Sure, right now it may seem like there is no way Governor Andrew Cuomo is going to lose his seat and not get elected for a second term, but that isn't stopping people out there from throwing their hat in the ring and trying to unseat him.
Probably the most well-known candidate given that he is running on the Republican line is GOP-er Rob Astorino, who is currently Westchester County Executive. He has been running an up-and-down campaign with a few missteps, but if he stands any chance of defeating Cuomo he is going to have to take some chances and really set himself apart from the current governor.
Although Monday, he might have crossed a line.
While discussing what he felt was Cuomo's overt influence on the supposedly independent anti-corruption Moreland Commission, Astorino compared the governor to a mafia boss.
"To suggest that he was suggesting to the commission members where they should go with an investigation is like a mafia boss coming forward and saying that he wants to make a suggestion, an offer you can't refuse," Astorino was quoted as saying. "That clearly is intimidation and that’s what he and his staff did.”
Astorino was immediately criticized by Italian-American community leaders and elected officials who seized on the misstep. Councilman Paul Vallone said the comments proved Astorino wasn't even fit to lead a parade, let alone New York State.
Astorino defended his comments, stating that he was merely referencing a line from the movie The Godfather, or as his spokesperson pointed out, “one of the most recited movies on the planet.” (After Caddyshack, of course.)
Then there is the improbably named Zephyr Teachout, a constitutional law professor who is challenging Cuomo in the Democratic Primary. Teachout is going to have a hard time overcoming party politics, but she seems intelligent and up on the issues, so she could be a real pain for Cuomo if he agrees to a debate in advance of the primary.
An interesting thing about the Teachout campaign is that she has a small group of young business casual hecklers who have been following her around at public events and mocking her while hiding their faces behind signs. Business Insider had a good report on the mysterious group, and then a Cuomo spokesperson admitted that the 20-somethings were volunteers on the Cuomo campaign.
We think that indicates that Cuomo is at least a little bit worried about the Teachout campaign. Although, one thing we've learned covering New York politics is that sitting elected officials sometimes have big heads and sensitive egos. You could be the most fringe candidate with absolutely no chance of winning and they would still resort to tactics like smearing your campaign and hiring lawyers to challenge your ballot petitions.
Hey, speaking of fringe candidates, have you heard of Randy Credico. He is apparently also trying to get on the ballot for the Democratic Primary this year. We heard about him because one of our newshounds attending the funeral for Eric Garner last week bumped into him outside.
He has dubbed himself the “most progressive candidate since Franklin D. Roosevelt,” and he has a pretty liberal platform without many details. Do you want Medicare for all, free tuition to all CUNY and SUNY schools, lower subway fares, a minimum wage of $15, and all that while being able to legally smoke pot? Then vote Randy!