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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Green Party plotting to defeat Cuomo

ALBANY -- As Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was accepting the Democratic nomination for re-election Thursday, a liberal group was plotting to spoil Cuomo's party come November.

New York's Green Party reached out to the Working Families Party to explore a liberal coalition to defeat Cuomo. The Green Party's nominee for governor, Howie Hawkins of Syracuse, insists the effort could beat the Democratic governor.

It's a far-fetched plan given the small size of each minor party, the popularity of Cuomo among Democrats, un-enrolled voters and many Republicans, and the reluctance of minor parties historically to band together.

Still, the rare overture reflects a growing dissatisfaction by some liberal leaders for Cuomo's business tax cuts and spending reductions in his first term. Leaders of the Working Families Party say they are considering running their own candidate for governor, at the risk of failing to attract the 50,000 votes needed to maintain an automatic line on ballots.

"We share opposition to the conservative economic, fiscal, educational, and environmental policies of Governor Cuomo," states the letter signed by Hawkins and his running mates. "We also share common progressive policy goals, including single-payer health care, raising minimum wages, progressive tax reform, fully-funded public schools, tuition-free CUNY and SUNY, a ban on fracking, and building a carbon-free economy by 2030."

There was no immediate comment from the Working Families Party, which has been closely associated with the Democratic Party.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday showed a liberal candidate could take away a big chunk of Cuomo's votes, but that Cuomo would still defeat Republican nominee Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive. Pollster Maurice Carroll, however, said he wasn't sure if the poll simply reflected a message being sent by liberals to Cuomo, or if the voters would follow through when they cast their ballots in November.

"For most people, he's about right," Carroll said, noting half of conservatives also mostly have an unfavorable view of Cuomo. "He's right where he wants to be, I suspect."

Despite unrest from the leaders of the labor-backed minor parties, Cuomo still has support of voters who consider themselves liberal. The April 22 Siena College poll found 70 percent of self-described liberals had a favorable view of Cuomo, who led New York's legalization of gay marriage, passed a new gun control law, and raised the minimum wage.

Cuomo had no comment.

Thursday, he was nominated by former President Bill Clinton for the Democratic nomination and received a rousing supportive speech by liberal New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio.



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