Winners & Losers List: This Week's Political Topdogs and Duds

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WINNERS Charles Rangel -The octogenarian congressman can finally exhale after his primary challenger, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, conceded for a second time amid ballot irregularities. It is unclear whether Rangel will consider running again in 2014, and Adam Clayton Powell IV is already calling dibs on the seat, but the veteran lawmaker will certainly relish his commute to the Beltway for another two years. Michael Bloomberg ? Word on the street is the mayor hopes his post-mayor role is one of activist philanthropy, and we got another glimpse of what that would be like this week when he made a $50 million gift to support family planning in poorer countries. And we wonder if the mayor, as chairman of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, had any hand in the decision this week to ban political speeches at the site on the attack anniversary. Both decisions, calmly and deftly managed, show good judgment. Eliot Spitzer ? Okay, so the former governor may never have a political career again, and he hasn't been a raving success as a national pundit, but we are interested to see where his stint as a NY1 Wiseguy takes him. For his opening show, Spitzer took an opportunity to offer some advice to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which is just about the brazen-est thing we can think of. With so few people who have a chance at political office willing to go out on a limb to talk about Cuomo, Spitzer could serve an important function as a person willing to criticize the state's executive, on the record and in the open. This could be a good look for the ex-gov. Julie Menin ? Fourteen months before the Democratic primary for Manhattan borough president, Julie Menin has already maxed out on fundraising, raising as much as she's possibly allowed to spend under New York City's matching funds program. That will allow Menin to simply focus on campaigning, while rivals like Gale Brewer, Robert Jackson and Jessica Lappin are still dialing for dollars. Of course, Menin's early success makes us think that she might be wise just to opt out of the matching funds program and raise more, unlimited amounts of cash. Dean Skelos -An early leak by the Senate Republicans indicated that the GOP will have something like five times as much cash on hand as the Senate Democrats - who aren't even trying to pay off their remaining debt anymore. Add to that the fact that Gov. Andrew Cuomo isn't ruling out backing Republicans for Senate seats, and it's almost tempting to declare the 2012 battle for Senate supremacy over. Unless a lot more members of the Senate Republican conference decide to follow Marty Golden's lead and throw events on feminine "deportment," it's going to be quite the uphill battle for the Senate Democrats. LOSERS Mark Levine ? His time may be coming, but it's not herequiteyet. The upperManhattan Democratic district leader latched onto the congressional campaign of a former foe, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, while looking to run for Espaillat's seatifit came open. But now that Espaillat's narrow loss to longtime Congressman Charlie Rangel is official, and Espaillat has officially decided to run for re-election to the Senate, Levine has little choice but to again take up his candidacy in a crowded field for a seat in the New York City Council. Ed Cox? The last person you want to get into a public dispute with when you're a state party chair is your party's nominee for President, but that's exactly what Ed Cox did this week by insisting that the Republican convention delegates he selected be seated, instead of assenting to the list of delegates the Romney campaign had expected him to rubber stamp. In the era of drama-free national conventions, the Romney campaign has made it loud and clear (off the record, of course) that they don't appreciate the former First Son-in-Law's dissent, threatening to strip Cox of the authority to introduce the New York delegation at the big show. While Cox's staff hastened to emphasize that everyone was working in lock step to elect Romney, one wonders if for Cox an Obama victory might actually be better for his personal political prospects. Rob Astorino ? The Westchester County executive may simply be doing what's best for his constituents in pushing for more details ? and more transit ? on theTappan ZeeBridge, but now that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has aggressively amped up his public relations campaign behind his plans for a new bridge, Astorino is feeling the governor's wrath. Larry Schwartz, the secretary to the governor, got another critic of the governor's plans, Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef, to side with Cuomo, and that isolates Astorino, the "Republican rising star" who's lately been painted simply as a unrealistic flip-flopper driven by political ambitions. Kevin Burke?No summer vacation for ConEdison chairman Kevin Burke, who's entering another week of lockout with his utility workers over a union contract dispute, despite the fact the workers are the same people who'd help the city in the event of a heat-induced power outage. As if that weren't bad enough, Crain's reported yesterday ConEd is among the elusive secret donors to the Committee to Save New York, the group plugging for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget. Granted every company has its own interests to look out for, but to the public, at least for the time being, it looks like Burke's interests are directly opposed to his workers and most of the rest of New Yorkers. Dennis Walcott?The schools chancellor heard it from all sides this week. Newspaper editorial boards criticized his lenient penalties toward Stuvesant High School cheaters and the Bloomberg administration retreated from his plan to close 24 troubled schools. At least he's getting outdoors on Friday to promote the city's Free Lunch program at Orchard Beach. Soak up those rays! To vote for this week's top political winner and loser visit City & State by [clicking here. ](

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