The New York Times editorial board said Tuesday that it would not re-endorse Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the upcoming Democratic primary.
The Times made clear that it was abstaining from extending Cuomo its endorsement for a second term because he had failed in his self-described primary goal of fighting corruption in the state.
“Mr. Cuomo became governor on that platform and recorded several impressive achievements, but he failed to perform Job 1. The state government remains as subservient to big money as ever, and Mr. Cuomo resisted and even shut down opportunities to fix it,” the Times wrote. “Because he broke his most important promise, we have decided not to make an endorsement for the Democratic primary on Sept. 9.”
Cuomo is facing a largely symbolic primary challenge from law professor Zephyr Teachout, who specializes in corruption and ethics.
An exhaustive Times investigation published in July found that Cuomo’s office had interfered with the ethics commission that he set up in 2013 to ferret out corruption in the state legislature. At one point, according to the Times, a top Cuomo aide told the commission to back off as they probed a media firm that claimed Cuomo himself as his top client.
Cuomo’s office has adamantly denied the allegations. But the commission was disbanded in March without any major legislation being passed, and a federal prosecutor is now investigating whether there was any misconduct by the Cuomo administration.
The Times endorsed Cuomo in both his 2006 run for attorney general and his first race in 2010 to become governor. In the 2010 endorsement, the newspaper highlighted Cuomo’s pledge to focus on ethics. “Mr. Cuomo acknowledges that his foremost task is restoring trust and transparency to Albany, and the sections on ethics reform are the most impressive in his briefing books,” it wrote at the time.
Now four years later, the Times has changed its outlook.
“As he has repeatedly shown, Mr. Cuomo knows 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,” the newspaper wrote Tuesday. “Having walked away from his most important goals, he should not be surprised if many Democrats walk away from him on Sept. 9.”