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Cuomo says threatening primaries is destructive to party

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a radio interview on Tuesday warned against inter-party primary challenges in the Legislature calling it a “circular firing squad.”

“I think it is destructive,” Cuomo said in the interview on WAMC. “It’s also an aberrational political moment. You don’t normally have members attacking members. I don’t think it’s productive, I also think it’s dangerous.”

Newly elected Democratic lawmakers in the Senate and Assembly, frustrated with the state budget process, have signaled the potential of backing primary challengers next year to incumbents after winning insurgent campaigns against fellow Democrats themselves in 2018.

Cuomo himself faced a primary challenge last year against actress and education advocate Cynthia Nixon.

Sen. Alessandra Biaggi in an email to supporters last week strongly hinted at challenging fellow lawmakers in Albany following agreements in the budget that freshman lawmakers believe did not go far enough on campaign finance law changes and elsewhere.

But Cuomo also warned those lawmakers could face primary challenges themselves.

“Today’s reformer is tomorrow’s incumbent, tomorrow’s establishment,” he said. “When they go to run, there’s going to be a new primary challenger who is going to hold them to the perfect standard.”

He added, “It all comes around. It’s a boomerang.”

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