This morning, Post columnist Frederic U. Dicker reported a little bit of information we sort of already knew: a growing schism is being created in the state Democratic Party over next year’s gubernatorial elections. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are backing terminally unpopular governor David Paterson for reelection, and pretty much everyone else is hoping that the much-better-liked attorney general Andrew Cuomo will run, even though he’s announced no such intentions. “The party is starting to unravel from the stress, and is on the brink of what could be an all-out civil war,” said one prominent Democratic operative. “Worries over Paterson’s weakness are reaching the boiling point, with everyone realizing Andrew would be our strongest candidate next year.”
Of course, everyone knows Cuomo is planning on running, just the way everyone knows Rudy Giuliani is planning on running — despite the fact that neither have made announcements. Even so, some state GOP leaders are taking advantage of frazzled Dem nerves to try to cause more panic. According to Elizabeth Benjamin at the Daily News, Brooklyn GOP chairman Craig Eaton sent out a press release launching a “draft Rudy” publicity stunt, which he says is to “convince” the former mayor and presidential candidate to run. Of course, it won’t be a cakewalk for Giuliani either — even though he wins against Paterson in polls, he lost some of his statewide popularity with his blustery swing to the right during his failed presidential bid, and opponents like former representative Rick Lazio are already lining up for the GOP primary. But so long as the fight is characterized as one between splintered Dems and a unified, invincible, Giuliani-led Republican party, the latter will appear to have the advantage.