Show an ad over header. AMP

Progressives see NY AG Letitia James as a potential challenger to Cuomo

New York Democratic strategists, operatives and progressives are viewing state Attorney General Letitia James as an appealing primary challenger to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, they tell Axios.

Why it matters: The dynamics of New York politics are complex, especially when your last name is Cuomo. But the governor has been criticized recently for his handling of the coronavirus, and James is no stranger to picking big fights.


Her bombshell report about how the coronavirus rocked New York's nursing homes focused on the issue Cuomo rode to a heightened national profile during the past year. James also has targeted Donald Trump with an investigation into his real estate empire, as well as Facebook, Google and the National Rifle Association.

  • "You need to be less extreme but still to the left — but center enough — to get the party moderates," one Democratic operative who works on local races told Axios.
  • Neither James' nor Cuomo's offices responded to requests for comment.

Between the lines: Several operatives said Democrats can't make the same "mistake" they have in the past, as one put it, and nominate a white, liberal woman. 

  • When Zephyr Teachout and Cynthia Nixon challenged Cuomo in 2014 and 2018, they both got blown out.
  • One New York political operative pointed to Cuomo's favorability ratings as evidence the governor is still loved by New Yorkers.

Background: James is no pushover.

  • And she's a Black woman at a time when the Democratic Party publicly calls that constituency the backbone of the party.
  • “There’s a real sense that people are ready to see the back of Andrew Cuomo,” said Susan Del Percio, a Republican strategist who served as special adviser to Cuomo in 2014-15. “The question is: How afraid are they to admit it in public?”
  • Del Percio said of James: “She is fierce. No one’s going to tell her to wait her turn.”

Some New York Democrats previously harbored concerns James was too close to Cuomo, but she's changed minds with her actions.

  • "I’ve been really impressed with her," said Teachout, who also once challenged James for attorney general. She cited James' leadership on antitrust issues and "her powerful and important truth-telling report about nursing homes."

Another person to watch: Jumaane Williams is an activist and local elected official in New York City.

Scammers seize on COVID confusion

Data: FTC; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Scamming has skyrocketed in the past year, and much of the increase is attributed to COVID-related scams, more recently around vaccines.

Why it matters: The pandemic has created a prime opportunity for scammers to target people who are already confused about the chaotic rollouts of things like stimulus payments, loans, contact tracing and vaccines. Data shows that older people who aren't digitally literate are the most vulnerable.

Keep reading... Show less

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to congressional leadership

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities tied to Iranian-backed militia groups in Syria was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

Keep reading... Show less

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

The Food and Drugs Administration on Saturdayissued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Keep reading... Show less

Italy tightens COVID restrictions for 5 regions amid warnings of a growing prevalence of variants

Italy on Saturday announced it was tightening restrictions in five of the country's 20 regions in an effort curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Driving the news: The announcement comes as health experts and scientists warn of the more transmissible coronavirus variants, per Reuters.

Keep reading... Show less

Palestinian Authority announces new COVID restrictions as cases surge

The Palestinian Authority on Saturday announced fresh coronavirus restrictions, including a partial lockdown, for the occupied West Bank as COVID-19 cases surge.

The big picture: The new measures come as Israel, which leads the world in vaccinations, faces increased pressure to ensure Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip have equal access to vaccines.

Keep reading... Show less

Myanmar military fires UN ambassador after anti-coup speech

Myanmar's military regime on Saturday fired the country's Ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, a day after he gave a pro-democracy speech asking UN member nations to publicly condemn the Feb. 1 coup, The New York Times reports.

Details: State television said the ambassador had "betrayed the country and spoken for an unofficial organization which doesn’t represent the country and had abused the power and responsibilities of an ambassador."

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories