Working Families Party
Feb 17th - 4:51 pm
Could the unhappiness felt by the left since Gov. Andrew Cuomo took office in January 2011 result in the labor-backed Working Families Party running someone other than Cuomo on its ballot line this fall?
That subject was broached last Friday at a WFP affiliates meeting held at NYSUT’s headquarters outside Albany, according to a source who was present for the discussion.
This source described the room as “unreceptive” to the idea of endorsing Cuomo for re-election without a “big” campaign win – like, say, creation of a public campaign finance system, or giving municipalities the ability to raise the local minimum wage, neither of which looks terribly likely this session.
The room was receptive to a proposal that the WFP run someone else for governor on Row D – a gamble, given the fact that the party risks losing its hard-won ballot placement if its candidate doesn’t perform well, and could lose its ballot status altogether if the candidate fails to win at least 50,000 votes.
When discussion turned to who might be able to raise enough cash to mount a credible campaign and also attract a sufficient number of votes, the name of the WFP’s national director, Dan Cantor, was floated. According to the source, the room was “receptive” to the possibility of a Cantor candidacy, though no formal vote was taken.
“There was a discussion about whether to explore giving him the line, and then someone noted that Dan is the embodiment of the party, and people were like, ‘That’s a great idea!’ But there was no motion and no vote,” the source said.
Cantor was not present for the meeting. According to his email “away” message, he is out of the country until Feb. 19 on a “paid vacation.”
It would be a pretty ballsy move for the WFP to run someone other than Cuomo on its line, since it has made a tradition of cross-endorsing statewide Democratic candidates. (At the local level, things are a little looser, with the party sometimes backing insurgent Democrats in primaries or, in the case of NYC Public Advocate Tish James’ initial election to the City Council, running candidates all its own).
It’s unclear if Cuomo will even seek the WFP line, though I assume he would want as many lines as possible heading into his first re-election bid. The governor hasn’t even formally announced his candidacy, though he has been raising campaign cash like it’s going out of style, and it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that he’s running.
Cuomo made the WFP sweat in 2010 when he initially declined to accept the party’s nomination, in large part due to the fact that it was under investigation by the US attorney’s office for work done by its now-defunct for-profit arm, Data & Field Services, during the 2009 NYC elections.
The party put a placeholder candidate, Kenneth Schaeffer, a legal Legal Aid lawyer, United Auto Workers member, and a longtime WFP member and activist on its line in June. In September, Cuomo agreed to run on the line (then Row D) – but only after the WFP agreed to embrace his “New New York Agenda” in full, even though it contained elements – like the property tax cap and a wage freeze for public employees – that its affiliates didn’t like.
The WFP largely sat out the battle over the so-called millionaire’s tax, which other lefties were pushing very hard to see reinstated in full to offset the deep health care and education spending cuts Cuomo had proposed. A scaled down version of the PIT increase was included in Cuomo’s tax reform deal with the Legislature in late 2011.
Since then, however, the WFP has started flexing its muscles again in Albany – particularly after NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s big win last fall. The party is engaged in a number of policy battles, including de Blasio’s push for the power to tax rich NYC residents to pay for universal pre-K in the five boroughs.
Feb 13th - 11:04 am
From the morning memo, ICYMI:
Yesterday, Sen. Greg Ball led the charge against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal for a municipal ID card that would be provided to any resident of the five boroughs, regardless of their immigration status.
Ball, an outspoken Hudson Valley Republican, called this a “hare-brained” scheme cooked up by a “crazed” mayor. He even suggested de Blasio could be guilty of a federal crime for “aiding and abetting” terrorists, who no doubt would rush to avail themselves of ID cards.
The senator plans to hold a Feb. 28 hearing on de Blasio’s proposal, which, unlike the controversial idea of letting undocumented immigrants get driver’s licenses, does not require approval from the state.
De Blasio’s Democratic and progressive allies rushed to his defense, including the labor-backed Working Families Party, whose Hudson Region Political Director Ari Kamen said:
“Shame on Greg Ball for his deplorable anti-immigrant comments essentially describing the Mayor of New York City as an accomplice to terrorists. Senator Ball has spent his career vilifying hardworking immigrants who come to America for a better life. The Mayor’s ID proposal is a humane way for society to treat its residents.”
