New York City in 2024 will be defined by five stories

New York City in 2024 will be defined by five stories

NEW YORK — The Empire State is at the center of the national political storm as 2024 begins, from the battle for the House to the migrant crisis.

From House races that could decide the fate of Congress to the governor’s growing dissension with the state Legislature, New York is sure to be chock full of drama this year.

And while former President Donald Trump will be fighting a hush money case in a Manhattan courtroom while running for office, New York City Mayor Eric Adams will be hoping he and his associates don’t get caught in a legal case themselves, amid a federal investigation into Turkish influence.

A big year stretches ahead with the presidential election topping the list of political events to watch. (And New York’s presidential primary date is April 2.) Meanwhile, several challenges will define — and redefine — the political landscape throughout the state.

Here are five to watch closely:

HOUSE FIGHT: House Speaker Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.)? A leadership promotion for Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.)?

The fate of two New Yorkers from very different ends of the state lies with voters in swing districts come November.

Millions of dollars are pouring into New York to influence the outcome of an estimated half dozen House districts that could determine which party controls the chamber after 2024.

Adding to the uncertainty in the high stakes battle for the House: The district lines are going to change in two months’ time.

Democrats are playing more offense than defense after disappointing results in 2022. The party hopes to unseat Republican Reps. Brandon Williams, Marc Molinaro, Mike Lawler and Anthony D’Esposito. And the party hopes to flip the seat once held by disgraced former Rep. George Santos in a special election slated for Feb. 13.

Republicans, meanwhile, have zeroed in on the district held by Democratic Rep. Pat Ryan in the Hudson Valley.

Brooklyn’s Jeffries, the House minority leader, and Upstate New York’s Stefanik, currently the House GOP conference chair, are playing pivotal roles in leading the campaign efforts in their home state. And for good reason: Future leadership posts depend on it.

HOCHUL AND THE LEGISLATURE: All is not well between Gov. Kathy Hochul and her fellow Democrats in Albany.

Hochul rankled lawmakers last month when, amid the usual flurry of year-end vetoes, her team sought to defend the rejection of bills for criminal justice law changes and others the business community opposed.

Or, as Hochul’s communication director Anthony Hogrebe put it, “a number of extreme legislative proposals that would have put public safety or the state's economic recovery at risk.”

Vetoes are not unusual and neither is the legislative bellyaching that follows.

But the statement, coming from an executive who is ordinarily focused on collaboration like Hochul, was out of the ordinary.

One Democratic aide said the statement “made no sense” and compared it to the Hector LaSalle debacle of a year ago, when lawmakers in Hochul’s own party scuttled the governor’s chief judge selection.

“It is another misplay just like the judge fiasco last year,” the Democrat said. “These guys never seem to learn their lessons and can’t seem to help themselves.”

BUDGET BUSTING: There’s good news for New York’s budget. The projected $9.1 billion gap was sliced in half, thanks in part to some federal decision making on the Medicaid program and better-than-expected tax revenue.

But there’s also bad news: New York lawmakers and Hochul still need to find more than $4 billion to close the current gap for the fiscal year that starts April 1.

The state budget fight once again could come down to a battle over taxes — namely whether to raise revenue from the state’s oft-tapped resource: millionaires and billionaires.

Progressive Democrats are expected this year to make a renewed push to raise taxes to avoid reduced spending for big-ticket items like education and health.

Hochul, for her part, has said she wants to keep funding in place for mental health programs, where she believes there has been a lack of support from the state over the last decade.

But she has drawn a firm line on taxes. And her top budget aide has signaled the state will shift its spending on migrants from unlimited hotel stays to helping them find jobs and other longer-term solutions.

FLOW OF MIGRANTS: The New York City budget clash between Adams and the City Council, meanwhile, revolves in large part around service cuts to offset spending to support the tens of thousands of migrants being housed in city shelters.

Adams last week sought to disrupt the flow of buses sent to the Port Authority Bus Terminal by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott with an executive order limiting the arrival of migrants to between 8:30 a.m. and noon on weekdays.

The strategy is part of a united front he’s established with the mayors of Chicago and Denver in the face of limited aid from President Joe Biden’s administration — a situation that has hurt Adams’ relationship with Biden.

But already, there are complications with the plan. More than a dozen buses from Texas and Louisiana with hundreds of migrants were taken to New Jersey train stations, in an apparent attempt to sidestep Adams’ bus order.

The migrant crisis no doubt will be a defining issue of Adams’ term in office. How he challenges the right to shelter consent decree requiring him to house those in need and how he emerges from a city budget battle with service cuts and lawsuits are questions that kick off the year for Adams.

ADAMS’ LEGAL WOES: Will U.S. Attorney Damian Williams bring charges in the Turkish influence investigation? And if so, how close will it get to Adams? Will the mayor himself get indicted?

There’s been a shadow over City Hall since the FBI raided the homes of people close to the mayor on Nov. 2. He’s denied all wrongdoing, but it’s not hard to imagine a court case sucking all the air out of City Hall — where some administration staffers have been gasping over the investigation alone.

Legal experts seemed to agree the raids, and seizure of Adams’ phones, suggest the investigation was in its late stages. So if arrests are made, they could come sooner than later in 2024.

Others in Adams’ orbit have already been ensnared in corruption probes. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has accused contributors to Adams’ mayoral campaign with running a straw donor scheme, and charged Adams’ former adviser, Eric Ulrich, in a bribery case.

Meanwhile, a former New York City Police Department coworker filed notice accusing Adams, a retired NYPD captain, of sexually assaulting her in 1993. Adams completely dismissed the accusation and denied even knowing her. A full complaint laying out the details has not yet been filed.

All those cases could be tried in 2024 — potentially shedding light on the inner workings of Adams’ campaign, all while the mayor fundraises for his 2025 reelection bid and his legal defense fund at the same time.

A version of this story first appeared in Tuesday’s New York Playbook. Subscribe here.","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"","_id":"0000018c-cb8a-d255-afff-ebeb8727000d","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"0000018c-cb8a-d255-afff-ebeb8727000e","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}">Subscribe here.


By: Nick Reisman, Emily Ngo and Jeff Coltin
Title: Five stories will make or break New York in 2024
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Published Date: Tue, 02 Jan 2024 13:42:17 EST

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