Sunday, December 21, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: Hochul Gets Shaken and Stirred by the Superwuster

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Forgive Tim Wu for looking like a martini-drinking canary that just swallowed a cat.

The candidate for lieutenant governor has what George H.W. Bush once termed The Big Mo, capturing the endorsement of The New York Times and generally spooking Andrew Cuomo's political team so badly that they’re calling frenemy Bill de Blasio for help.

The crux of the governor’s concern is the political viability of Kathy Hochul, Cuomo’s handpicked running mate, who has found herself in a tough fight with Wu, a Columbia law professor who until this summer was known better for talking about net neutrality than trolling the state’s 62 counties for votes.

But Hochul, a former upstate congresswoman, hasn’t exactly endeared herself to liberals for positions she has taken in the past about issues including immigration, gun rights, and the president’s Affordable Care Act.

Wu – whose Twitter handle is @superwuster – is someone who in a different political life would probably be hanging out with Bill de Blasio rather than seeing him endorse Hochul on the steps of City Hall this afternoon.

But the mayor’s actions speak more to de Blasio’s brand of political pragmatism rather than a lack of liberal credentials by Wu. Even though the mayor’s pre-K tax fell by the wayside in Albany earlier this year, he got the governor to fund the program. De Blasio is returning the chit today by endorsing Hochul, who couldn’t find her way around the kombucha aisle of the Park Slope Food Coop.

Rather than sorting through endorsements and campaign mailings, it would make sense to see these two largely unknown candidates appear in a debate. That’s why NY1 and Time Warner Cable News invited both of them to appear tonight to square off in what would certainly be an informative forum. Sadly, we’ve only heard back from Wu – who apparently will appear in our studios tonight on his own.

It’s unclear what Hochul has against debates; after all, she took part in a Time Warner debate when she was up for re-election in 2012 and hasn’t ducked opponents in the past.

Meanwhile, Cuomo is counting down the days before the Democratic primary will be over next week. He just hopes Hochul will still be at his side next Wednesday -- while Tim Wu will be back home with a martini in his hand.

Bob Hardt

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