ALBANY — With Mayor de Blasio expected to cruise to reelection on Tuesday, all eyes in New York’s political world will quickly shift beginning Wednesday to the 2018 campaigns.
Gov. Cuomo is expected to seek a third term, the fight for control of the state Senate will be once again be waged, and New York’s congressional races could help determine which party controls the House.
Each comes with its own set of questions.
First and foremost, will he or won’t he? While Cuomo, who is considered a possible 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, says he is definitely running for reelection, a growing number of Albany insiders are not convinced — though at this point that seems more wishful thinking on their part.
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“As my name is Melissa DeRosa, Andrew Cuomo is running for reelection,” his top aide said.
Assuming he runs, will Cuomo face a legitimate Democratic primary threat from the left — which has had an uneasy relationship with him, even as polls show he remains more popular than even de Blasio and Sen. Charles Schumer with liberals and New York City voters?
Along those same lines, will the progressive Working Families Party buckle and endorse Cuomo for a third time or put up a more leftist candidate that could reduce his vote total and potentially make him more vulnerable in the general election?
If reelected to a second and final term, will de Blasio seek to torture Cuomo politically like the governor has done to him? De Blasio in 2014 intervened to help Cuomo secure the Working Families Party nomination over a more liberal candidate. While such help is unlikely again, it’s unclear how much the mayor can openly go after Cuomo knowing he’ll still need Albany to get things done.
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And will the governor be hurt by the upcoming federal corruption trials involving former top aide Joe Percoco and other close associates tied to his signature upstate economic development projects?
On the Republican side, how badly will President Trump, who is not popular in his home state, hurt the GOP up and down the ticket in an already deep blue state that hasn’t elected a Republican to statewide office since 2002?
And can the Republicans find a candidate who can raise enough money to mount a credible challenge? Businessman Harry Wilson has told people he’s ready to spend $10 million of his own cash if he decides to get in the race. A decision by Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who lost to Cuomo in 2014, to try again in 2018 could be impacted by whether he wins a third term Tuesday and if so, by how much.
The big question is whether the Democratic minority will reunify with nine breakaway Democrats who are currently in a majority leadership coalition with the Republicans. Senate Dems are looking to see just how much Cuomo will help them. And can the fractured Democrats ultimately play nice together?
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The Republicans typically do better in nonpresidential election years, but it remains to be seen whether progressive anger over Trump translates to higher Democratic voter turnout. The outcome of Tuesday’s county executive races in Westchester and Nassau could foreshadow whether the Democrats are poised to make inroads in those two crucial areas and across the state.
Cuomo said he will target at least six New York congressional Republicans to try and help the national Democrats capture 24 seats needed to win control of the House. Can the Dems do it, even in upstate areas where Cuomo is not very popular?
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