Cuomo says he is open to running again, despite resignation
New York – Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is contemplating a political comeback and dangling the possibility he may run for his former job just six months after he resigned amid sexual harassment allegations.
Cuomo gave a campaign-style speech Thursday to a friendly audience of about 100 people in the Bronx, where he framed his fall from power as “cancel culture” run amok. The Democrat behaved like a candidate, posing for pictures with attendees and a baby.
Asked after his speech if he would run for office, Cuomo told reporters he is “open to all options.”
He wouldn’t say whether he was thinking about challenging Gov. Kathy Hochul, his former lieutenant governor and successor, but he ripped the state’s current governance during his speech.
Cuomo, who quit in his third term, indicated he was open to possibly gathering enough petition signatures to get on the ballot in the general election, a step that would allow him to bypass the Democratic primary in June.
“I know how to get on the ballot, I did it a couple times,” Cuomo told reporters. “The election isn’t until November. So there’s a lot of time to gather petitions, depending on how you want to run.”
Cuomo resigned from office in August after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment.
He denied allegations he touched women inappropriately, including a charge by one aide that he groped her breast, and claimed his accusers had misconstrued comments he’d intended to be friendly banter.
Two teams of lawyers, one hired by Attorney General Letitia James and the other working for the state Assembly, said they found the harassment allegations credible. The attorney general released a report that concluded he had harassed 11 women.
A sheriff in Albany filed criminal charges against Cuomo in connection with the aide’s groping allegations, but those charges were ultimately dropped by the county’s district attorney, who cited a lack of enough proof.
The former governor did not directly address the specific allegations on Thursday or make any apologies. He accused “extremists” in the Democratic Party of orchestrating his downfall because they felt he was standing in their way.
“There are people who wanted to run against me. They wanted my job. And they used this opportunity to help themselves politically,” he said.
Nearly every prominent Democrat in the state had called for Cuomo’s resignation last year, as well as national party leaders including President Joe Biden. State lawmakers were preparing to impeach him when he quit.
Though he dropped out of public sight for a time after resigning, Cuomo has become increasingly visible in recent months.
He has been running television ads portraying himself as the victim of a political smear campaign. Earlier this month, he gave a similar speech in Brooklyn, invoking the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon, while speaking to a largely Black congregation.
Cuomo, who had long planned to run for a fourth term in 2022, reported $16 million still in his campaign fundraising account in January, giving him an ample start to mount a campaign. That includes potentially gathering signatures from voters.
Speaking to his Bronx audience Thursday, Cuomo made it clear that, whether he runs or not, he has no intention of quitting the public stage.
“I am not going anywhere. I am going to continue to fight the good fight,” he said.
Associated Press video journalist David R. Martin contributed to this report.