WFP Co-Chair: No Need for Women’s Equality Party
From the Morning Memo:
When allies of Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the creation of the Women’s Equality Party earlier this year, it was not lost on Working Families Party leaders that just one letter of the alphabet separates “WEP” from “WFP.”
Some of the more conspiracy theory-minded members of New York’s political class wondered what the governor was up to, and if he was hoping to confuse voters and dilute the WFP vote – potentially bumping the labor-backed party from its hard-fought position on Row D, or even perhaps robbing it of ballot status altogether.
The WFP must receive at least 50,000 votes for its candidate for governor – Cuomo – in order to maintain its official standing as a party, and an automatic slot on the ballot for the next four years.
Cuomo isn’t campaigning terribly hard on the WFP line. In fact, he didn’t even bother putting in an appearance at the party’s big campaign rally in Manhattan on Wednesday night. And the feeling appears mutual among those who did attend the rally, including NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and US Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Cuomo was not the focus of the event, and was barely even mentioned there.
Instead, the WFP has concentrated its efforts on flipping the Senate into Democratic hands – something Cuomo pledged to support when he cut an endorsement deal with the WFP back in May, but to which he has not yet visibly dedicated much energy.
What Cuomo is dedicating considerable time and resources to is the Women’s Equality Party. This weekend, he and his running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul, will again board their fancy “Women’s Equality Express” buses (hopefully minus the cookies this time), and head to Long Island for more campaign appearances.
Privately, a number of women in political circles have looked askance at Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Party effort, suggesting the single-issue approach to woo women voters is dated and even demeaning.
During a CapTon interview last night, WFP Co-Chair Karen Scharff dismissed the WEP altogether, saying she doesn’t see the “need” for it.
“Women are actually the vast majority of voters in New York State, and I don’t think we should be pigeonholed in a separate party,” said Scharff, who is also executive director of Citizen Action of New York.
“Women should be voting on the WFP line,” she continued. “The WFP line is what’s going to elect the state senators who will actually pass the Women Equality Act.”
“It’s great to have a women’s equality campaign message, but what actually matters to New Yorkers is passing a Women’s Equality Act. The only way that passes is if we elect a Democrat-Working Families majority to the state Senate.”
“And it’s the candidates who are on that line whose votes are needed to actually have women’s lives improve in this state.”
Scharff also noted that there are a plethora of issues that matter to women other than abortion rights, which has been the main focus of Cuomo’s WEP push.
She specifically singled out a minimum wage increase and creation of a statewide public campaign finance system – two other WFP agenda items that Cuomo promised to support as part of his endorsement deal with the party.
I asked Scharff is she thought the governor’s WEP push was a not-so-subtle attempt to undermine the WFP, with which he has had a contentious relationship since at least 2010.
“I have no idea what the motivation is,” she replied. “I’m not involved (in the WEP).”
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on October 10, 2014 at 10:49 am, and is filed under Working Families Party. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|