Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo led dozens of Democratic elected officials and nominees Tuesday in presenting a united front at a Manhattan rally where speakers took turns stressing that President Donald Trump was their common general-election foil.
“We finished the primaries. We are now going to unify as a Democratic Party,” said Cuomo, who handily defeated actor and activist Cynthia Nixon last Thursday to seize the party nomination.
Aiding in the visual of New York Democrats coming together was Mayor Bill de Blasio’s appearance alongside Cuomo. The mayor and the governor have feuded regularly, but on Tuesday had only compliments for each other.
“We’re the big tent party. We have differences, we have debates,” Cuomo said. “But at the end of the day, we come together . . . because what unifies us is stronger than what divides us.”
The governor, speaking to a standing-room-only crowd at the Sheraton hotel in midtown, made no mention of Nixon.
The primaries had pitted Cuomo, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and attorney general nominee Letitia James as the experienced, establishment slate against Nixon, City Council Member Jumaane Williams and law professor Zephyr Teachout as the political outsider, progressive ticket.
Victors Cuomo, Hochul and James focused their messages Tuesday on Trump and their November mission to regain a Democratic majority in the U.S. House and in the state Senate as means of checking the president’s power.
“He’s passed his last piece of legislation and a Democratic Congress . . . will stand up to him and stop the madness,” Cuomo said, “because, right now, it’s an extreme conservative freight train.”
Cuomo, seeking his third term faces Republican Marc Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive, in the general election.
De Blasio offered the most pointed criticism of the now-disbanded Independent Democratic Conference, a group of breakaway state senators who caucused with the Republicans. The former IDC saw six of its eight members unseated by challengers last Thursday.
“I’m not going to miss the IDC one bit,” de Blasio said, adding that the recent election sent the message that voters prefer “real Democrats.”
The rally also brought out House members and nominees, including Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and Liuba Gretchen Shirley of Amityville, who is challenging Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford); State Legislature members and nominees, including Alessandra Biaggi, the Pelham lawyer and political newcomer who defeated former IDC leader Sen. Jeff Klein of the Bronx, as well as City Council members and labor union representatives.
Rep. Joseph Crowley of Queens sat in the front row. Crowley, the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House, was toppled in June by insurgent progressive activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
He told Newsday that unity among the Democrats was not only possible but: “It’s happening. It’s before your eyes.”
Ocasio-Cortez did not attend the rally. Her campaign did not respond to an inquiry.
Suozzi told Newsday that the Democrats’ message shouldn’t just be anti-Trump. “I get it that they want us to hold the president accountable,” he said of voters, “but they really want us to get things done.”