Here’s another brief glimpse into the inside world of New York politics as the clock winds down to the primary on Thursday. (And because this is New York, the Democratic primary is basically the general election.) The Mayor of the Big Apple, Bill de Blasio, opted not to endorse either Governor Andrew Cuomo or his opponent Cynthia Nixon. Not that anyone was waiting around with bated breath to hear Hizonner’s choice before making up their minds, but this was either a badly miscalculated political decision, a shot across the bow at each of the candidates, or perhaps a bit of both. (The Hill)
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is declining to make an endorsement in the state’s Democratic gubernatorial primary between incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo and actress and activist Cynthia Nixon.
The mayor said in a statement Saturday that he believes endorsing one of the candidates would be “counterproductive,” according to The New York Times.
“It will be my job to partner with the next governor and lieutenant governor on behalf of the working people of our city,” de Blasio said. “New York City must have a voice in state policy that shapes so much of our lives. I believe endorsing a candidate in these races is at this moment counterproductive to that advocacy. My vote Thursday will be between me and my ballot.”
Just to set the record straight, de Blasio endorsed Cuomo four years ago, so he made a “counterproductive choice” by his own definition. But this decision obviously goes a lot deeper than that.
First of all, de Blasio and Cuomo haven’t exactly been on cozy terms for the past couple of years. Both of them have been involved (but not charged) in numerous campaign finance and corruption scandals, frequently pointing the finger at each other. Also, the sorry state of many state services, particularly the New York City subway system, has resulted in a shifting blame game, with each saying the other is more at fault. They both have (frankly impossible) hopes of still somehow becoming the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, so there’s some obvious friction there as well.
Bill de Blasio clearly doesn’t much like Andrew Cuomo and it appears that the feeling is mutual, though they will share a podium now and then for the sake of appearances and party unity. So if that’s the case, why not endorse Nixon instead? Again, a political calculation mixed with hard feelings. Nixon has been doing plenty of complaining about conditions in New York City, most of which can be seen as judgments landing on de Blasio’s shoulders. On top of that, nobody wants to back the losing horse in a race and Nixon is looking at being devoured by a more than 40 point deficit in the polls.
But failing to endorse either candidate did give Nixon a golden opportunity to take a parting shot at both Cuomo and de Blasio, and she didn’t pass it up. Her only response was to say, “I think frankly it would be a difficult thing for the mayor to do, because we know how famously vindictive the governor is. If de Blasio endorsed, I would worry about the repercussions for New York City residents.
Ouch. She’s probably going to be beaten like a rented mule on Thursday, but Nixon may want to stick around and launch a bid for some other office. She seems to be getting the hang of this politics thing.