The New York Times declined on Tuesday to endorse Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary next month because he has failed to rid the state government of corruption.
"He failed to perform Job 1," the Times said
in an editorial. "The state government remains as subservient to big money as ever, and Mr. Cuomo resisted and even shut down opportunities to fix it.
"Because he broke his most important promise, we have decided not to make an endorsement for the Democratic primary on Sept. 9."
Cuomo, 56, who is seeking his second term, is facing Fordham Law School professor Zephyr Teachout, a national expert on political corruption. The winner will most likely square off against Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, whose primary is on the same day.
The Times also would not endorse Teachout because she "has not shown the breadth of interests and experience needed to govern a big and diverse state."
Acknowledging that Cuomo eventually well be re-elected in the heavily Democratic state, the Times noted that disillusioned voters could support Teachout next month — possibly sending "a powerful message to the governor and the many other entrenched incumbents in Albany that a shake-up is overdue."
The Times cited a number of difficulties with Cuomo, who is considering a run for the White House in 2016, but said the most significant was ethics reform.
"New York still has no comprehensive campaign finance system and has one of the highest donation limits in the country," the editorial said. It noted that Cuomo "proposed a better system, but, when legislators balked, he threw up his hands and claimed there was nothing he could do."
The Times noted, further, that "the rank partisan gerrymandering of legislative districts, which he promised to end, remains in place for a decade because he chose not to make reforming it a priority."
The editorial also noted that Cuomo blocked an independent panel he had authorized to investigate corruption "after the panel began to look into issues that may have reflected badly on him and his political supporters."
"Cuomo's closest aides pushed back every time the commission began looking at the governor's own questionable practices, including a committee set up to support his agenda, which became Albany's biggest lobbying spender and did not disclose its donors."
The issues the panel was investigating are now being examined by the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Times said.
The editorial concluded that Cuomo "has repeatedly shown . . . how to bend lawmakers to his will, especially when it serves his political interest. But he has repeatedly failed to do so when it comes to cleaning up Albany."
"Having walked away from his most important goals, he should not be surprised if many Democrats walk away from him on Sept. 9."
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