Cuomo makes primary official

Andrew Cuomo

New York’s 2020 presidential primary will officially take place on April 28.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation setting the date on Friday — but he did not back down on the idea of consolidating presidential, congressional and state primaries on the same day in February.

In a release, Cuomo said, “Although I believe that New Yorkers would be better served, and more empowered, by a presidential primary occurring earlier in the year, I recognize that certain national political realities prevent the state legislature from passing legislation to accomplish that goal. Therefore, in light of the state's interest in an orderly election administration process, and out of concern for the uncertainty that would likely ensue if I were to veto this bill, I am signing this bill.”

Cuomo, in a recent radio interview, questioned how New York could be at all relevant in the presidential contest with its primary coming so late, suggesting a February date would be beneficial. “April 28, on the presidential primary, you are sort of in no man’s land, no person’s land, because you’re after Super Tuesday, so are you really impactful as a state?” he said.

It prompted a response from state GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy. “Here we go again,” he tweeted. “More potential changes to legalize rigged elections by Cuomo’s Democrat Party. This scheme must be rejected if they try to act.”

Cuomo says having two primary elections, roughly eight weeks apart, will reduce voter participation and cost taxpayers an additional $20 million. 

“… I believe that good government demands a consolidation of the state, local, and congressional primaries with the presidential primary,” Cuomo said Friday. “I have worked tirelessly to make the ballot box more accessible to New Yorkers, leading the fight to pass and implement early voting, and to make Election Day a holiday. … The state of New York is stronger when all New Yorkers participate in its democratic system, and a consolidation of all primaries is the only way to achieve that goal.”

At least fifteen other states have a single combined primary for presidential, federal and state races, Cuomo’s office said.

Statehouse reporter Joe Mahoney contributed to this report.

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