a rival potential GOP presidential hopeful, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, as mere "lapdogs" for the Obama White House on foreign policy. A Paul campaign spokesman declined to respond to McCain's broadside. Continue Reading

Marco Rubio leads GOP 2016 presidential field in new poll

Marco Rubio now leads the pack of declared and likely 2016 Republican presidential candidates, a new poll shows. The Florida senator, who formally announced his presidential bid earlier this month, got the support of 15% of likely GOP primary voters, a Quinnipiac poll released Thursday showed, putting the 43-year-old freshman on top of a growing field of contenders. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush came in second in the poll, with 13%, while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker came in third, with 11%. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie rounded out the top six, with 9%, 8% and 7%, respectively. Rubio, however, also fared the best of all the prospective GOP 2016 candidates against presumptive Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, the poll showed. Clinton bested all possible Republican competitors by wide margins, except Rubio, whom she led 45% to 43% — within the poll's margin of error. "The youngest member of the GOP presidential posse moves to the front of the pack to challenge Hillary Clinton whose position in her own party appears rock solid," Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement. "This is the kind of survey that shoots adrenalin into a campaign. Marco Rubio gets strong enough numbers and favorability ratings to look like a legit threat to Hillary Clinton." ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE.  Continue Reading

GOP senators aim to ax aid for Cuomo’s rent-law panel

ALBANY — The GOP-controlled state Senate has fired an opening salvo in the battle over the city’s soon-to-expire rent regulations. A budget resolution adopted by the Senate would eliminate funding for the state’s Tenant Protection Unit, created by Gov. Cuomo in 2011 to provide stricter enforcement of rent laws. “The idea of zeroing it out is just crazy,” said Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan). “There is a real difference between trying to change the law and choosing not to allow the executive branch to enforce the law.” Kavanagh and other Democrats said the Senate’s move — while unlikely to be included in the state’s final budget — showed the GOP would do whatever it could to help landlords in the legislative fight over extending rent regulations, which expire in June. Senate Housing Committee Chairwoman Catherine Young (R-Cattaraugus County) retorted that the tenant unit was created by Cuomo without any legislative authority and has operated with little transparency. Continue Reading

Sen. Rand Paul’s wife defends GOP presidential hopeful from critics labeling him a chauvinist

She stands by her man. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s wife, Kelley, stuck up for her spouse on the TV circuit Tuesday, defending the GOP presidential hopeful against critics who label him a chauvinist based on his testy treatment of female reporters. “You always want the person you love to come off the best that they can, so it's hard for me sometimes to see him being criticized, because that's not who he is in terms of his relationships with women,” Paul’s wife said on NBC’s “Today” show. She stressed that Paul, an opthalmologist by training, had a woman as his surgical partner for more than a decade. Paul has been called out for using what detractors have called a dismissive tone in a recent interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie and also in a February exchange with Kelly Evans of CNBC. In an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” Kelley Paul said the allegations of sexism against her husband “really upset” her. As a political spouse, “I think that Rand has a great message and I want to support him however I can,” she said, “but in the end, I want us to stay strong as a family.” ON A MOBILE DEVICE? CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO. Continue Reading