Governor Cuomo Free and Clear To Run Again

This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.

The New York Sun

Governor Cuomo, with the nursing home and sexual harassment scandals behind him for now, could be poised to launch a campaign to retake office in New York. Early polling suggests that his candidacy might present a real challenge to Governor Hochul’s campaign.

In Manhattan, Mr. Cuomo’s lawyer learned Tuesday that the Manhattan district attorney would not pursue charges over his administration’s underreporting of Covid deaths in nursing homes. The district attorney’s office has not yet issued an official statement on the matter.


“I was told that after a thorough investigation — as we have said all along — there was no evidence to suggest that any laws were broken,” Elkan Abramowitz, one of Mr. Cuomo’s lawyers, said.

The Cuomo administration allegedly underreported Covid deaths in nursing homes across the state after issuing an executive order that required the homes to accept patients who had been hospitalized with Covid.

Mr. Cuomo’s Department of Health sought to deny a “relationship between admissions and increased mortality,” refuting accusations that the governor’s order had introduced Covid to nursing homes. They contended federal guidelines dictated their policy.


However, Attorney General Letitia James reported that the health department undercounted nursing home Covid deaths “by as much as 50 percent.” A Department of Justice investigation could still result in federal charges.

The Morning Consult reported that while he was in office, Mr. Cuomo saw a five percent dip in the polls following the attorney general’s report. Approval ratings dropped further after a former aide came forward with allegations of sexual harrassment.

Ultimately, 11 women came forward with allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct by the governor. The New York State attorney general’s office issued a 168-page report detailing and supporting these women’s claims.


“What these witnesses — and many others — described is not just old-fashioned, affectionate behavior, it was sexual harassment,” the attorney general’s report said.

Ultimately, after support fell away even among leading Democrats at the state and national level, the governor resigned. Even President Biden said, “I think he should resign.”

At the nadir, Mr. Cuomo was ordered by the New York State ethics commission to repay $5 million from a book deal. In recent days, however, the tide has turned.

On December 28, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office stated that it “cannot pursue criminal charges” in two sexual assault cases “due to the statutory requirements of the criminal laws of New York.”

On January 4, the Albany District Attorney’s Office announced that it would “discontinue criminal prosecution” of an alleged sexual assault of an aide. It said it could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Mr. Cuomo had been scheduled to appear in court in Albany on January 7.

With both county-level criminal investigations over, it is unlikely that Mr. Cuomo will face criminal charges for sexual harassment, the New York Times reports.

Although sexual harassment violates New York State Human Rights Law, further proceedings would likely take place in civil court, if at all.

So, could Mr. Cuomo be poised to mount a competitive run to reclaim the governor’s office in 2022? Early polling suggests that he might have a real shot.

Governor Hochul leads the polling for the Democratic gubernatorial primary by double digits, with 36 percent of Democratic voters saying that they would vote for her, according to a Siena College poll.

Attorney General Letitia James trailed Ms. Hochul until she dropped out of the race. Other gubernatorial hopefuls include Mayor de Blasio, Westchester County Executive Tom Suozzi, and Andrew Giuliani, son of Mayor Giuliani, among others, the New York Times reports.

With ample funding and a “clear name,” Mr. Cuomo could shake up the field were he officially to declare for governor.

In July, a Siena College poll found that 35 percent of New York voters were prepared to “re-elect Cuomo if he runs, while 56 percent would prefer ‘someone else.’”

Meanwhile, the same pollster found that Ms. Hochul has a 42 percent favorability rating among New Yorkers, with 28 percent of voters holding an unfavorable opinion of the governor.

In August, a Slingshot Strategies poll found that nearly 60 percent of voters had “a favorable view of Governor Cuomo and 72 percent of voters said they approved of his job performance.”

According to New York State’s campaign finance disclosure system, Mr. Cuomo still has more than $18 million in campaign funds left over from his last campaign and from subsequent fundraising. Ms. Hochul is approaching $1.8 million in funding.

With those polling numbers and $18 million in campaign funds, Mr. Cuomo might well be tempted to try again in the state where he was investigated for charges that couldn’t be sustained.


Image: Governor Cuomo after announcing his resignation in Manhattan, August 10, 2021. Reuters/Caitlin Ochs/File Photo

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