Today, the WFP is taking things one step further by issuing a statement in support of Ball’s Democratic challenger, Justin Wagner.
“Wagner is a progressive champion who cares deeply about Hudson Valley’s working families,” said WFP New York State Director Bill Lipton. “His focus on creating good jobs, fixing Albany, and fighting for the middle and working-class will resonate strongly in the district.”
Technically speaking, this is not an endorsement, for which there is a formal process that comes after petitioning ends in July. But it is a sign that Wagner is all but assured the WFP ballot line in his second attempt to unseat Ball.
Wagner had the Democratic, WFP and Green lines in the 2012 campaign, but Ball, who was running on the GOP, Independence and Conservative lines, still managed to win re-election.
Ball has not yet announced his intention to seek another term this fall, and is widely speculated to be eyeing a potential run for Putnam County executive, which would mean he might mount a primary challenge against his fellow Republican and former aide, incumbent County Executive MaryEllen Odell.
Jan 7th - 2:58 pm
A coalition of so-called progressive advocacy organizations – including a number of powerful labor unions and the labor-backed Working Families Party – has formed a new entity to support and push for the wide-reaching liberal agenda proposed this session by the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.
People for New York is loosely designed on the concept behind the now-defunct Committee to Save New York, which was funded by deep-pocketed business and real estate interests in support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top policy proposals (pension and tax reform, the property tax cap etc.) in the early years of his governship. Also involved: Left-leaning nonprofits and advocacy groups like Make the Road NY, Citizen Action and Strong Economy for All.
The Committee to Save New York was quietly phased out when stricter donor disclosure rules approved by the Legislature as part of an early Cuomo-pused ethics reform package kicked in. But before it folded, the committee spent millions of dollars – mostly on TV ads – to push the more fiscally conservative elements of Cuomo’s agenda.
A source involved in creating People for New York said this group won’t be raising or spending big money, but will be lending outside support to the caucus as it pushes for a range of issues – some of which Cuomo is on board with (like the property tax circuit breaker), and some of which he is not (like marijuana decriminalization, which the governor said just yesterday is no longer a top priority).
“We’re sending a message to the Governor that a progressive agenda is New York’s agenda,” the source said.
That same source forwarded the invite that appears below to a post-State of the State reception that People for New York is hosting in Albany, at which a number of speakers will be giving their reactions to the governor’s speech.
In addition, coalition members will be handing out “score cards” so speech attendees can grade Cuomo on a variety of issues – from the DREAM Act and education funding to campaign finance reform and the acceleration of the minimum wage hike, which Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has already said will be a priority for his Democratic conference this session.
Nov 7th - 12:51 pm
Much has been made of the ascendancy of the Working Families Party in New York city since this Tuesday’s elections. Between Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and Public Advocate Tish James, the labor-backed third party will certainly not be lacking for allies at City Hall in Lower Manhattan.
But the party is also touting is success outside the city in some more low-key races, many of which (with the exception of local media) flew under the radar.
In an email to supporters sent out yesterday afternoon, WFP State Director Bill Lipton reiterated that the party has been playing a “long game” with its “Progressive Pipeline” program by nuturing candidates at the local level in hopes of seeing them either 1) start a trend that results in more like-minded candidates running for – and winning – elected office, or 2) rising to a higher post with more clout.
Lipton singled out several races around the state in which the WFP played a role, including;
- The city of Plattsburgh, where two WFP-backed candidates – Rachelle Armstrong, a NYSUT member and teacher of 23 years; and Mike Kelly – won seats on the Council.
- The city of Syracuse, where, as Lipton wrote: “After eking out a victory against Howie Hawkins with only a few dozen votes two years ago, Khalid Bey won re-election in the Syracuse Common Council’s 4th District loud and clear, with nearly 500 votes. The difference this time? WFP, which, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard, ‘coordinated an intensive get-out-the-vote effort on his behalf during the past few weeks’ to help Bey get over the top.”
- The Town of Hamburg. The WFP’s Erie County Legislature candidate Mike Schraft came up just short against an incumbent Independent that caucuses with the Republicans. But another WFP favorite, Mike Quinn, an Army veteran, won a Town Board seat.
