Like father, like son?
Just as his dad, former New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, opened the door for Bill Clinton to run for president in 1991, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has opened his campaign coffers to help Joe Biden become a Democratic frontrunner in the 2020 race for the White House.
During an impromptu news conference 28 years ago, as the snow fell in Syracuse, the elder Cuomo announced he would not run for president. That instantly cleared the field for then-Arkansas Gov. Clinton.
The current governor, Cuomo of New Castle, told political party donors that he wants to open his formidable fundraising network to Biden, a native of Scranton, Pa., and a former U.S. senator who represented Delaware for 36 years before his two terms as vice president.
Cuomo, a Democrat who also happens to be close to the Clintons of Chappaqua, previously endorsed Biden for the White House. He's a 1968 graduate of Syracuse University's College of Law.
On April 26, Biden raised $6.3 million online during the first 24 hours of his campaign and 90 percent of those donations were under $200, according to multiple reports.
Biden has high name recognition. He's also seeking to become the oldest president ever-elected if he faces and then defeats Republican Donald Trump. Biden would turn 78 on Nov. 20, 2020. Trump, a 72-old New Yorker who owns property in Westchester, became the nation's oldest-ever president in 2016.
Cuomo's early financial backing may be a game changer for Biden, who officially launched his candidacy for president on April 25. A top party donor who has spoken to Cuomo advisers told CNBC, "Biden is going to have a formidable fundraising operation through, in part, Cuomo.”
State Board of Elections data show Cuomo raised $100 million in campaign contributions since he first ran for governor in 2010. At least 80 percent of Cuomo's backers have given him $10,000 or more, those records show.
Cuomo’s wealthy donor network spans the country and business world. Past donors include movie mogul Steven Spielberg, Walmart heiress Alice Walton and hedge fund titan Steve Cohen. Cuomo also has received support from companies such as Cablevision, real estate giant the Durst Organization and Canadian real estate firm Brookfield Asset Management.
Earlier this week, Cuomo said, "If I had a crystal ball, I would say and I would hope that Joe Biden would get into the race. I think he has the best chance of defeating President Trump which I think is the main goal here."
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell also is helping Biden and planned to host a fundraising event for Biden in Philadelphia.
Donald Trump’s campaign raised $30 million during the first quarter of this year. Trump welcomed Biden to the race with a tweet mocking him: "Welcome to the race Sleepy Joe," Trump tweeted. "I only hope you have the intelligence, long in doubt, to wage a successful primary campaign.
"It will be nasty - you will be dealing with people who truly have some very sick & demented ideas. But if you make it, I will see you at the Starting Gate!" Trump added.
Biden visited his home state of Pennsylvania on the first day of his presidential campaign, heading to a fundraiser held by David L. Cohen, executive senior vice president of Comcast. Biden plans his first major stump speech as a presidential candidate on Monday, April 29 in Pittsburgh.
Biden’s Democratic rivals have left the primary starting gate with three months of fundraising under their belts: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders led the way by raising $18 million in the first quarter of 2019.
Others are amassing the support of so-called party "bundlers." Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, has at least two dozen Democratic fundraisers for his 2020 campaign, with many of his bundlers previously backing former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who lost to Trump in 2016. California Sen. Kamala Harris has more than 100 bundlers backing her campaign for president.
This is what another Democratic presidential candidate, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, is pitching. Her platform might not make the richest New Yorkers -- whom Cuomo has said he fears losing in outward migration to other states -- very happy:
Warren said, "We need structural change. That’s why I’m proposing something brand new – an annual tax on the wealth of the richest Americans. I’m calling it the “Ultra-Millionaire Tax” & it applies to that tippy top 0.1% – those with a net worth of over $50M."