3. Andrew Cuomo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York took office in January 2011 and quickly established a national reputation as a leader. He pleased liberals by fighting successfully for the passage of gay marriage, despite a balky state legislature. But he also satisfied centrists by passing a budget that cut spending and didn’t raise taxes, by taking on the state’s big public-sector union, and by achieving tax reform. Governor Cuomo has polled comfortably above 50 percent for most of his tenure, though polled below 50 at the end of 2013.
His job approval took a hit after he signed tough new gun control laws. Still, some liberals say Cuomo isn’t a slam dunk for them, saying other policies (such as cuts to union pensions) are more aimed at the 1 percent than working people.
Cuomo also has Washington experience, having served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development in Mr. Clinton’s second term. Critics say Cuomo’s promotion of homeownership for lower-income people helped lead to the subprime mortgage crisis.
As the son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, the junior Cuomo has a long history in politics. He worked both on his father’s campaign and in his administration. The question is whether he has more presidential fire in the belly than his father, who once famously kept a plane waiting on the tarmac while he decided whether to fly to New Hampshire to launch a presidential campaign.
Cuomo has stated repeatedly that he’s not running for president – standard rhetoric for any politician this early in the process – but early-state activists have come to believe him, according to press reports. Still, HarperCollins will publish a memoir by Cuomo in 2014 – just as his reelection campaign is heating up … and in time for any other campaign he may wish to launch.