With a big budget address to give today, Governor Cuomo has found himself at a tricky crossroads in a re-election year. While his own campaign account is bulging with cash, the state is facing a large deficit with a president in Washington who doesn’t seem to know the words: “Help is on the way.”
Meanwhile, some of the governor’s political allies are in potential trouble. State Senator Jeff Klein, who leads a group of breakaway Senate Democrats, is being accused of sexual harassment by a former staffer. In a year where Democrats want to be driving the “Me Too” train instead of following it, Klein’s controversy could become Cuomo’s headache if the governor wants to press for more sexual harassment legislation while Klein sits at the front of the table. It also again highlights Cuomo’s willingness to work with Klein rather than lead the opposition to his caucus.
On another front, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul could be facing a primary challenge from City Councilman Jumaane Williams, who’s talking about a possible run. Seeing Hochul face a primary challenge from an African-American politician in the city could become a distraction for the governor, who would have to jump to his lieutenant’s defense while dealing with his own campaign.
So while Cuomo has $31 million in campaign cash and strong approval numbers statewide, he has to deal with other people’s problems that could become his own. Meanwhile, he has a speech to give at 1 p.m. today that NY1 will be bringing to you live.