Disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is reportedly considering returning to politics by running against his replacement, Governor Kathy Hochul, in an attempt to reclaim his position as the state’s governor.
“Cuomo, who reluctantly left office last year after denying the harassment allegations, has been fielding calls from supporters about a possible run against his former lieutenant governor,” CNBC reported. “His aides have been conducting their own internal voter polling on a potential matchup, these people explained.”
The report noted a new poll conducted by Emerson College and The Hill which showed that Cuomo was only a few points behind Hochul.
“The poll shows that if Cuomo, who resigned last year over sexual misconduct allegations, were to run for his old seat, Hochul would lead the primary field with 37 percent support among Democratic primary voters, while Cuomo would come in second with 33 percent. Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D) would come in third place with just over 7 percent, and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams comes in fourth with 4 percent,” The Hill reported. “Should Cuomo remain out of the race, Hochul would have a yawning advantage with 42 percent support in the field. Williams would jump up to just under 10 percent in the race, while no other contender breaks double digits.”
Cuomo would still need to receive thousands of signatures to be on the ballot by the April deadline, CNBC noted.
“Although supporters are encouraging him to run, there have been many leaders within his party who have said publicly and in conversations with CNBC that they are hoping he doesn’t run, after multiple scandals followed him out of office. The New York Times reported on Tuesday that an audit shows Cuomo’s administration failed to publicly account for the deaths of almost 4,100 nursing home residents during the height of the coronavirus pandemic,” CNBC reported, adding, “Still, the person close to Cuomo, when discussing whether he’s ruled out running against Hochul, pointed to Cuomo’s recent speech at a church in Brooklyn, where he said, ‘I am blessed, I have many options in life and I am open to all, but on the question if I am at peace, No I am not.’ Cuomo also used the speech to point out that multiple district attorneys did not bring criminal charges against him.”
Richard Azzopardi, Cuomo’s chief spokesperson, told CNBC in an email, “As the Governor has said since the beginning this was the weaponization of politics to do what couldn’t get done at the ballot box, and it’s important to him and his family that the record get set straight and efforts to rewrite history don’t succeed. As he has said all along, he has thoughts and opinions about the direction of this state and the Democratic Party as a whole and he won’t hesitate to make them known.”
Cuomo resigned last summer after an investigation from New York state’s Attorney General Letitia James found that he had sexually assaulted or harassed 11 women. Last month, Cuomo told Bloomberg News that he feels “vindicated” and hinted at another run for office.
According to Bloomberg News, if Cuomo “had to do it all over, he wouldn’t have resigned.” He told the outlet, “I never resigned because I said I did something wrong. I said, I’m resigning because I don’t want to be a distraction.”
“It turns out in a remarkably short period of time that it did become all bogus. 11 became zero,” Cuomo said. “If you do an honest summary, which is what I get from people on the street, I have been vindicated.”
11 has actually remained at 11, however. As reported by The Hill, numerous prosecutors “have emphasized that the decision to not pursue charges against the former governor does not take away from the credibility of the accusations against him. Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes last week said the woman who brought the allegation against Cuomo was ‘reliable and reasonable.’”
Letitia James’s office also rejected Cuomo’s claims from the interview.
“No one, including Andrew Cuomo, can dispute the fact that multiple investigations found allegations of sexual harassment against him to be credible,” a spokesperson said in a statement, according to Bloomberg News. “Only he is to blame for inappropriately touching his own staff and then quitting so he didn’t have to face impeachment. His baseless attacks won’t change the reality — Andrew Cuomo is a serial sexual harasser.”
The investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against Cuomo found that “the Governor sexually harassed a number of current and former New York State employees by, among other things, engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching, as well as making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women.”
The investigation also “revealed that the Governor’s sexually harassing behavior was not limited to members of his own staff, but extended to other State employees, including a State Trooper on his protective detail and members of the public.” It concluded that Cuomo created a culture “filled with fear and intimidation, while at the same time normalizing the Governor’s frequent flirtations and gender-based comments” which “contributed to the conditions that allowed the sexual harassment to occur and persist.”