ALBANY — The state Democratic Committee and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo plan to target Republican congressional and state Senate districts in a campaign aimed at strengthening measures against sexual harassment and in support of abortion rights, a party official said.
New York Republicans labeled it a political ploy, designed to help Cuomo’s national ambitions.
Cuomo said in a statement that “2017 was the year of reckoning — and 2018 will be the year for action against the culture of rampant sexism and misogyny.”
The campaign will include social media campaigns leading up to the adoption of the state budget, which is due April 1, and is designed to pressure the GOP on some of Cuomo’s key initiatives.
“While President Trump and Washington Republicans support people like Roy Moore and Rob Porter, New York will lead the way with the strongest sexual harassment laws in the nation,” Cuomo said in the statement.
He was referring to the unsuccessful former Senate candidate from Alabama who was backed by President Donald Trump and the former Trump aide accused of domestic abuse.
The governor’s 2019 budget proposal contains Cuomo initiatives including measures to strengthen abortion rights by “codifying” federal protections under the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, and strengthening protections for women at work, a state party official said.
“This is just another one of Andrew Cuomo’s shallow publicity campaigns designed for his presidential run,” state Republican Committee spokeswoman Jessica Proud.
“Cuomo will do anything to distract from his real record on women’s rights, which is one of protecting and promoting powerful serial harassers in state government who were allowed to repeatedly prey on women,” Proud said.
She was referring to former Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) who worked out a taxpayer-paid settlement in a sexual harassment claim against former Assemb. Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn), and to a lawsuit by a former state worker accusing one of Cuomo’s top economic development chiefs.
At least two of the Democrats’ social media ads will use images of the Statue of Liberty. One carries the text: “For the Lady of the Harbor” followed by Cuomo’s quote about 2017 being a year of reckoning; another states, “Join Governor Cuomo’s Fight to Change #MeToo to #NotOneMore in New York.”
In his successful 2014 re-election campaign, Cuomo ran on his “women’s equality agenda” based on his 10-point package of legislative bills. The Senate’s Republican majority passed nine of them, but wouldn’t pass his abortion measure.
Majority control of the U.S. Senate and state Senate, now in Republican hands, will be decided in the November elections.