Gov. Andrew Cuomo called in Democratic Party stalwarts Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden to endorse him as he received the overwhelming support of delegates Thursday at the state Democratic Convention on Long Island.
In his speech, Cuomo listed his accomplishments, saying his efforts to pass marriage equality, raise the minimum wage and enact gun control should be a model for the nation.
The governor, who is seeking a third term in office, focused much of his address on Washington, which he said is “deaf, dumb and blind.” He said he’s best equipped to fight what he called the disastrous policies of President Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress, and he vowed to elect more Democrats to the state Senate and the House of Representatives.
“This election is very, very important. And literally, the nation is going to look to us. We are about to embark on the most consequential campaign in our lifetime,” Cuomo said. “We are at a political crossroads, and our decisions and actions are going to define the soul of this state and the soul of this nation.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden introduced Cuomo, urging delegates to “spread the faith and re-elect Andrew.”
One day earlier, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told delegates that the mainstream Democrats still have viable ideas, including universal health care, and are longtime defenders of civil rights, women’s rights and LGBTQ rights.
“I think it’s a bold idea that everyone in this country should have a decent standard of living and a good job that pays well,” Clinton said to applause. “And it’s even bolder to have real plans to make those ideas into reality.”
One past major Democratic Party figure who was absent from the gathering: former President Bill Clinton, who Cuomo worked under as HUD secretary. Clinton’s past relations with women have been called into question under the #MeToo movement and growing awareness of sexual harassment.
Cuomo’s Democratic primary challenger, actor and education activist Cynthia Nixon, briefly attended the convention. She said she’s not surprised that Cuomo received the endorsements of Hillary Clinton and Biden.
“He’s very anxious to shore up all this money and all these endorsements because his own progressive record is severely lacking,” Nixon said.
Nixon was not granted a speaking slot and received just about 5 percent of the delegates’ vote, but she said that did not deter her from appearing.
“I’m not going to be scared out of the room,” Nixon said. “I’m a lifelong Democrat. This is my party, too. I’m here to show voters that they have an alternative.”
Nixon will gather petitions to get on the primary ballot.
Cuomo, who answered a few questions from reporters, denied that the convention was a “coronation.” He said he received the overwhelming majority of delegates’ support because he has worked hard and has a lot of accomplishments. And he said the true progressives were in the hall, cheering him on.
“Who were those people in there, conservatives?” he said. “What are you talking about? Those are the most progressive people in the state.”
Noticeably absent from the Democratic convention was the Democratic mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio. De Blasio instead appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, where he was asked if Nixon could beat Cuomo. The mayor, who does not get along with the governor, said “unquestionably … anything could happen.”
Nixon trails Cuomo in the polls by more than 20 points and is considered a long shot.