IT’S SO MUCH FUN to try to get in the brains of ambitious politicians. I always try to figure out what they may be thinking. Perhaps the biggest office available right now is the governorship, now occupied by former Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. She has a tremendous amount of regular Democratic insider support and must be considered the leading contender. I have consulted with my mind examination machine (MEM) about what Hochul and her competitors are thinking. So here goes:
Kathy Hochul: “Oh boy, this is tough. I have to be careful not to bite my fingernails off. Everyone is saying that they want into the race. Clearly, Letitia James is worrisome—she is going to have a lot of the Black votes, especially in New York City and probably even in my upstate Niagara area. I’ve picked a Black Lieutenant Governor, Brian Benjamin, from the New York City area but I am really worried that might not bring me what I need. Right now, the polls are with me but why are so many people jumping into the race? Does that mean that I’m seen as vulnerable? I suppose having more people in the race adds to the ‘anything can happen’ probability.”
Andrew Cuomo: “These people are really out to get me. The more folks running in the primary, the better off I am. I still hear from a lot of people who think I got screwed and that they’d vote for me. If there are enough people in the race, I may just pull out a victory. I am not the kind of guy who folds, and I scare the hell out of the political class in New York. I do wish I could have been a smarter guy when it came to women and to my closest associates who turned out to be crooks but I bet I can pull this off if my enemies play fair.”
Letitia James: “I think I’ve got this. I’m going to get the Black vote and my competitors know it. Cuomo will not lay off. It is just so obvious that he will never forgive me for my honest report on him. I am somewhat puzzled that he has not gone after Hochul, who certainly has been turning the knife in his back. I would have had this nomination if Cuomo hadn’t been forced out. The moderate wing of the party, including some Republicans, wants Hochul but Black voters are my strength, as well as progressive voters who will turn out for the primary.”
Tom Suozzi: “I’ve been looking for this for quite a while. I’ve had considerable executive experience. There are a number of Black candidates who just may cancel each other out with Black voters. Right now, not enough potential voters know me and I am beginning to look like a perpetual candidate.”
Jumaane Williams: “Hey, I’m an important figure in New York City as the public advocate. Yes, not enough people know me, but why not take a chance?”
Mayor Bill de Blasio: “Well, I can’t stay mayor. Term limits. My numbers in New York are hopeless but, hey, I need a job.”
Many others are signaling their interest. These are so called “Who-He” Or “Who-She?” candidates. It is clear to me that Andrew Cuomo is being watched the most. His enemies are really out to get him, with some good reasons.
It comes down to this. The establishment wants Hochul. They made their deal with her. They are raising money for her and they see her as the best bet to keep the government in Democratic hands. But Cuomo is still much on her mind and it seems that they will do anything to prevent him from running, including possibly sending him to jail. But every time they try to get him out, they are giving him additional attention and power.