New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi is considering a potential major challenge against Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo next year, according to key Democratic Party sources in and around Albany.
The former Cuomo employee is considering the challenge as the governor faces allegations of sexual harassment and alleged mishandling of deaths in nursing homes. Biaggi is among the many critics of workplace culture in the governor’s offices. She asked Cuomo to resign.
Biaggi could run for other senior offices, including auditor and lieutenant governor, said some of the people familiar with her mindset. Auditor Tom DiNapoli has announced that he will run again next year. Lieutenant Gov. Kathy Hochul has not recently announced whether she will run for re-election.
A Biaggi political spokesman did not dispute any element of this story. Biaggi himself did not deny in a recent tweet that a new website of hers was a sign of bigger things. “Stay tuned!” She responded in a tweet earlier this week with a winking emoji to an observer who asked her, “Could this indicate something new and exciting?”
Biaggi was asked in an interview with Jewish Insider earlier this year if her name was revealed as governor. The newspaper noted that while it did not deny the possibility of running for governor, it stated that it did not consider doing so at the time.
“It’s not something I think about,” she said then. “But I am certainly here to affect people’s lives the most, and I am very open to the energy of the universe that is leading me in this direction. We’ll see where it leads.”
Biaggi has a relatively low profile, and any campaign for a position like governor would likely go a long way. Cuomo, DiNapoli and Hochul are productive fundraisers. The Governor’s 2022 Campaign has over $ 18 million available after the first half of 2021. Biaggi, who is also up for re-election next year, has just over $ 185,000, according to New York State campaign funding records.
A recent Sienna poll shows that even if Cuomo is scrutinized for multiple scandals, voters within the state are mixed about what to do about him. The poll found that 23% of voters want an immediate resignation, and 39% think he should end his current term and not run again. A third would like him to stay in office and seek another four-year term.
Though he hasn’t said lately if he will run for re-election next year, Cuomo raised over $ 2 million in the first six months of the year despite the exam, with the help of several New York business leaders.
Biaggi’s potential move to run for either governor or some other top state position could depend on a report prepared by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is investigating allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo.
James has not given a schedule of when she expects the investigation to be completed. The details of this report could make the difference whether Biaggi or someone else opts for a primary fight against Cuomo. The governor has denied any wrongdoing.
Biaggi, who served as a lawyer in Cuomo’s administration, called for his resignation. She painted a somber picture of what it was like to work for the three-year-old governor.
“It’s a culture where people are constantly being abused and yelled at,” Biaggi, a progressive who represents New York’s 34th borough, said in an interview earlier this year. “There are intimidation tactics that happen when you are not seen as someone who is just carrying out the governor’s orders or orders in a way that he may see fit, even if you think it is unethical.”
Text messages shared with New York Magazine between Biaggi and Governor’s Secretary Melissa DeRosa reveal that the governor’s adviser cursed the state senator for a tweet.
The district of Biaggi includes parts of the Bronx and Westchester Counties. Their new campaign website highlights topics related to all of New York, not just its district.
“Alessandra is committed to bringing ethics to Albany and putting people before those in power. She works tirelessly for you to improve the lives of New Yorkers and hold those in power accountable,” the website said .
Another link takes viewers to a themed page that says, “Alessandra is working hard to create a New York that works for all of us.” It lists four different policies, including “Accountable and Open Government”.
In that section of the Biaggi site, under a section titled “Where We Need To Go” it says, “We will fight sexual harassment until it stops. I believe we have made great strides in improving the legal framework for sexual harassment Harassment made. ” and notes that “New York State and our legislature are currently failing in this regard.”
After entering an email and zip code under the “Stand with Alessandra” banner, prospective donors are encouraged to donate to “Help Alessandra organize and attract change in issues that are important to all New Yorkers. Alessandra.” cannot do this alone and with every donation “. means a lot. “
After her election to the state senate, she began paying a well-connected consulting company in November 2020.
State campaign finance records show that their campaign began with the payment of Gang 518 on November 19, years after it sparked a major turmoil over longtime independent Democratic Conference chairman Jeffrey Klein. This company is owned by Tim Tagaris, a former senior adviser to Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign and the director of digital fundraising for the 2016 Vermont legislature campaign for the White House.
They boast clients such as Sanders ‘2020 presidential campaign, Stacey Abrams’ 2018 presidential campaign, Gabby Gifford’s gun violence group, her husband Mark Kelly’s Senate campaign, and Senator Chris Murphy’s re-election campaign on their website.
Since the Biaggi campaign’s initial payment, government records show that over $ 3,000 was spent on Gang 518’s services and what is referred to in the records as “campaign advice” each month from January through late July. Gang 518 did not respond to an email requesting a comment.
Her political team did not dispute any aspect of this story after CNBC asked if she was considering running for governorship or other higher office.
“We’ve updated the website to make it more accessible and attractive, and we’ve added to some of the key state issues that the Senator cares about and is active on. Aisle518 is an excellent company and we want to make sure the senator’s message reaches people, so we hired them, “Biaggi political spokesman David Neustadt said in an email to CNBC on Wednesday.
Upon receiving that response, CNBC asked Neustadt if his boss was considering running for governor or other higher office in 2022 and if he had anything else to add to his testimony. “Nothing more,” said Neustadt in a follow-up email.
While not having Cuomo’s financial resources, Biaggi has direct ties to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, which could help raise a ton of money in small dollar donations.
During her first candidacy for the state Senate, she received the support of the Working Families Party and the support of progressive lawmakers Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Biaggi saw support from a prominent union, the 32BJ SEIU, which has over 160,000 members, according to the Gotham Gazette.
Progressive Democrats have tried to challenge Cuomo before only to fail. The liberal actress Cynthia Nixon ran in a primary against the governor, but lost in the end by 30 percentage points.