- Long Island. The WFP failed in its bid to unseat Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano (it backed Democrat Tom Suozzi), but saw another candidate, Anthony Eramo, a registered WFP member, win a seat on the Long Beach City Council.
- The Town of Rosendale. Lipton, who grew up upstate, wrote: “Jen Metzger, who lost to a Republican the last time around, handily won her race for Council by hundreds of votes yesterday, showing what a difference the WFP can make. We look forward to seeing Metzger thriving as a smart, progressive legislator and an embodiment of the model that WFP hopes to replicate all over the state.”
- Orange County. “Shannon Wong won the most visible election for Orange County legislature this year, and her successful experience as an advocate for women’s rights give her the potential to become one of the most effective legislators in the county. She attracts a broad base of progressive support and we think she has great potential going forward,” Lipton wrote.
- Yonkers and Ulster and Dutchess Counties. “Gerard Lyons lost a tough rematch for Ulster County Legislature by only a few dozen votes, and Rocky Richard is down in her race, not fully tallied, for Westchester County Legislature. Francena Amparo is down by a handful of votes with absentee ballots yet to be counted.”
Nov 4th - 12:52 pm
Sen. Diane Savino, a member of the breakaway Senate conference blamed by any number of her fellow Democrats – including Gov. Andrew Cuomo – for the death of “progressive” legislation in the chamber this past legislative session, is urging New Yorkers to vote on the uber-liberal Working Families Party line tomorrow.
“As an early supporter of the Working Families Party and a member of the New York State Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference, I have always believed that voters should have choice,” Savino said in a statement released by her campaign committee this afternoon.
“For over 15 years the WFP has been the progressive voice for working class and middle class New Yorkers, it was founded to fight for good jobs, affordable housing and quality schools. I am urging people to vote for Democrats Bill deBlasio, Tish James and Scott Stringer on the Working Families Party line. So make your vote stand something, remember to vote for the Democrats on row D, VOTE WFP!”
Despite the fact that she has thrown in her lot with the Independent Democratic Conference that enabled the Senate Republicans to remain in power (a move that has a personal component, given the fact that she is dating IDC Leader Jeff Klein), Savino has a long history with the labor movement – one that predates her election to the Senate in 2004.
Savino began her career in public service as a caseworker for NYC’s Child Welfare Administration. She was an active member of her local labor union, DC 37, and eventually became its the vice president for political action and legislative affairs.
The WFP is poised to win big tomorrow with NYC mayoral frontrunner de Blasio, whom the labor-backed party has supported throughout his career. (De Blasio has a long history with organized labor, and is the cousin of John Wilhelm, the former president of Unite Here).
Savino’s embracing of the WFP is yet another on a quickly growing list of “screw yous” from the IDC (well, mostly Klein) to Cuomo. The governor has had a rocky relationship with the WFP, and actively tried to neuter it (and other minor parties) earlier this year by proposing an end to the Wilson Pakula process, which would have robbed third party leaders of the power to control who gets their endorsement. (Note: I originally wrote that Cuomo proposed doing away with fusion voting, which is the bread-and-butter of minor parties. He did not. But minor party leaders found the idea he did float almost as onerous).
The WFP has weathered its share of challenges over the past several years. Cuomo made the party sweat it out in 2010 while he delayed accepted its endorsement due to a US attorney’s office investigation into the actions of its now defunct for-profit arm, Data and Field Services, in the 2009 NYC elections.
The feds found no wrongdoing, and Cuomo did accepted the WFP line – but not before forcing the party to accept his New New York Agenda in full, including a number of proposals that were not popular in progressive labor circles like the property tax cap and wage freezes for state workers.
Though the WFP is out of the woods with the feds, it remains in the crosshairs of a special prosecutor requested by Staten Island DA Dan Donovan in 2011. That special prosecutor, Roger Adler, told the Daily News he expects to convene a grand jury shortly after Veterans Day as part of his probe into allegations the WFP illegally gave candidates below-cost campaign-related services in 2009.
Oct 24th - 2:22 am
Tom Richards held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to announce, for a second time, he was out of the race for Rochester Mayor.
