Andrew Cuomo publicly says he doesn't want the job, and Joe Biden has announced that he wants a woman to fill it.
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Even against that backdrop, a new effort has emerged among Democratic Party activists and even some prominent governors to persuade the former VP and current Democratic Party presidential nominee to pick the voluble New York governor as his running mate to challenge President Trump in the 2020 election, FOX Business has learned.
Leading the efforts, according to Democratic Party activists, is Ned Lamont, the governor of Connecticut, and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. People close to Biden who spoke to FOX Business on the condition of anonymity described the effort as a long shot. They cite Biden's public announcement that he would select a woman as his running mate for the low odds of Cuomo joining the ticket.
Other factors that would make the Cuomo selection nearly impossible, Biden advisers say: The need for a running mate that appeals to voters in the Midwest, including important electoral states like Michigan and Wisconsin the last Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, lost in 2016, as well as someone appealing to suburban women.
The politician that best checks off those boxes is Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who earned high marks for her spirited, albeit unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination. Cuomo, a brash New Yorker, might not sway constituencies needed for Biden to win, they say. "Lots of wishful thinking involving Andrew," one top-ranking Democratic fundraiser told FOX Business. "But Biden can't go back on his commitment to picking a woman now."
As another top Democratic Party adviser who works directly with the Biden campaign put it: "There's zero chance of this happening."
But according to people inside the draft Cuomo movement, the extraordinary political and economic circumstances imposed on the nation from the coronavirus pandemic, and Cuomo's rising stature in political circles has given them an opening to persuade Biden to go back on his pledge and chose the New York governor as his running mate (Press officials representing Lamont and Wolf had no immediate comment, as did those representing Cuomo and Biden.).
They cite Cuomo's daily press briefings on his efforts to curtail the virus in New York, which have become must-see TV with the governor laying out in blunt, almost nonpartisan terms the state's massive effort to prevent the spread of the virus. Cuomo's stature has grown so much that Trump has often referenced their virus relief discussions and explained how the two adversaries have developed a strong working relationship in a time of crisis.
Polls show that the 63-year-old Cuomo has also become somewhat of a sex symbol. They say that’s something that can help the Biden ticket with that all-important suburban women vote that typically trends Republican but has grown increasingly frustrated with Trump's name-calling on Twitter and often toxic style. While it wasn't too long ago that Cuomo rubbed people the wrong way for his imperial management style, now, at least according to posts on social media, women find him appealing for his take-charge approach to the crisis.
More than all of that, Cuomo running alongside Biden matches up well against the Trump-Pence ticket according to polls, the draft Cuomo people contend. "I like Amy (Klobuchar) but she isn't formidable enough to be part of a ticket to go against Trump," said one long-time Democratic activist who is pushing the Biden people to select Cuomo as his running mate. "It's a no-brainer; Cuomo was so obviously made for these times, and Biden needs him."
To be sure, the largely unstated advantage of having an imposing figure like Cuomo as Biden's running mate is that the governor might be a more formidable candidate for president than the current all-but-certain nominee who at 77 years of age has at times appeared to lack the stamina for a long and grueling race. The draft Cuomo people are pitching the New York governor as someone who can serve as Biden's chief operating officer both on the campaign trail and if elected in the White House on day one, handing major policy issues while Biden focuses on big-picture issues, FOX Business has learned.
That argument, the draft Cuomo people say, has resonated with Biden advisers, but it's unclear how much Biden himself has endorsed the talk of Cuomo as his VP. Then there's the matter of whether Cuomo really wants the job. And at least optically, Democratic political advisers say leaving his job as governor to run as VP during a pandemic might not be the best look.
Cuomo has said publicly he wants to seek a fourth term as governor in 2022, something his father, the three-term governor Mario Cuomo couldn't accomplish, though people who know him say it has always been his goal to win the White House. Indecision in the matter of running for president may run in the family. His father, a Democratic Party icon, had flirted so many times with running for president that he was dubbed "Hamlet on the Hudson."
The elder Cuomo ultimately never ran for president, and at 62 years of age, time is running out for his son to make his move. Becoming Biden's running mate may be his last chance.