By LOUIS FLORES
With 30 days until the November general election, the candidates for New York's governorship were campaigning in earnest this week-end.
The Democratic and Republican candidates, nominally holding the most campaign cash, demonstrated how big money donors in New York state politics have primarily rallied around the incumbent neoliberal administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. As of Friday, Gov. Cuomo sat on a campaign finance account with over $23 million at his disposal, whilst Rob Astorino had just over $1 million on-hand, Newsday reported. These figures do not include respective state party committee campaign accounts or other, independent spending group resources.
Notwithstanding the vast gap in fundraising between the top two candidates, the third-party candidates were making up for their more modest financial resources by taking their message to voters. The candidates for the Sapient Party and the Liberterian Party, for example, released new outreach videos over YouTube. The Green Party candidate, for his part, was commended for articulating a concrete vision for his policy proposals when compared with Gov. Cuomo, whose campaign Web site, in turn, accorded "zero words to policy proposals," according to a report in The New York Times. Government reform activists support Mr. Hawkins' clear call for a ban on fracking, his support for a single-payer healthcare system, and his demand for a $15/hour minimum wage, for example.
Here is a round-up of this week-end's campaigning for the major candidates :
Steven Cohn (Sapient Party) : Mr. Cohn released a new campaign video on YouTube in which the gubernatorial candidate promised to create a government that would be "responsive" to its citizens. The Sapient Party's on-line campaign contribution link was not functioning this week-end.
Howie Hawkins (Green Party) : Mr. Hawkins tried to enter a Cuomo campaign stop in Syracuse on Saturday, but Mr. Hawkins was denied entry. Mr. Hawkins tweeted that the Green Party would truly champion for women's equality, instead of Gov. Cuomo's politically-expedient group, the Women's Equality Party. The Cuomo campaign's desire to bar opponents from campaign events, where opponents might challenge the integrity of the Women's Equality Party, prompted Mr. Hawkins' campaign manager to deride Gov. Cuomo as an "emperor." All week-end, Mr. Hawkins' campaign volunteers were scheduled to distribute flyers to voters, including at the Jackson Heights farmers' market. In a sign that Gov. Cuomo is dealing with a very angry electorate this year, a Friday report indicated that Mr. Hawkins had thus far raised five times as much money during this year's governorship race than during his entire previous gubernatorial campaign four years ago. Campaign contributions can be made online via Nationbuilder.
Michael McDermott (Libertarian Party) : Before the start of the week-end, the McDermott campaign released a new campaign video in which he criticized the corrupt, two-party control over government. To raise money, the McDermott campaign has launched a Go Fund Me page.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Democratic Party) : The incumbent candidate participated in a women's issues bus tour this week-end in which Gov. Cuomo used his political operative, former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, to lend optical credence to the Women's Equality Party. However, Gov. Cuomo committed a gaffe when he described former Speaker Quinn as an "Energizer bunny," invoking an image some critics of Gov. Cuomo found to be sexist.
Rob Astorino (Republican Party) : While Gov. Cuomo was touting his astroturf women's political party this week-end, the Astorino campaign organized a mobile billboard towed by a pickup truck to follow the Cuomo campaign bus. The mobile billboard questioned Gov. Cuomo's commitment to women's rights. On Sunday, Mr. Astorino appeared at the Refuge Church of God in Brooklyn in an attempt to shore up his appeal to minority voters.