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Cuomo happy to gain Working Families Party endorsement

Zack Seward

Gov. Andrew Cuomo won the endorsement of the state’s left-leaning Working Families Party in a messy convention vote that stretched to nearly midnight on Saturday night.

Some members of the party have been upset because they believe the governor has not been progressive enough and they're unhappy with Cuomo's support for business-friendly tax cuts and charter schools.

Cuomo did not attend the contentious meeting, but he did send a pre-produced video, and some of the party members booed when he later phoned in some comments.

But the governor, speaking the next morning, says the messy process doesn’t matter, because when it was finished, he received 58 percent of the delegate’s votes.

“At the end of the day I won the endorsement,” Cuomo said. “And that’s what’s really relevant.”

Cuomo also seemed to take a step back from some promises that party members believed he made. Party Co-Chairwoman Karen Scharff says in a statement that the governor has joined with the party to “secure a Democrat-Working Families majority in the New York State Senate.” But Cuomo told reporters only that he would oppose Democrats in the fall elections who are against several progressive items, including the Dream Act and public campaign financing. Independent Democrats who co-lead the Senate with Republicans say they are for those things, but can’t convince the GOP to go along.

Before the vote, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urged delegates to support Cuomo.

Cuomo faces Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino in the fall election.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.