Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who resigned over the summer in disgrace over a barrage of sexual harassment allegations, is said to be considering mounting a primary challenge to his successor, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D).
Cuomo, who reluctantly left office last year after denying the harassment allegations, has been fielding calls from supporters about a possible run against his former lieutenant governor. His aides have been conducting their own internal voter polling on a potential matchup, these people explained. Those who declined to be named did so in order to speak freely about private matters.
After a recent public poll from Emerson College and The Hill showed Cuomo was a few points behind Hochul, the former governor received calls from allies encouraging him to run against Hochul, a person close to Cuomo said. That survey, which was published last week, showed Cuomo just four points behind Hochul with likely New York Democratic primary voters.
Despite Cuomo’s reported interest in another gubernatorial run, some politicians and pundits say he should reconsider.
“I think it would be a bad mistake,” Jay Jacobs, the chair of the New York Democrat Party, told CNBC.
Dan Pfeiffer, who served as a senior communications advisor to then-President Barack Obama, responded to a Cuomo advertisement, tweeting: “Go away.”
A recent audit released by the New York state comptroller could further complicate a comeback for Cuomo. The report found that the Democrat failed to account for 4,100 nursing home deaths as the coronavirus spread through the state. The New York Times said: “The audit found that Health Department officials at times underreported the full death toll by as much as 50 percent from April 2020 to February 2021, as Mr. Cuomo faced increasing scrutiny over whether his administration had intentionally concealed the actual number of deaths.”
New York state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a statement that the findings were “extremely troubling.”
“Families have a right to know if their loved one’s COVID-19 death was counted, but many still don’t have answers from the state Department of Health. Our audit findings are extremely troubling. The public was misled by those at the highest level of state government through distortion and suppression of the facts when New Yorkers deserved the truth,” DiNapoli stated.
“The pandemic is not over, and I am hopeful the current administration will make changes to improve accountability and protect lives,” he added. “An important step would be for DOH to provide the families who lost loved ones with answers as to the actual number of nursing homes residents who died. These families are still grieving, and they deserve no less.”