Dems Participate in Pre-Primary ‘Candles for Clemency’ Demo in Cuomo’s Backyard

By Liz Benjamin
August 28, 2014 



A coalition of celebrities, Democratic clubs, candidates and sitting state lawmakers plan to hold a rally in Mount Kisco on Sept. 6 in an effort to push Gov. Andrew Cuomo to exercise his power of clemency.

The event, advertised as a “rally, march and vigil” by the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, is set to feature of a range of organizations, many of which have endorsed Fordham Law professor Zephyr Teachout.

Groups scheduled to participate include the National Organization for Women (NYS chapter), the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club and the Coalition for a District Alternative.

A number of sitting Senate Democrats are also either expected to attend or have given a signal they support the vigil, including Sens. Liz Krueger, Gustavo Rivera, Brad Hoylman and Jose Peralta.

At the same time, Senate candidates John Liu, Oliver Koppell and Robert Jackson have also endorsed the vigil.

UPDATE: Liu sent the following statement: “I am not participating in this event, nor did I agree to lend my name to it.” UPDATE2: I’ve learned that Sen. Jose Peralta (Queens) is also not participating, despite the fact that his name appears on the flyer. The same goes for Sen. Brad Hoylman (Manhattan, Chelsea area). UPDATE3: Add to the list of non-attendees Sen. Gustavo Rivera (Bronx), who called to say: “I’m very busy in my primary campaign and in my district.” UPDATE4: I just received a call made on behalf of Sen. Liz Krueger (Manhattan, East Side) informing me that she’s not going to be there, either.

Do you see a pattern developing here?

There are also a number of Cuomo critics, including Bill Samuels and former NYc Public Advocate Mark Green (who was one of Cuomo’s 2010 AG primary opponents), listed.

A flyer advertising the event notes that Ronald Reagan, as governor of California, issued clemency 579 times, while Democratic Gov. Hugh Carey of New York did so 155 times.

In addition to the flyer — with 1,000 being distributed around Mount Kisco, Bedford and the surrounding towns — the group is mailing it as well. The flyer notes that Mount Kisco is the “home of Gov. Cuomo”, and the vigil will be held, literally, at the house Cuomo shares with Food Network star Sandra Lee.

The governor has granted pardons — which is different than clemency — on rare occasion.

Cuomo issued three pardons to New Yorkers who had completed their sentences, but “whose legal status and rights were hampered by their criminal records,” according to his office.



  1. Hon. Eric Adams
  2. George Arzt
  3. Lance Bass
  4. John Blair
  5. Mark Benoit
  6. Hon. Rodneyse Bichotte
  7. Hon. Jonathan Bing
  8. Erik Bottcher
  9. Robin Byrd
  10. Hon. Gale Brewer
  11. Christian Campbell
  12. Gus Christensen
  13. Hon. Martin Connor
  14. Hon. Jon Cooper
  15. Wilson Cruz
  16. Hon. Laurie Cumbo
  17. Alan Cumming
  18. Valorie Curry
  19. Michael Czaczkes
  20. Hon. Bill de Blasio
  21. Jon Del Giorno
  22. Aries Dela Cruz
  23. Kyan Douglas
  24. Hon. Daniel Dromm
  25. James Duff
  26. Hon. Ronnie Eldridge
  27. Hon. Rafael Espinal
  28. Hon. Herman Farrell
  29. Hon. Alan Fleishman
  30. Hon. Dan Garodnick
  31. Dan Gettleman
  32. Jason Goldman
  33. Emily Jane Goodman
  34. Hon. Mark Green
  35. Tony Hoffmann
  36. Hon. Brad Hoylman
  37. Binn Jakupi
  38. Hon. Letitia James
  39. Hon. Corey Johnson
  40. Camille Joseph
  41. Phillip Keane
  42. Greg Lambert
  43. Dodge Landesman
  44. Phillip McCarthy
  45. Matt McMorrow
  46. Michael Mallon
  47. Mike C. Manning
  48. David Mansur
  49. Cathy Marino-Thomas
  50. Troy Masters
  51. Hon. Carlos Menchaca
  52. Hon. Rosie Mendez
  53. John Cameron Mitchell
  54. Donny Moss
  55. Barry Mullineaux
  56. Hon. Paul Newell
  57. Denis O'Hare
  58. Noah Pfefferbilt
  59. Josue Pierre
  60. Bob Pontarelli
  61. Billy Porter
  62. Hon. Keith Powers
  63. Randy Rainbow
  64. Hon. Jenifer Rajkumar
  65. Hon. Gustavo Rivera
  66. Hon. Helen Rosenthal
  67. Maer Roshan
  68. Toby Russo
  69. Bill Samuels
  70. James Sansum
  71. Scott Sartiano
  72. Hon. Arthur Schwartz
  73. Lynn Schulman
  74. Frank Selvaggi
  75. Rev. Al Sharpton
  76. Hon. Jo Anne Simon
  77. Tom Smith
  78. Anne Strahle
  79. Hon. Scott Stringer
  80. Wayne Sunday
  81. Hon. Bill Thompson
  82. JD Thompson
  83. Hon. Matt Titone
  84. Hon. Ritchie Torres
  85. Sam Underwood
  86. Jessica Walter
  87. Patricia Nell Warren
  88. Wil Weder
  89. Seth Weissman
  90. Mel Wymore
  91. Emma Wolfe
  92. Hon. Keith Wright
  93. Zephyr Teachout