ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Democratic leaders at all levels of government have called for Governor Cuomo to resign following New York Attorney General Letitia James’ report, including President Biden, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and nearly all New York State party leaders. Now, rumblings of impeachment proceedings are brewing across the Empire State.
“It is extraordinarily rare. It’s only happened once in the history of the state of New York,” Michael Dawidziak, political consultant and pollster, told 18 News.
Gov. Cuomo would be the second governor in New York State history to be impeached. Nearly 100 years ago, Gov. William Sulzer was tried and removed from office in October 1913 as a result of a disagreement with Tammy Hall, a major political power in the early 20th Century. He was convicted on three articles of impeachment:
- Filing a false report with the Secretary of State concerning his campaign contributions.
- Committing Perjury.
- Advising another person to commit perjury before an Assembly committee.
The New York Assembly has been collecting data on four probes including the falsification of nursing home data during the COVID-19 pandemic, a multi-million dollar book deal, sexual harassment allegations, and the safety of the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge in the metro-New York City area.
The impeachment proceedings are very different in New York State as compared to other states and the Federal process. If impeached, Gov. Cuomo would immediately be removed from power. Then, Lieutenant Gov. Kathy Hochul would serve as acting governor, and Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, sitting Senate Majority Leader, would serve as acting Lieutenant Governor.
Legislators in New York are now reacting and pondering impeachment, after 24 hours of political chaos.
“I will vote to send Articles of Impeachment to the Senate,” Assemblymember Anna Kelles, N.Y. District 125 (D), said.
Senators are ready to examine all of the evidence if Articles of Impeachment are delivered to their chamber.
“I surely have feelings on the conduct of the governor. As far as an ultimate decision, we have to wait and see what the presented evidence says,” Sen. Tom O’Mara, N.Y. District 58, added.
Gov. Cuomo issued a response to the report yesterday, but many are saying it is not sufficient or appropriate.
“His response basically was, ‘I’m the victim’. I don’t think anybody’s going to see him as a victim,” Dawidziak continued.
Today, several districts attornies requested the information from Attorney General James’ probe. Criminal investigations could proceed after that. Lawmakers from across the state are siding against the state’s leader and with the 11 victims who stepped forward.
“I have not heard any prominent democratic voice calling for him not to resign and calling for him to continue to resist,” Professor Grant Reeher, director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, stated.
New York political analysts are turning their attention toward 2022 for the state’s gubernatorial race. Reeher says he does not see a path for Gov. Cuomo to run and that Republicans have an opportunity to take the highest office in the state. Democrats have to push against Gov. Cuomo in order to have a chance at the seat according to Dawidziak.
“He certainly is going to open up the gubernatorial process. You’re really leaving the Democrats absolutely no choice but to impeach him,” Dawidziak concluded.
As of Wednesday, no official articles of impeachment have been drafted and Kelles said they are still collecting data on all four probes.