Controller candidate Robert Antonacci looks to "Saved by the Bell" to salvage money woes
BY Glenn Blain
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, September 3, 2014, 5:53 PM
Robert Antonacci, the GOP’s little known candidate for state controller, has resorted to 1990’s television trivia as a fundraising gimmick.
The cash-starved Antonacci on Wednesday tweeted that “The Kids from #SavedbyTheBell graduated 21 years ago. You donate $21 & we get $147!” The tweet included a picture of the cast from “Saved by the Bell,” which ran on NBC from 1989 to 1993, and a link to Antonacci’s campaign.
Antonacci, who is currently the Onondaga County controller, is taking part in the state’s pilot program for public financing of elections, meaning he would receive $6 from the state for every $1 dollar he receives from donors. The program was only authorized for this year’s contest for state controller.
In order to qualify, however, Antonacci must raise at least $200,000 from no fewer than 2,000 contributors. Antonacci’s most recent filing in July showed he had raised just $77,896 in contributions.
Incumbent state Controller Thomas DiNapoli, a Democrat who had previously expressed support for public financing of campaigns, chose not to take part in the pilot program, calling it a “poor excuse to avoid real reforms.”
DiNapoli, as of July, had $2.8 million in his campaign account.
State comptroller race sees political civility, observers say September 1, 2014 by MICHAEL GORMLEY / email@example.com
ALBANY -- In an election year that has already seen a candidate ridiculed for his height, and a threat of a lawsuit to stop a negative TV ad, something has emerged in one race that seasoned political observers didn't expect to see in New York's hardball politics: civility.
"I don't intone that Tom DiNapoli is corrupt in any way, shape or form," the Democratic comptroller's opponent, Republican Bob Antonacci, said last week in answer to reporters' questions. "I don't think as a person or as a leader he himself is corrupt."
"Tom is a gentleman," added Antonacci, the Onondaga County comptroller
In May, DiNapoli broke a cardinal rule for most incumbents. Those in office usually refuse to name their opponent to avoid any attention to the challenger. But in his first campaign comment by news release and on Twitter, the Great Neck Plaza Democrat said: "I welcome Bob Antonacci to this race and look forward to talking to the voters about the issues important to working families across New York State."
"I can't stand the negative campaigning," Antonacci said. He once had a disagreement with DiNapoli in their respective comptroller positions, he said, and DiNapoli called him personally to explain.
"I liked that," Antonacci said.
Antonacci tweeted at DiNapoli on Thursday while the state comptroller was at the State Fair, reminding him of a public relations miscue by Mayor Bill de Blasio when he used utensils to eat pizza: "Friendly advice for my opponent @tomdinapoli @NYSFair don't eat the sausage w/fork & knife I don't want to win by TKO . . . ."
DiNapoli's campaign spokesman Russell Murphy said, "Tom DiNapoli has always welcomed those running for public office as New Yorkers should always be entitled to a choice."
The exchanges caught some Albany veterans by surprise.
The loudest statements in the 2014 state election year have included the state Democratic Committee's calling Rob Astorino, Republican candidate for governor, "little Robbie," while the state Republican Committee called Cuomo "cowardly" for refusing to debate. A week ago Astorino threatened TV stations and cable systems with a lawsuit if they continued to air a Cuomo ad that accused Astorino of corruption in his job as Westchester County executive. In a June radio interview, when Astorino leveled accusations of corruption against Cuomo and Albany, the governor dismissed it with a chuckle: "Yeah, that's funny."
"It looks like we're going to have the usual dose of nastiness," said Gerald Benjamin, distinguished professor of political science at SUNY New Paltz. "Having said that, it's positive that some major candidates in the state think civility is important."
"It's remarkable in terms of what's going on elsewhere in New York politics," said Richard Brodsky of the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University and a former assemblyman. "Campaigns in the end always reflect the temperament and character of the candidates."
They see the tone of the comptroller's race so far as an aberration, rather than a trend.
"Both DiNapoli and Antonacci are honorable public servants who both appreciate how each has earned their reputations," said Dick Dadey of Citizens Union, a good-government group.
"Their civility shows a level of welcomed respect for their approach to public service," Dadey said. "New Yorkers appreciate and value candidates who debate the issues and don't seek to tear down their opponents."
