|52nd Governor of New York|
January 1, 1983 – December 31, 1994
|Lieutenant||Alfred DelBello (1983–1985)
Warren Anderson (1985–1986)
Stan Lundine (1987–1994)
|Preceded by||Hugh Carey|
|Succeeded by||George Pataki|
|68th Lieutenant Governor of New York|
January 1, 1979 – December 31, 1982
|Governor||Hugh L. Carey|
|Preceded by||Mary Anne Krupsak|
|Succeeded by||Alfred DelBello|
|58th Secretary of State of New York|
January 1, 1975 – December 31, 1978
|Preceded by||John J. Ghezzi|
|Succeeded by||Basil Paterson|
|Born||Mario Matthew Cuomo
June 15, 1932
Queens, New York
|Spouse(s)||Matilda Raffa Cuomo|
Mario Matthew Cuomo (//; born June 15, 1932) is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party. He served as the Secretary of State of New York from 1975 to 1978, as the Lieutenant Governor of New York from 1979 to 1982 and as the 52nd Governor of New York for three terms, from 1983 to 1994.
He was known for his liberal views and public speeches, particularly his keynote speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention where he attacked President Reagan's record, saying: "There is despair, Mr. President, in the faces that you don't see, in the places that you don't visit, in your shining city." The speech brought him to national attention and he was widely considered a front-runner for the Democratic nomination for President in both 1988 and 1992, but he declined to seek the nomination in both instances. His legacy as a reluctant standard-bearer for the Democrats in presidential elections led to him being dubbed "Hamlet on the Hudson".
Cuomo was defeated for a fourth term as Governor by George Pataki in the Republican Revolution of 1994 and he subsequently retired from politics. He is the father of Andrew Cuomo, the 56th Governor of New York and journalist Chris Cuomo, currently at CNN.
He was born in the Briarwood section of the New York City borough of Queens to a family of Italian origin. His father, Andrea Cuomo, was from Nocera Inferiore, Italy, and his mother, Immacolata (née Giordano), was from Tramonti. The family owned a store in South Jamaica, Queens, in New York City. Cuomo attended P.S. 50 and later earned his bachelor's degree in 1953 and law degree in 1956 from St. John's University, graduating first in his class. When he and the salutatorian (the late St. John's Law Dean Patrick Rohan) were summoned to the dean's office (Reverend Joseph T. Tinnelly) at the end of the year, he was asked what field he planned on going into after graduation. Cuomo responded that he would like to be a trial lawyer. Consequently, he was sent to clerk for the Honorable Judge Adrian P. Burke of the New York Court of Appeals. Additionally, he was signed and played baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system until he was injured by a ball hitting his head, and he subsequently became a scout for the team.
Early political career
He first became known in New York City in the late 1960s when he represented "The Corona Fighting 69", a group of 69 home-owners from the Queens neighborhood of Corona, who were threatened with displacement by the city's plan to build a new high school. He later represented another Queens residents group, the Kew Gardens-Forest Hills Committee on Urban Scale, who opposed Samuel LeFrak's housing proposal adjacent to Willow Lake in Queens. In 1972, Cuomo became more well-known across and beyond New York City when Mayor John Lindsay appointed him to conduct an inquiry and mediate a dispute over low-income public housing slated for the upper-middle-class neighborhood of Forest Hills. Cuomo described his experience in that dispute in the book Forest Hills Diary and the story was retold by sociologist Richard Sennett in The Fall of Public Man.
In 1974, he was encouraged by Democratic Party bosses to run for Lieutenant Governor of New York alongside gubernatorial nominee Hugh Carey. They believed the Italian American Cuomo would appeal to important but dissatisfied white ethnic voters and he was the party's designee for the post but was defeated in the primary election by Polish American Mary Anne Krupsak, a first-term state senator. After Carey was elected Governor, Cuomo was appointed to serve as the Secretary of State of New York in January 1975.
