Cuomo pushes to reunite party as Nixon challenge grows

Facing pressure from progressive groups and primary challengers up and down the ballot, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on...

Posted: Apr 5, 2018 9:32 AM
Updated: Apr 5, 2018 9:32 AM

Facing pressure from progressive groups and primary challengers up and down the ballot, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced an agreement to end a controversial power-sharing deal between state Republicans and a breakaway group of Democratic lawmakers.

The new pact ends the eight-member Independent Democratic Conference's 7-year-old agreement, which helped guarantee GOP control of New York's state Senate. Their outsize influence has fueled aggressive campaigns, which will persist in spite of the accord, to unseat both the incumbent governor and IDC senators.

Critics of Cuomo on the left allege that he has actively encouraged the IDC, playing the factions off each other, in a bid to tighten his grip on state government and stifle progressive priorities like sanctuary state legislation and universal single-payer health care.

Cuomo's gubernatorial primary challenger, "Sex and the City" actress and activist Cynthia Nixon, dismissed the agreement earlier in the day as a maneuver by the party "establishment" to derail the progressive insurgency by "throwing voters a bone."

"For eight years, Cuomo claimed that he was powerless against the IDC that allowed Republicans to rule the New York State Senate," she tweeted. "And then since launching our campaign he -- surprise! -- found the power, and this morning the IDC announced they would caucus with the Democratic Party."

But Nixon, who has excoriated Cuomo for failing to deliver on past promises to unite Democrats, also framed his action as a sign her campaign is growing in influence.

"If this is what we can accomplish in just two weeks," she said of the deal in a fundraising email, "imagine what we can do with four years."

Word of a long-awaited breakthrough, which had roots in negotiations late last year, emerged early Wednesday morning, after Cuomo -- during a meeting on Tuesday in New York City -- secured a handshake deal between the IDC's Jeff Klein and mainline Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

The pact preserves Stewart-Cousins' position and installs Klein as her deputy.

At a small-dollar fundraiser for Democratic candidates on Tuesday night in Harlem, with Stewart-Cousins present, Cuomo called for Democrats to come together in Albany, the state capital, as they closed in on a majority in the 63-seat Senate chamber.

"Frankly, I don't give a damn about somebody's ego or somebody's title or what position they insist on -- the Democratic agenda comes first," he told supporters. "And if they're not willing to unify, as 32 Democrats, then let them get the hell out of the Democratic Party because they're not Democrats."

But he also sought to downplay the IDC's power and, implicitly, his inability -- or lack of desire -- to forge a reconciliation years earlier.

"It didn't matter as much when we're not in the majority," Cuomo said. Democrats, even if the IDC's eight lawmakers returned to the fold, would remain in the minority. "It's easy to have intramural politics when you're not in the majority because it doesn't matter. But when you hit 32, now it's serious."

Cuomo had frequently downplayed his sway with the rogue Democrats, telling a curbside inquisitor last summer, "I can perform marriages, but I can't force them."

"It takes two to tango," he added, walking off.

Activists working to unseat IDC members also cast doubt on Cuomo's motives -- and whether he'd push progressive priorities when the primary season had past -- while arguing that seven years of "collaboration" with Republicans by IDC Democrats made them unacceptable going forward.

Sean McElwee, a progressive organizer and writer on the steering committee of No IDC New York, keyed in on the timing of the announcement.

"The budget has already been decided without Democrats being in the room, so the damage has already been done," he said of a deal agreed, after extensive negotiations, in Albany a few days ago.

The IDC lawmakers, he said, could no longer be trusted -- and pointed to their potential ouster as a message that would reverberate in and outside New York State politics.

"We know their true colors," McElwee said. "We've seen who they are, we've seen how calculating they are. There is a very good reason for the Democratic Party and the Democratic base to hold members accountable for collaborating with Republicans as a sign to Democrats across the country, (to say) this is not behavior that is acceptable."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 265146

Reported Deaths: 5777
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17741191
Hinds16891332
Harrison14279204
Rankin11239220
Jackson10917190
Lee9071145
Madison8599169
Jones6731118
Forrest6208124
Lauderdale6121192
Lowndes5544120
Lafayette520598
Lamar505865
Washington4933125
Bolivar4126109
Oktibbeha408382
Panola386981
Pontotoc377460
Monroe3686110
Warren3685103
Marshall357170
Union356864
Pearl River3495106
Neshoba3490154
Leflore3118109
Lincoln306788
Hancock294262
Sunflower291975
Tate280662
Alcorn273154
Pike270181
Itawamba269363
Scott260048
Yazoo256756
Prentiss253754
Coahoma249755
Copiah249749
Tippah249750
Simpson242872
Leake238167
Marion224273
Grenada223972
Covington221073
Adams215171
Wayne213734
Winston207671
George204739
Newton199946
Attala197064
Tishomingo194961
Chickasaw189344
Jasper181138
Holmes172068
Clay166837
Tallahatchie157235
Stone152525
Clarke148162
Calhoun141322
Smith130026
Yalobusha123335
Walthall114537
Greene113729
Noxubee113026
Montgomery112036
Carroll106822
Lawrence106817
Perry105131
Amite102126
Webster96824
Tunica89021
Claiborne88825
Jefferson Davis88430
Benton85823
Humphreys84724
Kemper80920
Quitman7139
Franklin70617
Choctaw63713
Wilkinson59825
Jefferson56821
Sharkey45217
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 441170

Reported Deaths: 6660
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson646811007
Mobile31620572
Madison28310217
Tuscaloosa21525275
Montgomery19954332
Shelby19335132
Baldwin17256189
Lee13205107
Morgan12639142
Etowah12107181
Calhoun11521206
Marshall10471123
Houston9009164
Limestone834981
Cullman8274124
Elmore8214110
DeKalb7894107
Lauderdale7871107
St. Clair7854130
Talladega6481112
Walker6036183
Jackson601545
Colbert549994
Blount547386
Autauga537662
Coffee462464
Dale410785
Franklin374950
Russell357515
Chilton345473
Covington339680
Escambia335444
Tallapoosa3149109
Dallas313296
Chambers304270
Clarke300236
Pike262531
Lawrence254155
Marion253761
Winston233642
Bibb222348
Geneva211547
Marengo209331
Pickens199631
Hale185244
Barbour182738
Fayette178629
Butler174460
Cherokee165731
Henry159925
Monroe152421
Randolph146436
Washington142327
Clay130546
Crenshaw124045
Macon122337
Cleburne121825
Lamar120222
Lowndes115536
Wilcox107922
Bullock103528
Perry100018
Conecuh97922
Sumter90527
Greene77923
Coosa63618
Choctaw51924
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