Mayor Andrew Cuomo and Gov. Letitia James? New York’s most chaotic possible futures

You thought the fighting between Cuomo and de Blasio was bad? Just imagine these nightmare scenarios.

Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images; Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former Mayor Bill de Blasio famously didn’t get along, which often threw New York politics into chaos. So far, Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams have had more cordial relations. But rumors that Cuomo could be eyeing a run for mayor have reminded us of the bad old days and led us to wonder just how much worse the relationship could get between Gracie Mansion and the Governor’s Mansion. Just consider these nightmare matchups.

Mayor Andrew Cuomo and Gov. Kathy Hochul - If the former governor gets elected mayor, he’s unlikely to work well with his successor. As former Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa wrote in her recent book, Team Cuomo viewed then-Lt. Gov. Hochul as a lightweight and tried multiple times to kick her off the ticket. Cuomo even considered primarying Hochul in the 2022 Democratic primary – and if he doesn’t become mayor, there’s a good chance he’ll challenge her in the 2026 primary. But the enmity between Cuomo and Hochul is nothing compared to the hostility between…

Mayor Andrew Cuomo and Gov. Letitia James - The former governor holds James directly responsible for his resignation, and he has spent much of his time since leaving the governor’s mansion relitigating the accusations against him and accusing James and her team of conspiring to force him out of office to clear the way for her to enter the Governor’s Mansion. James did end up running for governor in 2022 and may run again in 2026, leading to the possibility of Cuomo running New York City and James running the state. If this happens, don’t expect anything of any substance to get done.

Mayor Andrew Cuomo and Gov. Bill de Blasio - Bill de Blasio has already run for Congress and president, so why not governor? This would invert the dynamic that existed between 2014 and 2020, when Cuomo largely ran roughshod over de Blasio. Get ready for a lot more debates over whether the mayor or the governor runs the MTA. 

Mayor Chris Quinn and Gov. Bill de Blasio - Former City Council Speaker Chris Quinn is a strong candidate for mayor, and in a world where de Blasio was elected governor, who’s to say she couldn’t finally make it to Gracie Mansion? These two are not exactly friends – they were bitter rivals in the 2013 Democratic mayoral primary – but both are relatively progressive and technocratic and could probably establish a strong working relationship.

Mayor George Santos and Gov. Tom Suozzi - Suozzi’s quixotic primary challenge to Hochul last year led directly to Rep. George Santos entering Congress. Santos is now headed for expulsion from Congress, while Suozzi looks likely to retake his congressional seat next year. But there’s literally no telling what Santos will do once he’s out of Congress. He could very well launch a mayoral campaign, even if he has to do it from inside a federal prison cell. In such a world, Suozzi could end up in the Governor’s Mansion, only to have to work with his fellow Long Islander. But speaking of campaigning from federal prison…

Mayor Donald Trump and Gov. Letitia James - The once and (possibly) future president has always kept one eye focused on New York City politics, even after he became the most powerful man in the world. He’s largely abandoned his hometown for the sunnier and more conservative pastures of southern Florida, but if he doesn’t make it back to the White House, he might try to fulfill his lifelong dream of running New York. Meanwhile, James is making a name for herself by taking apart the Trump Organization piece by piece. And in the nightmare scenario where Trump makes it to Gracie Mansion, it would serve him right to have to deal with James as governor.