“I have said I am not running, I endorse Lovely, I’m done,” Richards said.
Richards lost the Democratic Primary to Rochester City Council President Lovely Warren. About a week later, Richards suspended his campaign and sent his campaign funds back to the Monroe County Democratic Party.
“That was driven, as you probably know by now, by some personal circumstances that impacted what I should be putting my time and effort into right now. And while they have changed somewhat the circumstances that drove me to that conclusion continue to exist today, and that’s the way I intend to behave,” Richards said.
Since Richards’ original announcement, his son lost a lengthy battle with cancer. Richards will still be on the Independence and Working Families Party lines in November, but reiterated Wednesday he wants no part of what’s left of the campaign.
“Believe it or not there are things in the world that are more important than political speculation,” Richards said.
It’s speculation that was reignited this week after a group of Richards supporters started a grassroots campaign to re-elect him on their own. When given a chance to call for an end to the movement, Richards declined.
“I don’t think I’m obligated to go around the city and knock on doors and say, ‘Are you doing anything on this campaign? Because if you are, I want you to cut it out.’ You know, I mean, come on here! I’m being as clear as I can be and I’ve told people where I am and what I’m going to do. I assume they’ll respect that. If they chose not to. If they chose to do something else ‘cause they’d rather do something else, I guess that’s what they’ll do,” Richards said.
Those behind the movement to re-elect Richards are hopeful that if their efforts are successful he will be compelled to stay on as Mayor. Richards did little, Wednesday, to squash those hopes.
“Would I serve? Unfortunately, you want a yes or no answer to that but yes or no is not going to be possible,” Richards said.
Richards cited possible procedural hurdles if he were elected as a reason why he couldn’t give a definitive answer.
“And I know that doesn’t satisfy everybody but you’re going to have to live with it,” Richards added.
Tuesday, fellow Democrat Lovely Warren suggested that Richards should put a stop to the unauthorized efforts to revive his campaign. Following Wednesday’s press conference, Warren seemed satisfied.
“He’s supporting me and he wants to be a grandfather to his grandchildren and basically he’s asking the community to support me as well,” said Warren.
The renewed effort to keep Richards as mayor has been interpreted, by some, as fear over the impending reality of a Warren Administration. Warren took 58 percent of the Democratic vote in the primary, but Richards supporters are quick to point out voter turnout was historically low.
“If the person that you want to see elected is supporting someone else then I think that you can just infer that’s what he would like to see. This is a very unfortunate situation that the mayor has been placed in during his time of grievance. And my heart goes out to him and his family at this point in time because he shouldn’t have to deal with this. He dealt with this in September and you have a group of people putting their own needs above his,” Warren said.
The third person in this race, Green Party Candidate Alex White, is disappointed speculation over whether or not Richards is still a candidate has dominated the final weeks of the election.
“I’m sorry that there are so many people that are disappointed with Lovely Warren as a candidate, but there is another one. I’m Alex White, I’m running for mayor. We’ve got 56 percent of children living in poverty and we’re talking about a guy who’s talking about not doing something? We need to talk about how to make Rochester better,” White said.
Monroe County Democratic Chairman Joe Morelle agreed that, at some level, the Richards’ story has been “overplayed.” Despite the fact he didn’t completely close the door on a return to city hall, Morelle believes Richards has been clear about his intentions all along.
“What we heard very clearly from him today is that I’m not participating in it. I’m not supporting it. I’m endorsing lovely Warren as the next Mayor. I don’t think he could have been clearer about that,” Morelle said.
Richards knows the speculation about his future will continue through Election Day. And, while Wednesday’s press conference may have done little to resolve the issue, there was one thing Richards made clear.
“I’m done with this. I’m not going to have another press conference I’m not going to answer any more questions about this. I’m not going to engage in anymore speculation. I’ve done the best I can. You may, or may not, find that satisfying. Others may not find that satisfying. Others may want to give me advice on it and tell me what to do, but I’m done,” Richards added.
Oct 23rd - 1:28 am
Despite dropping out after losing the Democratic Primary, many are still wondering whether or not Tom Richards is really out of the race for Rochester Mayor.
