- Rich Klein
EDITORIAL: CUOMO NOW VULNERABLE IN 2022
The continual public outrage, criticism from fellow democrats, the opening of federal investigations and widespread media coverage surrounding Governor Andrew Cuomo in connection with nursing home deaths tied to Covid-19 has abruptly changed the future of New York State politics.
In short, Cuomo - who has mostly been hailed as a national leader in crisis management for his daily Covid press briefings from March through January - now has a giant liability that will make it difficult, if not impossible, to mount a successful re-election campaign in 2022.
Until recently, the son of former Governor Mario Cuomo was considered a lock for re-election.
And, since taking office in 2011, Andrew Cuomo has faced no serious contenders to knock him out of office. But Republicans now see a crack in the Cuomo armor and their best opportunity to beat him in 2022. They are likely to launch continuous ads later this year about his handling of the nursing home situation long before the GOP chooses a challenger.
As for Sullivan residents and businesses, Cuomo has done little to make the County a priority.
Sullivan is often ignored when it comes to important, high level discussions about things like funding for significant economic growth or the handling of Covid-19 vaccines.
One also has to wonder if a previously-strong relationship with Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther has soured. Cuomo rarely talks about the area and has visited only a few times for mostly private events. His last public visit to Sullivan was during the summer of 2019 to promote the "Catskills Challenge" - which actually promoted surrounding counties even more than Sullivan except for his one-day visit that culminated in a luncheon at Bethel Woods hosted by Alan Gerry.
Sources also tell The SullivanTimes that Legislature Chair Rob Doherty and Cuomo have no relationship to speak of and that could be part of the reason why Sullivan has been coming up short when it comes to attention from Albany.
And that's beyond unfortunate as Sullivan is crying out for more vaccines and staffing help from the state during this pandemic - and with just a few weeks before SUNY Sullivan is supposed to open as a major vaccination site. In the meantime, South Fallsburg has a Covid positivity rate of 13 percent and no one in Albany (or the County Legislature) seems to consider that a problem.
Cuomo had advanced many progressive policies and legislation that helped soften the impact of former President Trump's policies that hurt many vulnerable populations. And, he started this year with a Democratic majority in the Assembly and Senate.
But with the nursing home scandal fallout, he is already in full damage control mode that risks interfering with his ability to govern effectively in coming weeks and months.
Lost in the mix, too, is an earlier investigation into Cuomo's connection to Crystal Run CEO Hal Teitelbaum and bundled campaign contributions from Crystal Run doctors/executives in exchange for the healthcare company allegedly receiving multi-million grants to build two additional Crystal Run facilities in Rockland County. Those investigations, that involved the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Orange County District Attorney, are believed to be ongoing three years later.
Finally, it's notable that, in 1994, a Republican named George Pataki upset Mario Cuomo (who also had served 11 years) and then Pataki served 11 years himself.
Is Andrew Cuomo's time also up after 11 years? And, if so, who in the Democratic Party is out there who could beat him in a primary and face down any GOP challenger?
The other question is if the Republicans have another Pataki-like candidate waiting in the wings.