Two years later, Cuomo ran for Mayor of New York City at Carey's urging. Incumbent Mayor Abraham Beame was very unpopular and Cuomo was one of five major challengers to Beame in the Democratic primary. In a close and highly fractured election, U.S. Representative Ed Koch finished first with 19.81% of the vote and Cuomo came second with 18.74%. As no candidate cleared 50% of the vote, Koch and Cuomo advanced to a runoff. Koch emerged victorious with 54.94% of the vote to Cuomo's 45.06%. Cuomo had received the nomination of the Liberal Party several months previously and was urged to drop out of the race but he contested the general election against Koch and token Republican opposition. During the campaign, placards appeared saying: "Vote for Cuomo, not the homo" in reference to rumours about Koch's sexuality. Cuomo denied responsibility for this but Koch never forgave him "as he made clear with a pointedly disparaging reference to Mr. Cuomo in a recorded interview with The New York Times that was not to be made public until Mr. Koch's death." Cuomo ran on his opposition to the death penalty, which backfired amongst New Yorkers as crime was very high. Cuomo then went negative with ads that likened Koch to unpopular former mayor John Lindsay. Meanwhile, Koch backers accused Cuomo of anti-Semitism and pelted Cuomo campaign cars with eggs. Cuomo was also defeated by Koch in the general election, taking 40.97% to Koch's 49.99%. The race is talked about in Jonathan Mahler's book Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx Is Burning.
In 1978, incumbent Lieutenant Governor Krupsak declined to seek re-election. She had previously committed to doing so but became upset with how Governor Carey treated her in office and felt she was not given enough to do. She withdrew from the ticket and unsuccessfully challenged Carey in the gubernatorial primary, accusing him of incompetence. Cuomo easily won the primary for Lieutenant Governor and was elected alongside Carey in the general election.
Governor of New York
In 1982, Carey declined to run for re-election and Cuomo declared his candidacy. He once again faced Ed Koch in the Democratic primary. This time, Koch's support for the death penalty backfired and he alienated many voters from outside New York City when, in an interview with Playboy magazine, he described the lifestyle of both suburbia and upstate New York as "sterile" and lamented the thought of having to live in "the small town" of Albany as Governor, saying it was "a city without a good Chinese restaurant". Cuomo won the primary by ten points and faced Republican nominee businessman Lewis Lehrman in the general election. With the recession aiding Democratic candidates, Cuomo beat Lehrman by 50.91% to 47.48%.
Cuomo actively campaigned for Walter Mondale in the 1984 presidential election and was named on Mondale's list of vice presidential candidates. The act was one of tokenism as Mondale was determined to have a female or ethnic minority running mate. Geraldine Ferraro was ultimately nominated as his running mate but Cuomo was chosen to give the keynote speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. He vigorously attacked Ronald Reagan's record and policies in a speech that brought him to national attention and he was immediately considered to be one of the frontrunners for the Democratic nomination for President in 1988 and 1992.
Cuomo was re-elected in a landslide in 1986 against Republican nominee Andrew P. O'Rourke by 64.3% to 31.77%. He consistently ruled out the possibility of running in the 1988 presidential election, announcing on February 19, 1987, that he would not run and then going on to publicly decline draft movements in the wake of Gary Hart's withdrawal following the Donna Rice affair.
In 1990 he was re-elected with 53.17% of the vote to Republican Pierre Andrew Rinfret's 21.35% and Conservative Herbert London's 20.40%.
When Cuomo was asked if he was planning to run for President in 1992, he would say: "I have no plans and no plans to make plans", but he refused to rule it out. In October 1991, news broke that he was interested in running and was taking advice from consultant Bob Shrum. At the same time, he began working on a budget with the New York State Legislature and promised not to make any announcements about a presidential run until he had reached an agreement with the Republican-controlled State Senate and the Democratic-controlled State Assembly. Two polls taken in November of the New Hampshire Democratic primary showed him leading the field by at least twenty points and a poll in December showed him trailing President George H. W. Bush by 48% to 43%, having been behind by 28% two months previously.
The filing deadline for the New Hampshire primary was on December 20, 1991 and Cuomo was expected to wait until the deadline before filing and declaring his candidacy. In the days before the deadline, Cuomo couldn't come to an agreement with Republicans in the Legislature and on deadline day, he was required to hand in a ballot application in person, so he kept an aeroplane waiting on the tarmac as he decided whether to fly to New Hampshire to enter the race. Democratic party leaders asked him to run and he prepared two statements, one in case he ran and one in case he didn't. He tried to come to a final agreement over the budget but couldn't and at 3.30pm he made an announcement:
"It is my responsibility as governor to deal with this extraordinarily severe problem. Were it not, I would travel to New Hampshire today and file my name as a candidate in this presidential primary. That was my hope and I prepared for it. But it seemed to me that I cannot turn my attention to New Hampshire while this threat hangs over the head of the New Yorkers I have sworn to put first."