“The only person who can end this speculation is Tom,” said Rochester City Council President Lovely Warren.
Warren, who defeated the incumbent in the September primary, told YNN’s Sheba Clarke that Richards needs to be clear about his intentions.
“If he doesn’t want this he has to say so,” Warren said.
A week after Warren won the Democratic Nomination with 58 percent of the vote; Richards suspended his campaign to deal with what he called family issues. Soon after that announcement, Richards’ son died after a long battle with cancer.
“We understood why he was going to pay attention to his family needs and his job as Mayor, but we never stopped being disappointed in the fact the campaign seemed to be at an end,” said Richards supporter Pattie McCarthy.
That’s why McCarthy, at the urging of the Independence Party, started a grassroots campaign to re-elect Richards.
“The true vote happens in November. We support the re-election of Mayor Tom Richards,” said Monroe County Independence Party Chair Steve Corryn.
Richards will still appear on the ballot on the Independence and the Working Families Party lines. With only two weeks to go before the general election, McCarthy knows there’s a lot of work to do.
“We know it’s a long shot. These are two lines that people aren’t necessarily accustomed to voting on. We’ll have some signs but we’re going to concentrate on ringing doorbells and doing it the old fashion way,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy hasn’t spoken to Richards. But she was quick point out he hasn’t said he wouldn’t stay on if this grassroots campaign is successful.
“He has not said no he wouldn’t, so we are hopeful that he is keeping an open mind,” said McCarthy.
“I think Tom has been pretty clear that he wasn’t going to campaign and that he supports Lovely as the next Mayor of Rochester,” said Monroe County Democratic Party Chairman Joe Morelle.
When Richards announced he was suspending his campaign Morelle believes he was indeed throwing his support behind Warren. McCarthy thinks that’s open to interpretation.
“He did not endorse her. What he did say is that he would do everything in his power to ease the transition. We think the best transition is no transition,” McCarthy said.
Richards released another statement Monday in response to several media requests:
“I have been concentrating my time on my family and on my job as Mayor. I have not had any conversations with any political leader regarding the mayoral election.”
To Morelle, the statement reaffirmed Richards’ decision to drop out and back Warren. To political analyst Curt Smith, it’s a noncommittal response by design.
“He’s shrewd enough to know he doesn’t need to say a thing,” Smith said.
Warren was elected in a primary that saw a historically low voter turnout. Faced with the reality of a Warren Administration, Smith said there’s a strong sense of buyer’s remorse among Rochester Democrats.
“They’re thinking what have we done? I think there’s a strong fear over someone who has an anti-business background being the Mayor of Rochester,” said Smith.
The head of the Rochester Business Alliance, Sandy Parker, announced Monday she was delaying her retirement. She cited several reasons for doing so including a likely change in leadership at Rochester City Hall.
“I think there’s a lot of great economic development activity downtown and I think that’s important for the community. I hope that continues,” Parker said.
While some believe the move was a sign of anxiety from the business community over the impending change, Morelle said that’s not the case.
“No I didn’t take it that way. I think the RBA Board loved Tom, and understandably so, but I don’t think they’re worried at all about working with Lovely Warren,” said Morelle.
Smith admits it’s an unlikely outcome, but believes if Richards is drafted by this grassroots movement he’ll be compelled to stick around.
“What’s he going to say I’m elected but I’m not going to serve? If by some happenstance, or a political miracle, he is elected it would be a vote of no confidence for her (Warren) and a vote confidence for him,” Smith added.
McCarthy doesn’t expect Richards to publically address her group’s efforts to get him re-elected. And that’s fine with her.
“I wouldn’t expect him to respond to hypotheticals. There’s no reason why he should. But if we wake up on November 6th and he has the most votes I’m certainly hopeful that he will continue to serve Rochester for a number of years to come,” McCarthy said.
For Lovely Warren, at least, Richards’ perceived silence needs to be broken.
“If he doesn’t want people acting on his behalf he has to say so. It’s been a long campaign and I’m looking forward to the votes coming in on November 5th and being successful,” Warren added.
Alex White is the third candidate for Rochester Mayor, he’ll run on the Green Party line. There is no Republican in the race.
