Tish poops on a party

New York Daily News - - NEWS - BY JIL­LIAN JOR­GENSEN With Ken­neth Lovett

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.

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