Cuomo, Other New York Democrats Accept Independence Party Line

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Friday, 23 May 2014 03:55 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the entire slate of statewide Democratic candidates have accepted the state Independence Party's nomination to run on its line, despite advice not to accept the controversial party's backing.

Independence Party Chairman Frank MacKay told the New York Daily News that Cuomo, former Rep. Kathleen Hochul, who is running for lieutenant governor, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli have all sent letters to accept the nomination. Cuomo also accepted the party line in 2010.

The party was expected to file its slate of candidates with the state Board of Elections on Friday.

But some party leaders, especially Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs, have called the Independence Party corrupt and demanded that candidates reject it.

You cannot be for ethics and good government and then turn a blind eye to the corrupt practices of [that] party. Those two things just do not go together," Jacobs told the Daily News earlier this month.

MacKay rejected Jacobs' assessment.

"Our platform supports government reform, small business, and policies promoting economic development. There is absolutely nothing corrupt about our party, our ideals or our leadership — nor are we devoid of a philosophical core," he said.

Meanwhile, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Cuomo's Republican challenger, has rejected the Independence line, calling the party "corrupt," and urged Cuomo to reject it as well.

But Westchester Democrats slammed Astorino's comments as being hypocritical, saying he has made personal donations to the party and solicited it for support in the past.

The Independence Party needs 50,000 votes for whichever candidate it backs for governor to secure an official ballot spot for the next four years.

With Cuomo on the party's ballot line, it will most likely reach that number.

Jacobs was pushing a resolution during this week's Democratic convention calling for leaders to reject the Independence Party line, but it was tabled.

The party, critics have said, is a "transactional" party that puts its endorsement up for sale.

In addition, many members of the party thought they were registering as independent voters, not joining a political party.

Cuomo is also seeking the line of the liberal Working Families Party, the Daily News reports.

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