After feuding this winter, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio are now showcasing their friendship and mutual respect as summer approaches, a way for the mayor to convince the liberal Working Families Party that the governor isn't as conservative as he's painted. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
They joked. They bro-hugged. They unexpectedly strolled in the park, cameras in tow.
The public display of affection is meant for one audience: the small-but-powerful Working Families Party. The message? Concerns notwithstanding, the party shouldn't dump Andrew Cuomo.
"New York City, and the progressive agenda that we're pursuing, are being well-served right now and supported by this governor," de Blasio said.
Cuomo? Progressive? Not so, say many in what's known as the WFP. Cuomo loudly supports charter schools. He doesn't want higher taxes on rich New Yorkers.
The positions had both feuding this winter, making up after Cuomo OK'd city funding for universal pre-K.
For some, that's not enough. The party may pass over Cuomo for a yet-to-be determined candidate.
It could tighten November's election, but if the party doesn't get 50,000 votes, it loses automatic ballot access for the next four years.
Cuomo says party leaders knew what they're now getting.
"I accepted the endorsement of the Working Families Party four years ago. They endorsed the platform that I was running on four years ago," he said. "So there are no surprises here."
What's surprising is that after the winter's chilliness, de Blasio is warming up to the governor.
De Blasio and Cuomo like to remind everyone that they're friends from way back. The reality is, the mayor is also helping his old friend out to collect a political chit.
"De Blasio is looking to smooth the way for his agenda in the next six months to a year," said political consultant George Arzt.
Another way to smooth that agenda is if the state Senate were controlled by Democrats. Now, Republicans and renegade Democrats lead, with Cuomo's tacit support.
For the first time, Cuomo now says he would campaign against Republicans if they don't pass public financing of elections. He even met with the breakaway Democrats this week about reuniting.
As for public financing of elections, not for nothing, it's a pet issue for the Working Families Party. It meets Saturday.