My New York primary endorsements

I enrolled last year as a Democrat, to vote in primaries to keep the party from veering too far left. That is complicated in New York because of the Cuomo corruption effect.

For Governor:

Nixon

Actor Cynthia Nixon is challenging Governor Cuomo’s renomination, from the left. I previously criticized her for trying to out-“progressive” Cuomo, when her big issue should be public corruption. In their August 29 TV debate, almost the first word out of her mouth was “LGBT.” It should have been “Moreland.”

That refers to the blue-ribbon commission Cuomo convened, pursuant to the Moreland Act, to investigate Albany corruption. Which was stinking to high heaven. Cuomo meant for the commission to focus on the state legislature. But when it started to look at his own office, Cuomo abruptly shut it down! Declaring it was his commission, and he could do whatever he wanted with it. (Actually, his fig leaf was that the objective had been accomplished with the legislature adopting some ethics reforms. Of course those reforms were a shell game, not even nibbling at the problem.)

Nixon did pronounce the word “Moreland,” just once, later in the debate. She had previously pledged to convene a new Moreland Act commission. But failed even to mention this.

The debate’s headline moment was when Cuomo told Nixon “Can you stop interrupting?” She shot back, “Can you stop lying?” “I will when you do,” he said. So he had been lying. Probably not an admission he intended. But sometimes the tongue is more candid than the brain.

Regarding leftness there really is little to choose between the two. But Cuomo is a repellent person whose corrupt approach to politics defines him (as I’ve detailed). Voting for Nixon is a no-brainer.

The other offices present tougher dilemmas.

For Lieutenant Governor (in primaries we vote for that office separately):

Hochul

Kathy Hochul, the incumbent, was Cuomo’s choice of a running mate. That was before he decided his political bread was buttered on the left side. Hochul was actually a nod to a more conservative upstate sensibility. I’ve heard her speak and have a pretty positive impression of her.

Her challenger is Nixon’s running mate, Jumaane Williams, an African-American NYC Council member. I knew, like Nixon, he stresses “progressive” issues, and has had some financial/business problems. Open-minded, I welcomed seeing a long interview on PBS’s New York Now.

At first I thought there was something wrong with my TV, but then realized it was not the picture twitching, but Williams himself. “He’s got Tourette syndrome,” I said to myself. By and by the interviewer said, “Viewers will notice your twitching.” Williams replied, “I have Tourette syndrome. And ADHD.”

Well, OK. I’m willing to contemplate some affirmative action there. That he’s gotten where has in politics despite his disabilities says something. The guy did speak normally and well, and showed some positive qualities of energy and civic commitment.

But the lieutenant governor has no importance, other than the possibility of becoming governor. So I ask myself, which of the two would I rather have as governor? I can’t see Williams being ready for that. Despite Hochul’s having been picked by Cuomo, she is not actually his creature. She’s the better choice.

For Attorney General:

With four candidates, it should be easy to pick one. Barbara Underwood was installed by the legislature to replace Schneiderman, who resigned for beating up women. But Underwood isn’t running. None of the actual candidates wanted to be picked by the legislature, seeing that as the kiss of death. Which tells you the esteem in which our legislature is held.

James

Letitia James is the NYC “Public Advocate” (the #2 elected position), the party’s official candidate, backed by Cuomo. Otherwise she might be an attractive candidate.

Now, James started her political career winning a city council seat running only on the Working Families Party line. (I’ve always thought that party name was great marketing, but really smarmy.) In 2014, Cuomo managed to get the left-leaning WFP to back him over his left-leaning challenger Zephyr Teachout. But this time the WFP went rogue and backs Nixon. Infuriating Cuomo. So he’s insisted that Letitia James turn her back on her WFP roots. This isn’t going down well. I couldn’t vote for her anyway because Cuomo wants her.

Leecia Eve

Sean Patrick Maloney is an “openly gay” Congressman, running for both re-election and Attorney General simultaneously — which isn’t going down well. Leecia Eve is the African-American daughter of Arthur Eve, who was a powerful longtime Buffalo assemblyman. She’s been “mentioned” for practically every big gong that’s come up in modern times. Eve did sound reasonable in the one short clip of her I saw. But in polls she lags far behind the others.

Teachout

Then there’s Zephyr Teachout, white and not actually gay (recently marrying a man, how retro is that?) yet nevertheless still a “progressive” darling, who lost races for governor in 2014 and Congress in 2016. I admit to feeling Teachout fatigue. I didn’t like her blast against charter schools. Her campaign has been boosted by endorsements by Saint Alexandria and the New York Times (neither of which move me).

I originally wrote this thing saying I’d vote for Teachout anyway. Then yesterday’s Albany Times-Union (which interviews the candidates) surprised me, with a strong endorsement for Eve. It was quite persuasive on her relevant broad experience and capabilities. She is independent of Cuomo, and not a “progressive” ranter like the others. So I was persuaded — power of the press!

*    *    *

The November choice will be equally difficult. Cuomo’s Republican opponent is Marc Molinaro, who is actually quite a good candidate, who says he did not support Trump. An absolute must if I’ll consider voting for a Republican. Still, I believe the whole party is so poisoned by Trumpism that it has to be electorally exterminated. Then there’s Stephanie Miner, former Syracuse mayor, another excellent candidate, who should have run in the primary, but instead chose a pointless third party run. And Larry Sharpe, the Libertarian, and also a really excellent, dynamic guy.

We’ll see.

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One Response to “My New York primary endorsements”

  1. Lee Says:

    For the Democratic primary for the New York Attorney General, I am not liking Sean Patrick Maloney. He is running two campaigns, attorney general and congress, each with its own contribution limits, and then spending both on his attorney general campaign. Thus he thinks he can get up to double the New York contribution limit from each contributor as he strives for the attorney general position. I don’t like it and he may end up in prison instead of in office?? I think he wasn’t straightforward about where Barney Frank and he disagreed about Dodd-Frank. It is okay to agree or disagree, but not to lie about it.

    Leecia Eve has a tremendous amount of trial experience relative to the others, but she is polling at 3% of likely voters, so that’s looking like a waste of a vote.

    Letitia James is a strong candidate too, but she comes across as very Democratic Machine. I fear that she will defend the machine rather than issues when push comes to shove. For instance, would she investigate corruption of Democrats in Albany with full effort?

    Zephyr Teachout has run for office 3 times in the last, what, 4 years? It sounds like she is job hunting, but that doesn’t bother me because I think she will do good work once she actually gets a job. She didn’t hold up so well under the barrage of attacks at the candidates’ debate, but I didn’t buy into those attacks anyway; so what if she didn’t start rejecting corporate donations until this campaign?

    I am leaning to voting for Professor Teachout.

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