Tish poops on a party
PUBLIC ADVOCATE Letitia James won her first race on the Working Families Party line — but as she announced her run for state attorney general, she wouldn’t even say the party’s name.
James’ expected announcement was partly overshadowed Wednesday by controversy surrounding the third-party line, which James does not intend to seek — and which the party said Gov. Cuomo had told her to spurn.
“My focus at this point in time is securing the Democratic nomination, and that’s all that I have done,” James told reporters after the event.
It might as well have been a campaign slogan: James said she was focused on the Democratic nomination nine times in 21/2 minutes while speaking to reporters, largely about the WFP, before her staff cut off the questions. She never directly addressed the Working Families Party or said its name.
James is closer to the party than most pols — she ran on the Working Families Party line alone to become a City Council member. Her decision not to seek its nomination comes after the party endorsed Cuomo’s primary opponent, Cynthia Nixon, leading several of the labor unions that help found the party to bail — and for the party’s leadership to allege that Cuomo had pressured them to do so.
“It is nothing short of outrageous to see Andrew Cuomo demand Tish James jump through hoops that he would never ask a white man to do,” the party said in a statement. “He is telling her to reject the party where she got her start, and refuse the WFP’s support, which could be critical in both the primary and general elections. Meanwhile, he is helping elect Republicans to Congress by running on the Independence Party line.”
But James said Cuomo had not pressured her to break with the party.
“I’m an independent individual, I’ve always been an independent individual, and if you know anything about me you can rest assured that no one is going to bully me, no one is going to threaten me and no one’s going to hold anything over my head,” she said. “I have been focused on securing the Democratic nomination.”
Cuomo campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith blasted the party on Twitter for “suggesting women in power are controlled by men.”
“It’s the height of sexism for the WFP and its male leaders to suggest that Tish James cannot make her own decisions,” she added in a statement. “Clearly they don’t know the Tish James the rest of New York does.”
Public Advocate Letitia James snubbed her old Working Families Party.