After chatter that the influential Working Families Party would opt for another candidate, Governor Andrew Cuomo managed to win the WFP ballot line for the 2014 election, winning 58.6% of votes to Fordham professor Zephyr Teachout's 41.3% showing.
According to Capitol Confidential, "The vote came in after at least one bus headed back to New York City, and it came after an impassioned plea by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, as well as a remote phone call in which the governor pledged to work for a Democratic Senate." That pledge was worked out on Friday. From the Daily Politics:
In exchange, Cuomo has agreed to public commit to push to take back the Senate for the Democrats. Part of it will mean pushing a breakaway group of five Democrats who control the chamber with the Republicans to form a new coalition with the mainstream Democrats.
Cuomo, the sources say, will also publicly commit to a progressive agenda that includes creation of a state DREAM Act, passage of a women's equality agenda that includes strengthening of the state's abortion law, back an increase in the state minimum wage higher than the $9 an hour set to go into effect that will also be indexed going forward to inflation and publicly support providing localities the right to set their own minimum wage. He'll also support enactment of a campaign public financing system. A number of the items Cuomo has already been pushing for, but failed to pass the Senate.
The WFP's members are made up of vocal union members and labor activists: Their many issues include paid sick leave, affordable housing and living wages and, per their website, they're fighting for a world "where politicians are held accountable to working people, instead of big-money backers. [A world] where all of us, no matter where we come from, can find a good job, get healthcare when we need it, afford a home, send our kids to good schools, and have a secure retirement.")
The AP breaks down the political calculus, "Cuomo is widely thought to be mulling a presidential run. Losing the support of the Working Families Party would have been a political embarrassment, and worse, would have significantly cut into Cuomo's lead over Republican candidate Rob Astorino, who won the state Conservative Party's nomination at its convention Saturday."
The Times noted Mayor Bill de Blasio's endorsement of Cuomo—in spite of their past fighting—and how Cuomo himself said, "To make this agenda a reality, we must change the Senate leadership."
Still, some WFP members were unhappy. Bradley Russell, with his "poster showing Cuomo as Napoleon," told the Daily News, "I consider it an absolute travesty. He is anything but a progressive candidate."
Naturally, the NY State GOP wants to investigate the Cuomo-WFP deal.