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: 96677

Reported Deaths: 2911
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7143160
DeSoto559460
Harrison388374
Jackson350570
Madison331089
Rankin330679
Lee273670
Forrest248973
Jones248779
Washington225977
Lafayette219139
Lauderdale2059125
Bolivar184566
Oktibbeha179952
Lamar171635
Lowndes158058
Neshoba1579104
Panola149930
Sunflower147146
Leflore141081
Warren140750
Pontotoc127816
Pike124051
Monroe123568
Copiah119133
Scott117627
Coahoma116329
Marshall110617
Lincoln110253
Holmes109859
Grenada109036
Yazoo106230
Simpson104646
Tate100437
Union99824
Leake96038
Adams94137
Wayne90421
Pearl River89253
Marion86535
Prentiss86217
Covington82722
Itawamba82621
Alcorn82011
George78013
Tallahatchie77321
Newton77224
Winston74219
Tishomingo69038
Chickasaw68424
Tippah67117
Attala66725
Walthall60126
Clarke60046
Clay59518
Hancock58722
Jasper57515
Noxubee55116
Smith53415
Calhoun52112
Tunica49715
Claiborne46516
Montgomery46420
Yalobusha43514
Lawrence43313
Perry42419
Greene38817
Humphreys37715
Quitman3775
Stone37412
Jefferson Davis34211
Webster33813
Amite33210
Carroll31912
Wilkinson30518
Kemper29015
Sharkey26613
Jefferson2439
Benton2273
Franklin1933
Choctaw1866
Issaquena1053
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 134231

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19676351
Mobile13373292
Montgomery8834184
Tuscaloosa8621118
Madison788178
Shelby597849
Lee589760
Baldwin547750
Marshall394343
Calhoun351544
Etowah349045
Morgan329228
Houston290321
Elmore266748
DeKalb241621
St. Clair232235
Walker231684
Talladega216629
Limestone210120
Cullman189920
Dallas179026
Franklin177129
Autauga176425
Russell17603
Lauderdale171333
Colbert164626
Blount161115
Escambia160824
Chilton158530
Jackson157511
Covington140127
Dale138644
Coffee13486
Pike119810
Chambers116442
Tallapoosa116085
Clarke109116
Marion96429
Butler91239
Barbour8827
Winston74412
Marengo72020
Pickens66214
Bibb65410
Lowndes65327
Randolph64713
Hale63528
Geneva6254
Lawrence62023
Cherokee60813
Bullock60414
Monroe5898
Clay5858
Washington55713
Perry5416
Crenshaw53732
Conecuh53511
Wilcox53111
Henry5055
Macon48018
Fayette4578
Sumter43819
Cleburne3805
Lamar3672
Choctaw34712
Greene30315
Coosa1713
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