While Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have had a contentious relationship over the past four years, the governor on Monday gave a lukewarm endorsement for the incumbent candidate seeking reelection in November.
“The mayor won the Democratic primary. I am a Democrat, I support Democrats,” Cuomo told host Brian Lehrer on his namesake WNYC radio show Monday. “And I’ll support Mayor de Blasio in the general.”
When Lehrer asked Cuomo if he had something “more enthusiastic” to say about de Blasio, the governor replied, “No, I think in this contest, you know, life is options, they say, right? I think in this contest, he is the better person to serve the city of New York as mayor. Period.”
Cuomo’s flaccid endorsement isn’t too shocking as he and de Blasio have been at odds over education, the aged and in-crisis MTA and many other affairs of state and New York City.
“Gov. Cuomo seems to have issued an endorsement based on party loyalty rather than a deep admiration for the mayor, but that is no surprise,” said Joseph P. Viteritti, professor of Public Policy at Hunter College, who released “The Pragmatist: Bill de Blasio’s Quest to Save the Soul of New York” on Sept. 5. “Ironically, the statement also underscores the fact that the two Democrats have a common stake in working together on some level so long as Donald Trump is in the White House advancing policies that are contrary to the interests of the city and state.”
When asked to comment on Cuomo’s endorsement, de Blasio’s camp issued a statement that didn’t mention Cuomo at all, saying only that the “campaign is focused on vigorously engaging people across the five boroughs over the next seven weeks, talking directly to New Yorkers about how we will make this a fairer and more affordable city for all.”
The mayor’s Republican opponent, four-term Staten Island Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, told the New York Daily News’ editorial board early Monday that she would “love to have the governor’s support in this election. I think that unlike the current mayor, I would be able to work with the governor.”
After Cuomo appeared on WNYC later in the day, Malliotakis was disappointed in his decision to back de Blasio.
“It’s sad that Gov. Cuomo chose party politics over what’s right for New Yorkers,” she said in a statement.