Gov. Andrew Cuomo spent his first night out of New York since taking office in 2011, part of a Washington D.C. trip today that includes a campaign fundraiser and a visit to the Democratic Governors Association.
Cuomo has made a point since taking office to not sleep over outside the state. In 2011, he took an overnight flight back from Los Angeles after he was feted at a Hollywood fundraiser in 2011 after same-sex marriage was legalized in New York.
But Cuomo made his first major foray out of New York yesterday and today. He attended the 36th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, which honored his friend, Billy Joel, last night with girlfriend, Sandra Lee.
When a New York governor leaves the state, it leads to a re-reading of the state Constitution, which says if the governor “is absent from the state” the lieutenant governor is in charge. It’s a law that goes back to the horse-and-buggy era.
Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy has joked that he wouldn’t start making changes if Cuomo left the state, but it has been an issue in the past. Legislators have tried to change the law to ensure there’s no effort by a lieutenant governor to usurp the power of the governor, but it hasn’t passed.
Also, Gov. David Paterson in 2009 won a state Court of Appeals decision to appoint a lieutenant governor if the position is left vacant — which happened when he succeeded disgraced Gov. Eliot Spitzer in 2008.
Cuomo’s fundraiser comes as he plans to seek re-election next year and as he continues to be considered a potential presidential candidate in 2016.