Gotham Gazette Sun, 22 Jul 2018 06:32:31 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb (Webmaster) Cuomo Campaign Removes Misleading Boast of Old Endorsements cuomo 1199 endorsement

Gov. Cuomo being endorsed by 1199, Feb. 2018 (photo: @nydems)

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s campaign website has been updated with a 2018 logo but was touting dozens of endorsements that the governor received in the 2014 election cycle, with no indication that the backing of the groups listed did not apply to the current election, in which the Democrat is seeking a third term.

The Cuomo campaign took down its endorsement page, which said “endorsements updated daily,” on Thursday after Gotham Gazette inquired about it. Shortly after an email to a campaign spokesperson, sent after several calls to organizations listed, the campaign endorsements page began redirecting to the home page.

cuomo 2018 website endorsements 1 of 2cuomo 2018 website endorsements 2 of 2Until Thursday afternoon, the governor’s campaign website touted 51 endorsements, from prominent labor unions, Democratic clubs, progressive advocacy groups, and political parties like the Women’s Equality Party and the Working Families Party. But at this point, almost all of the endorsements only apply to the governor’s last election in 2014 -- most of the groups have yet to make a choice of candidate this year. A few have already backed Cuomo again this year, when he is facing actor and activist Cynthia Nixon in the Democratic primary, while a few Republicans are vying for their party’s nomination, and smaller party candidates are likely to emerge soon.

“That is not accurate,” said Dom Leon-Davis, a spokesperson for the Working Families Party, about its endorsement being listed on the website. “We have not endorsed this year. Our 232-member state committee has an important decision to make in the coming months and people should stay tuned.”

The WFP backed Cuomo in 2014, in a deal brokered by Mayor Bill de Blasio, after the governor agreed to push progressive priorities, including through support for a Democratic majority in the state Senate. Cuomo failed to follow through on some of those promises, prompting wariness and criticism by WFP members and scorn from de Blasio, while the governor also created the Women’s Equality Party (WEP) in a thinly-veiled attempt to undercut the WFP.

Though Cuomo has generally tacked to the left in his second term, after governing as more of a centrist Democrat, the political winds in the state have shifted dramatically since 2016. The election of President Donald Trump enraged progressive activists who on a local level are targeting the Republican-controlled state Senate, which they see as the largest roadblock to major progressive legislation being passed in the state. The Republicans are propped up by the Independent Democratic Conference -- eight breakaway Democrats who share power in the Senate -- and by Senator Simcha Felder, a nominal Democrat who caucuses with the GOP. Cuomo, who has in some ways benefited from (and some say propped up) that Senate structure, has increasingly become the target of progressive advocates’ ire.

Nixon’s entrance into the race earlier this week has added a dramatic new element to the gubernatorial race, apparently pushing Cuomo to quickly pursue several endorsements as she runs to the governor’s left and could pull support from groups that have traditionally supported him.

The governor does already have a few prominent backers for his third-term bid. In January, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union became the first labor union to endorse the governor for a third term. “At a time when we have serious concerns about what is going on in Washington, DC, Governor Cuomo has proven that you can govern effectively, and advance progressive change in a unifying manner,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum, in a statement at the time, touting Cuomo’s progressive accomplishments including the passage of the state’s marriage equality bill, paid family leave, and a $15 minimum wage, among other things.

The large and powerful health care workers union, 1199 SEIU, has also backed Cuomo. And, last week, the National Organization for Women-New York also came out in support for Cuomo and, just Tuesday, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York also endorsed him, as reported by The Daily News.

There are groups on the 2014 list that is now gone from Cuomo’s website that can be expected to endorse the governor, even if they haven’t already. Bob Master, assistant to the vice president of Communications Workers of America District 1, said the Cuomo campaign was clearly using an outdated list and that his organization’s endorsement wouldn’t be announced for another few weeks. “We have a process to go through,” he said in a brief phone interview, “but I’m quite confident we’ll be sticking with the governor.”

(Note: campaign website screenshots are from Wednesday, March 21 2018)

by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

Cuomo Campaign Removes Misleading Boast of Old Endorsements Thu, 22 Mar 2018 04:00:00 +0000
Candidate Endorsements in the 2017 City Elections bdb 32bj crop

Mayor de Blasio is endorsed by 32BJ SEIU (photo: Ben Max/Gotham Gazette)

Do endorsements matter in elections? In short, yes. How much they matter depends on who is endorsing whom, amid many factors. As candidates run for office they almost always seek as many endorsements as they can get from elected officials, labor unions, newspaper editorial boards, political clubs, advocacy groups, and others. These endorsements can help give candidates more caché -- something to boast about as they seek other endorsements or votes or funds -- and can lead to important help with leafletting, door-knocking, and getting out the vote.

Labor unions are often seen as especially important in the endorsements game in New York City given their membership numbers, political operations, and, crucially, their voter turnout proficiency. In New York's low turnout elections, labor unions, by virtue of getting their members out to vote, not to mention influencing other voters, can be critical.

In New York City, endorsements are often tied to appearances in front of a group of decision-makers, whether the members of the New York Times editorial board or the executive committee of the United Federation of Teachers, the teachers union, or the full membership of the New Kings Democrats, a Brooklyn reform-minded political club. Endorsements are often influenced, if not dictated, by other relationships and power structures, such as the county party apparatuses, connected political consultants, government action or power, and more.

During the crowded Democratic primary for Mayor in 2013, labor unions, political clubs, and others were largely split among leading candidates Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson, Bill de Blasio, and John Liu. De Blasio won the primary with limited "institutional support" as these endorsements are often called. There were also some splits in other contentious and competitive 2013 primaries, like the one for Manhattan Borough President and a variety of "open" City Council seats. Scott Stringer may have prevailed over former Governor Eliot Spitzer in a close primary for Comptroller due to the institutional endorsements he received that helped him earn and whip votes.

This year, 2017, incumbent Mayor Bill de Blasio has secured the lion's share of labor union and other endorsements as he again seeks the Democratic nomination and eyes a second term. De Blasio began rolling out union endorsements early in the race, in an apparent effort to discourage some of his potential Democratic rivals from jumping into the race. De Blasio was also recently endorsed in the primary by The New York Times editorial board, which, while of interest to the political class of the city, may not have much sway with that many voters. What has more sway are the many union, elected official, and political club endorsements that have gone to de Blasio. 

Along with the mayoral race, there is a very competitive Brooklyn District Attorney primary, where acting DA Eric Gonzalez has picked up most of the endorsements. In the City Council, there are 10 "open" seats this cycle where the incumbent is not seeking reelection due to term limits or other factors. There are also another roughly 10 competitive Council races where the incumbent is being challenged. In these roughly 20 City Council races, the endorsements competition has been fast and furious as candidates seek support leading to the September 12 primary vote, which in almost every race is determinative given the city's distinct Democratic tilt.

At Gotham Gazette, we've been tracking endorsements across all the races of this city election cycle. You can see them all here in the spreadsheet we've created.

[Did we miss something? Email editor Ben Max at]

If you want to revisit the endorsements of the 2013 primaries, you can use the spreadsheet here, which was compiled by the team at

by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

with reporting by Ben Brachfeld

Candidate Endorsements in the 2017 City Elections Wed, 06 Sep 2017 04:00:00 +0000