Jessica Gould covers politics and public finance for WNYC.
Cuomo Stumps, Finally, As Challenger Dances
Monday, September 01, 2014
Governor Cuomo, who is running for re-election, made his first campaign-style appearance in months at the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn. Flanked by mayor Bill de Blasio and his family, and surrounded by a tight circle of police and aides, the governor waved to the crowds along Eastern Parkway. Many of them waved back with Caribbeans for Cuomo signs.
The governor stopped only briefly to talk with reporters, where he responded to questions about his low-profile this campaign season. The governor, who hadn't had an official campaign event since the Democratic State Convention in May, said even though the Democratic primary is next week, election season is just getting started. He also brushed off criticism of his running mate Kathy Hochul, a former Congresswoman, for being too conservative. "Ask Nancy Pelosi about Kathy Hochul," he said. "Ask Charlie Rangel about Kathy Hochul."
Meanwile, law School professor Zephyr Teachout and her running mate Tim Wu also marched, or really, danced their way down the parade route, stopping frequently to introduce themselves to voters.
Teachout said she hopes to make history as New York's first female governor, with the first Asian Lieutenant Governor, as a "true Democrat" who fights the influence of big money in politics. "I want to govern it as a Democrat, where I fund our schools, where I invest in our infrastructure, instead of Governor Cuomo who governs for his big banker friends," she said.
Their campaign got some unexpected momentum last month when The New York Times wouldn't choose a candidate for Governor, and gave Wu the nod for Lt. Governor.
Flatbush resident Shanell Hughes said she'd never heard of them before, but she liked what she saw. "If you come into our space, our parade, you can't just spectate you have to dance." Hughes said she also opposes Cuomo's tax cuts and education policies.
But Brooklynite Emanuel Gibson said he's sticking with Governor Cuomo, who he praised for his stewardship of the state economy. He said the governor has done a "tremendous job," and the challengers don't have a chance. "I think he is too powerful for them," Gibson said. "I don't think anybody is able right now to really take him down."