By Zack Fink
Progressive groups have been disappointed with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s record, but the unions who make up a big chunk of the party have been working closely with him. NY1’s Zack Fink filed the following report.
There is no doubt there has been disenchantment with Governor Andrew Cuomo on the left.
“Andrew Cuomo has disappointed progressives in a very fundamental way. He has not built a progressive Democratic State Party,” said Bill Samuels of Effective New York.
Next month, the working families party, or WFP, will hold its convention and decide whether or not to give Cuomo the ballot line or get behind a different candidate. Sources say discussions have taken place between the Cuomo administration and the WFP over a deal to avoid a challenge. The deal would be that Cuomo must deliver on a comprehensive campaign finance reform package which includes public matching funds. In exchange he would have the WFP line.
Representatives from the Working Families Party declined to comment and the governor’s Office is vehemently denying any sort of political deal is in the works, saying any claims otherwise are “made up.”
But it’s not even clear if Cuomo could deliver on campaign finance reform. This year he included it in his budget, but the final deal was a water downed version that creates a pilot program with public matching funds only for the state comptroller’s race.
“Public finance is a close vote, but we don’t have the votes. Public finance is not one of those issues where they don’t know the facts. We’ve been debating this for 30 years,” Cuomo told reporters on Wednesday.
Allies of the governor argue that while there are ideologues within the working families party who may insist on campaign finance reform, the unions who make up the bulk of the votes within the WFP are behind Cuomo’s re-election bid.
“Union leaders need to protect our workers. And they have a job year to year to negotiate the best deal that they can. And I understand,” Samuels said.
The WFP’s state committee is comprised of 200 members who will vote for the candidate they are backing for governor on May 31st. That committee is not dominated by union members. The WFP needs to get 50,000 votes on its ballot line to maintain its position. They endorsed Cuomo last time, and while it’s up in the air whether they will this time, it’s unclear what other candidate could get 50,000 votes.