Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Cuomo Takes After Spitzer In More Ways Than One

For all of his immoral escapades that brought his term as governor of New York to an abrupt halt in March 2008, Eliot Spitzer was known, by the tabloids, as New York’s Luv Guv. And now another incarnation of the Luv Guv moniker is on the horizon in the name of Andrew Cuomo. New York’s governor seems to be mirroring Spitzer’s personal and professional life in a small but significant way never mentioned before.


Spitzer served as New York’s attorney general for two terms beginning in 1999. He was succeeded as attorney general in 2007 by Andrew Cuomo.

During the final year of his second term as the state’s legal eagle, Spitzer announced his candidacy for governor and was elected as New York’s 54th governor in 2006 after incumbent George Pataki, a Republican, decided not to seek a fourth term as governor. Spitzer’s gubernatorial stint lasted only 15 months. He resigned, as news reports revealed he cheated on his wife, Silda Wall, and was center stage in a prostitution scandal. Hence, the nickname of the Luv Guv stuck.

After Spitzer’s brief tenure crumbled, David Paterson took over as New York’s chief executive. He filled out Spitzer’s term and then exited the political and governmental stage amid his own set of scandals. When Paterson decided not to seek his own term in office, Cuomo jumped into the fray for the open seat. Cuomo followed the Spitzer / Paterson term and is currently serving his third term as governor.

All three governors are approximately the same age (Spitzer, 61; Cuomo 62 and Paterson 66). Spitzer and Cuomo each have three daughters who are about the same age (20s and 30), and Paterson has two children.

On the second floor of the state Capitol, the governor and key members of his staff enjoy spacious, historic and elegant working quarters. The passage around the second floor is known as the Hall of Governors. Each governor is honored with an official portrait. Cuomo has approved the hoisting of two portraits – one for his father, Mario, and one for Paterson. One portrait is missing. That of Eliot Spitzer, who Cuomo, I’m told, does not feel is fit to have a portrait hung due to his indiscretions and the embarrassment he brought to the office. There is no love there.

Fast-forward to present-day, because no self-effacing news story should exclude the coronavirus. During the final month of daily briefings about the coronavirus, Cuomo always ended his slide show telling those present and the viewers: We are New York Tough, Smart, United, Disciplined and Loving.

On Sunday, June 7, the governor added a little something extra and personal. “I am mostly loving Marc, don’t you forget that.”

On another day that week he troped, “Love wins, love conquers all, love brings the light, love wins always, our better angels are better than our demons.”

While Paterson is currently remarried, Spitzer and Cuomo remain single men. Cuomo had a 14-year relationship with chef, author and celebrity personality Sandra Lee, before ending it amicably last September. Meanwhile, Spitzer dated several women since leaving office, according to several media reports.

Cuomo admits he is single and ready to mingle. His sister, Maria, has said she is taking names and phone numbers of women who want to date the Luv Guv after this coronavirus pandemic is over. Cuomo has said he is eligible and not in a serious or unserious relationship.

* * *

What goes up must come down is one saying we hear all the time, especially when it comes to elevators. Another saying when it comes to numbers, like gas prices: Numbers go up like a balloon (fast) and come down like a feather (slowly).

Same is true with deaths attributed to the coronavirus. It took 42 days for the virus to hit its peak in New York and more than 70 days for the numbers to recede to the numbers first seen in March. As June wraps up, New York could see a monthly total at approximately 800 deaths, a single day total at the peak of the pandemic.

“Flatten the curve. Forget flatten the curve. We bent the curve. We are curve benders,” Cuomo proudly proclaimed last week. “We changed the trajectory.” The governor has ended his daily briefings and will update New Yorkers on the status of the virus occasionally.

While a special legislative session may pop up either virtually or in person within the next month, this time of year the governor, his budget team and agency heads are working on next year’s state budget and state of the state message, which takes place in January.


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Marc Gronich is the owner and news director of Statewide News Service. He has been covering government and politics for 44 years, since the administration of Hugh Carey. He is an award-winning journalist. His Albany Beat column appears monthly in The Jewish Press and his coverage about how Jewish life intersects with the happenings at the state Capitol appear weekly in the newspaper. You can reach Mr. Gronich at [email protected].