New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will vacate office following a nation-gripping sexual harassment scandal, but despite his early resignation, he could still face impeachment, which might result in him being unable to run for governor again.
The New York Assembly Judiciary Committee is wrapping up a months-long “impeachment investigation” into the allegations of sexual harassment levied at Cuomo, and some Democratic lawmakers want to continue the process.
State Sen. Julia Salazar said just hours after he announced he would be stepping down she supported pursuing impeachment against the governor.
“We have a responsibility to go through the full impeachment process,” Salazar wrote on Twitter. “Anything less would fail to fully hold the governor accountable, and to prevent his behavior from being repeated in the future.”
State Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou replied, “We must” to a tweet that called for Cuomo’s impeachment.
State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi has echoed the calls for impeachment for months and told nonprofit news outlet The 19th on Wednesday, “I feel incredibly responsible to follow through on accountability, because if I don’t, and if we don’t, effectively what we are saying is that there are no rules or standards for sexual harassment in New York, and that is not acceptable.”
Cuomo continued to deny any wrongdoing after an attorney general’s investigation found that he had sexually harassed multiple women during his time in the top New York seat.
It remains unclear if the state assembly will seek impeachment of the New York governor, but his sudden resignation earlier this week left some questioning whether the process should continue.
In a Wednesday interview with local news outlet Spectrum News NY1, Democratic Assemblywoman Latrice Walker – who serves on the Judiciary Committee – questioned the value of seeking impeachment.
“He’s already resigned, and what’s the goal here?” Walker said. “If the goal here was to move this particular governor out of office, and now we’re in a position to move New York forward, let’s continue moving our state forward.”
But after impeachment and conviction, the legislature could bar Cuomo from seeking office again, which he can still do if he resigns without being impeached.
The assembly – which has sole impeachment powers in the state – needs a simple majority to vote in favor of impeachment.
Cuomo would then need to be convicted by a two-thirds vote in the Court of Impeachment – which is comprised of each state senator, except the majority leader, and all seven judges from the New York State Court of Appeals.
If New York lawmakers are looking to bar Cuomo from running for re-election, the Court will need to impose a mandate that restricts his ability to run for state office, top New York political strategist Evan Stavisky told Fox News.
Stavisky, partner at political consulting firm Parkside Group told Fox News that should Cuomo seek to re-enter the political arena in the future, he was “smart” to resign.
“The governor came to the realization that there was no way out. The process was going to end with him leaving office one way or the other,” Stavisky said.
“He’d lost the confidence of the legislature, he’d lost the confidence of the public, he lost the confidence of the national leadership,” he added. “The writing was on the wall and he was smart to see it.”
Cuomo has a reported $18 million in campaign funds he had previously raised in preparation for seeking a fourth term, according to The New York Times.
But a Marist Poll taken just days after the release of the attorney general report found that Cuomo had lost the support of New Yorkers.
The three-term governor will leave office with his lowest approval rating to date, with just 38 percent of New Yorkers saying they approve of his governorship, a significant drop from the 66 percent approval rating he held in July 2020, the poll released Tuesday found.
Stavisky, whose firm has successfully elected over 100 New York Democrats in state races, said he thinks it is “highly unlikely” the 63-year old Cuomo will seek re-election in the near future.
“However, you can never say anything with 100 percent certainty,” he said. “But this is as close to certainty as you can get at this point,” he argued.