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Cuomo says he is open to running again

NEW YORK (AP) – Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is contemplating a political comeback and dangling the possibility he may run for his former job just six months after he resigned amid sexual harassment allegations.

Cuomo gave a campaign-style speech on Thursday to a friendly audience of about 100 people in the Bronx, where he framed his fall from power as “cancel culture” run amok. The Democrat behaved like a candidate, posing for pictures with attendees and a baby.

Asked after his speech if he would run for office, Cuomo told reporters he is “open to all options”.

He wouldn’t say whether he was thinking about challenging his former lieutenant governor and successor Governor Kathy Hochul, but he ripped the state’s current governance during his speech.

Cuomo, who quit in his third term, indicated he was open to possibly gathering enough petition signatures to get on the ballot in the general election, a step that would allow him to bypass the Democratic primary in June.

Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a meeting. PHOTO: AP

“I know how to get on the ballot, I did it a couple times,” Cuomo told reporters.

“The election isn’t until November. So there’s a lot of time to gather petitions, depending on how you want to run.”

Cuomo resigned from office in August after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment.

He denied allegations he touched women inappropriately and claimed his accusers had misconstrued comments he’d intended to be friendly banter.

Two teams of lawyers, one hired by Attorney General Letitia James and the other working for the state Assembly, said they found the harassment allegations credible. The attorney general released a report that concluded he had harassed 11 women.

At the same minute Cuomo was scheduled to start speaking on Thursday, James tweeted that “too often workers endure unlawful advances that put their lives and livelihood at risk”.

“Under my office, sexual harassment will never be tolerated. We will continue to fight for brave women who share their stories,” she said.

The former governor did not directly address the specific allegations on Thursday or make any apologies. He accused “extremists” in the Democratic Party of orchestrating his downfall because they felt he was standing in their way.

“There are people who wanted to run against me. They wanted my job. And they used this opportunity to help themselves politically,” he said.

He also blamed “cancel culture” for the firing of his brother, former CNN host Chris Cuomo, and called out by name the top corporate leaders of the network’s ownership group.

Chris Cuomo was ousted in December after a report from James’ office showed how the journalist advised his brother to fight the harassment allegations.

The harassment allegations were not the only controversy he faced when he resigned.

A report by the attorney general found his administration undercounted the COVID-19 death toll of New Yorkers in nursing homes by thousands.