It is highly unfortunate that David Paterson, the Governor of New York by succession after the sudden resignation of Governor Eliot Spitzer due to a sex scandal, has tried to make his low popularity rating connected to the fact that he is African American.
This is a sign of his desperation as polls have indicated that he has an extremely low rating for his performance and his plans to run for reelection in 2010.
His attempt to appoint a Lieutenant Governor, Richard Ravitch, to be in line of succession, went against the NY State Constitution, and after just 43 days, a state court has ruled that the appointment was illegal under state law. It only adds to the sense of futility that this Governor can do anything correct or successful.
Every indication is that Paterson could not defeat a Republican opponent for Governor, were he to run for a full term. The hint is that former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani would be likely to run if Paterson is the nominee, and that Guiliani would defeat him easily. Even if former Congressman Rick Lazio (who lost the Senate race to Hillary Clinton in 2000) were his opponent, the indications are that Lazio would easily defeat Paterson.
Under the circumstances, the best result would be Paterson’s decision to decline to run for a full term, and there are hints that he is considering doing just that.
If Paterson does not voluntarily back down, it seems highly likely that he will lose the nomination for Governor to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, son of the former Governor Mario Cuomo. The Attorney General has established an outstanding record in his office, pursuing corporate corruption on Wall Street and showing evidence of his commitment to basic reform in many areas of public policy.
Cuomo has a background of having been Housing and Urban Development Secretary under President Clinton. Every poll makes it clear that he would win a landslide victory in a Democratic primary against Paterson, and would easily defeat either Guiliani or Lazio for the Governorship.
With him on the ticket, along with Senator Charles Schumer, it would also guarantee a victory for appointed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who was a controversial appointee by Paterson to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate. Despite a lot of opposition to her appointment, and the likelihood earlier of one or more members of the NY Congressional delegation challenging her in a primary, her switch from being a more conservative Democrat for her upstate district to adoption of more liberal positions on many issues has led to her being lucky enough to avoid a primary. But if Paterson was on the ticket as Governor, he would probably bring her down with him, so Cuomo guarantees a straight Democratic ticket at the top of the ballot, and the likelihood of legislative gains by the Democrats, who desperately need to gain a clear majority in the State Senate, which was subjected earlier this summer to total gridlock and deadlock for a month, presenting an image of total chaos and anarchy, and making NY state government appear to be one of the most dysfunctional in the country, no easy feat! LOL
To top it off, it can be expected that IF Andrew Cuomo is elected Governor of New York, we could easily put him on the long range list for possible nomination for President in 2016. By that date, he would be 59 years of age with a record of serving a President, and being Attorney General and Governor of the third largest state.
It is about time that New York recovered from what has been a disaster under Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson, and that Andrew Cuomo be nominated and elected Governor, and restores the image and reputation that his father had as Governor from his election in 1982 to his retirement in 1994.