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Liberal Radio Host Bill Press Slams DNC Chair: Endorsing Cuomo Over Nixon Was ‘Colossal Mistake’

• May 25, 2018 2:33 pm

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Liberal radio host Bill Press on Friday slammed Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez for meddling in the New York gubernatorial race and endorsing Gov. Andrew Cuomo, calling it a "colossal mistake" for him to take sides in the Democratic primary.

"Tom Perez yesterday at Hofstra University stood on stage and endorsed Andrew Cuomo over Cynthia Nixon. Big mistake. Didn't we learn anything in 2016?" Press said. "The Democratic National Committee should not be taking sides during the primary, any primary. They did it for Hillary [Clinton] over Bernie [Sanders]. It cost them a lot of support. It was unfair. They lied about it."

"Yet here they are making the same mistake all over again. There is no reason for the DNC to get involved in the Democratic primary in New York state. May the best person win," Press added.

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. Cuomo will face progressive candidate Cynthia Nixon in the Sept. 13 primary.

"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."

Perez's endorsement of Cuomo contradicts what he and DNC deputy chairman Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.) have repeatedly–since after the 2016 election– said about the value of staying neutral during primaries.

Ellison, who has previously praised Nixon, echoed those sentiments during an interview with PBS's "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," Ellison said. "That's my opinion."

Back in March, Perez appeared on C-SPAN'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 in the Democratic presidential primary in favor of 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.

Ellison affirmed his disagreement with Perez's endorsement in a statement.

"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. The congressman was not told in advance about the DNC chair's endorsement, according to Politico.