Oct 4th - 1:05 pm
ICYMI, this was today’s Morning Memo:
The labor-backed Working Families Party has fired a warning shot at two Democrats who broke ranks with their party along with seven others to vote with the GOP on a vote that would have ended the government shutdown, accusing them of siding with “Tea Party bullies trying to stop Obamacare.”
On Monday night, after Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney and Dan Maffei voted “yes” on a measure that would have repealed the Obamacare carve-out for Congress and delayed the individual insurance mandate for a year, the party sent its members an email alert with the subject line: “You thought we weren’t going to find out?”
“Monday night, two New York Congressional Democrats, Dan Maffei and Sean Patrick Maloney, showed solidarity – with John Boehner,” the email signed by WFP State Director Bill Lipton read.
“They sided with Boehner and the Tea Party Republicans in an attempt to delay the Affordable Care Act – blocking millions of uninsured families from getting access to affordable health care and leading to the shut down of the federal government. We voted Reps. Maffei and Maloney into office because we wanted better government, not no government at all. ”
“…Tell Reps. Dan Maffei and Sean Patrick Maloney that we didn’t send them to Washington, DC to vote with the Tea Party to shut down the government.”
The email includes a link to an on-line petition that the WFP plans to send to the two Democrats.
Maloney and Maffei, both of whom are freshmen (although in Maffei’s case, this is his second time around in the House) representing marginal districts, have been on the defensive about this vote. Maloney said in a statement:
“I strongly support the president’s decision to give employers more time to comply with the law, and I believe that we should give families the same flexibility we’re giving to our small businesses…Families and businesses in the Hudson Valley are not getting special subsidies from Obamacare and neither should members of Congress or the White House.”
Maffei, meanwhile, told his hometown paper, The Syracuse Post-Standard:
“Do I think it would have been better to have no strings attached? Yes. But if it’s about keeping the government open, I’m going to support it. I will work with any side to do it. Our leadership on both sides of the aisle needs to make some sort of concession.”
Both Maloney and Maffei are engaged in a delicate dance.
On one hand, their districts are closely divided, and they need to display independence from the liberal House Democratic leadership in order to appeal to the centrist, swing voters who will likely make the difference between winning and losing in the 2014 elections.
On the other hand, both Democrats railed during their successful 2012 elections against “extremist” Republican opponents – former Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, in Maffei’s case, who recently announced she won’t be seeking a third rematch next fall; and former Rep. Nan Hayworth in Maloney’s case, who is planning on attempting a comeback.
Maffei and Maloney both ran with WFP support in 2012, and losing the line in 2014 could be problematic – if not fatal.
The WFP does engage in a lot of saber rattling, but there is some precedent for the party abandoning a Democratic member of Congress on the issue of health care reform just to make a point – even if that means losing a seat to the Republicans.
Just as former Reps. Mike Arcuri and Mike McMahon.
Both Democrats voted “no” on health care reform in 2010 – Arcuri was one of only two Democrats nationwide to change their vote from “yes” to “no” on the bill – and both lost the support of the WFP and various powerful labor unions as a result. Both also lost their seats in the 2010 elections, though the primary challenges the WFP initially pledged to support against them never materialized.
They, like many other marginal Democrats, fell victim to the Tea Party wave that year, and while you could argue that having the WFP line might not have made a difference in the final outcome, it certainly wouldn’t have hurt.
So far, the WFP has held off issuing any ultimatums the way it did back in 2010, and we’ll just have to wait and see how far the disappointment with these two on the part of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party goes.
Sep 12th - 12:55 pm
Posted by Liz Benjamin in [...]
The pro-Bill de Blasio drumbeat continues, with the labor-backed Working Families Party announcing its full support of the public advocate’s candidacy – yet another development that will make it increasingly difficult for Bill Thompson to remain in the runoff, should the tallying of paper ballots push de Blasio below the magic 40 percent mark.
The WFP, which stayed out of the Democratic mayoral primary, joined representatives of some 50 “progressive” organizations in Brooklyn earlier today to rally in support of de Blasio, and also send a message to Thompson that the labor community – while divided over the past year or so – is now uniting behind the Democratic frontrunner.
