Dear Commons Community,
There was trouble in Cuomo land yesterday when the New York Times editorial board announced it would not be endorsing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in the upcoming September primary for governor. In making this decision, the editorial board stated:
[When] Mr. Cuomo became governor …[he[ recorded several impressive achievements, but he failed to perform Job 1. The state government remains as subservient to big money as ever, and Mr. Cuomo resisted and even shut down opportunities to fix it. Because he broke his most important promise, we have decided not to make an endorsement for the Democratic primary on Sept. 9….
His opponent in the primary is Zephyr Teachout, a professor at Fordham Law School who is a national expert on political corruption and an advocate of precisely the kind of transparency and political reform that Albany needs. Her description of Mr. Cuomo as part of a broken system “where public servants just end up serving the wealthy” is exactly on point, but we decline to endorse her because she has not shown the breadth of interests and experience needed to govern a big and diverse state.
Ms. Teachout brings a refreshing seriousness to the job of cleaning up state government, making a strong case for the urgency of rescuing politics from unchecked corporate power. The centerpiece of her platform is a campaign finance system modeled on the matching funds program that has proved successful in New York City.
She would limit contributions to candidates to $2,600, compared with the current $60,000, and would keep corporations from giving five-figure donations, a loophole that Mr. Cuomo has exploited to raise millions of dollars. These proposals are as thoughtful as one would expect from a leading expert on combating public corruption, particularly given her work promoting transparency as national director of the Sunlight Foundation in 2006 and 2007.”
It is not likely that Ms. Teachout can win this primary but Mr. Cuomo and his image are taking a lot of hits from major organizations that normally support incumbent Democratic Party candidates.