In a lengthy defense of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s record today, Mayor Bill de Blasio explained exactly why he is championing the governor to liberal activists in the Working Families Party.
The labor-backed WFP is meeting this week to decide whether to endorse Mr. Cuomo–who has charted a more fiscally moderate course and irked many in the WFP–or run a protest candidate in his place.
“We don’t have to agree on everything to still believe that we’re doing a lot of great work together and in the clear majority of cases we are on the same page and we want to go in the same direction,” Mr. de Blasio told reporters at an unrelated press conference on Staten Island.
“What I’ve said publicly and I’ve said to my friends at WFP is, the governor is taking us in the direction that I believe in and I think is consistent with the progressive philosophy and I said it when I nominated the governor at the Democratic convention,” the mayor argued.
Mr. de Blasio has been meeting with the WFP to urge them to support Mr. Cuomo, despite the mayor’s disagreements with the governor during state budget negotiations. Many liberals have grown disenchanted with Mr. Cuomo because he has pushed through tax cuts, new protections for charter schools and balked at raising the minimum wage further.
The party also wants Mr. Cuomo to make the public financing of state elections a reality–Mr. Cuomo said today the prospects of public financing happening this year are grim, though he endorses the idea.
Still, much of Mr. de Blasio’s ambitious agenda needs Mr. Cuomo’s approval and it appears Mr. de Blasio has been making that case to the WFP. Speaking with reporters as Mr. Cuomo stood stone-faced next to him, Mr. de Blasio contended that the governor proved already he can deliver liberal priorities.
“Look at the results–I am always more interested in results than verbiage. If you look at marriage equality, if you look at gun control, if you look at affordable housing,” Mr. de Blasio continued. “If you look at government functioning better for people, functioning better for the taxpayer. There’s so many examples in the governor’s time in office of real improvements that not only fit my philosophy but got real things done for people.”
“From my perspective, New York City and the progressive agenda we’re pursuing are being very well-served now and supported by this governor. So that’s the argument I’ve made and I think that’s a pretty substantial argument and I hope the WFP agrees,” the mayor said.
Though the WFP needs 50,000 votes statewide to keep its ballot line and would likely meet its goal by endorsing Mr. Cuomo, the party is emboldened by several polls that show a WFP-backed candidate drastically cutting into Mr. Cuomo’s vote total in his race against Republican Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive.
Mr. Cuomo today downplayed his disagreements with the WFP, seemingly laying blame on the state legislature for stifling some of his ambitions.
“As governor it’s not just what you believe is what you can do. There’s something called the legislature,” Mr. Cuomo said. “They have their own opinion of what should be done. So the actual product often winds up very different as compromise–especially when you have Democrats in one house, Republicans in the other–the Working Families Party will make their own decision, determination.”
“I’m very proud of the record that I have. I think we have progressive accomplishments in this state that resonated across the nation and I believe that’s undeniable,” he added.