ALBANY — New York's leading liberal voice is poised to decide whether to endorse the re-election of Gov. Andrew Cuomo — a decision which could have big implications for Cuomo's ability to win another term by big margins.
The Working Families Party will gather Saturday at an Albany hotel to nominate candidates for attorney general, comptroller and governor. Cuomo won the party's nod in 2010, but his support for corporate tax cuts and charter schools has angered some party members who question his liberal credentials.
One potential challenger is Fordham University law professor Zephyr Teachout, an expert on campaign finance and corruption. She has launched a website describing herself as the "Working Families Democrat for Governor."
The Working Families Party is a coalition of organized labor and liberal activists that has emerged as a political power in New York, helping to elect candidates like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. New York law allows candidates to run on multiple party lines.
Cuomo is widely thought to be mulling a presidential run, and the support of the Working Families Party is vital if he hopes to beat Republican candidate Rob Astorino this fall by a large margin.
A Quinnipiac University poll released last week gave Cuomo a 57 percent to 28 percent lead over Astorino, the Westchester County executive. If an unnamed candidate running on the Working Families Party line was included, Cuomo's lead over Astorino dropped to 37 percent versus 24 percent. The telephone poll of 1,129 voters was conducted May 14-19 and has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.
On Thursday, Cuomo said he's proud of his record, which includes progressive victories like gay marriage and gun control. He also vowed to keep fighting for public campaign finance — a Working Families Party priority — and to denounce Senate leaders unless they support public financing before the legislative session ends next month.
"It's very rare that any political body agrees with every position that an elected official holds," he said. "The Working Families Party will make their own decisions. ... I'm very proud of the record that we have."