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Tensions over unity in state Senate continue

Matt Ryan New York Now

Tensions between Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the left wing of his party heightened after the governor attended a fundraiser to raise campaign money for a now-disbanded group of breakaway Senate Democrats.

Earlier this month, the mainstream Senate Democrats and eight breakaway members of the Independent Democratic Conference announced that they were joining forces for the good of the party.

The now-former leader of the IDC said he would still be raising money, though, to help some of his former colleagues who are facing primary challenges.

A fundraiser was held Thursday night, and Cuomo attended. That did not sit well with some left-wing party activists, the group Rise and Resist, who protested the governor, shouting “shame” and released a video widely viewed on social media.

“You will never be president!” a protester can be heard shouting as the governor passes by.

Cuomo’s Democratic primary opponent, Cynthia Nixon, has accused Cuomo of enabling the Republicans to keep control of the state Senate for the past seven years through his tacit support of the IDC. Nixon used the incident in a fundraising appeal of her own, saying Cuomo “just can’t quit the Republican Party.”

A spokeswoman for Cuomo, Abbey Fashour, said the event was “a Senate Democratic fundraiser,” and she said two Democratic candidates running in a special election on April 24 also were there.

The leader of the mainstream Democrats, Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, did not attend and did not view the event as a unity fundraiser for all Democrats. Her spokesman, Mike Murphy, said it was “our understanding was that this was an event for the Independence Party Committee of the former IDC.”