In the world of Albany politics, nothing is ever out of the realm of possibility. Scandal-scarred Andrew Cuomo thinks he can, once again, occupy the Governor’s mansion. Talk about chutzpah. This, despite allegations that he is responsible for the deaths of thousands of nursing home residents, that he used state workers to help him write a book touting his decision-making during the pandemic, and that he was sexually inappropriate with nearly a dozen women. The former Governor is emboldened because he has not been convicted on a single charge levelled against him. But just because Cuomo was not criminally charged doesn’t mean he’s innocent.
Hochul is perceived as weak, there to be rolled by a Legislature dominated by progressive democrats more concerned about NYC issues than they are about the challenges facing upstate residents. Legislative democrats have tacked on another 10 billion dollars to Hochul’s already bloated 216 billion dollar spending plan. Prior to Cuomo’s legal troubles, there was talk in Albany of him dumping Hochul as his number two and replacing her with a person of color more in tune with downstate sensibilities.
Cuomo used a Harlem church recently to test the waters for another run. Like any democrat, Cuomo realizes that to have any chance of victory, he will need the support of a sizable portion of black voters. When I heard this I thought to myself, what hubris, just another shameful opportunist trying to curry favor with black folk. For some unknown reason, Cuomo is loved by many black people. Maybe it’s due to the fact that, he too, is ethic. Also, prior to Cuomo’s legal troubles, there was talk in Albany of him dumping Hochul as his number two and replacing her with a person of color more in tune with downstate concerns.
It’s hard to imagine anyone with Cuomo’s baggage even thinking of re-entering the political arena so soon. But Hochul is vulnerable. The NY Post’s Bob McManus recently compared Hochul to former Governor David Paterson: “Accidental governors – inexperienced, unelected and with a thin independent power base – start on the outside looking in.” That may be true, but how much of the Party apparatus supports her? Aside from being the state’s first female Governor, Hochul’s resume is pretty thin. She served on the Hamburg Town Board for 14 years before being elected Erie County Clerk in 2007. Hochul was also a one-term congresswoman.
Cuomo must think the Democratic Party power brokers will line up behind him. As one Albany insider recently observed, Cuomo has 18 million dollars in his war chest. And in politics as in much of life, money talks, and Andrew Cuomo apparently still thinks a sizable portion of New York voters are still in the market for what he’s selling.