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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone splits with WFP on 'fusion' voting

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

 Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has decided against taking the Working Families Party line in his re-election bid, even though late last month he went to the minor party’s regional council for an endorsement interview.

Bill Lipton, state Working Families chairman, said, “We respect the county executive, but he is making a mistake” in not seeking the minor party's endorsement.

Bellone during his interview backed many of the minor party’s progressive stands, WFP sources said. But he opposed the practice of "fusion" voting, in which candidates appear on more than one ballot line. The WFP's regional council, while sympathetic to Bellone, never voted on an endorsement.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's new budget includes a new state commission that will consider public financing of campaigns and the possibility of barring candidates from accepting multiple party lines.

Lipton called attacks on fusion voting a “hit job on the WFP" led by Cuomo. “By attacking the WFP and pushing progressives out of the coalition, the Democratic Party establishment is shooting itself in both legs,” Lipton said.

“If establishment Democrats attack cross-endorsements, they can’t pretend to be surprised or offended when the inevitable happens and the left runs independence candidates and spoils important contests,” Lipton said.

Bellone, a Democrat, only informed the party of his decision to go it alone last Thursday, the deadline for filing nominating petitions at the Suffolk Board of Elections.

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