Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo is signaling to allies that he might be willing to run for New York mayor if fellow Democrat Eric Adams finds himself under federal investigation, reports Politico.
Cuomo, who resigned more than two years ago amid allegations of sexual harassment and allegations that his administration covered up the number of COVID-19 deaths linked to nursing homes, has in recent days begun to weigh in on the prospect of a possible mayoral run.
A new poll released last week looks at how voters feel about Cuomo, his accomplishments in office and the controversies that led to his resignation.
“My impression is that he is ready,” said the Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr., a former state senator and former New York City Council member who talked to Cuomo last week. “Nobody knows what will happen in the city.”
The idea came as Adams' campaign faced federal investigation, which increased uncertainty around the mayor's political future. People close to the former governor say Cuomo will not participate in a primary that includes Adams, whom he considers a friend.
Cuomo weighs run for NYC mayor amid Adams' woes https://t.co/pfSJz1Musr
- POLITICO (@politico) November 21, 2023
Diaz, a Pentecostal minister with social conservative views, left the city council after making remarks that were widely considered homophobic. However, he has remained a strong supporter of both Cuomo and Adams despite their differences on issues such as LGBTQ rights.
“I believe that if he runs, he will win,” Diaz said of Cuomo in an interview. – People need a leader. Although Governor Cuomo and I have our differences, we have had many fights in the past, but I think he has been a great governor.”
Cuomo could not be reached for comment, and his representative declined to discuss the boss's future plans. The former governor, who ran for mayor three times, will face a number of challenges as he seeks to clear his name.
First, Adams and Cuomo's overlapping support bases in New York: working-class black voters, labor unions and the business community will prevent him from running. A primary between Cuomo and Adams would split a successful coalition for both Democrats and potentially help a more progressive challenger.
First replacement player
“Even though it's difficult, he can still be competitive,” said Basil Smickle, a former executive director of the State Democratic Committee who remains close to Cuomo. “He has support in the African American and Latino communities.” More moderate voters support him.”
On the subject: You can now message Eric Adams on WhatsApp
A number of factors could make the environment more favorable for Cuomo's mayoral bid as voter dissatisfaction grows over issues such as the influx of migrants and public safety. Poll conducted on Tuesday Marist College, showed that only 37% of the city's voters approve of the job Adams is doing.
Smikle said Cuomo could gain an advantage if chaos escalates over New York's budget woes. “I think that could happen if the mayor gets in trouble with the law or the quality of life and crime, which is a concern for a lot of people, gets worse,” he suggested.
Where does Cuomo live?
Cuomo's current residence is unknown; he spent most of his governorship in Albany and Westchester County.
However, he was born and raised in Queens, lived in the city as an adult, and the only residency requirement to run for office is living in New York City on Election Day.
There has been an uproar in New York political circles in recent days after some voters received a survey testing various possible options for Cuomo's return.
The poll asked whether Cuomo should apologize for his behavior toward women and whether he would be a competitive candidate in a hypothetical Democratic primary against Gov. Kathy Hochul and state Attorney General Tish James.
“This is not just a study, this is a full-fledged test. They put their money where their mouth is, said Evan Roth Smith, pollster and founding partner of Slingshot Strategies. - This is expensive material. This is a thorough, thorough survey.”
Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi denied any connection to the poll. “The future is the future, and he often receives questions like this, which I think are due to the fact that many people have faced a crisis of confidence in government at many levels and now view the circumstances under which he left office as political pressure,” Azzopardi emphasized in his statement.
A polarized government is an ineffective government. Real solutions require real leadership. pic.twitter.com/DwYc8Z9Cyg
— Andrew Cuomo (@andrewcuomo) October 20, 2023
Cuomo doesn't mind
Cuomo, 65, has not ruled out the possibility of running for public office, although he has also been hit with lawsuits alleging harassment.
“Do I think I can run for political office again? Yes. “I think I have a lot of options, and there are a lot of issues that I’m working on right now that concern me,” he responded in an interview. “I’m not ruling out any of them.”
The former governor had previously considered the possibility of returning to electoral politics, but did not start a campaign.
Since leaving office in August 2021, Cuomo has conducted his own polls, including during the 2022 gubernatorial election, after a series of campaign-style commercials aired on New York television. He ultimately did not enter the Democratic primary, which Hochul won.
Kathy Wild, the influential president and chief executive of the Partnership for New York City, a coalition of entrepreneurs, is skeptical that Cuomo can successfully return to the governorship.
“He did the same thing to Governor Hochul in the gubernatorial race,” she recalled. “But I didn’t hear anything from him, no.” And I think at this point Adams can safely run for a second term.”
Friendship with Adams
Mutual acquaintances of Adams and Cuomo believe that there will be no primaries between them. “He is very close to Eric Adams and would never fight him,” one of Cuomo’s friends assured.
The Rev. Al Cockfield, a Brooklyn church pastor who has close ties to both Cuomo and Adams, said the former governor should aim higher than mayor. “In my opinion, Governor Cuomo should run for president of the United States,” Cockfield suggested a new idea. “The country needs him.”
Cuomo publicly sympathized with Adams amid an investigation into the mayor's re-election campaign into whether he colluded with the Turkish government and received illegal campaign contributions.
Adams, whose electronic devices were seized by federal investigators for several days, has not been charged with any wrongdoing. “I think they treated the mayor very harshly by publicly humiliating him,” Cuomo said.
On the subject: Eric Adams sued for sexual harassment: victim demands $5 million
Cuomo will also face a similar challenge with voters after his decade-long reign ended in scandal. Cuomo is being sued by two women, a former aide and a former member of his State Police security detail, who have accused him of sexual harassment. Cuomo has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Progressive critics of both the mayor and the former governor have taken a dim view of Cuomo's return to power, a sign of the challenges he will face in the city. “We already have one mayor mired in corruption scandals,” said Ana Maria Archila, co-director of the progressive Working Families Party. “We don’t need another one.”