Cuomo’s Primary Woes – By George J. Marlin

The following appears in the August 29-September 4, 2014 issue of the Long Island Business News:

Back in January, Governor Andrew Cuomo thought everything was going his way. His approval ratings were sky high and he looked forward to a huge second term victory that would enhance his national image.

But a federal investigation of his office and his “in your face” governing style has energized opposition on both the left and right sides of the political spectrum—and that could wreck his hopes for a big win in November.

On the right, pro-fracking, pro-gun and pro-traditional marriage voters are expected to come out in droves and could deliver a disproportionate ballot box impact in what is expected to be a low turnout election. Cuomo’s Moreland Commission scandal has given new life to Republican-Conservative candidate for governor, Rob Astorino, who’s proven to be an adept candidate despite his limited financial resources.

On the left, Cuomo has learned that it’s hard to keep the masses happy. No matter how high Cuomo raises taxes or how much he spends on education, housing, welfare or Medicaid—it’s never enough for liberals.

Members of the extremist Working Families Party made Cuomo grovel for their nomination—and his pledge to support their high-tax, high-spend agenda still wasn’t good enough for 42 percent of convention delegates who supported challenger Zephyr Teachout.

Undaunted, Teachout and her running mate, Tim Wu, entered the Democratic primary and have survived Cuomo court challenges.

In her first TV ad, Teachout described her ideologically driven perception of New York’s populace. She said “the people of this state believe in public libraries and believe in public education and believe in public transportation…. There are two futures. One future is a state with CVS or Duane Reade and Bank of America—really, really centralized power where people don’t have a voice. The other future is really responsive government—family farms, small businesses….”

While I’m sure most people have nothing against their public library, my guess is their main concern is jobs. And CVS pharmacies and Bank of America branches create more jobs throughout the state than public libraries.

As for owning family farms, that’s not the goal of 99 percent of New Yorkers. It’s the pipe dream of wealthy leftists—the liberal one percenter—who want to own large pieces of land in the Hudson Valley. They want to be perceived as environmentally sensitive farmers to avoid being labeled as decadent owners of great estates as the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts of a century ago.

Teachout’s platform is designed to appeal to Manhattan’s West Side lefties and the East Side’s radical chic crowd. She could do well on Primary Day, because the bulk of the turnout will be in New York City where motivated voters will be mostly disgruntled liberals. Cuomo should still win, but a strong showing by Teachout will make him look ridiculous and wreck his national ambitions.

Another Cuomo nightmare: Teachout’s Lieutenant Governor candidate, Tim Wu, beating Cuomo’s running mate Kathy Hochul.

Cuomo chose Hochul not because she was qualified but because she was from Western New York and had a center-right voting record during her 19 months in Congress. Hochul may help Cuomo in November but she is lethal in September. A Wu victory will muck-up Cuomo’s total vote count in November. While the Democratic ticket will be Cuomo-Wu, the tickets of the Working Families Party and the Independence Party will be Cuomo-Hochul. And because the names on the tickets differ, all the votes cast for Cuomo on the minor party lines will not be added to the votes cast for him on the Democratic line.

If this comes to pass, it’s possible Cuomo loses or wins only with a plurality, or a very slim majority of votes. Whatever the outcome, expect Cuomo to fall far short of the 65.6 percent his father Mario received in his second term election.

Cuomo’s “thug” approach to governing and lack of core principles may be finally catching up with him. And that’s a good thing.

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