State Democrats assembled at Hofstra University Wednesday and Thursday to pick their nominees for governor, attorney general and comptroller, with Sec. Hillary Clinton endorsing incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Actress and advocate Cynthia Nixon was also on-hand, challenging Cuomo’s progressive credentials. She has received the Working Families Party endorsement.
The Alliance for Quality Education’s advocacy director, Zakiyah Ansari, nominated Nixon for the Democratic candidate during Wednesday’s proceedings, but she only received a handful of delegate votes.
Nassau County Democrats Chairman Jay Jacobs said in an interview Wednesday that he sees “no rationale” for Nixon’s challenge.
“I think that a challenge from the left is absurd,” Jacobs said. “Had they been challenging [Cuomo] from the right, I think at least you’d have a justification based on his record. This is an unjustifiable challenge, in terms of philosophy and progressive goals, so I don’t see what all the fuss is about.”
Cuomo received 95 percent of the delegates on Wednesday, and is expected to address the convention Thursday.
Clinton took the stage to endorse Cuomo following a video touting her career as a senator, first lady and secretary of state.
“As Democrats, we believe in facts — and the real ones, not the alternative kinds,” Clinton said, later adding that anyone who believe in well-funded public schools, health care for all and common sense gun safety laws have “got to vote Democrat.”
Cuomo, Clinton said, is the kind of leader to stand up to President Trump and congressional Republicans who, she said, “are trying to pit neighbor against neighbor.”
“We’re not going to win every time … but we will get there, together,” Clinton concluded, to a standing ovation, before Cuomo joined her on the stage.
The party also nominated New York City Public Advocate Latitia James for attorney general, just weeks after former AG Eric Schneiderman’s resignation following public accusations that he abused and threatened a number of women.
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas was selected by Gov. Cuomo to investigate and possibly prosecute the allegations against Schneiderman.
While Clinton spoke, President Trump was also on Long Island, participating in a forum that local law enforcement has said would focus on combating El Salvadoran gang MS-13 on the Island, but which the White House’s website has promoted as “a roundtable on immigration.”
“I hate to disappoint” Trump, Jacobs said, but the conversation at the Democratic Convention will likely not revolve around him. Jacobs said that the White House’s apparent conflation of immigration and gang violence was typical, but that there’s no disagreement between the parties on the fact that MS-13 “needs to be eradicated.”
“I think coming together, everybody is on the same page,” he said. “It’s not a Republican platform item any different than it’s a Democratic platform item … Immigration? That’s a different story.”
Jacobs acknowledged that Cuomo’s nomination was a foregone conclusion at the two-day event.
“You have an incumbent governor who’s popular in the state, and has a record that Democrats generally are pretty proud of,” he said. “Where’s the rationale for making a change?”
Former senator and Vice President Joe Biden is also expected to speak at the convention on Thursday.