Cuomo's supporters launched a draft movement and encouraged people to write-in his name in the Democratic primary, which was held on February 18, 1992. Cuomo did not discourage it, which many saw as implicit endorsement of the campaign. Cuomo went on to receive 6,577 votes in the primary, 3.92% of the total cast and subsequently asked the draft committee to close down, saying "I am flattered by their support and impressed by their commitment, but I am also convinced that in fairness to themselves they ought now to end their effort." The group closed down but Cuomo refused to rule out joining the primaries later in the year: "I have said more than once that the nomination should go to someone willing and able to campaign for it. I am willing, but because New York's budget has not been settled I am not able to campaign for it." Ultimately, Cuomo did not enter the race and Bill Clinton went on to win the Democratic nomination and the general elecion.
Because of Cuomo's refusal to take up the party's banner for national office despite his popularity within the liberal wing of the Democratic party during the 1980s and 1990s, his name has in some circles become a metaphor for a reluctant political leader, the "Hamlet on the Hudson".
After Bill Clinton won the Democratic nomination for President in 1992, Cuomo was a candidate for vice president but he refused to be considered and did not make Clinton's final shortlist. He was also spoken of as a candidate for nomination to the United States Supreme Court, but when President Clinton was considering nominees during his first term to replace the retiring Byron White, Cuomo stated he was not interested in the office. George Stephanopoulos wrote in 1999 that Clinton came within 15 minutes of nominating Cuomo before the latter pre-emptively rejected the post.
In 1994, Cuomo ran for a fourth term. In this election, Republicans attacked him for his opposition to the death penalty by highlighting the case of Arthur Shawcross, a multiple murderer convicted of manslaughter who was paroled from New York in 1987 and on release became a serial killer. Republicans were able to associate Shawcross with Cuomo much like Willie Horton with Michael Dukakis six years earlier. Cuomo was defeated by George Pataki in the 1994 Republican landslide, taking 45.4% of the vote to Pataki's 48.8%. Cuomo and fellow Democrat Ann Richards, the Governor of Texas who had been defeated in her re-election campaign by George W. Bush, appeared in a series of humorous television commercials for the snack food Doritos shortly afterwards, in which they discussed the "sweeping changes" occurring. The changes they were discussing turned out to be the new Doritos packaging.
Cuomo is notable for his liberal political views, particularly his steadfast opposition to the death penalty, an opinion that was unpopular in New York during the high-crime era of the 1980s and early 1990s. While governor, he vetoed several bills that would have re-established capital punishment in New York State (the death penalty was in fact reinstated by Pataki the year after he defeated Cuomo in the 1994 election, although it was never put into effect and the statute was declared unconstitutional by the New York Court of Appeals in 2004).
Cuomo is pro-choice on abortion. In a speech at the University of Notre Dame on September 13, 1984, he used the statements of the American Catholic hierarchy to argue "that what is ideally desirable isn't always feasible, that there can be different political approaches to abortion besides unyielding adherence to an absolute prohibition." For this political position, Cardinal John Joseph O'Connor considered excommunicating him.
He has also been outspoken on what he perceives to be the unfair stereotyping of Italian Americans. Cuomo also opposed the move of the National Football League's New York Giants and New York Jets to the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, choosing instead to attend the home games of the Buffalo Bills while serving as governor, referring to the Bills as "New York State's only team."
Family and personal life
Cuomo has been married for more than fifty years to his wife Matilda (née Raffa). She is a graduate of St. John's University's Teachers College. They have five children: Andrew (b. 1957), Maria, Margaret, Madeline, and Christopher Cuomo (b. 1970).
His son, Andrew Cuomo, married Kerry Kennedy, a daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel, on June 9, 1990. They have three daughters: twins Cara Ethel Cuomo and Mariah Matilda Cuomo born January 11, 1995, and Michaela Andrea Cuomo born August 26, 1997. Kennedy and Cuomo divorced in 2005 during Cuomo's term as New York State Attorney General. He served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001. In an attempt to succeed his father, he ran as Democratic candidate for New York Governor in 2002, but withdrew before the primary after criticizing Republican incumbent George Pataki's leadership after the terrorist attacks on the city on September 11 the previous year. In November 2006, Andrew Cuomo was elected New York State Attorney General, and on November 2, 2010 was elected governor of New York, being inaugurated on January 1, 2011.
Cuomo's younger son, Chris Cuomo, was a journalist on the ABC Network newsmagazine Primetime and anchored news segments and served as co-host on Good Morning America but moved to CNN in 2013. He was picked as one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 1997.
