Progressives push Cuomo to reject Independence line

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A group of progressive Democrats plans to circulate a petition at the party's upcoming convention urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo not to run on the Independence Party line this fall.

At a meeting of several Democratic clubs in the West Village last night, state committeewoman Rachel Lavine announced the plan, and called the Independence Party “a sham.” Lavine, who chairs the state committee's Progressive Caucus, also said the Independence Party is “everything that’s corrupt and despicable about politics,” and accused it of being primarily focused on “pay-to-play” schemes.

The progressive call echoes a similar request from Nassau County's Democratic chairman, Jay Jacobs, who has also urged the governor not to take the line.

Republican candidate Rob Astorino has already pledged not to accept the Independence nomination, were it to be offered to him.

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Cuomo has yet to say whether he will or won't accept the party line, saying only that it's too early for those kinds of political decisions.

The progressive groups are hopeful that Cuomo's refusal to run on the line could effectively kill the party, whose permanent ballot line depends on receiving 50,000 votes in the gubernatorial election.

Lavine told the crowd that the Independence Party “need[s] him to receive 50,000 votes to make the Independence Party a living, vibrant political creature. If they don’t get 50,000 votes in a gubernatorial, they are dead.”

Lavine said the Working Families Party “is putting enormous pressure on Cuomo not to accept it, and I urge the Democratic clubs to do the same thing.”

In 2010, Cuomo received 2,910,876 votes overall, with 146,576 coming on the Independence Party line, and 154,835 on the Working Families Party line. More than 2,609,465 of Cuomo’s votes were on the Democratic Party line.

The Progressive Caucus is also planning to circulate a resolution calling on the Independent Democrats in state Senate to end their power-sharing arrangement with Republicans in the chamber and rejoin the mainline Democratic caucus.