Gov. Andrew Cuomo has accepted the Independence Party’s nomination for governor, despite pressure from some in the Democratic Party and his Republican opponent to reject the third party’s nod.
Cuomo signed a form yesterday accepting the Independence line, according to papers provided by the state Board of Elections. But the party’s nominating convention hadn’t even happened yet; the Independence Party gathered in Albany today to formally nominate Cuomo.
In Cooperstown yesterday, Cuomo said he hadn’t made up his mind on whether he would accept the line, suggesting a decision would come later in the political season. But by the end of the day, Cuomo signed the paperwork accepting the nod.
“Those are the decisions we’re going to be making down the road,” Cuomo told reporters yesterday.
Thomas Connolly, a spokesman for the state Board of Election, said state law permits candidates to pre-accept a party’s line.
“There is no first day to file, only a last day to file,” Connolly wrote in an email. “Anyone can pre-file an acceptance for a designation (through convention or petitions) before said designations occur.”
Former state Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs attempted to pass a motion this week at the Democratic convention urging Cuomo to reject the line. Jacobs contends the Independence Party, which is the state’s largest third party but often gains members who think they are enrolling independent of a party, is corrupt and stands for nothing.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Cuomo’s Republican opponent, also called on Cuomo to reject the line. Astorino has been at odds with the Westchester Independence Party, which has accused him of trying to stack the party with supporters to try and obtain the line in his re-election bid last year.
The Independence Party, at its quiet convention today, endorsed the entire Democratic ticket: Cuomo, lieutenant governor candidate Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
Cuomo had the line in 2010, when he first won election against Republican Carl Paladino. The ballot line netted Cuomo about 146,500 votes.
“What our Independence Party elected officials all share in common is the freedom to legislate without interference from political leaders and special interests,” party chairman Frank MacKay said in a statement. “We encourage an open and honest dialogue with their own constituencies, and we believe Governor Cuomo, Kathy Hochul, Tom DiNapoli and Eric Schneiderman share this vision.”
(AP Photo/Richard Drew)