The Working Families Party, the labor-backed party that is under federal investigation, put in placeholders for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general earlier today at its convention in Buffalo.
The move comes as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo has said he would not, for now, take the party’s endorsement—a potentially fatal blow to the party’s need to get at least 50,000 votes on its gubernatorial line in November to remain at active party.
Without Cuomo and his reported attempts to keep them from making an attorney general selection, the party agreed to put in their own candidates, who party executive director Dan Cantor indicated could be replaced if situations change before the November elections.
The party picked Kenneth Schaeffer, an attorney for Legal Aid and a party loyalist, for governor; Elon Harpaz, also a Legal Aid attorney, for lieutenant governor; and Amy Young, a CWA attorney, for attorney general.
Cantor said in a statement that, “These outstanding individuals have shown a longstanding commitment to working families and they are the best candidates currently available. That said, they are all team players, and should stronger candidates emerge, WFP members may revisit today’s decisions.
As for attorney general, Cantor said: “In these turbulent times, working men and women continue to face abusive and predatory behavior in the marketplace and in the workplace. We need a strong champion for working families enforcing the laws of our state, not a laissez-faire lackey. A unified ticket with the Democrats could be important, so I expect the State Committee may revisit this race in September.”
Meanwhile, the Working Families Party did make some endorsements of Democratic-backed candidates: It nominated Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
DiNapoli’s opponent, Republican Harry Wilson, has been hammering DiNapoli for accepting the nomination, and Republican Senate candidate David Malpass has been critical of Gillibrand’s acceptance of the party’s support. Wilson scored an endorsement himself over the weekend, getting the Independence Party’s nod on Saturday.
“It is mind-boggling that Mr. DiNapoli would accept the endorsement of a political party that works day in and day out to raise the taxes of actual New York working families,” Wilson said in a statement yesterday.
“Andrew Cuomo and other Democrats, including a Democratic candidate for Attorney General (Sean Coffey), have taken the principled position of rejecting the WFP because of its extreme left-wing ideology—and because it is under investigation by the United States Attorney. Of course, Mr. DiNapoli is, himself, under investigation by the office of the New York State Attorney General.”