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Cuomo Accepts Democratic Party Nomination

Julie Jacobson
Former Secretary of State and former Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is greeted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo after speaking during the New York State Democratic convention on Wednesday in Hempstead.

Governor Cuomo called in past Democratic Party stalwarts Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden to endorse him, as he received the overwhelming support of delegates at the state Democratic Convention on Long Island Thursday.

Cuomo, in his speech, listed his accomplishments saying his efforts to pass marriage equality, raise the minimum wage and enact gun control should be model for the nation.

The governor, who is seeking a third term in office, focused much of his address on Washington, which he says is “deaf, dumb and blind,” and he says he’s best equipped to fight what he says are the disastrous policies of President Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress, and he vowed to elect more Democrats to the State Senate and the House of Representatives.

“This election is very, very important. And literally the nation is going to look to us. We are about to embark on the most consequential campaign in our lifetime,” Cuomo said. “We are at a political crossroads and our decisions and actions are going to define the soul of this state and the soul of this nation. “

Former Vice President Joe Biden introduced Cuomo, urging delegates to “spread the faith, and re-elect Andrew.”

One day earlier, 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told delegates the mainstream Democrats still have viable ideas, including universal health care and are longtime defenders of civil rights, women’s rights and LGBTQ rights.

“I think it’s a bold idea that everyone in this country should have a decent standard of living and good job that pays well,” Clinton said, to applause. “And it’s even bolder to have real plans to make those ideas into reality.”

One past major Democratic Party figure who was absent from the gathering—former President Bill Clinton—who Cuomo worked under as HUD secretary. Clinton’s past relations with women have been called into question under the #metoo movement and growing awareness of sexual harassment.

Cuomo’s Democratic Primary challenger, actor and education activist Cynthia Nixon briefly attended the convention. She says she’s not surprised Cuomo received the endorsements of Clinton and Biden.

“He’s very anxious to shore up all this money and all these endorsements, because his own progressive record is severely lacking,” Nixon said.

Nixon was not granted a speaking slot and received just about 5 percent of the delegate’s vote, but she says that did not deter her from appearing. 

“I’m not going to be scared out of the room,” said Nixon. “I’m a lifelong Democrat. This is my party, too. I’m here to show voters that they have an alternative.”

Nixon will gather petitions to get on the primary ballot.

Governor Cuomo, who answered a few questions from reporters, denied that the convention was a “coronation,” and said he received the overwhelming majority of delegates’ support because he has worked hard and has a lot of accomplishments. And he says the true progressives were in the hall, cheering him on. 

“Who were those people in there, conservatives?” he said. “What are you talking about? Those are the most progressive people in the state.”

Noticeably absent from the Democratic convention, the Democratic Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio. De Blasio instead appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, where he was asked if Nixon could beat Cuomo. The Mayor, who does not get along with the governor said, “unquestionably” “anything could happen.”

Nixon trails Cuomo in the polls by more than 20 points, and is considered a long shot.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.