ALBANY—More than half the 50 top donors to the state’s Republican party between 2003 and 2006 have given more to Cuomo and the Democrats this campaign cycle than they have to the G.O.P. and Rob Astorino, an analysis by NYPIRG’s Bill Mahoney shows.
Of the 50 donors who gave the most to the G.O.P. in the runup to the 2006 gubernatorial election—when Democrat Eliot Spitzer became governor after three terms of Republican George Pataki—28 have given $5.5 million to Cuomo and the Democrats for the 2014 campaigns, contributing just $435,000 to Astorino and the Republicans during the same time period. Another 19 stopped giving to any candidates, and three gave more money to Astorino and the Republicans, according to the analysis.
The finding is another illustration of how Cuomo has been able to box out Astorino’s potential donor base by appealing to the wealthiest New Yorkers on both sides of the aisle. It also shows how effectively the governor has created an air of inevitability around his re-election, as powerful donors continued to give to the candidate with the greatest chance of holding the office after November.
With a federal prosecutor looking into Cuomo's potential tampering with the Moreland Commission, with Cuomo's poll numbers starting to fall and with there continuing to be a steady drumbeat of negative stories about the Cuomo administration day after day, that "air of inevitability" is starting to look more like "air in the Hindenburg."
Yes, Cuomo's got the money and incumbency.
Astorino has no money and is still little known around the state.
And Cuomo's been unleashing so many negative Astorino ads that when Astorino is known by people, they may already have a negative association in their heads.
So far, Astorino has not been helped by the Moreland mess.
But Cuomo has been hurt, that's for sure, and the likelihood is, he is going to continue to be politically damaged by Moreland stories going into November.
Eventually, he is going to be damaged by whatever legal consequences come down from the US attorney.
Don't be surprised if some more money starts rolling Astorino's way soon.
Some of those people who normally donate to the GOP are going to return to the GOP fold to hedge their bets if they begin to sense Cuomo's in trouble.
And don't be surprised if the race between Cuomo and Astorino doesn't tighten in the fall.
I don't think Cuomo's yet in danger of losing the election.
But you can bet he's worried, not so much by what has happened so far but by what may yet come to pass.