Left Says Tkaczyk Win = ‘Clear Mandate’ For Publicly Financed Campaigns
In today’s Morning Memo, I wrote that a come-from-behind win by Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk today would be a boon for campaign finance advocates, who turned her candidacy into a vehicle for their cause.
As you’ll recall, two Super PACs pushing to reduce the power of money in politics by establishing a public campaign finance system (ironically) spent big money on her behalf – $500,000 to be exact.
The Working Families Party and Citizen Action of New York pre-emptively released a memo yesterday to a handful of reporters – including yours truly – to make the case that a win by Tkaczyk would provide a “major boost” to their quest for publicly financed, or “fair”, elections.
In the memo, WFP Executive Director Dan Cantor and Citizen Action Executive Director Karen Scharff wrote:
“(Tkaczyk’s) campaign proved that New Yorkers are tired of the corrupting influence of big money on politics, where major campaign contributions grease the wheels to special access and preferred legislative outcomes for a select few.”
“Voters indicated their overwhelming support for a small donor matching fund system that would limit the influence of CEO campaign contributors and allow every voice to be heard.”
Cantor and Scharff went on to note that two other Democrats who support public campaign financing – Sen. Ted O’Brien, of Rochester; and Sen. Terry Gipson, of Rhinebeck – won their respective races in November.
That was a particularly big deal for Gipson, since his GOP opponent, former Sen. Steve Saland, was endorsed by Cuomo (thanks to his “yes” vote on same-sex marriage).
“Republicans went into November with every advantage, including freshly-drawn partisan districts including a new seat, and a huge fundraising lead,” Scharff and Cantor argued.
“…But to the surprise of most observers, Democrats won multiple unexpected victories, in part, due to their support for public financing of elections. Statewide, Democrats won 55% of the vote in state Senate races.”
“This momentum is boosted by a growing, diverse state and nation-wide coalition of organizations, led by the Working Families Party and Citizen Action of New York, with labor, environmental, faith and civil rights groups around the nation, to pass public financing of elections in New York.”
“If Tkaczyk comes out in front too, that is an undeniable referendum in support of public financing of elections that should resonate across the state.”
Cuomo has been calling for campaign finance reform since his 2010 gubernatorial run, and reiterated that call in his recent State of the State address. He also again announced his support for a publicly financed system, though he has yet to submit any legislation on the subject.
Cantor and Scharff believe a win by Tkaczyk “will show a clear mandate and a viable path to victory” in the Senate for campaign finance reform. They also pointed to yesterday’s Siena poll, which found voters’ support for a public campaign finance system now stands at 59-36.
The lefty duo’s final argument: Now that Cuomo has succeeded in leading the nation on gun control, he could do so again on this issue, being the first to act in a significant way to counter the power of big money in politics since the US Supreme Court’s January 2010 Citizens United decision.
We’ve already seen that the governor is interested in being first and making New York a leader on national issues. We’ll see if that desire translates on this issue – especially since it could very well be a bridge too far with the Senate Republicans.
Since I sent the above memo, Jonathan Soros, who founded Friends of Democracy – one of the two PACs that spent big money on Tkaczyk’s behalf to push campaign finance reform- released the following statement:
“Congratulations to Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk on a well-deserved win. With unwavering commitment to the people of the 46th district and the issues that matter most, Senator Tkaczyk proved that being on the right side of reform is not only good policy, it’s good politics.”
“Her victory shows that voters will support candidates who champion real campaign finance reform, including citizen funded elections. Her win today is an unmistakable mandate to work to change the broken campaign finance laws that have shut out the voices of regular New Yorkers.”
“I look forward to working with Senator Tkaczyk and like-minded elected officials – including Governor Cuomo – to achieve real reform so New Yorkers can continue to rebuild their trust in government.”
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on January 18, 2013 at 1:00 pm, and is filed under Campaign Finance Reform, Democrats, State Senate, Uncategorized, Working Families Party. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|