It’s been a cheerless trudge down the campaign trail this year for Andrew Cuomo, who has faced a spirited but underfunded challenge from Cynthia Nixon in the Democratic race for governor.
The greatest setbacks in the race for Cuomo have largely been of his own doing. Courtesy of the State Democratic Party, an outrageous flier misrepresenting Nixon’s position toward Israel was mailed out to Jewish voters. Curious about what other fliers the party has sent out about Nixon? Good luck – the party gave NY1’s Zack Fink the stiff-arm when he asked to see all of the party’s mailings.
Campaigning from a bunker with a relentless wave of television ads, Cuomo’s team can’t wait for tomorrow to be over. Is the governor even going to have an election-night party? It’s apparently a state secret.
An obsession with secrecy and payback has been a hallmark of the Cuomo administration – and it’s that culture that, in part, gave a green light to Joe Percoco, the governor’s former enforcer who is now facing sentencing on corruption charges.
"Just get it done" sounds great – but it’s also what led to the short-circuiting of the bidding processes on some major economic programs upstate. It’s also what led to flaws that had to be fixed in Cuomo’s signature gun-control law, the Safe Act. And it’s also why we had a near-premature opening of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, named after Cuomo’s father, Mario.
Campaigns sometimes bring out the best in politicians and their supporters but that’s not been the case this year. Trying to shift the focus away from the fliers, several unions that are backing Cuomo attacked Nixon yesterday for campaigning on 9/11 – ironically turning the day into more of a political football than Nixon did by talking to voters in Chinatown.
Perhaps the polls are right – and it will be a cakewalk for the governor and his team tomorrow night. But Cuomo is looking over his shoulder while relying on transactional relationships to get him over the finish line. Welcome to the year of the hammer.