We’re going to need a life guard

By Alan S. Chartock | October 16, 2021

So many potential aspirants for the New York governor’s job are rumored to be entering the pool, we’re going to need a life guard. One thing is for sure — the Kathy Hochul crowd knows that they will have to fight like hell to keep the job. Interestingly, the competent governor has not been attacked by Cuomo, who seems to have reserved his fire for Attorney General Letitia James. It may well be that Cuomo sees Hochul as the loser in an upcoming primary and James as the potential winner. Of course, it was James who brought him down with her now famous report on his sexual misconduct. So here is a partial list of possible entrants into the gubernatorial primary.

Kathy Hochul. She has the bulk of the big shots, both Republicans and Democrats, behind her. We are talking about people like Alfonse D’Amato and his cronies as well as the business big shots, one of whom (I like her) has been calling me to complain about my just calling Hochul “competent.” It seems to me that competent is not a bad word. The combined insider crowd who believe that it was they who drove Cuomo out have bet all their marbles on Hochul. They are nothing if not combative to anyone who might rain on their parade. Ironically, that kind of “my way or the highway” attitude is not only Cuomoesque in its heavy handedness, but it will surely prove to be a turnoff to New Yorkers who will be looking for something different.

Letitia James. She is certainly the big kahuna. She has it all. She is an excellent speaker and has done a first-rate job as Attorney General. She has proven that she is no one’s fool. She has undertaken a state-wide speaking tour that certainly smells candidate-like. If I had to put my money on a winner, I’d bet on Letitia James. She’s from New York, she is Black and most of all, she has proven that she is her own person and that she doesn’t suffer fools gladly. There must be tremendous pressure on her not to run. I hope that she resists.

Tom Suozzi. He is a member of Congress from Long Island and he is ambitious. Unlike the first two on my list, he’s a man. We know that a lot of women voted for Donald Trump so it isn’t as if this will be a woman versus man thing. I like the guy but in this case I don’t think he will win. But this will be a contentious primary and who knows? Anything can happen.

Andrew Cuomo. I know a lot about Cuomo and I know that he’s not done. In a multi-part primary, there are still a lot of voters who will vote for him. If “they” can’t frighten him into staying out, he certainly will have a shot. They think that he might come in, so they are revving up some of the potential legal charges against him.

Hillary Clinton. This one seems like a long shot but I am hearing rumors that she might just run. Narrow losers are always looking for vindication. She got more votes than Donald Trump and being elected governor would certainly put her on the road to getting even with everyone. The last guy who wrote me suggested that because of husband Bill’s problems, she couldn’t win.

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. He is a terrific person, a wonderful comptroller and very popular. If I had my choice of any of these people to be New York’s governor, I would surely pick Tom. He has done a sensational job as New York’s fiscal watchdog. He just tries to do what’s right. Not only that, he’s someone who doesn’t mind admitting his mistakes.

Of course, this is just a list for now. My bet is that we will see others getting into the game.

Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at [email protected].