Cuomo has not said whether he still plans to run for a fourth term.
Quinnipiac Poll last week showed some cause for hope for Cuomo: A majority of New Yorkers don’t want him to resign.
“With Northam, you know, it was a little rocky for him at the beginning, but a lot of people liked Ralph and stuck with him. He was a likable guy,” said James Carville, the former Clinton strategist. “Andrew doesn’t have anybody who wants to get in the foxhole with him.”
For now, Sheinkopf said, “He’s not going anyplace.”
“He’s not likely to resign,” Miringoff said. “But I think it might make a reelection campaign a more steep climb than it probably already would have been.”
That number isn’t great. But it isn’t dig-his-governorship-a-grave bad, either.
One looming problem for him is that the fallout has metastasized far beyond New York. In Washington, the sexual harassment accusations are squeezing Democratic lawmakers who have been leery to interject — but for whom Cuomo has become a test case of fealty to the #MeToo movement. Republicans at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida recently held Cuomo up as a joke, while Bill de Blasio, the progressive mayor of New York who is his nemesis, has been skewering his alleged behavior as “terrifying” and “perverse.”
Cuomo, once accustomed to being asked whether he planned to run for president, was reduced last week and again on Sunday to telling reporters he won’t resign. Gloria Steinem on his side. Northam had timely controversies surrounding two other Virginia Democrats, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring, to deflect attention from him. And both of those politicians had friends.
Running for a fourth term, however, will be “problematic,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion in New York.
In Albany, legislators have already moved to strip Cuomo of his emergency powers related to the pandemic (which Cuomo on Wednesday characterized as the result of a mutual negotiation, something lawmakers bidding to reassert their authority amid Cuomo’s self-destruction quickly refuted).
“People say his career is over, but by what standard?” Sheinkopf said. It’s possible Cuomo’s career will wither if the attorney general’s findings are dire, he said, but “we haven’t seen a report yet.”
From all appearances, the implosion of Andrew Cuomo is near complete. Top aides are leaving his office, and new revelations about his nursing home scandal continue to drip out. Over the weekend, the newspaper of record in his adopted hometown called for his resignation, while two more former aides came forward with accusations of inappropriate conduct.
The 2022 primary, if Cuomo runs, is still a year off. The Quinnipiac poll found only 36 percent of New York voters want Cuomo to seek a fourth term. But 50 percent of Democrats want him to run again.
Indeed, for most of his governorship, Cuomo operated as if made of Teflon — seemingly impervious to scandal. And it wasn’t just his overbearing temperament that New Yorkers and Democrats across the country were willing to overlook. Among the catalogue of controversies Cuomo weathered: his former aide’s bribery conviction, “Buffalo Billion” and his office’s meddling in a high-profile corruption probe.
Even so, this year’s political climate may be uniquely conducive to a rehabilitation. More than a year into the coronavirus pandemic, conditions are on the upswing in a state that was marking close to 1,000 Covid-19 deaths per day during spring 2020’s peak infection weeks. The vaccine rollout has been clunky, but Cuomo’s office is heralding advances in the effort daily.
The sexual harassment accusations and claims that Cuomo concealed the number of coronavirus-related deaths at nursing homes have hit him harder than any of those past controversies. The two scandals are mushrooming at the same time, and the issues they touch — the coronavirus and mistreatment of women — are both readily digestible and at the top of voters’ minds.