DNC Chair Endorses Cuomo Over Cynthia Nixon After Pledging Not to Meddle in Dem Primaries

Tom Perez in March: 'We've been neutral ... I don't believe that we should be anointing candidates'

• May 24, 2018 5:40 pm


Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez on Thursday endorsed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his contested primary against actress and progressive activist Cynthia Nixon, after saying back in March that the DNC had learned its lesson by not "trying to put the thumb on the scale in a spirited primary."

Perez delivered a fiery endorsement of Cuomo during the New York state Democratic convention, saying the incumbent governor is part of the "accomplishments wing" of the Democratic Party.

"That's what governance is about: results. And you've been delivering results, and you've been delivering results that have made people's lives better," Perez said. "That's why Andrew Cuomo and Kathy Hochul are charter members of the accomplishments wing of the Democratic party, and that's why I am proud to endorse them."

"I'm proud to move forward with you," Perez added after listing other endorsements of Democratic politicians in New York.

Perez's endorsement during the Democratic primary contradicts what he and Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.), the DNC's deputy chairman, have repeatedly said about staying neutral during primaries.

"The Democratic Party should not intervene in the primary process. It is our role to be fair to all contestants and let the voters decide," Ellison said in a statement on Perez backing Cuomo. Ellison was not told in advance about the DNC chair's endorsement, according to Politico.

Ellison, who has previously praised Nixon, echoed those sentiments during an interview with Democracy Now on Wednesday.

"Personally, I think that the Democratic Party should stay out of all primaries, should let the voters decide, shouldn't put our thumbs on the scale for anybody," he said. "That's my opinion."

Back in March, Perez appeared on CSPAN's "Newsmakers" and was asked about the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee meddling in party primaries. Perez responded by discussing how the DNC learned its lesson from 2016, when many believe the party tilted the advantage of the Democratic presidential primary in favor of Hillary Clinton.

"When you have a spirited primary like that, one thing we have learned at the DNC is when you, in fact or in perception, are trying to put the thumb on the scale in a spirited primary, that can undermine public confidence in us," Perez said. "And that's why we've been neutral."

"I don't believe that we should be anointing candidates," Perez added.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D.) was asked early Thursday morning on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" whether Nixon can beat Cuomo in the Sept. 13 primary.

"Unquestionably," de Blasio said. "In a race with two prominent candidates and at a time where people are very distrustful of the status quo, anything can happen."