Turning Focus to Defeating Republicans, WFP Offers Cuomo Ballot Line

Following historic victories over IDC, WFP offers Cuomo ballot line, if he’ll take it


WFP Lipton: “Our differences with Cuomo are real. But our differences with the Trump Republicans are much bigger.”


New York -- With an all-out focus on defeating Republicans and winning Democratic majorities in the state Senate and in the U.S. Congress, WFP’s state committee voted to offer Governor Cuomo the party’s line on the November ballot.

New York Working Families Party Director Bill Lipton made the following statement:

“This year, WFP challenged corporate control of the Democratic Party, and we have a lot to show for it. We defeated the IDC this year, and a Democratic majority in Albany is finally within reach. Winning progressive majorities in Albany and in Washington, D.C. will be our focus for the next five weeks.

“After a grassroots member-driven process, the WFP state committee has spoken. Our differences with Cuomo are real—but our differences with the Trump Republicans are much greater. We see new right-wing Republican attacks on working families and on our democracy every day.

“We stand by our critique of Governor Cuomo. Once we flip the Senate, our allies in the legislature will be able to put progressive policy on Cuomo’s desk, whether he wants it or not. That puts our agenda within reach, including fixing our democracy, Medicare for All, real rent reform, full funding for our public schools, criminal justice reform, protections for immigrants and reproductive choice, and action on climate.”

The resolution the WFP state committee approved offers Cuomo a Wilson Pakula and authorizes him to run on the WFP’s ballot line, if he accepts by 5pm Friday. If he does not, Cynthia Nixon would remain on the ballot.


The decision follows one of most successful primary election days in the NY WFP’s twenty-year history. WFP ended the IDC, and replaced seven of the worst corporate-funded Democrats in the State Senate with seven progressive champions who ran on the WFP agenda. Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams, who were WFP’s standard-bearers for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, put a progressive agenda front and center and won major policy concessions from Governor Cuomo, from legalizing marijuana to voting rights restoration to new funding for transit and housing. And WFP played a key role in the defeat of Sean Patrick Maloney, a Wall Street Democrat who was running for Attorney General; the Democratic nominee is WFP-endorsed Tish James, who got her start fifteen years ago by winning an election to the New York City Council solely on the Working Families Party ballot line.


Today’s state committee meeting was the end of a deliberative and democratic grassroots process by the New York WFP’s 222 State Committee members, which included conference calls, lengthy meetings and an email listserv with more than 100 passionate arguments sent in the last week. A key thread that ran through the debate on all sides was a universal commitment to take on the Republican majorities in the state senate and in Congress and elect progressives up and down the ballot this November.


Jumaane Williams, who won more than 640,000 votes in his bid for Lieutenant Governor during the Democratic Primary last month, spoke at the end of the meeting. “We shook up the world last month by running a historic campaign against the New York political machine on pure activist energy and small-dollar donations,” Jumaane Williams said. “The Working Families Party was instrumental in that process, so I urge voters to head to the polls next month to vote on the WFP line, then remain active in our grassroots movement to hold our elected officials accountable and help build on the progressive momentum we’ve already achieved. I look forward to continuing a close partnership with the WFP, and working with them to create a New York for the many, not the few."


Cynthia Nixon, who won the Working Families Party’s nomination for Governor this spring, said, “It has been an incredible honor these past few months to serve as the standard bearer for the WFP, and for a movement to make New York as progressive as its people. Together, we've made tremendous gains in ending the IDC, electing progressives down ballot, and moving issues of racial and economic justice to the forefront of the debate. We will continue to focus on ending Republican control of the State Senate and electing progressive candidates across the board, and on taking back the US Congress. I will cede the WFP line to Governor Cuomo if he accepts it, as we continue to work to make New York and our country more progressive.”


