Appalling dirty tricks near the end of the Cuomo-Nixon race

Politics in New York State (and particularly in the Big Apple) has never been known for being particularly pleasant or steering toward the high ground. But even in a place like this, the last minute attack on gubernatorial challenger Cynthia Nixon ahead of Thursday’s primary vote is about as down and dirty as it gets. The state Democratic Committee sent out a mailer on Thursday making all manner of accusations of antisemitism against Nixon, none of which can be substantiated. Even the New York Times (who wound up endorsing Cuomo) described it as “a disgrace” and “sleazy.”

Days before Mr. Cuomo’s primary race for re-election on Thursday, the New York State Democratic Committee has sent voters a campaign mailer falsely accusing his challenger, Cynthia Nixon, of being “silent on the rise of anti-Semitism.”

It says she supports the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel over its treatment of Palestinians. She does not. It accuses Ms. Nixon of opposing funding yeshivas, private religious schools attended by many of the city’s Orthodox Jews. She has never said that.

“With anti-Semitism and bigotry on the rise, we can’t take a chance,” the mailer reads. “Re-Elect Governor Andrew Cuomo.”

When asked for an explanation, Cuomo said he didn’t know about the mailer and hadn’t seen it. The Times editorial board said that his claim “strains credulity” but in this case I’m not so sure. The paper makes the case that Cuomo is the titular head of the party in New York and anything that happens on his watch is his responsibility. In the most general terms, that’s probably true. But it also doesn’t mean that he approves each and every memo that goes out inside the machinery of the Democratic Party in New York.

Also, the executive director of the state Democrats, Geoff Berman, already fessed up to the mailer, saying that it was “a mistake and is inappropriate.” He further offered to send out another mailer to the same list of recipients at the party’s expense, allowing Nixon to specify the content. A fat lot of good that will do at this point. By the time they got the new mailer designed, printed and in the mail, it probably wouldn’t arrive until after the election anyway. But the point is, this looks like something that was cooked up in the party headquarters, not in the Governor’s mansion.

The other factor that would seem to clear Cuomo of direct responsibility is the question of why he would bother and risk such a dirty maneuver when there’s zero need for it. A dirty trick like that typically comes from a campaign looking at almost certain defeat and swinging for the fences in search of a last minute miracle. Cuomo is in precisely the opposite position. The last round of polling in this race was released this weekend, doubtless taken to see if the candidates’ single debate had moved the needle for Nixon at all. Turns out that it did, but in the wrong direction. Cuomo is trouncing her even more badly than he was before. (NY Post)

Two-term incumbent Andrew Cuomo holds a yawning 41 point lead over rival Cynthia Nixon heading into Thursday’s Democratic primary election for governor, according to a new poll released Monday.

Cuomo has extended his lead over actress-activist Nixon 63 percent to 22 percent among likely Democratic primary voters in the Siena College survey, up from 60 percent to 29 percent at the end of July.

At this point, Nixon is almost doing worse than she would as a write-in candidate. In the Big Apple (which was supposed to be Nixon’s strongest region where her name recognition is the highest) she’s losing 68-18. The area where she’s doing the best is upstate, and even there she’s getting whomped 59-27. She’s losing among men by more than 30 points and by 48 among women. She doesn’t come within 20 in any demographic being measured.

With all that in mind, why would Cuomo greenlight such a despicable stunt which was obviously destined to be exposed to the public? I may not agree with Cuomo on virtually any policy position, but even I will admit that the man isn’t stupid when it comes to politics. This attack was cooked up by some of the state party leaders on their own and somebody’s head should (figuratively) roll over this.