ALBANY – With greater than $26 million in his marketing campaign kitty, accomplishments to level to and good ballot numbers, Gov. Cuomo ought to be cruising into his re-election 12 months within the bluest of blue states.
However myriad storm clouds dangle over the two-term Democrat heading into the brand new 12 months.
The federal corruption trials of a number of shut associates, an ongoing FBI investigation into his administration, a looming state price range deficit of no less than $four.four billion, subway system issues, in addition to continued anger from the left all symbolize potential potholes for a governor who not solely is searching for a 3rd time period, however is believed to have presidential ambitions.
“I can’t disagree with any of that,” mentioned Siena Faculty pollster Steven Greenberg. “There isn’t any query he’s the front-runner, however with an election 10 months away, nothing is a given and his reelection is definitely not a certainty.”
The governor on Jan. three will ship his eighth state of the state tackle. Days later begins the corruption trial of Joseph Percoco, a former high aide and shut good friend who Cuomo has described as his father’s third son. Percoco, who simply 4 years in the past served as Cuomo’s marketing campaign supervisor and chief political enforcer, is accused of taking bribes from entities with state enterprise.
Cuomo, who has not been accused of wrongdoing, has met with federal investigators. He mentioned not too long ago he doesn’t anticipate to testify nor does he consider what unfolds within the courtroom shall be a distraction.
However the trial, and what comes out about how the Cuomo administration works, shall be intently watched, Greenberg and others say.
It stays to be seen how a lot it impacts Cuomo since his ballot numbers didn’t take a success when the indictments had been handed down in 2016. A lot of the general public’s consideration additionally has been centered extra on President Trump and Washington, a number of say.
One other trial involving different former Cuomo aides and associates accused of bid-rigging and corruption tied to a number of the governor’s upstate financial improvement tasks is slated to start within the spring.
In the meantime, an FBI probe into the Cuomo administration’s hiring practices continues. Aides to the governor have dismissed it as “absurd” and a “charade.”
On high of all that, Cuomo in mid-January should current a price range plan in a 12 months that guarantees to be essentially the most difficult since he first took workplace in 2011 going through a $10 billion deficit.
With numerous federal insurance policies from tax reform to well being care cuts doubtlessly including to the state’s fiscal woes, all eyes shall be on how the governor and Legislature go about submitting the price range gap, together with smaller college assist will increase than throughout Cuomo’s first seven years in workplace and potential cuts to well being care and different areas of the price range.
One other problem politically for the governor comes from his personal social gathering. These on the left proceed to mistrust Cuomo, who possible will face a Democratic major opponent 4 years after little-known and under-funded Fordham Legislation. Prof. Zephyr Teachout captured 34% in a surprisingly sturdy problem towards Cuomo.
A latest plan to reunify the fractured state Senate Democrats put ahead by Cuomo allies and supported by the governor — and accepted by the 2 warring sides — did not quell that unrest. Liberal activists groused as a result of it will possible go away the Republicans answerable for the chamber by way of the price range negotiations.
However maybe the most important menace to Cuomo comes from the minor progressive Working Households and Inexperienced events.
Inexperienced Get together guidelines don’t permit for the cross endorsement of main social gathering candidates.
The Working Households Get together nearly backed a unique candidate than Cuomo in 2014 till a deal was brokered with the assistance of Mayor de Blasio, now a chief political foe of the governor.
If each minor events every nominate candidates apart from Cuomo, it might siphon sufficient votes Republican would wish lower than 50% to attain a significant upset victory, many Democrats and Republicans agree.
Cuomo has already scored the Independence Get together nomination.
Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi scoffed on the notion that the governor is going through potential pitfalls in his re-election 12 months.
“Even within the brightest daylight, some individuals can solely see the shadows — Merry Christmas Ken,” Azzopardi mentioned.