“I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Working Families Party and inspired by the enthusiasm of progressive working-class members of the party,” Nixon said after party members endorsed her during a meeting at an Albany hotel.
Abbey Fashouer, a spokeswoman for Cuomo’s re-election campaign, said the governor’s “record of progressive accomplishment is unmatched.”
She said Cuomo has delivered for progressives by raising New York’s minimum wage, pushing for gun-safety legislation and legalizing same-sex marriage in 2011, among other accomplishments.
Nixon is challenging Cuomo in the Democratic gubernatorial primary on Sept 13.
Polls show Cuomo with a commanding lead over the novice candidate. An NBC 4 New York/Marist College poll released Thursday showed Cuomo favored by 68 percent of registered Democrats compared to 21 percent for Nixon. Eleven percent were undecided.
The Working Families Party endorsement could give Nixon a ballot line in the November general election even if Cuomo wins the Democratic primary. Nixon has not said whether she would stay on the Working Families Party line though the general election, potentially taking votes from Cuomo and helping the Republican candidate.
The small but influential Working Families Party endorsed Cuomo in 2010 and 2014, but after party leaders signaled that they were likely to endorse Nixon, Cuomo said Friday that he would not seek its endorsement this year.
Cuomo’s announcement came after two unions that are closely allied with him said they would pull out of the Working Families Party over party leaders’ support for Nixon.
Fashouer said the schism between the unions that founded the Working Families Party and “some of its member organizations” is unfortunate. She said Cuomo “stands with the unions who have left the WFP and no longer feel it represents the interests of the middle- and working-class New Yorkers.”
The Working Families Party also endorsed Jumaane Williams, a New York City Council member representing a Brooklyn district, for lieutenant governor over incumbent Kathy Hochul.
The formal nomination to put Nixon and Williams on the ballot will come next month.