Funny how the fortunes of political timing work.
Shortly after Hillary Clinton campaigned with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo en route to winning New York’s Democratic primary, both men were hit with the kind of bad publicity that comes from outside probes.
Could the feuding pair’s troubles matter to Clinton?
“If tradition holds, New York won’t really be in play in November and it won’t matter what her allies in New York do or don’t do,” said a longtime Democratic operative.
But Republican nominee-in-wating Donald Trump is pushing to make his and Clinton’s home state competitive.
If he succeeds, and she needs to shore up support in New York, her camp would keep anyone still under a cloud at a distance, said another veteran New York Democrat.
Before she beat Bernie Sanders in the state’s high-stakes primary on April 19, Clinton had Cuomo and de Blasio hailing her in multiple appearances.
At her victory celebration, Cuomo said, “Hillary is a New York Democrat. She gets us.
“She knows New York State. We deliver results.”
De Blasio boosted her, for example, before a church audience.
“We haven’t had anyone more prepared” to be president, he said at the St. Luke AME Church in Harlem.
Three days after the primary, a “confidential” memo from a Cuomo appointee to the Board of Elections made the rounds. In it, the bipartisan board’s chief enforcement officer accused a group of operatives known as Team de Blasio of “willful and flagrant” violations of election law in efforts to help Democrats wrest a Senate majority from Republicans.
A week after that, it emerged that officials under U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara were exploring the activities of former top governor’s aide Joseph Percoco and other Cuomo loyalists.
Cuomo’s counsel publicly acknowledged that the probe into the state’s “Buffalo Billion” project “raised questions of improper lobbying and undisclosed conflicts of interest.”
As noted during the primary campaign, the mayor and the governor are not just prominent Clinton supporters.
Cuomo was housing secretary under President Bill Clinton. De Blasio worked for Cuomo there. In 2000, de Blasio was campaign manager for Hillary Clinton’s successful first campaign for U.S. Senate from New York.
The probes carried out by Bharara’s office have rocked New York for years.
They don’t touch Clinton, who moved on from the Senate seven years ago.
But they also haven’t helped the Democratic brand — or the Republican one for that matter.