New York New York. “You Want Him (Cuomo) Weakened So He Can’t Run”

The Andrew Cuomo brouhaha is the Scandal of the Week. Not only does it involve New York. It involves a premier political family in a capital of worldwide Media attention.

The allegations being leveled against the Governor are providing the headline seeking news hounds something to sink their teeth into in this post Trump era.

Joe Biden isn’t exactly the kind of guy upon whom tabloid sensationalism lives and breathes.

Governor Cuomo’s picadillos, whether or not true, are grist for the tabloid mill.

Excerpted from Vanity Fair 3.11.2021

Since the Andrew Cuomo sexual harassment scandal broke, the media has been rightly focused on the voices of three women who have accused New York’s powerful 63-year-old governor of unwanted sexual advances. But the scandal is entering a new phase, as political insiders war-game potential outcomes. For the past 50 years, the Cuomo name has been a New York institution. The prospect of the governor’s resignation or impeachment would blow up the state’s power structure.

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The most immediate question being debated is whether Cuomo will hold on to his job. Speaking to the public in a televised press conference on Wednesday for the first time in over a week, Cuomo apologized but said, “I’m not going to resign.”

Rumors have been swirling among New York Democrats that more women will be coming forward with new allegations. “The Cuomo people are bracing for another one,” a political consultant told me. Democratic political operatives I spoke to said Cuomo would be unlikely to survive if a new accuser came forward. “If another one or two comes out with similar stories, then he’s done,” a veteran consultant told me. Cuomo’s office did not respond to a request for comment. He issued a statement denying allegations of inappropriate touching and saying he “never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm.”

But barring new allegations, sources said Cuomo is likely to stay in power. “Impeachment right now looks next to impossible,” an Albany insider said. Several sources agreed that Cuomo looks to be following the example of Virginia governor Ralph Northam, who refused calls to resign after a yearbook photo emerged of Northam in Blackface. “The Ralph Northam playbook is definitely there,” the insider said.

Northam neutralized critics within his party by supporting an aggressive progressive agenda, including the passage of landmark gun control legislation.

Another reason Cuomo looks like he will weather the storm is that powerful Democrats aren’t motivated to push him out the door. On Tuesday, state Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs spoke out against Democrats who have called for Cuomo’s resignation and urged people to wait on the results of an independent investigation into the allegations. (Maya Wiley, who is running for mayor, added her voice to the growing chorus of resignation calls on Wednesday.)

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A youthful Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo’s most powerful rival is Attorney General Letitia James, who is overseeing the investigation. James is widely expected to run for governor in the future. Sources said that James’s clearest path to the governor’s mansion is that Cuomo becomes so damaged by the scandal that he chooses not to seek a fourth term in 2022. “If you’re James, you want him weakened so he can’t run,” the political consultant said.

Several sources said there is one factor that could imperil Cuomo, though, even if no other women were to come forward: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s call for him to resign. “She did it with [Al] Franken, she should do it with Andrew,” the veteran consultant said. The theory of the case is that Gillibrand’s call for Cuomo to step down would trigger Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to join her. “Gillibrand is the most powerful woman in New York right now,” the insider said.