May 2, 2017

Gillibrand’s 2020 Comments Put Pressure On Cuomo

Yesterday, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) ruled out a 2020 presidential run because she wants to focus on her re-election bid in 2018. Gillibrand stated that the decision was made because she’s “dedicated to serving” New York.

Gillibrand’s comments present a major problem for Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY). Cuomo is also up for re-election in 2018, yet unlike Gillibrand, Cuomo has made numerous moves that signal he wants to run for president in 2020.

Cuomo’s dual focus has not been lost on many New York Democrats. According to the New York Daily News, there have already been calls from some that if Cuomo is serious about a 2020 run, he should not run for re-election next year:

“If Gov. Cuomo is serious about a 2020 run for president, he might want to forego a reelection campaign in 2018, various Democratic officials and political operatives say. Not seeking a third term would allow Cuomo to finish his second at the end of 2018 and immediately throw himself fully into a national campaign that would be quickly taking shape in 2019 with trips to early primary and caucus states like Iowa and New Hampshire, the Democratic insiders say.”

One Democrat highlighted the fact that being governor is a “full-time job,” and that running for President as governor would be harmful to New York:

“‘Government is a full-time job and he’s not capable of doing that at 30 mph,’ the consultant said. ‘He goes full bore all the time. You can’t be all in with a presidential campaign and governor of New York at the same time, not when you’re wired like him.'”

Cuomo’s presidential ambitions have long been apparent. Yet as Gillibrand’s comments show, if Cuomo becomes too focused on 2020, 2018 might be a tougher year than anyone expects.