Six Degrees of Andrew Cuomo and Carl Paladino

Who wields influence and power in politics?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Below you'll see the political networks of each of the major New York gubernatorial candidates. These network maps illustrate confirmed political ties between each of the candidates and their allies. These ties include professional relationships and reported campaign contributors--but they also include the harder-to-track social ties and informal advisory roles that are invaluable in politics. For example—Jennifer Cunningham is not a paid advisor to Andrew Cuomo, but she's known to be an influential advisor nonetheless.

»» Click here to see a bigger/navigable version of the influence map


It's not an exhaustive investigation into all of each candidates political relationships—it's a map of the first and second degree connections that may be relevant in each of the candidate's bids to become the next New York Governor and the extent and interconnectedness of their political influence. For example, you'll see that Carl Paladino is connected to Pedro Espada Jr. through billionaire businessman Tom Golisano, who is an unpaid advisor to Paladino and who also helped engineer the temporary defection of Pedro Espada Jr. from the Democratic party to Republican party in 2009.

These network maps were created by social network analyst Valdis Krebs, the founder and chief scientist at Valdis is a management consultant, researcher, trainer, author, and the developer of InFlow software for social and organizational network analysis. Valdis is the author of the blog: The Network Thinkers. Here's his take on what these networks reveal about the candidates:

We can quickly see who the key players in each camp are — Stone and Golisano in Paladino's posse and Featherstonhaugh, Cunningham and Dad in Cuomo's cluster. It is interesting to note that Cuomo has some bi-partisan support. Julia Koch, wife of David Koch — key Tea Party funder via "American for Prosperity", is one of the handful of recognized Republicans in NY who are actively supporting and endorsing Cuomo. Two democrats who defected from the party for a while, and were defeated in recent primaries, Espada Jr. and Monserrate are better connected with the Paladino team. Overall though, it's red vs. blue — clustered along purely partisan lines.

What do you think is interesting about these networks? Can you think of a link that is missing from this map? Would you add additional relationships? Comment below!

Valdis Krebs will be on the Brian Lehrer Show on Monday November 1. Be sure to listen!


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Comments [4]

Jerry Nutter from South Ozone Park

I agree that a 'connection/link' needs to be defined or characterized for it to have much relevance here. This problem has existed from the very beginning of the Six Degrees concept going back a hundred years.
By the way, Six Degrees is an excellent example of a philosphical idea trying to pass itself off as science. I refer you to Wikipedia.
It looks to me like Krebs threw this together fairly quickly, but it's a good idea, nonetheless, it just needs more work to be fully-realized.

Nov. 02 2010 12:14 PM
Jill Miller Zimon from Pepper Pike, Ohio

Hi - I'm a political commentator, blogger and...elected official in a small city outside Cleveland who sees enormous potential for applying Valdis' work to politics. Here are some of my thoughts about the application here to the NY gov race:

First, notice how few people seem to be connected to each other. We should consider what that says about leadership, integration, organization and getting things done, when we think about what politicians/elected officials must accomplish.

Second, it would be interesting to see more about the political party organizations' role and location in each candidate's connections. Not just the state party but also the DNC, RNC, even some of the PACs, think tanks etc.

Third, this chart should be analyzed to see if there is and where there is diversity in gender, race, location in the state (i.e., upstate peeps or NYC peeps etc.), religious affiliations etc.

Fourth - I noticed that there are only 2 women in Paladino side?! And then layer on top of that the fact that Paladino has Hiram Monserrate in his connections, the guy who was convicted of assault related charges related to his significant other and is now out of the NY statehouse because of that.

Sticking with the women connections, those who are in Cuomo's camp are almost all connected to and between each other - not through any others (i.e., men bringing in women). Hints at not a lot of depth in the women leadership community. Left to...who to cultivate?

In sum, what I see: overwhelmingly male, not a ton of inter-connectivity, very little crossover (bipartisan) but more for Cuomo. And I'd reallylike to see upstate/downstate demarkations.

If we wanted to compare these two candidates and their networks, I would love to match it up against the two women v. women gubernatorial races - in New Mexico, Suzanne Martinez and Diane Denish, and in Oklahoma, Jari Askins and Mary Fallin - how 21st C that would be! And how might their maps differ?

Thanks very much for exploring this. I hope we see a lot more of it.

Nov. 01 2010 06:44 PM

This is nice to see but pretty useless without any explanations of who anybody is and what the connections actually are.

And, posting this here because the segment's page doesn't have comments allowed, Krebs leaving out that Cunningham's connection to Schneiderman is that they used to be married and that they have a kid is really bad, whether you are convinced of his complicity in the AEG scandal or not.

Nov. 01 2010 03:33 PM
JP from NYC

This is a neat bit of work. I am concerned the thought/construction behind the graph. We create these types of graphs all the time in the sciences, but they have much more info. So, the question here is are the relationships - the edges of the graph simply a is associated with B via some previous interaction ? The edges would be more useful if they showed what type of interactions. One thing is that you don't want "guilt" by association :)

Nov. 01 2010 11:47 AM

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