Could it really be possible? Is disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo seriously considering mounting a political “comeback” and trying to take back his old job as Attorney General? There’s plenty of reason to doubt this story (as we’ll get to in a moment), but multiple outlets began reporting it yesterday, so let’s at least take a look. The story first broke in the New York Post and was later followed up at Mediaite. Other local outlets in the Empire State quickly began putting in calls requesting comment. But Cuomo is in the middle of a swirling, toxic stew of scandals and doesn’t appear to have a friend left in the political world. This can’t be real, right? (Mediaite)
Disgraced New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is reportedly considering a bid to reclaim his old position as the state’s attorney general.
“People in Cuomo’s orbit are tossing it out there,” a person familiar with the situation told The New York Post on Friday. “They’re floating it … and gauging people’s reactions.”
Cuomo, 63, left office in disgrace just months ago, resigning in August after current Attorney General Letitia James produced a report alleging that he sexually harassed at least 11 former staffers.
Before drawing any obvious conclusions, there actually are a couple of reasons to believe that this insane story could potentially be based on facts. The first would be Cuomo’s incredible ego. While he’s always seemed to be a savvy politician, he also inherited a kingly perception of himself from his father, who also served as Governor. Also, even though he has now been charged with sexual assault against a former aide (which you would think would be an immediate disqualifier), he could still survive that. All they were able to hang on him was a misdemeanor, and it’s going to be a tough one to prove in a court of law since there were no other witnesses to the alleged groping.
If he steers clear of that sexual assault charge successfully, there’s nothing legally barring him from trying to run for Attorney General next year. And he’s still sitting on 18 million dollars in his campaign war chest that he can use for any race he cares to enter. (And he’s unlikely to give much of it away to his fellow Democrats since they helped bring him down.) Since Letitia James, the current Attorney General, has conveniently announced that she plans to run for Governor after publishing the report on his misconduct that did him in, perhaps Cuomo sees an opportunity to be a thorn in her side if she’s elected to the top office and they basically switch roles.
But with all of that said, this entire story still looks like nonsense being generated by bored members of the media. First of all, the Post article relies entirely on input from anonymous people “with direct knowledge of his thinking,” and “people in Cuomo’s orbit.” Mediaite makes reference to an interview with New York Magazine from the same day where Cuomo was asked if he might run. Cuomo’s response included the phrase “I don’t know what the future holds,” which no doubt fueled further suspicions. But that’s what politicians always say when they’re questioned about their future plans. Nobody ever “rules anything out,” but that doesn’t mean they’re running.
A better source to consult would probably be Cuomo’s long-time aide and spokesperson Rich Azzopardi. Somebody finally contacted him and he denied the rumor, calling it “a ton of idle speculation.” If Andrew Cuomo had instructed him to keep the door open (in the event that he’s really thinking about it), Rich would have said something a bit more ambiguous than that, don’t you think?
And finally, we should consider the most obvious underlying question. Why? Even if he really stood a snowball’s chance in hell of winning, why in the world would Cuomo accept a job that would be seen as a step down from his former position as the chief executive of one of the largest states in the nation? And to top it off, he would be in a role that would be considered subservient to the woman who was the final author of his political destruction, assuming James wins his old job. Barely 18 months ago, Cuomo was being talked about as a potential presidential contender and being lauded by the media as the nation’s “shadow president.” And it’s no secret that Cuomo has long seen himself as a potential president, at least until recently. I don’t think his ego would allow him to back to being the AG at this point. I’m just not buying it.