I-81 views: Let's think boldly about the future of the interstate, says comptroller candidate (Your letters) Antonacci Onondaga County Comptroller Robert Antonacci Brett Carlsen | firstname.lastname@example.org (Brett Carlsen) Your Letters By Your Letters The Post-Standard
on August 30, 2014 at 10:00 AM, updated August 30, 2014 at 10:05 AM This may not be the least expensive option nor the easiest to construct, but the DOT owes it to our community to analyze Access Syracuse.Robert Antonacci is a candidate for New York State Comptroller. Antonacci is currently serving his second term as the Onondaga County Comptroller.
By Robert Antonacci
Throughout my time as Onondaga County comptroller, and now during my campaign for state comptroller, I have talked about the importance of infrastructure investment. Committing resources to improving our roadways, sewers and water lines can save communities money in the long run and is crucial for economic growth. We must keep these principles in mind as we consider the future of Interstate 81 in Central New York. Failure to spend money now on infrastructure will cost us more money in future lost opportunities.
As a lifelong area resident, I want my two children and their families to inherit a healthy and prosperous Central New York. The decision the state Department of Transportation makes regarding I-81 will play an important role in this vision for our region.
We cannot sell ourselves short in choosing an I-81 solution! We need to be bold and creative. If the best solution costs a bit more, then we need to find the financial resources necessary to make it happen.
Too often, our region has settled for less when it comes to our infrastructure needs. We cannot afford to do the same with I-81.
To best preserve Central New York's economic future, I believe we need a solution for I-81 that maintains its Interstate Highway designation and keeps the highway flowing along its present path. With so many businesses and jobs located along I-81, moving it around the city could have a devastating effect on our economy.
This doesn't mean we should just rebuild the viaduct. While that may be a cheaper option, we need to think bigger, bolder and choose a solution that works for all of us.
Antonacci joins in the debate challenge vs DiNapoli,Posted on August 26, 2014 at 12:25 pm by Rick Karlin, Capitol bureau in General, Tom DiNapoli
It’s debate season, or make that debate challenge season.
Democratic gubernatorial challenger Zephyr Teachout has been pounding Gov. Andrew Cuomo on his apparent reluctance to debate her before the Sept. 9 primary and now GOP comptroller candidate Bob Antonacci is saying he wants to debate incumbent Democrat Tom DiNapoli.
“It’s important for Mr. DiNapoli and I to debate our visions for New York State,” Antonacci said during a brief stop at the Capitol on Tuesday.’
“It’s going to give the people of the state of New York a sharp contrast in our candidacies,” said Antonacci, who is Onondaga County comptroller as well as a lawyer and CPA.
He said he would formally ask the comptroller to a debate shortly and noted that he is required to participate in a debate if asked, due to his participation in the new public financing program. Something of a pilot program passed by lawmakers and the governor last session, it allows only comptroller candidates to opt in to a 6:1 public financing match if they hit certain targets, including getting 2,000 donors who give between $10 and $175 and raising $200,000.
If he achieves that, Antonacci said that would generate $1.2 million in public money which would come from the state’s $13.2 billion cache of unclaimed funds.
As of the July filings, DiNapoli had $2.7 million while Antonacci reported just under $30,700. Antonacci said he didn’t know offhand how much he has now but felt confident about hitting the $200,000 needed for a match.
While he’s long called for public financing, DiNapoli has opted out of the match program saying it was hastily written. Good government groups agreed, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the targeting of just one statewide office — the comptroller — looked suspiciously like a slap at DiNapoli by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has long had cool relations at best with the comptroller.
Like other non-incumbents, Antonacci says he’s running against the system in general, and he believes DiNapoli should start auditing lawmakers and speak out on the Moreland Commission scandal that seems to have some lawmakers laying low during what should be the start of campaign season.
“This is where the billions are being stolen,” Antonacci said, gesturing to the Capitol building behind him.
The DiNapoli campaign wasn’t ruling out the possibility of a debate. “We are reviewing all debate requests in accordance with the Comptroller’s schedule and decision will be made at a later date,” camapaign spokesman Russell Murphy said in an email.
Either way, Antonacci conceded he has an uphill fight — polls show that relatively few New Yorkers even know who DiNapoli is, let alone his challenger.
Moreover among those who do know, DiNapoli leads by more than two to one, according to a recent Quinnipiac Poll.