(Corning, New York) – We are on the road this week in the Empire State. New York always plays a large role in any Presidential campaign, simply by the sheer number of Electoral College votes it holds. But in 2016 New York may have an even bigger voice. Let’s “brunch” on that this week:
“By the Numbers” -- Right now New York has 29 Electoral College votes, tied with Florida for the third largest take. New York lost two Congressional seats in the 2010 census, while Florida gained two seats, again, leaving them tied at 29. New York almost always votes for the Democratic nominee, but that’s not guaranteed in 2016.
“Primary Colors” – Here’s an interesting twist. The tentative date for the New York Primary is now February 2, 2016. That would make New Yorkers the third batch to vote after the traditional Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire Primary. (Right now Colorado, Minnesota and Utah, are planning votes the same day as New York, but that could change). My point is, New York is very high up in the pecking order, more so than ever before. Why? Is it to give Hillary Clinton a strategic advantage, or is it to give another New Yorker like Gov. Andrew Cuomo an inside edge, should Secretary Clinton falter?
If the date and position hold, New York could be huge for both parties.
“The Favorite Son (I Mean Daughter)” – Right out of the box, Hillary Clinton has the home state advantage. Yes, I know she grew up in Illinois, and spent her significant adult years in Arkansas, before moving to DC as First Lady. But running for U.S. Senate from New York in 2000, firmly put her in the Empire State. Unless she has a health issue, or makes a huge political gaffe, she is the frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic nomination, and all the karma in her “new” home state aligns, or does it?
“Chris Christie’s Neighborhood” – He may be unpopular at home these days for backing the Dallas Cowboys over hometown teams such as the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles, but Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) still remains a threat in his neighboring state. Again, keep in mind that while New York is generally a “blue” state, a populist, moderate Republicans can win here. It’s not always easy, but there is a lot of precedent for it from Teddy Roosevelt, to Nelson Rockefeller, and George H.W. Bush (nationally), to Rudy Giuliani (locally) and George Pataki (statewide).
“The Other Cuomo” – Hillary Clinton is not the only one with a famous name in the hunt here. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) is waiting in the wings, should she stumble. Make no mistake, the Cuomos and Clintons have been allies over the years, for the most part. But remember, Clinton was the clear frontrunner when 2008 began, and lost a titan primary battle to then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL). If Clinton should fade, Cuomo could quickly jump in as a New York “favorite son” candidate. Early in the process, that could give him momentum.
“The Pataki Factor” – Some may consider him a “dark horse” candidate, but I think that would be a mistake. Former Gov. George Pataki (R-NY), has said he is exploring a run for the White House. Pataki served 25 years in public office, from Mayor Peekskill, to the New York House and Senate, and then Governor for 12 years. That’s a remarkable GOP resume in a solidly “blue” state. The biggest factor is that he can carry New York statewide, as he did in three bids for Governor. He helped the nation through 9-11, and people don’t forget that. He could be a huge spoiler, to both parties. (Photo of Govs. Pataki and Cuomo above).
“Kristen, Who?” – Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) is a long-shot at this point, but worth keeping on your “watch list!” The state’s junior Senator has been greatly overshadowed by former Senator Clinton, Gov. Cuomo, and the state’s senior Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). But there is huge pressure inside the Democratic Party to nominate a woman. Again, if Hillary Clinton runs into trouble, Gillibrand and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are people being looked at as female alternatives. Gillibrand also becomes a viable Vice Presidential competitor if the Presidential nomination goes to former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD). Bottom line, being a New Yorker ups her political capital.
“All Bets are Off!” – The day after I complied most of the information for this column, Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-NY) of the state Assembly, was arrested and charged in a four-million dollar federal bribery and corruption scandal. How does that affect anyone from New York, I’ve listed here? None of them may have anything to do with this particular scandal, but the whole mess is another reason why the public at-large finds politics so distasteful. Silver, for example, is close to Gov. Cuomo and that could shake some people’s opinion of their Governor as a Presidential candidate, again, even if he had nothing to do with it. If nothing else, it’s a big black eye for New York politics.
“Why All of the Matters” – Look, a lot of political analysts are already saying the 2016 Presidential election is a done deal. It’s Hillary Clinton with a lock on the Democratic nomination, and then on to the White House. I don’t think it’s that easy or simple. A lot of other viable people want that job, and there are a lot of potholes to drive through on the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Suddenly – and strategically – New York is an early hurdle that all candidates must cross. This could get very interesting!
What are your thoughts? Is the country in a “New York State of Mind?” Click the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com and let me know your opinions!
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Photo Courtesy: Office of the Governor, State of New York