Cuomo is an avid player of fantasy baseball. He always has an Italian player on his team, regardless of how many Italian players are available or how well they are doing. In 1994 he was featured several times on the Ken Burns PBS series Baseball where he shared personal memories of his life in baseball before he entered politics.
Cuomo is the author of Why Lincoln Matters (2004) and sits on the Advisory Council of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. He is a co-editor of Lincoln on Democracy, an anthology of Abraham Lincoln's speeches.
In 1996, he wrote Reason to Believe. He also wrote a narrative essay entitled "Achieving the American Dream" about his parents' struggles coming to America and how they prospered.
Since 1996, Cuomo has served on the board of Medallion Financial Corp., a lender to purchasers of taxi medallions in leading cities across the U.S. He was named to the board through his personal and business relationship with Andrew M. Murstein, president of Medallion.
||Constructs such as ibid., loc. cit. and idem are discouraged by Wikipedia's style guide for footnotes, as they are easily broken. Please improve this article by replacing them with named references (quick guide), or an abbreviated title. (July 2010)|
- Mario Cuomo, "Religious Belief and Public Morality: A Catholic Governor's Perspective: Remarks delivered at the University of Notre Dame"
- Plante, Bill (August 22, 2012). "Best and worst convention addresses: How will Gov. Chris Christie measure up?". CBS News. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
- Kornacki, Steve (10 April 2011). "The Mario Effect: Last time a group of presidential challengers was this unimpressive, there was a reason". Capital New York. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
- Epoca - Google Books
- Heard from Prof. Patrick Rohan; April 23, 2009[verification needed]
- ibid.[verification needed]
- "From the Daily News Archives". Daily News (New York).[dead link]
- Schmalz, Jeffrey (15 May 1988). "THE MYSTERY OF MARIO CUOMO". New York Times. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
- Gitell, Sam. "New Hampshire Factor." New York Sun, September 26, 2006. Joe Klein's roman à clef Primary Colors depicts a fictionalized Cuomo's uncertainty on whether to run.
- Sack, Kevin (22 February 1992). "THE 1992 CAMPAIGN: Write-In; Cuomo Tells Presidential Draft Group to End Campaign". New York Times. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
- The Economist. "Mario Cuomo, Hamlet on the Hudson"
- Ifill, Gwen (10 July 1992). "THE 1992 CAMPAIGN: Democrats; CLINTON SELECTS SENATOR GORE OF TENNESSEE AS RUNNING MATE". New York Times. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
- Sack, Kevin. "Cuomo announces he is not seeking seat on high court." The New York Times, April 8, 1993.
- "Book Tells of 'Courtship' to Get Cuomo on High Court"
- Doritos Advert[dead link]
- Beltramini, Enrico (September 12, 2009). "Il cattolicesimo politico in America". Limes (in Italian). Retrieved 2011-12-26.
- West, John G.; MacLean, Iain S. (1999). Encyclopedia of religion in American politics, Volume 2. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 98. Retrieved 2011-12-26.
- Mentoring USA website: "Our Founder- Matilda Raffa Cuomo" retrieved October 4, 2013
- "Board and Leadership", HELP USA website
- Walker, Sam: Fantasyland: A Season on Baseball's Lunatic Fringe Viking, 2006
- Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP | Attorneys | Governor Mario M. Cuomo
- Medallion Financial Corp. annual report, 2010, p. 78
- [dead link]
- Conan, Neal (October 16, 2013). KCUR Reception with Neal Conan. (Interview). KCUR. Kansas City, Missouri.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Mario Cuomo|
- Text Cuomo's 1984 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address – "A Tale of Two Cities"
- Text and Audio of Cuomo's Address at the University of Notre Dame– "Religious Belief and Public Morality"
- Lewis Lehrman 1982 NY Governor Campaign Retrospective. Lehrman narrowly lost to Mario Cuomo (51% to 48%)
- Biography at Willkie Farr & Gallagher website
- Video of debate/discussion with Mario Cuomo and Paul Krugman on Bloggingheads.tv
- A film clip "The Open Mind - An American Legacy (1984)" is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
- Booknotes interview with Cuomo on Why Lincoln Matters, July 25, 2004.
John J. Ghezzi
|Secretary of State of New York
Mary Anne Krupsak
|Lieutenant Governor of New York
Hugh L. Carey
|Governor of New York
|Party political offices|
|Liberal Nominee for Mayor of New York City
|Keynote Speaker at the Democratic National Convention