“There are two reasons we are supporting Bill de Blasio. He tells the truth, and he’s a fighter for the middle class, working class and poor,” said WFP Executive Director Dan Cantor in a press release. “That’s an awfully good combination, and we’re excited to get behind his campaign.”
Also standing with de Blasio are a number of individuals and groups that had backed the erstwhile frontrunner, NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, including several I mentioned in an earlier post, as well as 32BJ SEIU. On hand, too, was Rep. Jerry Nadler, an influential Upper West Side liberal who was an outspoken supporter of Thompson’s when he ran against Bloomberg in 2009.
“Bill has proven time and again that he has the vision and values to bring true progressive change to our city,” said Nadler.
“From taxing the wealthy to fund universal pre-K and after-school programs to ending unnecessary subsidies to big corporations and investing in our CUNY system, Bill will be an ally for working families in City Hall. I’m proud to endorse his campaign for mayor, and look forward to working with him in the weeks and months ahead.”
The WFP sent out a press release yesterday touting its successes in the NYC races other than the mayoral contest, which included 12 NYC Council candidates, including Carlos Menchaca, who defeated incumbent Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez and is poised to become the Council’s first Mexican-American member, and Antonio Reynoso, who defeated former Assemblyman Vito Lopez and the remnants of his Brooklyn political machine.
The WFP was also active in several races outside the five boroughs, including the Albany mayor’s race, where City Treasurer Kathy Sheehan is poised to become the city’s first female leader after defeating her primary opponent, former Councilman Corey Ellis; and Nassau County, where Tom Suozzi is one step closer to his effort to take back his old county executive post from Republican Ed Mangano after beating Adam Haber on Tuesday.
Apr 25th - 1:48 pm
Since Gov. Andrew Cuomo included a call to do away with the Wilson-Pakula law in his second Smith-Stevenson corruption scandal reform proposal, we have heard outraged reactions from all but one of the state’s top minor party leaders.
State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long was first out of the box with an accusation that Cuomo was looking for an “easy way out” in response to the most recent corruption wave to rock the Capitol.
He also promised “an awful lot of people are going to get hurt in the process” if legislative leaders go along with the governor’s idea of scrapping third party officials’ power to hand-pick who runs on their ballot lines – a pledge that no doubt sent shivers up the spines of not a few Senate Republicans.
Next up: The Working Families Party, which deemed Cuomo’s call for a primary free-for-all on minor party lines “a recipe for chaos,” and insisted that campaign finance reform – not ending Wilson-Pakula – is the best remedy for ending public corruption.
Green Party leaders split somewhat from their minor party colleagues, saying they would like to see an end to so-called fusion voting (which, by the way, the governor has so far NOT proposed), insisting that third parties should end their habit of cross-endorsing major party candidates in order to maintain their autonomy and remain ideologically pure.
But they didn’t love the idea of losing control over who gets to run on their ballot line, which they – through gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins – worked so hard to secure in the 2010 campaign.
That leaves state Independence Party Chairman Frank MacKay as the odd man out. As far as I can tell, MacKay hasn’t uttered a single word about Cuomo’s reform proposal – and he hasn’t returned my calls seeking comment, either.
The New York City Independence Party, which has long been at war with its statewide counterpart, issued a lengthy reform proposal of its own earlier this week.
“The current political scandals expose structural weaknesses in the system that need to be addressed, but not in ways that entrench the powerful and preclude a more nonpartisan process,” the party’s release declared.
The NYC Indys renewed their long-time proposal for nonpartisan elections – an idea Mayor Bloomberg has tried unsuccessfully to push in the Big Apple, spending $7 million of his own money in the process. They expressed sympathy for the WFP and Conservative Party’s argument against doing away with Wilson-Pakula, but also said they would support rescinding it for major party primaries, reasoning:
“A minor party candidate could not overwhelm a major party, while the reverse would be the likely outcome if minor parties lost their right to issue Wilson-Pakulas.”
Also on the NYC Indy Party reform to-do list: Initiative and referendum, term limits for legislators, letting voters change their enrollment after a one-month waiting period, nonpartisan administration of the Board of Elections, nonpartisan redistricting and campaign finance reform.
And yet, nothing from MacKay.