Former Gov. David Paterson, the state Democratic Committee chairman, downplayed the percentage of the vote received by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s rival in Tuesday’s party primary, blaming it on low turnout that drew critics of the incumbent.

Paterson, in a statement Wednesday afternoon, said the votes received by both Fordham Law School professor Zephyr Teachout and Columbia University professor Tim Wu — both of whom exceeded pundit expectations by clearing 30 percentage points — was due to Cuomo detractors: Mainly disgruntled public employees and teachers as well as anti-hydrofracking advocates.

Paterson said those types of advocacy voters “have the loudest voice” when turnout is low.

“In yesterday’s primary with so few contested races on the ballot and no real competition for the Governor’s race we saw surprisingly low turnout from Democrats – only about 10 percent of the over five million Democrats registered in New York showed up to the polls,” Paterson said in a statement released by the party. “When less people vote, the most passionate groups have the loudest voice and both the map and numbers showed exactly that. Voters opposed to fracking, and certain public employee unions unhappy with their contracts and teacher evaluations were the most motivated in this primary.”

Cuomo argued on Tuesday after voting that his supporters were “passionate” as well and insisted, once again, that the only percentage he was seeking was 51 percent.

Both Cuomo and his running mate, Kathy Hochul, secured high vote margins in their geographic bases: western New York and New York City and its suburbs.

The little-known Teachout and Wu, however, did well in upstate counties, many of them rural.

But Paterson today argues that not too much should be read into the Teachout-Wu campaign’s marshaling the Cuomo dissenters enrolled as Democrats who were interested enough in the less-than-10-percent turnout primary to vote.

The former governor says being the state’s chief executive, especially an effective one like Cuomo, inevitably results in becoming estranged from certain segments.

“As a former governor, I know that making responsible decisions does not make everyone happy. Governor Cuomo’s record is one we as a party can be proud of because he had the courage to make the right decisions, even if they came with some political cost,” Paterson said. “In this instance, negotiating a responsible contract with PEF with three zeros when our state faced a multi-billion deficit, reforming a pension system that has been bankrupting local governments, creating accountability for teachers in our schools and putting science ahead of passion on fracking played a role in the primary and an even more important role in putting New York State back on the right track.”

And then Paterson pivots back to the general election, criticizing Astorino’s stances on social issues:

“As we turn to the general election, this is a strong case for Democrats to make, particularly in the face of opposition that caters to the other farthest extreme. The stakes are high: a choice between a governor with a progressive record who is fixing the economy and standing up for equality, and an extremist who’s being sued for housing discrimination and has a record on social issues that would makes Rick Santorum smile. We have the fortune of facing Republicans, whose positions and proposals are vastly out of step with the electorate and our base, including constituencies who came out in force in the primary. Now we must bring our case to the people.”

Cuomo has often argued that despite noisy protests over a certain policy, the broad majority of the state is with him when it comes to achieving results. His critics are on the margins of the broader opinion of the state, Cuomo says, and adds many often pay more attention to the palace intrigue of the Albany bubble and not the larger picture.

Cuomo certainly would want to end a post-primary narrative that suggests he doesn’t have the support of liberals in his state or that he’s got a problem with unifying the Democratic Party heading into a general election in which he would like to post a substantial margin of victory.