May 29, 2014
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday increased the pressure on the Senate’s majority coalition, saying he will “act accordingly” if the chamber fails to pass a public campaign finance package.
Cuomo is facing intense pressure from liberal groups — including the labor-backed Working Families Party — to push through a system in which small, private campaign donations are matched with public funds.
The political implications are rather immediate for the governor, with the Working Families Party scheduled to endorse its candidate for governor on Saturday. Some members of the third party’s state committee are calling on it to endorse someone other than Cuomo, expressing displeasure about his views on taxes and fiscal issues.
“If they do not pass public finance, I will consider the Senate coalition a failure,” Cuomo said. “I have said that, I repeat that, and I will act accordingly.”
Cuomo on Thursday said he is “pessimistic today that public finance will pass,” but said it’s “not over.” He said opposition from the Conservative Party has made Republicans hesitant to back it.
The Senate is controlled by the chamber’s Republicans and five-member Independent Democratic Conference, which is led by Sen. Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, who supports public campaign financing. Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, does not support it, but a pilot program for this year’s state comptroller’s race was included in this year’s budget.
Cuomo said he finds it “ironic” that state Republicans are backing Onondaga County Robert Antonacci for comptroller, despite Antonacci opting in to the pilot program.
“I find it highly ironic, by the way, that you had a Republican convention that overwhelmingly supports a comptroller candidate who is accepting public finance.”