Gov. Cuomo, who, according to a recent poll, is winning his bitter feud with Mayor de Blasio, is upping the ante by becoming personally involved in recruiting potential candidates to oust the mayor — and he apparently doesn’t mind people knowing it, The Post has learned.
Cuomo has assigned state Democratic Committee Executive Director Basil Smikle Jr., a Harlem resident with strong ties to African-American politicians, to help lead the effort.
Smikle has already held preliminary talks with several possible challengers, including Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn and city Comptroller Scott Stringer, an influential Democratic insider who knows Cuomo and de Blasio told The Post.
“It’s my view based on what I see going on that not only does Cuomo want de Blasio to lose in 2017, he wants people to know that he’ll be having something to do with it,’’ the insider, who demanded anonymity, told The Post.
“There are all sorts of people out there preparing to run against de Blasio, but the governor is trying to make sure that you don’t wind up with five of them, splitting the [anti-de Blasio] vote.
“That’s why he has Smikle out there talking to people, trying to find the right candidate. It’s ongoing,’’ the activist continued.
You can bet whomever Cuomo "recruits" will be a pro-charter, anti-teacher candidate.
Jeffries already fits that description.
As for Stringer, well, he's flexible, you know?
Given the troubles Cuomo's got right now with the Buffalo Billion/SUNY corruption case, Cuomo's scheme may not get the kind of attention he wants it to get.
But make no mistake, Cuomo wants de Blasio destroyed and will lead the effort to do so.
Says a lot about Cuomo that this is the kind of thing he puts effort into, doesn't it?