Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

SU Professor: Gov. Cuomo Not Likely To Survive Fallout From AG's Report Concluding He Sexually Harassed Multiple Women

WAER file photo

A Syracuse University political science professor says Governor Cuomo’s political career is likely to come to an end following the devastating report from the Attorney General’s office corroborating numerous allegations of sexual harassment. Grant Reeher at the Maxwell School reminds us this is only one scandal.

"We're not even talking about the nursing home issue. We're not even talking about staff time with his book. I just don't see given all that how he survives for very long. I have to also say, I'm surprised he's still in office."

Reeher says Cuomo’s strategy to buy time and hope that attention wanes just can’t withstand the damage done by the AG’s report and ongoing investigations into the other scandals. He adds that the governor will also be limited in what he can accomplish.

"I just think there will be less room for him to do that, and frankly less political legitimacy to undertake anything significant because he can't count on a political base that he had before."

If Cuomo resigns, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul would succeed him to fill out the remaining year or so of the term. Reeher says it would be a reset of sorts, even if her approach contrasts slightly with Cuomo’s more progressive leanings.

"It would be interesting to see how she positions herself. She's obviously had to support the governor up until now in terms of policy initiatives. What would her new voice add. I would think it would probably provide a voice with more political moderation."

He says that might create a backstop for the most liberal policies, and give republicans more room for negotiation.

Cuomo’s sexual harassment scandal may remind some of the scandal that brought down Governor Eliot Spitzer more than a decade ago. But Reeher says the circumstances were different.

"He didn't engage in sexual harassment. He frequented a prostitute. One could argue from that perspective that Eliot Spitzer's transgressions don't seem as bad as Andrew Cuomo's because Andrew Cuomo has apparently committed sexual harassment with a number of different people."

Also unlike Spitzer, Reeher says Cuomo reportedly retaliated against his accusers and fostered a toxic, hostile, abusive, and intimidating work environment. Spitzer resigned two days after the news broke, after a little over one year in office.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at