The New York Post checked in on the New York gubernatorial race this weekend to see how Empire State Governor Andrew Cuomo is holding up now that he has a celebrity primary challenger in the form of Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon. If we’re only going by optics and perceived “coolness” of the Governor, not very well apparently. There’s been some typical state campaign maneuvering going on, none of which is particularly out of the ordinary around here, but Cuomo has reportedly been issuing threats and strongarming people across the liberal spectrum. And there are signs that he’s not as scary as he once was.
Gov. Cuomo insists he’d never dream of threatening anyone in his war on the Working Families Party, let alone going after the WFP’s nonprofit allies: “Punishment is for God,” he told reporters.
Guess that means his staffers and campaign aides were doing God’s work when they pushed several City Council members to skip a City Hall rally in support of the nonprofits facing the vendetta. More than half a dozen sources confirmed being lobbied.
And this follows Cuomo’s reported “lose my number” threat to the unions that had long backed the WFP if they didn’t withdraw from the party — which they all quickly did.
The allegations also ring true since the gov’s been bullying journalists, nonprofit execs, union leaders and elected officials for years.
Yes, Cuomo has allegedly been reading the riot act to the state’s major labor unions, City Council members and a variety of non-profit groups. It was a stark reminder that if any of them were thinking of supporting Nixon or casting their lot with the Working Families Party, he would have a long memory once the election was over and he was still in office.
Just for a bit of background, New York has a rather chaotic political makeup. There are the Democrats and Republicans, just as you find all across the country, but there are also some third-party groups who hold unusual amounts of power. The Republicans control much of the usual electoral traffic you’d expect, but they have to contend with the Conservative Party of New York. The CPNY attracts conservatives who find the state GOP to be far too RINOish and they pull a significant number of votes every election cycle, always having a line on the ballot. They frequently endorse the GOP candidate for most offices, but not always. (By way of disclosure, that’s my party.)
The Democrats have a parallel situation. They have plenty of registered voters, but they have to similarly contend with the Working Families Party. They were formed as a coalition of the socialists and most of the state’s labor unions. The regularly support many Democratic candidates… but not always. And this year they supported Cynthia Nixon, an act which Cuomo found unforgivable.
He quickly went on the warpath, telling the unions they could either abandon their support of the WFP or “lose my number.” They bent the knee and ditched the WFP. More threats followed for others who might have thought of jumping ship. At this point it seems as if Cuomo is becoming more obsessed than Nixon’s character on her old television show and it’s beginning to wear on him.
But why? As of last week, with Nixon having had plenty of time to tour the state and get out her campaign message, little has changed. She’s narrowed the gap between them a bit, but in the latest polling Cuomo is still leading 58-27, with an even wider margin in New York City. Yes, his lead in February was over forty points, but 31 is still nothing to sneeze at and Nixon is quickly running out of time to move the game.
So what has the Governor so frazzled these days? Is he honestly worried that he might actually lose? Or is he just incredibly annoyed that anyone would have the audacity to challenge him or consider backing his opponent? Either way, it’s not an attractive look.