Former Gov. George Pataki said that Republicans have an “excellent chance” in the upcoming elections and predicted that if disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo enters the gubernatorial race it would “guarantee” a GOP victory.
Pataki, who served from 1995 to 2006, said Cuomo would get “crushed” if he decides to toss his hat in the ring.
“I think that would be the best thing that ever happened to the state because he would get crushed, and, in the process, almost guarantee a Republican victory. No one would support Andrew except hard-core partisan Democrats,” Pataki told host John Catsimatitidis on his WABC 770 AM radio show in an interview that aired Sunday.
But the former governor said Cuomo, who stepped down in August 2021 amid a stream of sexual harassment allegations, will eventually decide against running.
“He is the most unpopular political figure in New York State. And that’s saying something. I just pray that Andrew Cuomo decides to jump into the race. He will threaten [to run]. He will posture. But … he knows he would be embarrassed horribly. So, in the end, I don’t think he does it,” Pataki said.
A recent report said Cuomo has been mulling entering the gubernatorial fray as an independent, a move that would boost the Republican candidate, according to a poll last week.
In the hypothetical matchup, 33% of voters said they would support a generic Democratic nominee, 33% would back the Republican, and 16 percent would vote for the disgraced former governor, while 18% were unsure, the Pix 11/The Hill/Emerson College poll released May 8 found.
Pataki also said that Gov. Kathy Hochul is ”vulnerable” and that the Empire State needs an injection of new political blood.
“For the first time in [a long] time, I think the Republicans really have an excellent chance. … The state is going in the wrong direction. I don’t think there’s anybody who doubts it. Crime is out of control. People are leaving the state. The schools are beginning to fall apart,” he told Catsimatidis.
“The time is right for an argument that you need to change the state’s direction. The second thing is that … we have a weak governor. Andrew Cuomo was forced out in disgrace creating this void. Governor Hochul then made a terrible mistake in picking the wrong person for lieutenant governor. That’s an absolute shambles,” Pataki added.
“We have a state headed in the wrong direction, and a governor who is vulnerable,” he said.
Hochul’s choice as Brian Benjamin as lieutenant governor ended with the former state senator being bounced from the ticket after he was indicted on federal charges of receiving financial kickbacks.
“It is one of the last opportunities for the [GOP], but it’s one of the last opportunities for New York State to get its act together. Instead of being a national embarrassment, it can be a state where people want to live again,” Pataki said.
Hochul would likely face Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin of Long Island in November if she staves off challenges from Rep. Tom Suozzi and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams in the Democratic primary.