Working Families Party reverses course, backs Cuomo

October 4, 2018

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s liberal Working Families Party threw its support to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the fall election after initially supporting challenger Cynthia Nixon in the race.

Party leaders agreed Wednesday night to offer its ballot line to Cuomo, a two-term incumbent whose liberal credentials the party has long questioned.

Cuomo has yet to accept the party’s offer. If he does, his name will appear on the November ballot under the Democratic, Independence and Working Families lines. New York election law allows candidates to run on multiple lines in the same election, meaning their names appear multiple times on the ballot.

The party’s leaders agreed to offer Cuomo its ballot line at a meeting Wednesday night. They said Cuomo has until Friday to accept the offer.

The stakes could be high for both Cuomo and the Working Families Party, a left-leaning, pro-labor third party that has grown increasingly influential in state politics.

Nixon, the former “Sex and the City” star and longtime political activist, ended her campaign after losing the Democratic primary to Cuomo in September. Nevertheless, by remaining on the ballot as the Working Families Party nominee, Nixon could siphon votes away from Cuomo. A Siena College poll released this week showed that while Cuomo has a commanding lead over Republican candidate Marc Molinaro, 10 percent of voters still back Nixon.

The Working Families Party, meanwhile, could lose its automatic place on the ballot for the next four years if it fails to meet the state-set threshold of 50,000 votes.

The party has long been a vocal critic of Cuomo’s, grudgingly giving him its nomination four years ago before backing Nixon this year. In May, party director Bill Lipton said Cuomo had failed to deliver on liberal promises and was too tied to corporate donors and Republicans. New Yorkers, he said, “deserve so much better than Andrew Cuomo.”

Lipton sounded a different tune Wednesday night, saying that while the party stands by its criticism of Cuomo, it must focus on electing “progressive majorities” in Albany and Washington D.C.

“Our differences with Cuomo are real,” he said. “But our differences with the Trump Republicans are much bigger.”

Other candidates in the race for governor include former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, an independent, Green Party nominee Howie Hawkins and libertarian Larry Sharpe.

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