Gov. Cuomo will be watching the elections closely

In a few days the election will be over, and just as we did after Hurricane Sandy, we will be picking up the pieces. If you were Gov. Andrew Cuomo, here’s what you will be likely to look for once the votes are counted.

First and foremost, you will want to look at the results in the close races for the New York state Senate. It is no secret that Cuomo has been doing everything possible to maintain the Republicans in power in the Senate. First, he failed to keep his promise to veto the redistricting bill that allowed Republican leader Dean Skelos to design districts where his members would have the best chance of winning. As the election comes down to the wire, he must be concerned that the massive pro-Obama vote in the state will pull some Democrats into office. It will just take a few of these close Senate races to give the Democrats the majority. So, in the very unlikely event that the Democrats take the Senate, Cuomo will have to repair some serious damage with his fellow Democrats who are not happy that he has gone as far as to endorse some Republicans for office. On the other hand, the group of misfits that runs the Senate will hardly be in position to take revenge against the popular governor.

Of course, there is also the small matter of the presidency itself. There has been a lot of talk that the younger Cuomo would like to be president, erasing the family curse which denied the Cuomos access to the White House. Right now, the presidential race is apparently dead even. If Romney wins the top job, New York is going to have some tough times in its relations with Washington. This will be especially aggravated because Romney’s highest priority is cutting the national budget, especially the so-called social or entitlement programs. In fact, Romney is talking about putting much of the responsibility previously held by the federal government back on the shoulders of the states. This is really going to hurt states like New York. We are talking about big money here; money that Cuomo desperately needs to run the state. Cuomo invested heavily in Obama in the last days running up to the election. If the Republicans should take the United States Senate, the news will be bad for Cuomo, because if Romney wins and the Senate goes Republican, there will be no one to help state Democratic governors.

Should Obama lose, the campaign for the next president of the United States starts the day after the election. Cuomo will be forced to start running immediately and everything will come down to Hillary. I am sure Cuomo thinks that Hillary really doesn’t mean it when she says she’s not running, but he can’t be sure enough not to start positioning himself to run just in case she decides not to.

 

Cuomo also must watch the congressional races. Unlike the self-serving nonsense that allows the legislative leaders in the majority parties to draw their own districts, a federal judge drew the congressional districts and allowed for so-called “fair fights.” There are several such contests in the Hudson Valley that could weaken Cuomo’s muscle in the New York congressional delegation. If it looks like Cuomo might be the next Democratic presidential candidate, those Republicans still left standing are likely to try to destroy Cuomo the way they committed to destroying Obama.

Being a governor is not easy. Cuomo clearly loves the game. He’s as tough as nails and he doesn’t suffer fools gladly. What’s more, he is committed to getting where he’s going. Unlike the recently passed George McGovern or the late Harry Truman, both of whom had a penchant for saying what they thought, Cuomo clearly plays every angle. He doesn’t like critics and will do almost anything to bring them around. Hey, maybe that’s what he has to do to be successful these days.

Originally published in the Legislative Gazette, 10/30/12

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