That’s because during this week’s New York Democratic convention in Manhattan, Cuomo pulled out of the nominating process and released his party delegates to nominate McCall.
A few blocks away from the state convention, Cuomo announced that he would attempt to put his name on the Democratic line of the primary ballot by collecting 15,000 names via a petition drive.
“Basically what happened was that Andy wasn’t going to win the nomination outright, and there was a real chance he wasn’t going to get the minimum 25 percent of the vote he needed for an automatic spot on the fall ballot,” says a state Democratic Party staffer. “McCall ran a better race, he’s won the party’s support, but instead of being a party man, Andy’s pissing in the punchbowl.”
Cuomo doesn’t see himself as a loser, though. He told reporters covering the convention that he felt the party system was rigged against him. And that his attempt to register 15,000 names was a more honest approach to winning the Democratic primary.
“If he were honest with himself, he’s realize this is all his fault,” says another Democratic Party operative in the Empire State. “The day he spouted off about Pataki upstate, was the day he sealed his doom.”
You’ll recall several weeks ago Cuomo told New York reporters that he felt Pataki had failed to provide leadership for New York in the aftermath of 9/11. That Pataki had done nothing more than hold Rudy Giuliani’s coat as the tragedy unfolded. Almost immediately, support for Cuomo within the party began to erode. Further eating away at his support was word that President Bill Clinton had quietly been lending his opponent McCall an ear for advice.
Cuomo’s seeming failure could very well doom the son of the former New York governor to years of obscurity. There is no way he could challenge Sen. Charles Schumer for a Senate seat in 2004, and he has told associates he would never consider a run for a House seat if something were to open up.
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