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Metro&Beyond: Cuomo’s Third Term Chances Rise

Jacob Kornbluh

Cuomo on cruise control for third term after Republican opponent’s withdrawal

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

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A ndrew Cuomo may be cruising to a third term as governor of the Empire State.

While Cuomo could still face a primary challenger — especially due to his ongoing rift with New York City mayor Bill de Blasio — Cuomo could find comfort in the announcement from Harry Wilson, the Republicans’ best potential candidate against the incumbent governor, that he will not be entering the race in the fall.

In a lengthy statement published on social media, Wilson, a businessman and one-time candidate for state comptroller, said the campaign would take him away from “irreplaceable time” with his four daughters at a “critical stage” of their childhood.

The decision left the New York GOP scrambling, as it now has to recruit a candidate who can compete with Cuomo’s close to $30 million campaign war chest. Wilson, who ran a close race against Comptroller Tom DiNapoli in 2010, was expected to self-fund his campaign with as much as $10 million, a sum other candidates would find hard to match.

Republican leaders have held several meetings to find the right person to challenge the sitting governor. Possible candidates include Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, State Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco, Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, and former Erie County executive Joel Giambra.

Cuomo has the advantage of being able to appeal to a larger base and maintain an above-50 percent approval rating with an election-year executive budget proposal that will be released in the weeks ahead.

Cuomo is also expected to do well among Orthodox Jewish voters, a bloc that traditionally votes Republican in statewide and national races. Cuomo’s campaign will tout his almost decade-long gubernatorial record as a friend of the Jewish community.

At the outset of his State of the State address in Albany last week, Cuomo praised Jewish communities across the state that have experienced anti-Semitism and yet refused to yield to intimidation. “Let them know that we stand with them, in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters around the state, and we applaud their heroism,” the governor said to loud applause.

Tillerson to Appoint Envoy on Anti-Semitism

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to fill the long-vacant position of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, the State Department announced last week. “The Trump administration considers the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism to be a crucial position, and hopes to announce an appointment soon,” a State Department spokesperson said.

The Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism had ceased operations since last April, following a directive issued by the Trump administration.

The special envoy position was established by the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004. The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) produces annual reports on human rights practices and international religious freedom with input on anti-Semitism provided by the Office of the Special Envoy. The office was headed by Gregg Rickman under President George W. Bush, and by Hannah Rosenthal and Ira Forman under President Barack Obama. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 693)

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