“The Working Families Party is a critical voice for progressive New Yorkers fighting for justice against a big-money drenched political system. This year, they already played a huge role in ending the IDC and electing new progressive leaders to the state senate and now we're within reach of a progressive majority in the legislature that could actually pass a progressive agenda. We'll be encouraging our members to vote on the Working Families Party line for Governor this year as an important way to build progressive political power,” said Moveon Political Action Executive DIrector Ilya Sheyman.

"The Working Families Party is the backbone of the progressive movement in New York, and I support their decision to offer Governor Cuomo the line. Because of the WFP's support, we've unseated the IDC and are nearing a Democratic majority in Albany for the first time in decades," said WFP and Democratic State Senate Nominee Alessandra Biaggi.


"The Working Families Party is helping defeat Trump's Republican Party in New York, and I support their plan to offer Governor Cuomo the WFP line. Thanks to the WFP, we're building a strong coalition of progressive leaders who will change the face of Albany and pass strong legislation that delivers for working families," said WFP and Democratic State Senate Nominee  John Liu.

"I'm proud of the Working Families Party's support for our grassroots campaign in Central New York, and I support their decision to offer Governor Cuomo the WFP line. The WFP is playing a critical role in flipping New York's State Senate blue and winning races for working families up and down the ballot this year," said WFP and Democratic State Senate Nominee Rachel May.

“The Working Families Party has already changed the face of Albany by helping elect seven progressive insurgents in September, and I respect their plan — the result of an open and democratic process — to support Governor Cuomo in the the general election.  I’m proud to join them in supporting our effort to end Republican rule in the State Senate, and pass a strong, progressive agenda next year that lifts up working families,” said WFP and Democratic State Senate Nominee Zellnor Myrie.

“Now, more than ever, we need committed allies and proven leadership in Albany. That is why I will be casting my vote for Governor Cuomo on the WFP line this November. Because of the WFP, we've ended the IDC and are building a strong progressive agenda for next year that puts working families, women, immigrants and our LGBTQ communities first,” said WFP and Democratic State Senate Nominee Jessica Ramos.

"The WFP has played a primary role in winning raises in the state minimum wage, enactment of paid family leave, ending the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws, preserving tenant protecting rent laws, and the election of a host of progressives on the federal, state and local levels. The New York Progressive Action Network is proud to be an affiliate of the WFP, and will continue working with them to win a progressive majority in our State Senate,” said NYPAN State Co-Chair George Albro.

"The WFP plays a crucial role in the progressive movement in New York, and we were proud to partner with them in ending IDC-GOP rule in Albany. We'll be working closely in the coming weeks to continue our string of progressive wins and elect a true Democratic majority in the state senate,” said Empire State Indivisible’s Heather Stewart.

"For over a year, we've fought side by side with the WFP to drive the IDC out of New York politics and win a truly Democratic NYS Senate. We will continue that fight into November, working to win far more races than the establishment expects. And we plan to keep working closely with the WFP into 2019 and beyond, fighting to pass the legislation that the IDC bottled up for so long, and continuing to hold New York state politicians accountable to the grassroots,” said Gus Christensen, Chief Strategist, No IDC NY.

The Working Families Party is a grassroots progressive political party that fights to make New York work for the many, not just the few. WFP recruits, trains and elects the the next generation of progressive leaders to office -- and then works with those leaders to win meaningful policy changes that make a difference in the lives of working families.

In recent years, the WFP has grown rapidly around the nation and now has affiliates or local branches in 17 states. In 2018, WFP candidates have won primaries against machine Democrats in Chicago, defeated a big-spending political establishments in Maryland and Milwaukee. The WFP is fielding a diverse slate of gubernatorial candidates, including Stacey Abrams in Georgia, Ben Jealous in Maryland, Christine Hallquist in Vermont and Andrew Gillum in Florida. Its is also backing congressional candidates in Connecticut, New York, West Virginia, Indiana, Nebraska, Wisconsin and beyond that could help end Republican control of the House of Representatives.