THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: Has Gov got a friend?

HISTORY IS BEING WRITTEN. We just had an election in New York City in which Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams won the Democratic primary as a centrist candidate. Adams will win the general election and enters the governing foray with a lot of advantages. Since, as we political scientists say, “The city is a creature of the state,” we should start out by examining the potential relationship between the governor of the state and the presumptive incoming mayor.

We know that Andrew Cuomo is a take-no-prisoners kind of guy who tends to see others as competitors. Now, however, things have changed. Cuomo desperately needs the Black vote if he is to win the fourth term he so wants. With a new Black, somewhat conservative mayor coming onto the political scene, some might think that Cuomo will be able to overcome his competitive nature and make a friend in the NYC mayor’s chair. Maybe, maybe not. If, for instance, Cuomo sees a friendship between Adams and outgoing Mayor deBlasio, that might be enough to put the death knell on Cuomo’s ability to get along with the new guy. On the other hand, the question is who needs who more. I suspect right now, Cuomo needs Adams more than vice versa.

Adams, of course, is a cop and Cuomo needs law enforcement people in his corner. Obviously, Adams will be coming to the governor with his hand out. It’s always easy for a mayor to say to people that he can’t give them what they want because of a stingy governor, especially since both houses of the state legislature are in Democratic hands. Adams knows what he is doing. His courting of Al Sharpton to his inner group sends a message to the white political community that they risk all if they give him a hard time. Not only that, Cuomo is tough on guns so the idea of a having a hard on crime, former police captain with him in his forays has got to be seductive to Andrew. But can Cuomo do it? I suspect that this is an even money proposition. Cuomo is what he is, period. If he wins a fourth term, he may well turn out to be the old Andrew. Can he make Adams into friend and can he keep him that way? Read more…

THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: Who knows who’ll run

LET’S SEE IF we can put ourselves in New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ head and figure out what she might be thinking right now. To begin with, let’s remember that in modern New York State politics, AG, short for Attorney General, is also short for “Almost Governor.” Let’s remember that Andrew Cuomo was attorney general before he became governor. Likewise, Eliot Spitzer was attorney general before he became governor. It is not unreasonable, therefore, to think that Letitia James might be next in line to accede to the governor’s office if Andrew fails. Now let’s stop kidding ourselves. We know that if she gets to that top office, she will be making all kinds of history. You can think what you want but you had better believe that she has her eye on the prize. There is, however, a big “but” in that proposition.

The reason why Ms. James has a shot at the top office is that Andrew Cuomo is said to be on the ropes. Some Assembly Democrats are thought to be anxious to impeach him and to stop him for running for office again. The Democratic leader of the Senate says that he ought to leave. That would mean that the office would be vacant and that James, who is thought to have played a lot of her cards correctly, would be the logical person to move up. There might be other candidates who would run in a primary but most people I talk to think that James would have some kind of lock on the nomination.

But a lot of New Yorkers still have fond thoughts about Andrew Cuomo. If the perception turns out to be that James forced Andrew from his perch, there will be a lot of people who might resent her and not vote for her. She has got to know that, especially since it is her office that is investigating Cuomo. If they move to bring charges against him, many people will certainly hold her responsible. So if you were her what would you do? There is no easy way out of the dilemma in which she finds herself. She could pull that old ruse and say that the trained professionals in the bureaucracy which she heads were responsible but there will be a lot of people who don’t buy that old canard. Read more…