New York should have never been a battlefront—a state that Joe Biden won by 23 points and Obama by 27 points. But a combination of redistricting chaos, a disgraced former governor, and anticipated low turnout has turned New York’s gubernatorial contest into an uncomfortably tight race.
At the same time, New York’s grassroots party, the Working Families Party, is in another party qualification year after Andrew Cuomo nearly tripled the ballot qualification threshold in an attempt to disqualify the WFP. But in his attempts to kill the party, he ended up making the WFP even more influential as one of only four remaining parties with a ballot line in New York.
Now, New York Democrats will need progressives in their corner—and the Working Families Party, in particular—if they hope to pull out a victory on Tuesday.
Governor Kathy Hochul’s campaign hasn’t exactly lit a fire under people, as she’s largely stayed away from the kind of bread-and-butter economic issues that would energize working-class voters and voters of color—issues including a higher minimum wage, investments in SUNY and CUNY, and more affordable housing and health care. Instead, far-right Republican Lee Zeldin has been able to dictate the terms of the debate by weaponizing fears of rising crime, in line with other Republicans across the country.
That’s where the Working Families Party comes in. Voting for Kathy Hochul and for Antonio Delgado for lieutenant governor on the WFP line gives voters an affirmative case for showing up to the polls. When voters cast their ballot on the WFP line, they’re saying they want a New York that invests in affordable housing, expands health care for all New Yorkers, and stands up for workers and their unions.
Zeldin has enlisted the aid of far-right Governors Ron DeSantis and Glenn Youngkin to stump for him in the final week of the campaign. If that isn’t enough to tell you the kind of governor he aspires to be, take a close look at his voting record. Zeldin joined Trump and his buddies in voting to overturn the results of the 2020 election. He supported gutting the Affordable Care Act and Social Security. And as a state legislator, he voted against raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour (it’s $15 an hour currently).
In one of his most reprehensible and fearmongering ads, Zeldin uses security footage of 34-year-old Saheed Vassell in his last moments of life, before he was shot 10 times by NYPD officers. Saheed’s family have called on Zeldin to take down the ad, which they have called “criminalizing and dehumanizing,” but the Zeldin campaign has neither removed it nor apologized to the grieving family.
By voting on the WFP line for Hochul, New Yorkers can roundly reject Zeldin’s dangerous brand of politics and send a clear message to Democratic leaders that they need to deliver for working New Yorkers. Your vote also ensures that the WFP can preserve its ballot line for the many critical fights ahead.