Mayor Bill de Blasio today disclaimed Working Families Party state director Bill Lipton’s bitter denunciation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo as responsible for Democratic Party failures in tight State Senate and congressional contests.
Mr. Lipton–whose party suffered a severe setback on the ballot–lambasted the governor last night, claiming he had failed to give financial or institutional support to members of his own party struggling to take or retain key legislative seats. But Mr. de Blasio, a longtime WFP ally, claimed that Mr. Cuomo was an active and integral part of the network of unions and donors that unsuccessfully sought to flip the State Senate into Democratic hands and to prevent Republican congressional gains.
“I haven’t read the piece, I would not share that characterization at all. I worked very closely with the governor this year and there was a lot of unity in the coalition which he was obviously a key part to achieve in these races,” Mr. de Blasio said.
Mr. Lipton had noted the crushing defeats of upstate Democrats Justin Wagner and State Senators Cecilia Tkaczyk and Terry Gipson–which led to a complete Republican takeover of the upper house of the state legislature. The WFP leader also angrily pointed to the losses of Congressman Tim Bishop and Democratic contenders Domenic Recchia Jr., Aaron Woolf and Sean Eldridge, as well as the governor’s work to establish the Women’s Equality Party–which many saw as a cynical ploy to divert votes from the WFP line.
“Governor Cuomo promised to take back the State Senate,” Mr. Lipton fumed last night. “Instead, he squandered millions on a fake party, and left millions more in his campaign account as New York Democrats in the legislature and in Congress withered on the vine.”
Oddly, Mr. Lipton’s party endorsed Mr. Cuomo at its May convention–albeit reluctantly, and only after some backroom maneuvering by Mr. de Blasio and vows from the governor that he would fight to help members of his own party seeking office.
Mr. de Blasio preferred to blame Democratic failures on poor turnout from party loyalists during the mid-term election cycle.
“We know in an off-year, it’s historically proven, whether we like it or not, that people who share my values stay home and that on the conservative side they have more propensity to turn out,” he said.