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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.

Confirmed Cases: 15752

Reported Deaths: 739
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds100625
Lauderdale73862
Madison72423
Scott65012
Neshoba64639
Jones62928
Forrest56438
DeSoto5427
Rankin4398
Holmes42928
Leake42712
Copiah3124
Jackson30813
Attala29817
Yazoo2814
Newton2714
Leflore26431
Lincoln26329
Harrison2587
Monroe25725
Oktibbeha23912
Lamar2385
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Wayne2041
Pike20311
Adams19915
Noxubee1866
Washington1787
Warren17310
Covington1652
Jasper1634
Bolivar16211
Lee1536
Smith15211
Kemper14411
Clarke14418
Lafayette1364
Chickasaw13512
Coahoma1254
Carroll11711
Winston1171
Marion1159
Clay1124
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Tate941
Grenada943
Yalobusha935
Hancock9111
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Montgomery851
Sunflower843
Union835
Marshall833
Jefferson Davis773
Tippah7311
Panola713
Webster692
Calhoun654
Amite641
Humphreys607
Walthall560
Tunica553
Prentiss533
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Pontotoc353
Quitman330
Tishomingo320
Stone300
Franklin292
Tallahatchie271
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene131
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 18246

Reported Deaths: 644
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2239116
Jefferson1837102
Montgomery171040
Tuscaloosa78315
Marshall6939
Franklin5567
Lee54833
Shelby51720
Tallapoosa42765
Butler41118
Chambers35525
Walker3542
Elmore3548
Madison3394
Baldwin2909
Morgan2801
Dallas2723
Etowah25711
DeKalb2483
Lowndes24612
Coffee2361
Sumter2247
Autauga2214
Houston2204
Bullock2095
Pike2030
Colbert1842
Hale1739
Russell1710
Marengo1706
Barbour1671
Lauderdale1642
Calhoun1603
Choctaw1538
Wilcox1487
Clarke1442
Cullman1430
Randolph1277
St. Clair1231
Marion12211
Pickens1164
Dale1150
Talladega1135
Limestone1060
Chilton1011
Greene944
Winston900
Macon824
Henry802
Covington801
Jackson782
Crenshaw753
Bibb751
Washington706
Escambia633
Blount621
Lawrence500
Geneva430
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Monroe402
Perry390
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar260
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Unassigned00
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