Within the past decade, Andrew Cuomo running what amounts to a campaign ad during an election year would hardly be surprising or even notable. But in 2022, that news now comes with a few raised eyebrows.
Though Cuomo is not currently running for political office, he and his team released a new ad on Monday that will air digitally and on broadcast television and cable across New York State. The move comes nearly seven months after Cuomo announced his resignation in light of mounting allegations of sexual harassment.
Narrated by Cuomo himself, the ad lays out what the former governor sees as the biggest achievements of his tenure in Albany: improvements to transportation, a $15 minimum wage, and his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I haven’t been perfect; I’ve made mistakes. But I also made a difference. I’ve never stopped fighting for New Yorkers, and I never will,” Cuomo says in the 30-second spot.
The ad that debuted on Monday was the second in a campaign launched by the group Friends of Andrew Cuomo. The first ad in the series ran in late February and defended the former governor with a much more pointed tone. It used news clips and article quotes to cast doubt upon the findings of State Attorney General Letitia James’s investigation into the claims against Cuomo. The ad also highlighted how five district attorneys — from Albany, Westchester, Oswego, Manhattan, and Nassau counties — closed their investigations without filing charges. (The Manhattan DA was looking into the Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic, while the other four county offices were investigating claims of sexual misconduct.) The ad ends with the words, “Political attacks won. And New Yorkers lost a proven leader.”
The new ad campaign marks another step in Cuomo’s attempt to return to public life. While his legal team has submitted several court filings to contest the attorney general’s report, Cuomo has personally been quiet since his resignation, but not anymore.
Just last week, Cuomo gave his first public address since leaving office, speaking from the pulpit of God’s Battalion of Prayer Church in Brooklyn. In the speech, Cuomo repeated his past apologies but also took more shots at “cancel culture,” which he ultimately blames for his resignation. He stopped short of confirming a future run for office, however.
“God isn’t finished with me yet,” he said instead.
A recent poll from Emerson College and The Hill found that in a matchup for the New York governor’s race, Cuomo would receive 33 percent, only four points behind incumbent Kathy Hochul, who received 37 percent. However, in that same survey, 63 percent of New Yorkers also said that they think Cuomo shouldn’t run for public office again.