The political map of the November 5th election shown below comes from an article on the website syracuse.com about the election resluts and it says, really, all that needs to be said about how much New York likes Andy Cuomo. The venerable RBE, who has been writing more about Cuomo than any other reporter or blogger, had this to say earlier today about his reelection "victory":
Syracuse.com's NYS' 2014 Gubernatorial Election Map ROCKS!!!
In the end, Cuomo won re-election, but with vote turnout at historic lows and with the lowest vote totals of any gubernatorial candidate in New York State since FDR in 1930 - not exactly a victory to crow over.
Boy, he ain't lying! It's not often that you see a first term governor win reelection by a margin that is smaller than the one with which he was elected. In fact since 1942, when New York governors started served four-year terms, it has only happened twice!
Nelson Rockefeller won re election with 53% of the vote in 1962 -that's one percent lower than what he was first elected with in 1958. Rockefeller himself is a bit of an historical anomaly. The Rockefeller Republican machine had represented business interests New York for a long time before his first election to governor -all the way back to the days of Tammany Hall (they would run candidates against Tammany Hall at every election going all the back to the early 1900s). Between the sheer wealth and the deep rooted political relationships his family had all across New York State, it isn't any wonder why Nelson Rockefeller continued on win a total of four elections as governor.
The story of Hugh Carey, on the other hand, had a different political ending. After winning reelection in 1978 with 51% (that's six points lower than his first election in 1974), he stopped running altogether. In 1981, his Lt. Governor, Mario Cuomo, ran and got himself elected instead.
In fact, if you look back across 100 years of New York State's History, you'll find only four examples of first term governors who somehow managed to win his first reelection by a margin that was smaller than the original one.
Besides Rockefeller and Carey, Charles E. Hughes won his 1908 reelection bid with 48% of the vote (he had earned 50% in his 1906 bid). Like Carey would 72 years later, he chose not to run again.
The other one is Alfred E. Smith. He won in 1924 with just 49% of the vote (his 1922 election had been won with 55% of the vote). Al Smith is different because, well, he's Alfred E. Smith! He went on to become the grandfather of the New Deal and after he left the governor's mansion, he still had enough political clout to help build the Empire State Building. By the time this 1924 election had come around, he had already been in New York gubernatorial politics for four years, had lost the governor's mansion, then won it back again and had won the love of everyone from political hacks to factory workers. This guy had more political lives than a cat. Smith is a bit different. Smith was a master. Smith was the greatest governor this state has ever seen.
So, out of just four governors in the last century of New York's politics who have won their first reelection bid by a margin that was smaller than what they were first elected with:
- One was a wealthy guy who ran the New York Republican political machine
- Two never ran again
- And one was Alfred E. Smith
And Andrew Cuomo is no Al Smith! In fact, he's no Nelson Rockefeller either.
This is why when Cuomo takes the oath in January, you should remember one thing: This man has lost every suburban and rural county in the state. He has somehow managed to make enemies from all sides of the political spectrum. He routinely loses his closest and most trusted political advisors because they come to fear and loathe him at the same time. He governs through intimidation and through fear, both of which depend upon strong political power (and that political power seems to be on the wane) and he has done something that only four men have managed to do in the last one hundred and six years -lose electoral support after his first term.
This is Andy's last go. When it's done, the voters of New York will be ending the Andrew Cuomo monopoly of New York politics.