Actor and activist Mark Ruffalo on Wednesday endorsed Zephyr Teachout and her running mate Tim Wu in their uphill Democratic primary challenges against Gov. Cuomo and his lieutenant governor choice, former Buffalo-area Rep. Kathleen Hochul.
Ruffalo and the Sierra Club announced their endorsements at an event in the city Wednesday morning, citing Teachout and Wu’s opposition to the controversial gas drilling technique known as hydrofracking.
“I’m here today to endorse these folks because of their vision for the future, which is renewable energy and getting the state to 100 percent renewable energy,” Ruffalo said at a press conference in front of Tweed Courthouse. “On a whole slew of platforms and topics, I feel that at this point these folks are the most exciting thing happening in state politics.”
The actor, perhaps best known for his movie role as The Hulk, has been an adamant opponent of fracking, an issue Cuomo has sidestepped for nearly four years.
Cuomo has said he is awaiting the results of a long-awaited state Health Department study before taking a position. The study is not expected to be completed until after the November election.
Ruffalo delivered his endorsement hours before Hochul was scheduled to be formally endorsed at a City Hall rally by Mayor de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and a number of City Council members. De Blasio and Mark-Viverito are considered darlings of the left, as is Ruffalo.
Their endorsements were not unexpected. De Blasio helped Cuomo and Hochul win the contentious battle for the ballot line of the Working Families Party back in May. And Mark-Viverito introduced Hochul at the state Democratic convention.
But Teachout on Wednesday said de Blasio was “making the wrong choice. Kathy Hochul voted four times against the Clear Air Act. She’s a Keystone conservative. She’s not actually where New Yorkers are in general and she’s certainly not where our future is in terms of our environmental future.”
Wu called the endorsement “one of many scrambling efforts to try and rescue what is obviously a sinking campaign.”
And Ruffalo said he expects de Blasio to endorse Wu after he wins the primary.
“It’s a little shocking that a few blocks away from here, one of the great liberal politicians in the United States is actually going to be endorsing Hochul,” Ruffalo said. “But he made a commitment to support that ticket a while ago…. He’s doing his bit. But I promise you that when Tim wins the primary, de Blasio will come out to endorse him.”
Earlier Wednesday, Teachout and Wu sought to display their differences with Cuomo and Hochul on the issue of immigration. Teachout called for passage of a “New York Is Home Act” that would “exercise New York’s power to determine who is a citizen of the state, as well as lay out the rights and the responsibilities those individuals have as state citizens.”
Teachout and Wu have been critical of Hochul for opposing a push by then Gov. Eliot Spitzer to allow undocumented immigrants to receive drivers’ licenses.
Cuomo has also come under fire from some quarters for not doing enough to push the creation of a New York DREAM Act that would allow state tuition assistance programs to cover the children of undocumented immigrants. Cuomo has vowed to make the issue a priority next year. Hochul says she supports it.
Wu said in a statement, “As the child of immigrants, I know first-hand how important it is that America remain a beacon of hope and opportunity in the world. Countless people choose to become Americans and to become New Yorkers, like I did, because New York is America’s capital of opportunity—and for that reason, New York needs to be a pioneer of progressive immigration policies.”
He added, “We must welcome the best and the brightest to our state, as well as show care and compassion to those who came here because of the better life New York can offer.”
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