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Cuomo won't say why he skipped Working Families Party convention

Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during the New York

Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during the New York State Democratic Convention at the Huntington Hilton in Melville Thursday, May 22, 2014. Credit: Barry Sloan

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo sidestepped questions Sunday about not attending the previous night's Working Families Party convention, where some party members booed him when he addressed the group by video.

Instead, Cuomo insisted the important convention outcome was the nomination he secured.

"Look, it's very simple at these political conventions. You either win or you lose, and I won," Cuomo said at Manhattan's Celebrate Israel Parade. "And I'm very happy to have their support."

Cuomo, a Democrat running for re-election who has been criticized by some liberals for cutting taxes for big businesses, earned the progressive Working Families Party nomination Saturday at the Albany convention. He received 58.7 percent of the vote, with his challenger, Fordham University law professor Zephyr Teachout, seizing 41.3 percent.

Sunday, Cuomo called the Democratic Party a big tent with all members seeking to express their opinions.

"So part of being a Democrat is the lively debate among the people in the party, but at the end of the day, I won the endorsement and that's what's really relevant," he said.

In exchange, Cuomo agreed to sign off on a more liberal agenda, including seeking passage of a public campaign finance system to limit big donors' influence and flipping control of the State Senate to the Democrats by campaigning against Republicans he may have previously backed.

But Cuomo, whose campaign ads have stressed bipartisan cooperation, said he would not blindly support all Democrats.

"It's not as easy as saying, you know, 'All Democrats are good, all Republicans are bad or vice versa.' You have to also look at the issues," he said.

Cuomo's Republican challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who won the Conservative Party's nomination Saturday night in Rockville Centre, accused the governor of having "no political soul."

"He just sold out New York for his own political future," Astorino said at the parade, referring to the deal Cuomo struck to earn the Working Families Party support.

Astorino criticized Democratic deals as bad for the state.

"As they're cutting their deals on the side, the Democrats in Albany for the most part, what we get is, nobody's paying attention to the economy," Astorino said. "Nobody's helping create jobs. Nobody's worried about education."

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