As expected, New York’s Working Families Party officially endorsed gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon on Saturday. Nixon, who received more than 90 percent of the vote at the ultra-progressive party’s state committee meeting, is now guaranteed a spot on the ballot in November, though the former Sex in the City actress didn’t commit to remaining on the party’s ballot line if she loses the Democratic primary against current governor Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo, who announced on Friday that he would not seek the WFP’s endorsement, has reportedly gone to war against the insurgent party, and pressured his powerful union allies to persuade them not to endorse Nixon. That didn’t work, however, and large local chapters of the SEIU and Communications Workers of America both left the WFP on Friday as a result, though they were not the first unions to split from the party since it almost endorsed Cuomo’s last left-liberal challenger, Zephyr Teachout, in 2014. That experience, which resulted in plenty of bad blood between Cuomo and the WFP, undoubtedly set the stage for Saturday’s endorsement.
The New York Times reports that Cuomo has also been telling unions to cut off funding for community groups that veer for Nixon, and if they don’t they can “lose my number.” Nixon made a point to criticize such tactics on Saturday, and she had already been characterizing Cuomo as a Trump-like bully.
A Cuomo spokesperson reached out to Daily Intelligencer regarding the discord with the WFP, insisting that the governor’s “record of progressive accomplishment is unmatched,” and commenting that “the schism between the progressive unions who founded the WFP and some of its member organizations is unfortunate, but in that divide the governor stands with the unions who have left the WFP and no longer feel it represents the interests of middle- and working-class New Yorkers.”
Even if Nixon’s long-shot campaign to defeat Cuomo in the Democratic primary were to succeed, the governor’s name would almost certainly still be on the ballot in November. New York’s Independence Party, which also has its own ballot line and endorsed Cuomo in 2010 and 2014, has already said they will back the governor again this year.
This post has been updated to include the comment from Cuomo’s office.