“Trump’s trying to wreak havoc on our healthcare system. That’s not going to happen."
A new commercial campaign for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo drew cries of “foul” from some Democrats after it appeared during the weekend supporting the governor over Democratic challenger Cynthia Nixon.
“Trump’s trying to wreak havoc on our healthcare system. That’s not going to happen,” Cuomo says in the 30 second spot which ran during coverage of Yankee baseball games and was posted on the Twitter feed of the New York Democratic Committee.
The ad delivered the kind of criticism Cuomo had leveled at the president for months but is finishes with a message for New Yorkers to vote for Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul in the September 13th Democratic primary.
Notwithstanding that another candidate remained in the race, former actress Cynthia Nixon.
“For the New York state Democratic ready to come out and do this, sometimes it can feel like a slap in the face to the left wing of the party,” declared Patrick Coyle of Rochester, who worked as a volunteer for the Cynthia Nixon campaign.
Cuomo was selected by New York’s leading Democrats at the party’s convention in May but, with Nixon still running, some of her supporters questioned the ads as a show of party bias in a race not yet decided. Critics also accused Cuomo and the party of squandering resources that could be important for other Democrats running in an important election year.
“I just question whether it’s the best use of the resources for the New York state Democratic Party to spend a lot of money propping up a popular to term incumbent governor,” said Coyle. “The state Senate map is their best opportunity in maybe 10 years. They’ve got a bunch of tossup house races. I just wonder whether that money could be better allocated to help the overall party rather than just Cuomo himself.”
The Cuomo camp insisted it was providing support to other Democrats. In a Tuesday morning statement, a campaign spokeswoman said “The governor has launched an aggressive coordinated campaign to elect Democrats up and down the ballot.” As for the specific focus on the Democratic primary, the statement specified “a central component of that is raising awareness around the unique Sept. 13 primary date. The governor will continue to do everything in his power to win the State Senate, the US House and fight back against Donald Trump’s assault on New York.”
“It’s just politics as usual in New York State,” said Timothy Kneeland, Chairman of the History and Political Science Department at Nazareth College. Kneeland concluded that, as de facto head of the state party, Cuomo had every right to spend party funds on an ad, even one aimed at defeating a fellow Democrat. With Nixon attacking Cuomo from the left, the governor might need to shore up his position among the state’s liberals, but also to show himself as a strong champion of left-wing Democrats with an eye towards the 2020 presidential elections, Kneeland said.
Still he warned some voters could perceive the repeat of an sour recollection from the 2016 presidential election. “It seems to be a replay of what happens to Bernie Sanders on the national level when the Democratic national Committee played favorites with Hillary Clinton,” he said.
The Chairwoman of the Monroe County Democratic Committee Jamie Romeo insisted party support for Cuomo, including the ads, was a simple matter of longtime state election law and party rules once the party voted to endorse Cuomo at its convention.
Republican gubernatorial challenger Marc Molinaro was quick to respond to the controversy.
“I don’t think Andrew Cuomo is playing by the rules frankly,” Molinaro said. I don’t know that he cares to play by the rules. Once again, he is seeking to rig the system to benefit him politically and, by extension I think, using the party to disenfranchise voters who deserve a fair election.”
Updated to include statement from Cuomo campaign.