The head of the state Democratic Party backed Gov. Kathy Hochul’s reelection on Monday — but first made sure to tell her disgraced predecessor, Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“It was just a courtesy call,” party chairman Jay Jacobs told reporters, in an attempt to downplay the interaction. “I felt as a courtesy to the former governor, that I should call him so he knows.”
As multiple local politicians — including Attorney General Letitia James, city Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Mayor Bill de Blasio — consider launching campaigns to oust her, Jacobs endorsed Hochul’s 2022 primary, labeling the incumbent a “moderate” and “pragmatic progressive.”
Still, Jacobs said, he called Cuomo — who no longer holds any official office — at 9:15 a.m. Monday ahead of the expected endorsement announcement, because he wants to maintain good relationships with the scandal-scarred former governor.
Cuomo, a three-term Democrat, stepped down on Aug. 10, after a monumental state attorney general investigation that documented his alleged sexual harassment of 11 mostly younger women, including current and former staffers.
Cuomo initially refused to step down, repeatedly unleashing his personal lawyer to attack some of his accusers and grouse his belief that the AG probe was politically motivated.
Cuomo eventually relented, after President Biden, state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers), and Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) among nearly every other member of his party called on him to resign, and the Democrat-controlled state legislature reached enough votes to impeach him.
Despite the fall from grace, Jacobs explained he called Cuomo “as a matter of respect, frankly.”
“He was our governor,” he insisted.
Asked if Cuomo will attempt to make a comeback and run again, Jacobs stressed the importance of the Democratic Party standing as a “unified” front.
“Anything in this world is possible, the governor does have a significant campaign war chest — Governor Cuomo, that is, I should say — and all I’m saying is that it is best for the Democratic party for us to be as unified as possible,” he said of the about $18 million in Cuomo’s coffers.
“I think anybody that wants to run, needs to put forward a clear rationale as to why they are different for whatever position it is from the person that is there now, or from others that seek that office.”
He later added he doesn’t think Cuomo attempting to return to his former post in Albany would be a good idea and predicted voters wouldn’t support the potential decision.
“We have a governor who, by any measure, has earned our support,” Jacobs said during a press conference in Garden City. “Kathy Hochul has earned the support she is getting from me today.”
The stamp of approval comes after the Democratic Party honcho — a close Cuomo ally before in early August joining the chorus of others who called on him to step aside — has spoken favorably of Hochul of late.
“The county chairmen I spoke to are very favorably disposed to Hochul. I’m talking about county leaders everywhere in the state,” he said late last month.
In recent weeks, Jacobs has been making calls to get Empire State officials and political players to support Hochul in next year’s race, sources have told The Post.
James, whose office’s monumental probe delivered the death knell to Cuomo’s reign, told a group of Democrats Thursday night to “stay tuned” about a potential June 2022 Democratic primary campaign decision.
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