Monday, October 20, 2014

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No Deal With Cuomo Yet, Working Families Party Says

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A final agreement for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to receive the Working Families Party ballot line is yet to be reached, Working Families Party officials said.

Sources Friday evening said Cuomo and the leadership of the party had reached a tentative deal for the incumbent Democrat to take the labor-backed line in exchange for pushing on key progressive issues such as the Dream Act, the public financing of political campaigns and the women’s agenda.

Cuomo has been supportive of those measures, but WFP members, as well as liberal advocates, remain deeply skeptical that the governor will truly work to deliver on those issues, as well as helping give Democrats control of the state Senate.

But WFP officials caution that no formal deal has been made, and things could still change between now and when the party meets today for its nominating convention at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center outside of Albany.

“Key thing to note is WFP priorities for endorsement haven't budged one bit,” WFP spokesman Khan Sohieb wrote on Twitter, adding that the party was still assessing the “merits and credibility” of the tentative agreement.

Challenging Cuomo for the ballot line is Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham University law professor who charges the governor’s economic priorities have favored the wealthy over the working class.

Still, the fight over the ballot line has exposed a deeper rift within the WFP, which includes some of the state’s most politically influential labor groups.

Sources on Friday indicated that some labor groups might bolt from the WFP should it nominate Teachout.

Cuomo has lined up the support of the major labor unions, including those within the party.
A Teamsters source on Saturday said the seven Teamsters members who sit on the WFP’s state committee will cast their votes in favor of Cuomo taking the ballot line.

Two polls from Siena College and Quinnipiac University have shown Cuomo’s margin of victory diminished by a generic candidate running to his left — surveys that have emboldened the activist wing of the party upset with his stances on tax cuts and charter schools.

Nevertheless, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins has pointed out he’s already running as the liberal alternative to Cuomo.

Hawkins has raised the idea of running on the WFP ballot line himself, and in recent weeks reached out to the party to team up.

In a statement this morning, Hawkins said that regardless of what the WFP plans to do; he’ll be the liberal alternative to Cuomo come Election Day.

“Looks like the WFP have rejected their version of Pierre Rinfret for a recycled version of Cuomo – Mario that is,” Hawkins said. “Getting a Democratic Governor to campaign for other Democrats is not an accomplishment if you are a independent third party. Regardless of how the WFP psychodrama plays out, the Green Party will remain the choice this November for progressives who support a $15 an hour minimum wage, living wage jobs, climate action, strong public schools, and an end to corruption at the State Capitol.”

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