Democrats Miss Key Endorsement


Democratic mayoral candidates hoping for a boost from the Working Families Party won’t get one, at least for now: The party announced today that while “several candidates enjoy substantial support” within the party, so far none of the candidates “been able to put together the two-thirds vote on the WFP’s City Coordinating Council needed to secure our endorsement.”

The party—which endorsed Mark Green before the 2001 primary—and its affiliated unions were apparently divided among several candidates. Ferrer, for one, has support from the Transit Workers Union. Gifford Miller has the backing of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW Local 1500) and United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW Region 9A). Mayor Bloomberg has been endorsed by a few unions. And big hitters like SEIU and CWA, as well as the grassroots group ACORN, are sitting on the sidelines.

Technically, the council’s decision could be revisited at any time. But because Working Families has a ballot line to fill, they are beginning to circulate petitions for a lawyer and party member named Kevin Finnegan. So unless something changes, Finnegan will be the mayoral candidate on the WFP’s Row E in November. Once on the ballot, Finnegan’s name could only be replaced if he dies or is nominated for a judicial office, which the WFP could do.

WFP isn’t a major party, but in a tight race they matter: In 2001, the party delivered 32,551 votes to Green on Election Day. What’s more, the WFP endorsement is the stamp of a campaign that addresses the needs of low-income and working people. Losing that imprimatur is a blow to Democrats hoping to distinguish themselves from the mayor and one another.