As of mid-Thursday afternoon, no Democrats in the state had come forward with statements backing the governor, and party operatives were loath to discuss his case publicly. Many pols in his party have existed in fear of Cuomo since he won a race for state attorney general in 2006, outlived Eliot Spitzer politically and became the governor in 2010 with a pledge to tame Albany.
No Democratic operative contacted by POLITICO wanted to discuss the Cuomo issue on the record.
“Are you kidding me? I’d get killed,” said one in-state operative, who gamely offered to speak at length on background.
Cuomo has governed the state Democratic Party with something of an iron fist, which many New Yorkers saw as a refreshing change after the Wild West atmosphere that marked Albany politics under his predecessors. But Cuomo’s approach has also earned him enemies who have seethed quietly.
Cuomo has done little to help other Democrats, even in his own state, typically only endorsing candidates in races when it becomes overwhelmingly clear that they will win. He has aligned himself with state Senate Republicans in the past, though that ended this spring, when he disavowed them as part of a public plea for support from the liberal Working Families Party. His approach gave him an aura of independence, but it’s leaving him politically isolated now.
The press, which has often felt bullied by him, appears emboldened to challenge him now that he faces the biggest crisis of his tenure
Cautious to a fault, Cuomo is known to game out situations and scenarios endlessly, trying to see what pitfalls may lay around the corner. But as has been the case with others in the governor’s office in recent years, he suddenly seems to be overtaken by events.
As attorney general, Cuomo once investigated his predecessor Eliot Spitzer’s alleged use of state police for political purposes and was often accused of making tactical leaks in the case. Now Cuomo is learning, as Spitzer did, how lonely Albany can be.
“You can’t actually have everyone in the world hate you,” said one New York Democratic operative. “That was true with Eliot, true with Christie, and certainly true with Andrew.”
I've written this about Cuomo as I have written it about Christie:
These guys engender fear and hatred in everyone around them and while they're up and in control, that keeps people in line.
But once there's blood in the waters, all bets are off.
Now both Christie and Cuomo have federal prosecutors looking into them.
And while many politicos in both New Jersey and New York are waiting to see what happens in the legal sphere before jumping full-on to Christie and Cuomo, if either gets dinged legally, the sharks will circle and chomp.
And that goes for the press as well as the politicians.