Progressives seethe over DNC chair Perez's decision to back Cuomo in NY primary fight

In an unexpected turn that rankled the party's left flank, Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez on Thursd...

Posted: May 25, 2018 10:58 AM
Updated: May 25, 2018 10:58 AM

In an unexpected turn that rankled the party's left flank, Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez on Thursday endorsed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's re-election bid.

His announcement, at the party's state convention on Long Island, comes in the midst of a feisty primary campaign between Cuomo and actress Cynthia Nixon.

"You've been delivering results that have made people's lives better," Perez said in his speech. "That's why Andrew Cuomo and (New York Lt. Gov.) Kathy Hochul are charter members of the accomplishments wing of the Democratic Party, and that's why I'm proud to endorse them."

Perez's nod came alongside endorsements for Cuomo from 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and former Vice President Joe Biden. The one-two-three punch of prominent establishment leaders arriving at the convention to publicly back Cuomo angered Nixon supporters and dredged up grievances tied to the 2016 presidential primary, when the DNC's national apparatus favored, though never openly endorsed, Clinton over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

"Perez coming in at this time only further drives a wedge in the Democratic Party," said Jonathan Westin, the executive director of New York Communities for Change, a progressive activist group supporting Nixon. "What we're seeing play out, in a microcosm here in New York, is that the party elites are out of touch with where the base of the party is at."

First elected in 2010, Cuomo is facing a challenge from Nixon, who has attacked the governor for not pursuing a more aggressively liberal agenda. She trails Cuomo, who was backed by 95% of state party delegates on Wednesday, in the most recent polls by more than 20 points despite gaining ground since entering the contest a little more than two months ago.

"We're grateful for Chairman Perez's support and look forward to working with him to elect more Democrats at every level in November," Cuomo spokeswoman Lis Smith said on Thursday afternoon.

Perez was voted DNC chair in February 2017 over, among others, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, who ran with the support of the Sanders coalition and has been vocal in advising the party to steer clear of the primary process. A DNC official cast Perez's decision to intervene here as more of a personal one, noting that the Buffalo-native and Cuomo have a personal relationship going back decades.

Ellison said in a statement Thursday, "The Democratic Party should not intervene in the primary process. It is our role to be fair to all contestants and let the voters decide."

The DNC has worked to mend post-2016 fences by using a "Unity Reform Commission" to tackle a suite of contentious intra-party disputes. Perez and Sanders also took part in a "unity tour" last spring in an effort to help soothe relations.

But New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, who is running to unseat Hochul in the September primary, argued that the timing of the endorsement undermined that message.

"It seems like each time the DNC gets involved in a primary they support the establishment Democrats instead of the party's left leaning progressives," he said. "It would be nice if, at some point, calls for unity also mean supporting the left wing of the party."

Nixon's campaign wouldn't directly address Perez's decision. In a statement, Nixon spokeswoman Lauren Hitt dismissed the endorsements as an afterthought.

"Cuomo can cloak himself in all the endorsements he wants, but it won't hide the fact that he's effectively governed as a Republican for eight years," she said. "Because he helped the Republicans maintain control of the Senate, we lost the chance to pass the DREAM Act and to protect women's reproductive rights, among other progressive policies."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 27900

Reported Deaths: 1082
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds215239
DeSoto137316
Madison122234
Jones106949
Neshoba96069
Lauderdale88278
Rankin84112
Forrest81442
Scott75015
Harrison7448
Copiah56615
Leake54819
Jackson53316
Holmes52741
Wayne52112
Washington4969
Lee49316
Oktibbeha48624
Yazoo4736
Leflore47249
Lowndes45311
Warren44317
Lincoln43534
Lamar4197
Grenada3805
Monroe36729
Pike36712
Attala35223
Lafayette3524
Newton3289
Sunflower3066
Covington3025
Bolivar27713
Panola2706
Adams26718
Chickasaw25918
Tate2577
Jasper2506
Marion24811
Pontotoc2476
Noxubee2458
Pearl River24432
Winston2435
Clay24210
Claiborne23610
Simpson2303
Smith20611
Clarke20124
Marshall2013
Coahoma1866
Kemper17614
Union1759
Walthall1724
Yalobusha1617
Carroll16011
Lawrence1591
Itawamba1278
Calhoun1244
Humphreys1239
Tippah12311
Webster12310
Montgomery1222
Hancock12013
Jefferson Davis1064
Tallahatchie1043
Prentiss983
Greene927
Jefferson923
Wilkinson919
Tunica893
Amite822
George743
Choctaw714
Quitman680
Tishomingo681
Perry614
Alcorn561
Stone521
Franklin382
Benton270
Sharkey240
Issaquena71
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 39604

Reported Deaths: 961
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4387142
Montgomery383999
Mobile3697134
Tuscaloosa204938
Marshall153710
Lee118937
Shelby108223
Madison10577
Morgan9813
Walker86723
Franklin85213
Dallas8198
Elmore81314
Baldwin6869
Etowah62513
Butler60427
DeKalb6025
Chambers58127
Tallapoosa56369
Autauga54511
Unassigned52025
Russell4840
Lowndes45820
Lauderdale4446
Houston4344
Limestone4090
Cullman4003
Pike3995
Colbert3685
Bullock3629
Coffee3532
Barbour3231
Covington3087
St. Clair3042
Hale29321
Marengo28611
Wilcox2808
Sumter27612
Calhoun2705
Talladega2677
Clarke2665
Escambia2636
Dale2440
Jackson2382
Winston2333
Blount2141
Chilton2112
Pickens2116
Marion20312
Monroe1972
Choctaw19212
Conecuh1804
Bibb1711
Macon1708
Randolph1709
Greene1667
Perry1451
Henry1303
Crenshaw1233
Lawrence1010
Washington1007
Cherokee747
Lamar711
Fayette671
Geneva670
Clay582
Coosa551
Cleburne291
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