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ALBANY -- The state Independence Party on Friday endorsed Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the rest of his Democratic ticket.
The party also endorsed former Rep. Kathy Hochul for lieutenant governor, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
Cuomo accepted the endorsement in papers filed with the state Board of Elections.
Although the minor party’s nominations in their Albany convention was expected, it heats the rivalry with the Working Families Party, which is scheduled to make its endorsements May 31.
Some Democrats led by Nassau County Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs had urged Cuomo not to accept the Independence Party endorsement. Critics of the Independence Party question its value in exchange for political considerations. A heated debate at this week’s state Democratic convention was cut off and the issue was eventually tabled indefinitely.
There was no immediate comment from Frank MacKay of Rocky Point, chairman of the state and Suffolk County Independence Party.
There was also no immediate response from Cuomo’s campaign.
The Independence Party constituted of voters disenchanted by the major parties provided Cuomo 146,576 votes four years ago. The labor-backed, liberal Working Families Party provided Cuomo more than 154,000 votes four years ago among his more than 2 million votes.
Minor parties’ candidates for governor must attract at least 50,000 votes for the party to maintain its automatic line on state ballots for the next four years.
Major party candidates find the minor party lines important in attracting voters from their rival major party. In New York, unlike most states, votes from all party lines are added together for a candidate.