Foss: Thank you, Gov. Cuomo, for not running for president

Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

I want to thank Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

Nearly two dozen Democrats are officially running for president, but New York’s governor isn’t one of them. 

Perhaps he sensed how little enthusiasm there is for a Cuomo presidential run, or felt re-charged by winning a third term and wanted to focus his energy on running New York. 

Whatever his reasoning, Cuomo has done us all a favor. 

The Democratic field is becoming downright cluttered with candidates nobody wants, and the governor has wisely elected not to join their ranks. 

The same can’t be said of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

According to the New York Daily News, de Blasio has decided to launch yet another presidential campaign that nobody wants. (Remember when Seth Moulton announced that he was running for president? Or Tim Ryan? Or John Hickenlooper?) The mayor will make his run official this week, perhaps on Wednesday, when he turns 58. 

Of course, I rolled my eyes when I read this. 

And if not for the stunning and unexpected rise of South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, I’d declare de Blasio’s campaign dead on arrival. If Mayor Pete can capture voters’ attention, why not de Blasio? That said, it’s hard to take de Blasio’s campaign very seriously. To describe him as a long shot feels charitable. 

De Blasio’s decision to jump into a race he has no chance of winning actually reflects well on Cuomo. If de Blasio’s run for president reeks of vanity, Cuomo’s decision to stay on the sidelines seems laudably restrained. 

But is it? 

As with all things Cuomo, there’s probably more going on than meets the eye. 

Of note: The governor has announced that he’s backing Joe Biden for president, saying he believes the former vice president can beat President Donald Trump. 

It’s a shrewd move, and might suggest national ambitions. 

Biden is at the top of Democratic polls and might very well be the party’s front runner. 

If Biden wins — early polls suggest he has a better shot than just about anybody — perhaps Cuomo would be awarded with an important federal job — a cabinet post, maybe, or an attorney general appointment. At the very least, supporting Biden creates options for the governor, should he grow weary of running New York. 

Former New York Daily News reporter Ken Lovett, now vice president of communications and Albany director for Metropolitan Public Strategies, told the magazine City & State that while it’s more likely Cuomo will run for a fourth term, “perhaps he’d be enticed if Biden asked him to be chief of staff, attorney general or homeland security secretary. Having been a HUD secretary, Cuomo in the past has had a ‘been there, done that’ attitude when asked about potential roles in the White House. But a high-profile role might be enough to entice him to give up thoughts of a fourth term and dealing with an increasingly hostile state Legislature.” 

Time will tell, as always. 

In the meantime, I’m just grateful the governor has spared us the spectacle of watching his campaign founder in Iowa and New Hampshire. 

If only de Blasio had the good sense to do the same. 

Reach Gazette columnist Sara Foss at [email protected]. Opinions expressed here are her own and not necessarily the newspaper’s. 

Categories: News, Opinion

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