New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned on Tuesday amid a flurry of sexual harassment claims, becoming the second New York Governor to resign in 13 years.
For the last several weeks, Cuomo faced mounting calls to resign due to the growing number of sexual harassment claims, with prominent Democrats such as Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) joining the call in recent days.
In his resignation speech, Cuomo denied any sexual harassment wrongdoing, he did admit to touching the women in ways he didn’t realize was inappropriate due to “cultural and generational” shifts.
“I’m a New Yorker, born and bred,” said Cuomo during his resignation speech on Tuesday. “I’m a fighter and my instinct is to fight through this controversy because I truly believe it is politically motivated, I believe it is unfair and it is untruthful and I believe it demonizes behavior that is unsustainable for society. New York tough means New York loving, and I love New York, and I love you. I would never want to be unhelpful in any way.
“I have done it all my life. It’s who I have been since I can remember. In my mind, I have never crossed the line with anyone, but I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn. There are generational and cultural shifts that I just didn’t fully appreciate – and I should have. No excuses.
“The best way I can help now is if I step aside.”
A NY resignation can mean drastic consequences in CA
The ousting of a once popular Governor has shaken up several states. And across the country, the state that is now feeling the effect the strongest is California.
Right now, the Golden State is facing the question of ousting the once-popular Governor, Gavin Newsom, as well. A recall movement, fueled by poor policy choices, worsening state problems both during and in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as many social and economic issues, made it to the ballot earlier this year with over 2 million people signing the recall petition. The election itself is only a month away, to be held on September 14th.
Both Newsom and Cuomo were widely praised last year for putting out mandates and public health laws that greatly reduced the spread of COVID-19 in their respective states. However those praises, as well as near 70% approval ratings, quickly plummeted when COVID-19 rates shot back up in both states in late 2020. Both Governors also began to receive more high-profile criticism, with Cuomo receiving more attention for his sexual harassment claims, and Newsom being grilled by the media for openly flaunting COVID-19 mandates he himself pushed for and refusing to reopen the state despite an increasing economic sting to businesses.
These parallels, as well as the effect of Cuomo’s resignation, are only pushing more Californians to vote to recall Newsom.
“It’s too early to see the longer-term affect as the resignation is less than a day old right now, but it’s already starting to encourage more Californians not to stick with Newsom,” explained Carrie Weiss, a Stockton-area pollster, to the Globe on Tuesday. “We mainly deal with the Sacramento area, the Bay area, and the Central Valley past Modesto to around Fresno. But this morning, we have seen things turn quickly.”
“We had to add a new question to ask people who are Democratic, other party, or non-affiliated because we saw their numbers voting to recall jump so much from previous days. And the reason it went up is because of [Cuomo] resigning. If this is happening elsewhere, why not here? That kind of thinking is just now showing itself and it will be very interesting to see where this leads. All we know here is that it is already having a major affect in at least these 3 areas. Sacramento and the Central Valley, you know, it can be mixed when it comes to voters, but the Bay area is solidly Democratic. And some of those voters are now switching because they saw what was happening over in New York. They know that a resignation and a recall aren’t remotely the same thing, but it’s still affecting them.”
Cuomo’s resignation hurts Newsom’s chances of staving off a recall
To political experts, this isn’t much of a surprise.
“Whenever one of these shock resignations or recalls happen, things go haywire for awhile,” explained former lobbyist Harry Schultz to the Globe on Tuesday. “When Nixon resigned, a significant number of Republicans were disaffected for years because of it, allowing Jimmy Carter’s Presidential win, with many not returning to the fold until Reagan got in. We saw it happen with some Democrats following the Clinton impeachment trial, and the same for some Republicans with Trump after both impeachments. They just shake the faith of many.”
“The same is happening now. Cuomo was a popular Governor who was getting international kudos for how he helped halt COVID-19 in the state for awhile. Then the harassment hit and he’s out. Democrats looking at this are seeing a lot of similarities with Newsom, and their faith is now being shaken.
“It’s still a bit too early to tell to what extent of course, but history tells us that these will have consequences. California even did it in 2003. In 2004 there were 11 Gubernatorial races. Usually most will go incumbent or ruling party with maybe one or two changes. After the 2003 recall, shockwaves were felt. I mean, if California could replace a career politician with an actor with no previous electoral experience, why can’t they make a big change in their state? Out of the 11, 5 had major changes, including one race ousting the incumbent in the primary. If you take out the races with Governor retiring, it’s over half. You usually don’t see shifts like that, even during presidential election years. And it’s telling because a few of the winning Governors personally said that that the California recall inspired voters to vote for them.”
“We haven’t seen a big resignation or similar event happening only a month before a close election like this before, so who knows how big of a wrench will be thrown into things. What we do know is that Cuomo resigning is doing Newsom no favors. Especially with Newsom only winning by two percent right now.”
New York Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, who will become the first female Governor of New York and the first Governor not from New York City in decades, is expected to be sworn in as the next NY Governor later this month.
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