Late last night, The New York Times broke the news that M.T.A. Chairman Joe Lhota is considering entering next year’s mayoral race as a Republican, and is being strongly urged by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani to do so. Since Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, is Mr. Lhota’s boss and the chairman was beside him at a press conference this afternoon, a reporter asked the governor about this possibility. Needless to say, Mr. Cuomo does not sound not interested in adding to his current political complications he’s already dealing with in Albany.
“I’m going to try to stay out of the politics of New York City if I can avoid it,” Mr. Cuomo replied. Pressed on whether he will make any endorsement whatsoever, he succinctly added, “I’m not expecting to, no.”
Of course, Mr. Cuomo’s statement allows plenty of wiggle room down the road, especially, one would imagine, if Democratic prospects end up worse than they appear and his party needs a boost from the popular governor.
Besides indicating his intention to avoid touching the mayor’s race with a ten-foot pole, Mr. Cuomo did manage to heap praise on Mr. Lhota’s service in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, along with a word of warning for any aspiring elected official.
“I would like to see Mr. Lhota do what Mr. Lhota wants to do,” he said. “He has done an extraordinary job as head of the M.T.A, the entire region got to see that during the storm at Sandy. I knew how well he was performing but they actually saw his performance, so whatever he would like to do, I think he should do. I admire that he enjoys public service. I would caution him on elected office, however, because it is a nasty process to go through.”