Looking like classmates forced by their parents to play together, state Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Independent Conference Leader Jeff Klein joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a press conference on Wednesday to officially announce the reunification of the IDC with the legislative body’s mainline Democrats.
Cuomo emphasized the need to reunify as the state faces an oppositional government in Washington, D.C. However, it was striking to discuss party unity just five days after the state budget was finalized, a process in which Stewart-Cousins was excluded from negotiations.
I watched and live-tweeted the awkward but politically pragmatic lovefest. Watch the full press conference, or check out the Twitter highlights below:
.@NYGovCuomo begins presser on IDC/Dem unification attacking national Republicans, saying they stand against what New York is for. "Their agenda is diametrically opposed to everything that we fight for."— Grace Segers (@Grace_Segers) April 4, 2018
"We have a common enemy. And the common enemy is defeating Trump, and Ryan, and McConnell" in order to "advance progressive values that unite all of us." @NYGovCuomo at unity press conference.— Grace Segers (@Grace_Segers) April 4, 2018
Andrea Stewart-Cousins will become leader - Cuomo notes she will be first female African-American majority leader. Klein will be a deputy. (Cynthia Nixon called black women an important part of Democratic Party today. Coincidence?)— Grace Segers (@Grace_Segers) April 4, 2018
This press conference is striking, in part, because it did not happen before the budget. Klein is praising Stewart-Cousins in anticipation of her leadership, but she was excluded from final budget negotiations.— Grace Segers (@Grace_Segers) April 4, 2018
"We've been talking about unification for years. The question is what facilitating the unification now. And I think it was the exigent circumstances": Trump admin, special elections, "transcendent" November election, says @NYGovCuomo.— Grace Segers (@Grace_Segers) April 4, 2018
Cuomo, when asked how much he will contribute from his war chest to the state Senate, says candidates will pool resources and strategy across elections. This cuts out @CynthiaNixon, and IDC challengers, from the Dem strategy.— Grace Segers (@Grace_Segers) April 4, 2018
Democratic kumbaya conference takeaway: unification is a pragmatic move by all parties. The governor and IDC realize it's in their best interest to allow for unification as they face primaries - as does Stewart-Cousins, who will become conference leader.— Grace Segers (@Grace_Segers) April 4, 2018
Bonus tweet from Shane Goldmacher of The New York Times:
This was Cuomo's face when asked about Cynthia Nixon's impact on this pic.twitter.com/E7Lw1NJD37— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) April 4, 2018