The WFP Vs. Cuomo
The Working Families Party’s attitude toward Gov. Andrew Cuomo has publicly taken a sour turn in the last week.
Now, the labor-aligned party finds itself in the unusual position of trying to get voters to in essence rebuke Cuomo by supporting him on their ballot line.
The WFP on Wednesday released a statement criticizing Cuomo for calling public education a “monopoly” in a meeting with The Daily News editorial board.
In a statement — which was first provided to Capital New York — WFP Director Bill Lipton suggested a vote for Cuomo on Row E would send a message to the governor.
“We endorsed the governor because of his commitments to raise the minimum wage, fight for public financing of elections, the full Women’s Equality Act, the DREAM Act, and decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana,” Lipton says. “But we’ll never hesitate to criticize him when he’s wrong, as he is on this issue. A vote on the WFP line for Governor is a vote to get those crucial progressive policies passed and to strengthen the WFP.”
Of course, the WFP needs Cuomo to do well on their ballot line. After all, the party is facing some competition this election cycle.
In April, Cuomo allies in a conference call with WFP leaders sought to make the case that the governor was on their side.
As the party considered the unprecedented step of backing a stand-alone candidate, Cuomo supporters — including Assemblyman Keith Wright and 1199 SEIU political director Kevin Finnegan — pointed to a host of liberal friendly accomplishments over the last four years.
It was in that conference call that the idea of Cuomo backing a Democratic takeover of the state Senate was raised.
At the same time, Finnegan warned WFP leaders that not endorsing the governor would lead to the party losing leverage with Cuomo in his second term.
Cuomo staved off a challenge from Zephyr Teachout at the WFP’s convention later that month.
Emboldened, Teachout nevertheless launched her primary bid on the Democratic line, creating a headache the governor did not want.
But after securing the party’s nod, Cuomo created a new ballot, the Women’s Equality Party. While feminists and liberals are scoffing at the need for a gender-based party, the focus on women’s issues is a boon for Cuomo this election season, who is crushing his GOP opponent among female voters.
With the rival ballot line comes the concern, however, that the WFP could sink in prominence on the statewide ballot.
Combined with liberal unrest for Cuomo that’s been simmering over the last four years and surging Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins (who has a former WFP staffer running his campaign) the WFP has made a concerted effort to remind liberals to back their ballot, if not the governor.
Indeed, it would be fascinating to see what would have happened had Teachout received the WFP nod.
Cuomo himself has been less than effusive about voting for the WFP, saying the women-centric ballot line is just one of several options for voters this election season.
The governor and left-leaning advocates have rarely seen eye-to-eye on economic issues. Cuomo believes most voters are with him on his spending caps, an education policy that emphasizes results not more cash and a liberal social agenda.
Cuomo this week blasted the statewide teachers union’s mail campaign aimed at helping Senate Democrats.
He hasn’t ruled out supporting a Republican lawmaker in Buffalo who lost his GOP primary and is running in a district the mainline conference wants to flip (Cuomo is even appearing in an independent expenditure campaign’s mail and TV ad being run on Grisanti’s behalf).
What did the WFP get for their endorsement of Cuomo? Mainly, a general election focus on preserving their ballot position.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on October 29, 2014 at 3:18 pm, and is filed under Andrew Cuomo. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|