A WFP Comeback?
Among the many congratulatory blast emails and news releases the day after Election Day was one from the labor-supported Working Families Party.
The WFP only a few election cycles back was under investigation for its research arm, Data and Field Services. Andrew Cuomo, then running for governor in 2010, at the last minute agreed to run on the WFP’s ballot line, thus saving them from spiraling into the political black hole that swallowed up the now-defunct Liberal Party.
Still, even with the Data and Field Services case dropped and Cuomo in the governor’s office, the party couldn’t keep the Senate out of Republican hands. A host of measures opposed by labor — the Tier Six pension overhaul and the property tax cap — were approved.
Meanwhile, measures like increasing the state’s minimum wage and campaign-finance reform were bottled up.
But now, even as leadership battle looms in the Senate, Democrats are poised to regain a numerical, 32-member majority in the Senate.
The WFP’s email sent out post-Election Day carried the subject line “Earthquake.”
“A slate of WFP-endorsed Democrats has won majority control in Albany. The dust is still settling — and recounts could go on for weeks in at least two races — but we’re confident these results will hold,” wrote Executive Director Dan Cantor. “This is the moment we’ve been waiting for — and now we need you more than ever to stand by us. All the big issues are on the line in Albany, and we can’t allow the Senate to miss this opportunity. So we need your help to build a movement that holds the Senate’s feet to the fire and turns their campaign promises into reality.”
The email singled out both Democrats Terry Gipson and Cecilia Tkaczyk who hold leads over their Republican opponents, but the results remain up-in-the-air until absentee ballots are counted.
The Democrats who won did benefit from significant labor support, inlcuding some groups who have traditionally and broadly sided with Senate Republicans. Ads from the Communications Workers of America were running on behalf of Tkaczyk.
And in a little-reported move, the United Federation of Teacher’s COPE transfered $65,000 to the WFP on Oct. 11.
Keep in mind, too, that the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee — maligned for not keeping pace with their well-funded Republican counterparts — was able to marshal the help and resources from a variety of labor groups.
It’s overly simplistic to say unions wanted a Democratic takeover the Senate, or that all the money spent by the WFP helped put Democrats over the top in key races (a lot of their victories can be attributed to the enrollment advantage that Democrats enjoy and President Obama running for re-election).
And as Democrats gain some strength in numbers in the chamber, it’s different from 2008, when several decidedly moderate upstate and suburban lawmakers gained seats, only to lose them in a GOP wave in 2010.
This January, there could be as many as three or four freshman lawmakers with strong relationships with labor and the WFP in the chamber and Gov. Andrew Cuomo seeking a host of decidedly liberal agenda items for the final two years of his first term.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on November 12, 2012 at 1:35 pm, and is filed under Working Families Party. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|
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