I TOLD YOU what was going to happen.
Andrew Cuomo appears to be off the hook. He will not be impeached. He will not resign. Unless something really dramatic happens, he will use his millions to run for the fourth term once denied to his father and he will win reelection. If Congressman Lee Zeldin is his only opponent, the Republican will be creamed. The New York Republicans are so timid and so under the thumb of Donald Trump that they will basically give up. Some Republicans know what is going to happen and they aren’t happy about the prospects.
It was pretty clear to me that Speaker Carl Heastie, who is one smart politician, will never have the internal resources to go after Cuomo. The governor is a take-no-prisoners politician with a very long memory. He would never forgive Heastie if the younger, aggressive Assembly Democrats try to impeach the governor. That was clear to me on day one. In the meantime, the Senate Democrats who want Cuomo gone will not be able to remove him no matter how much they want to. In New York, governors are very important.
I don’t think that Joe Biden wants anything to do with Cuomo and his troubles. Why would he? He’s already got his hands full. Cuomo’s potential as a presidential candidate would seem nil but never underestimate what his chutzpah and aggressiveness will lead to. Just look at his two top lieutenants’ stealing and criminal behavior. You can shake your head and try to figure out how Cuomo, who both hired them and depended on them, got away scot free. I’ll never forget the day that then U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced the indictment of Percoco and basically said that Andrew was not involved.
As for New York State Attorney General Tish James, Andrew’s ability to survive spells real trouble for her. Now that impeachment seems off the table, the AG’s so-called investigation is next up. Cuomo and his most aggressive spokesman, Rich Azzopardi, have already accused James of trying to undermine the governor because of her own political ambitions. People always ask me how I know James is ambitious. The very fact that she ran for and won the attorney general’s job shows her ambition. What in the world would make anyone think that if you had the ambition to be attorney general, you wouldn’t have similar ambition to be governor? Does anyone really believe that James’ alleged forays into gubernatorial waters will ever, ever be forgotten by Tough Guy Andrew? If anyone thinks that Andrew will forget what James is allegedly doing now, I think they may be in need of some psychiatric help.
The Republicans think that George Pataki phenomenon might just reassert itself in the coming gubernatorial rounds. In 1994, Pataki won and denied Mario his fourth term, but it was a national Republican year and there were proportionally more Republicans in the state than there are now. Pataki was a “who-he?” if I ever saw one. But he was a moderate, while the apparent Republican candidate is a Trumper with no real chance of winning in blue state New York. If Republican Rob Astorino primaries Lee Zeldin and wins, there is an outside chance that Cuomo will have a real flight on his hands. There is also Cuomo’s problem with the Working Families Party. If this progressive community splits the usual Democratic vote, Cuomo could be in real trouble. I am here to tell you that Cuomo will be opposed by the Working Families people and while they are usually right about their political positions, they are a tough group and they have a history of anti-Cuomo venom. However, if there is a single politician in New York State who has the knowledge and the will to fight the WFP with gusto, it is Andrew Cuomo. Let the games begin.
(This column was written before Attorney James’ report was released this week. –Ed.)