Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York took office in January 2011 and has already 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 well above 50 percent in most public surveys since taking office.
If neither Mrs. Clinton nor Vice President Biden runs, then Cuomo is the likely beneficiary. A version of the December PPP poll – with Clinton and Biden opting not to run – had Cuomo coming in first among the named candidates with 21 percent, behind “undecided” (which got 45 percent).
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.
So far, the younger Cuomo is keeping his powder dry. But with his famous political name, he can afford to focus on his job for now and not work the Democratic rubber-chicken circuit to build connections. In a radio interview on Dec. 10, Cuomo would not say whether he would support Clinton if she decides to run in 2016.