ALBANY _ The state Democratic committee has paid for a mailer urging party members to vote for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in the Sept. 9 primary where he faces two other Democrats.
The state Democratic committee that is headed by Cuomo plans at least one mailing promoting the team of Cuomo and his running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul.
Political committees were once prohibited from funding one candidate in a primary over another. But a lower court’s legal decision in 2006 now permits it, said John Conklin, spokesman for the state Board of Elections.
“You bet they're sending mailings, legal or not,” said Mike Boland, campaign manager for the Democratic primary team of Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu. “They're scared because we're going to shock the world on September 9.”
"Allowing the Democratic party bosses to weigh in on the governor's behalf shows the fundamental unfairness of New York's campaign finance system," said Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group.
Cuomo also faces comedian-activist Randy Credico in the primary.
“Wait a second,” Credico said when told of the Cuomo-Hochul mailing. “I don’t think they are supposed to take sides in a primary ... I have flyers, but I go from windshield to windshield. We have retail politics going on.”
Cuomo’s campaign committee had $30 million more than the campaigns of Teachout and Credico.
The flyer sent to Democrats states: “On Sept. 9th, vote to re-elect Governor Andrew Cuomo; Elect Kathy Hochul.”
At the bottom is the address from the Cuomo campaign website and the statement: “Paid for by the New York State Democratic Committee.”
The state committee and Cuomo’s campaign had no immediate comment.
In 2006, a court decided that the state Board of Elections’ ban on spending party money on one candidate in a primary violated freedom of speech under the U.S. Constitution.