Following Tuesday’s win, the third term of Gov. Andrew Cuomo will truly be a new era for him.
He’ll be negotiating budgets with two black lawmakers who lead the state Senate and Assembly with comfortable Democratic majorities. He will likely continue to be a prominent and forceful counterweight to President Donald Trump. And he will likely continue to, through sheer force of personality and bending others to his will, push hard to get what he wants.
Cuomo after eight years in office will not be talked about in the context of a 2020 bid for the presidency. He’s a prodigious fundraiser, wins by comfortable margins and has run up an array of victories friendly to liberals. But he’s shown little appetite for a presidential run.
In term three, he’ll likely back the legalization of marijuana and criminal justice law changes. But third terms can be tricky, if not downright disastrous — and Cuomo knows that. What is plan is for avoiding the third term blues will be interesting to watch.
The election was not a good one for Republicans. The GOP’s once-vaunted bench of county executives who could run statewide, has started to thin. So, should Cuomo attempt a fourth term, who runs against him? Former Rep. Chris Gibson is likely automatically in the mix, having sidestepped a statewide campaign this year and instead chaired the campaign of Marc Molinaro. Another possibility is Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Long Island Republican who has been a critic of the governor. Whoever does want to launch a bid for 2022 ought to start now — like, right now.
Raising money to run for governor is expensive and Molinaro struggled with the fundraising against Cuomo. Republican Rob Astorino, who unsuccessfully challenged Cuomo in 2014, spent about $6 million. Cuomo spends tens of millions of dollars.