As Governor Andrew M. Cuomo faces one of the most dangerous moments of his decade as governor, private conversations begin to unfold about what it will take to present a viable challenge against him over the next year, and who will be best able to is to deal with this at him.
New York attorney Jumaane D. Williams has held talks with allies over the past few weeks about the possibility of higher office. Party insiders hang on to every public statement made by New York Attorney General Letitia James, looking for signs of her future ambitions.
Handle the barrage of texts, calls, and tweets linked with every new governor controversy, speculating on what the political landscape would be if he ultimately fails to move into a fourth term in 2022. He and his team said that he wants to run.
These discussions are in the earliest stages and, in some cases, are rooted in hopes rather than current realities. But they show a growing sense of insecurity regarding Mr Cuomo, which is a remarkable turnaround from last year when some Democrats dreamed of putting him on the presidential ticket.
“Everyone who’s ever wanted to be governor started to say,” Oh, what do I have to do when this thing opens up? “Bill Hyers, a veteran Democratic strategist who led Mayor Bill de Blasio’s successful 2013 campaign, said this week.” There is a lined-up coalition out to defeat him. If he takes two steps back, his challenge is believable. “
Mr Cuomo’s government in Albany is facing a federal investigation and legislative reaction regarding the handling of nursing homes during the pandemic. Lawmakers and former employees have made a number of bullying allegations that raised questions about his temperament.
On Wednesday, a former adjutant released a detailed sexual harassment allegation that led some to do so Officer and New York mayoral candidates too request an investigation. His team denies the allegation.
And this week, a Marist poll found that his approval rating was up immersed below 50 percent, although other polls have shown that he has a much stronger position with the Democrats.
The governor’s unexplained future became public on Wednesday at a press conference at which Mr de Blasio, who has a toxic relationship with Mr Cuomo and faces major political challenges himself, did not rule out running for governor, a question from the New York Times. A former de Blasio employee recalled that a few years ago the mayor would mention the idea of challenging Mr Cuomo as a possible option (although the mayor has mediocre permit numbers in his own town and shows little support outside of it).
On the Republican side, Representative Tom Reed, a co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, has said he is “Seriously considering” One run, and party activists and officials have mentioned other possible candidates, including representatives Elise Stefanik from the Nordland and Lee Zeldin from Long Island. Your record of strong support for former President Donald J. Trump would be a huge drag on a nationwide race.
National Republicans are aware of the challenges of running in heavily democratic New York, apart from a significant weakening of Mr Cuomo, but they are closely monitoring the opportunities for this race, they say.
Any serious threat to Mr Cuomo would be more likely to arise in a democratic elementary school.
“Any elected official who does not respond to the people’s mandate deserves a primary, including myself,” said state senator Alessandra Biaggi, a sharp critic of Mr Cuomo, in an interview late last week. She said she did not believe that Mr Cuomo responded to that mandate.
“At the moment his leadership is not on target,” she said. “And I think New York deserves the best leadership and we run out of time. We run out of time with below-average leaders who refuse to have integrity.”
When asked if she would consider running for governor herself, she replied, “No, not today.” For the next year, she insisted “this is not even what I’m talking about” while managing the needs of her Bronx and Westchester district, which has been badly hit by the pandemic.
Even Mr Cuomo’s greatest critics understand how difficult it would be to challenge the governor.
He defeated his last two main opponents by around 30 percentage points each. He is a ruthless activist with a huge war chest and a long track record, and he has significant strength in color communities. Many New Yorkers have goodwill for its efforts to calm the state during the first few months of the pandemic, and it is unclear how much the turmoil of recent weeks will resonate with voters now, let alone how it will fare next year will develop.
“There have been many challenges in the past that started with perceived fanfare and ended in a bubbling water,” said Jefrey Pollock, Mr. Cuomo’s pollster. “The governor’s record as one of the most progressive governors in the country will lead him to re-election, first to the main victory and then to victory in the general.”
Democratic strategists looking to challenge Mr Cuomo are particularly focused on who can get in touch with black voters, a constituency that has been critical to Mr Cuomo’s success in the past.
Ms. James, who released a key report on how the Cuomo government undercounted nursing home residents’ deaths related to Covid-19, is the first black woman to hold office nationwide. She has led a number of progressive indictments in office and sparked significant debates among liberal leaders and strategists.
People who have known her over the years view her as politically risk averse and at this point are skeptical that she would challenge Mr. Cuomo, who was an important ally.
However, a number of strategists note that the attorney general’s position – as it has been for Mr Cuomo – has often been a starting point for the governor, and believes it would be impressive if he did not run or if his policies changed dramatically on Fortune . A spokeswoman for Mrs. James declined to comment.
“I know there are others who say the attorney general stands for” aspiring governor. ” Said Mrs. James In an interview with the New York Times DealBook / DC Policy Project earlier this week, she said she did not see her role as a “political job.”
“At this point, my focus is back on advancing the interests of the citizens of the great state of New York,” she said.
Then there are a number of prominent progressive lawmakers who have argued with Mr. Cuomo for years, such as Ms. Biaggi, who has been a particularly visible critic of his handling of the nursing home controversy.
Senator Jessica Ramos, another critic of Cuomo, is also mentioned as a potential contender in some circles. However, in a phone call on Thursday, she alluded to the significant financial hurdles any challenger would face.
“We definitely need a really progressive governor, and I’d love to see working people in New York band together around a candidate,” she said. “The part that I think is a very serious challenge is raising funds as we try to represent those who have nothing.”
Some progressives are also discussing the future of Mr Williams, the public attorney who is standing for re-election this year but has spoken with allies about the possibility of running for governor or lieutenant governor. It was believed that Mr Williams, who lost an offer for lieutenant governor by around 6.6 percentage points in 2018, would be more likely to retake that post if he runs for another office. Civil rights activist Rev Al Sharpton said he cornered Mr. Williams ahead of an event in honor of Rev Martin Luther King Jr.
“In my office, as I was getting ready to go out, I said to Jumaane,” Are you thinking of running for lieutenant governor again? “Said Mr. Sharpton.” He just smiled, didn’t deny, didn’t agree. “
According to a person familiar with the talks, the Allies have also reached out to Mr Williams in recent weeks to run for governor.
“Activists and people like us would love to see someone like Jumaane Williams run for governor,” said Jonathan Westin, who leads the progressive group New York Communities for Change. “If he ran he could really give him a run for his money in many of the black and brown neighborhoods in New York.”
Many strategists, officials and others watching the race do not expect the potential primary field to take shape for a few months, and Mr Cuomo’s many defenders across the party remain optimistic about his chances.
“Everyone is vulnerable, but anyone who introduces them does so at their own risk,” said Keith L.T. Wright, the leader of the New York County Democrats.
But as control over Mr Cuomo’s behavior increases, the broader question remains, whether others in Albany might start turning against him – how they turned against ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer, when he was in the middle of a scandal – or when many Democrats ultimately close their ranks.
“In order for him to be vulnerable, you have to come with the candidate,” said Sharpton. “There is a lot of bad press, but I don’t see the candidate.”
Dana Rubinstein contributed to the coverage.