September 4, 2002

Cuomo Drops Out of N.Y. Democratic Primary

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Andrew M. Cuomo, suffering in pre-primary election polls, dropped out of the New York state gubernatorial race yesterday afternoon, endorsing his fellow democratic candidate, state Comptroller H. Carl McCall.

Choosing to avoid last-minute negative campaigning tactics and articulating his desire to act in the best interest of his party, Cuomo withdrew from the race.

“I will not close a gap in the election by opening one in the body politic,” he told The New York Times yesterday.

Cornell Democrats, whose members’ support was split between McCall and Cuomo leading up to the primary, expressed various reactions to Cuomo’s decision. The majority, however, appeared to agree that Cuomo had made a wise decision in withdrawing from the race and also supported his choice to endorse McCall’s campaign.

“[I am] glad to see that Andrew made the right decision,” said Jamison Moore ’04, president of Cornell Democrats. “We all wish him well but we are glad to see that McCall will have an unobstructed path to the governor’s mansion. We are confident that he can beat Pataki and we know that Andrew will be behind him one-hundred percent.”

Other political activists on campus had similar opinions.

“I think that today’s announcement was the right way to exit the race, and that it will help to unite Democrats in the general election,” said Jason Conn ’03, director of Cornell Students for Cuomo.

“I was disappointed to see Secretary Cuomo drop out of the race but after seeing the recent polls, I was not surprised,” said Conn.

Citing the difficulties Cuomo faced throughout his campaign, Prof. Ronald Ehrenberg, labor economics said, “His campaign didn’t take off…He figured he was going to lose big or he was going to conduct a really nasty campaign.”

Ehrenberg, who introduced Cuomo in an April campaign stop, supported Cuomo’s decision to end his gubernatorial campaign.

“I think what he did was the prudent thing to do and that there will be another day for him,” Ehrenberg commented.

Some students, however, believed that Cuomo’s resignation was overdue and that, by resigning a week before the primary, he had hurt his party’s chance of taking the governor’s race.

“[Had Cuomo resigned earlier], the party would have been unified under one candidate,” said Josh Ross ’03, chairperson of Students for McCall. “Instead, we have a lot of healing to do in a little under a week before the primary.”

Whether they initially supported Cuomo or McCall though, campus democratic leaders are now backing McCall in his race for gubernatorial office and are encouraging other democrats on campus to do the same.

“At the end of last semester, Cuomo was leading McCall in the polls. I think that this [event] is an indication of McCall’s growing base of support,” said Conn. “Cornell students should make sure to vote in the general election. I think it will turn into a close race.”

Archived article by Ellen Miller