Preet Bharara’s nationally publicized firing from the US Attorney job in Manhattan created some intrigue about his political ambitions and the implications for those he was investigating, like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo. Despite the fanfare, it could be a big bag of nothing.
Bharara’s ouster does seem tailor-made to launch a political career — getting fired by President Donald Trump alone could be a badge of honor for liberal votes, then throw in the fact that his firing might have been a gift to Rupert Murdoch and Fox News — but his sudden super-nova status might not shake up the board all that much.
First off, he’s said he’s not interested in running. Natch. While he might be feigning disinterest, several outlets have noted that running in New York is straight up difficult for him. Incumbent Governor Cuomo has an impressive war chest that could scare off a newcomer like Bharara. The optics that would come along with running for Mayor of New York City — transitioning from investigating the Mayor to running against him — are dismal. Plus, he lives in Westchester.
What’s the shot? Maybe state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman runs against Cuomo the Democratic primary and opens up a slot for Bharara to run for Attorney General (Score = Possible, but unlikely).
Bottom line, if he does decide he wants in the politics game, Bharara may have a real tight window ahead of 2018 elections to brainstorm something clever.
That said, the political implications of his firing were more of a concern for de Blasio who may have had to deal with something of a wild card investigation ahead of his re-election bid for NYC Mayor. But those concerns were answered Thursday when state and federal officials announced they wouldn’t pursue a case against the Mayor.
Extended reading on Preet Bharara:
- His firing could be bad news for de Blasio [NY Mag]
- The big winner here is Rupert Murdoch [NY Mag]
- The man who terrifies Wall Street [New Yorker, Profile]
- Rebuttal: maybe he doesn’t terrify Wall Street [NY Times]
- How Preet was mistakenly canonized [Politico]
- Preet’s trophy cabinet [NY Mag]
Let’s talk a little more about Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. He is becoming a folk hero for the left, according to David Freedlander writing at Politico Magazine.
Could he make a run at the Governor’s mansion through a primary challenge to Cuomo? Maybe.
Here’s what to watch for: If Schneiderman starts to threaten a run, Cuomo’s positions will begin to tack even further left to counter Schneiderman’s liberal bonafides. Cuomo may become a vociferous and vocal opponent of the Trump administration on health care, start dealing more with unions, walk back some of his education initiatives, and maybe even start backing marijuana legislation. If Cuomo’s policies start going far left, it’s a good bet that Schneiderman has turned up the heat.
Extended reading on your friendly neighborhood Schneiderman:
- He hopes to “torpedo” the Trump travel ban, [New York Business Journal]
- He helped craft language used by Tompkins County (Ithaca) to keep its cops from being used like immigration agents, [Ithaca Voice]
- Talked to NPR’s Steve Inskeep about battling Trump’s White House [NPR]
- Kushner slimed him, so there’s some bad blood there [Village Voice 2014]
- He’s been running to the left for years [New York Magazine 2013]
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