Stephanie Miner, an ex-Syracuse mayor and former ally of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, announced Monday that she’s running for governor as an independent, potentially taking votes away from Cuomo in his general election battle.
Miner, a 48-year-old registered Democrat, said she’s launching her campaign to disrupt what she referred to as Albany’s “corrupt political culture,” echoing sentiments voiced by other candidates seeking to keep Cuomo from winning a third term.
“We have a completely broken system,” she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “I think the voters know the system favors insider and special interests.”
Miner made her campaign announcement in an interview with The New York Times before tweeting Monday morning that she’s running as “a citizen of New York.”
Polls show Cuomo with a comfortable lead over liberal activist Cynthia Nixon heading into the Democratic primary. Surveys also found Cuomo would win over Republican Dutchess County executive Marcus J. Molinaro in a general election matchup.
Molinaro welcomed Miner to the race, saying she has been an outspoken critic of what he called “Cuomo’s reckless administration” of the state. Nixon said Miner’s entry “shows the extent of New York’s disgust with Andrew Cuomo’s corrupt boys club.”
The governor may now face a four-way race in November. Cuomo has secured the Democratic Party nomination, while Nixon has already won the nomination of the Working Families Party, meaning she could stay on the ballot in the general election. Miner, a former top official in the state Democratic Party, plans to circulate petitions to appear on the November ballot under a new party line, the Serve America Movement.
“The voting public wants more choices and better options than just establishment candidates,” she said.
Miner served two terms as mayor of Syracuse from 2010 to 2018. Dealing with her city’s crumbling infrastructure — Syracuse averaged one water main break per day during 2014 — helped convince her that restoring the state’s highways, bridges, water systems and subways should be New York’s economic development engine, and not Cuomo-backed programs “that make these big announcements on job creation and go nowhere.”
The comment was a dig at Cuomo’s economic development policies that are increasingly coming under fire amid high-profile corruption trials stemming from bid-rigging allegations made against former public figures who were close to the governor. Cuomo hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing.
Cuomo, first elected in 2010, and Miner were allies early on, with the governor appointing her a chairwoman of the state Democratic Party during his first term. Their relationship soured when Miner objected to Cuomo supporting municipalities borrowing to cover public pensions instead of getting more aid from the state to cover local costs.
Miner has some catching up to do when it comes to campaign fundraising. That hasn’t kept her from jumping into a race in which Cuomo has more than $30 million in his war chest and Nixon, who announced her candidacy in March, has $1 million. Miner has $200,000 in funds leftover from her mayoral campaigns.
“I became mayor because I wanted to solve problems, help people,” Miner said. “That’s what I want to do as governor.”