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NYSNYS NEWS: Chris Gibson says Cuomo can be beaten in 2018. He faults Cuomo for tolerating corruption, attacks on teachers.
NYSNYS NEWS: Chris Gibson says Cuomo can be beaten in 2018. He faults Cuomo for tolerating corruption, attacks on teachers.

By Kyle Hughes

COLONIE, N.Y. (February 9) — U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson (R-Kinderhook) said Tuesday Gov. Andrew Cuomo can be beaten if he decides to run for a third term in 2018, saying the state can be rid of both political corruption and Cuomo if enough residents turn out to vote.

“From the very beginning, (Cuomo) demonized teachers,” Gibson said. “That’s anathema, I think, to what our state really believes.” Even against fellow Democrats, “it seems he is always looking for ways to embarrass others, and to somehow have the power — the asymmetry of power.”

He sharply criticized Cuomo for tolerating government corruption in Albany and said the Common Core school standards and testing and the SAFE Act gun law should be rolled back.

Gibson said he would term-limit himself to two, four-year terms if he runs. Cuomo has indicated he is preparing to run but has not formally announced his candidacy. His father Mario Cuomo served for three terms before being defeated in 1994 during his bid for a fourth term.

Gibson is a Long Island native who grew up in Columbia County and served 24 years in the military and 5 years additionally in the National Guard, retiring as an Army colonel. His service record includes four tours of combat duty during the Iraq war and additional deployments to Kosovo and Haiti where he commanded an 82nd Airborne combat team providing earthquake relief.

He graduated magna cum laude from Siena College and earned a Ph.d from Cornell in government, later teaching at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point. He was elected to Congress from the Hudson Valley district in 2010 and re-elected twice before deciding not to run this year.

Gibson spoke Tuesday at a press conference at Albany Airport, one of several events he’s held this week to announce his interest in running for governor in two years. He said he would have broad appeal as a candidate, pointing to his wins in the 19th Congressional District in years when President Obama also carried the district.

“Clearly, I had the strong support of my base, I had the support of independents and a fair number of Democrats,” Gibson said.

Cuomo 2018 spokesman Austin Shafran said Tuesday the campaign had no comment on Gibson’s remarks.

In his remarks, Gibson alluded to Cuomo’s open feuding with other Democrats and their supporters, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, and the powerful CSEA labor union, whose president Danny Donohue called Cuomo a “moron” and “the biggest monkey we’ve got” two years ago.

Cuomo has also had a rocky relationship with NYSUT, the statewide teachers union, calling the state’s public education system a monopoly. In 2014, Cuomo said the single best thing he could do as governor was to expand charter schools and reform public school operations in order “to break what is in essence one of the only remaining public monopolies — and that’s what this is, it’s a public monopoly.”

The infighting has included a behind the scenes struggles with the union backed Working Families Party and the subsequent Democratic party primary challenge from Zephyr Teachout, a political unknown who nonetheless managed to win 34 percent of the vote against Cuomo.

Teachout in now seeking the Democratic nomination to run for Gibson’s House seat in the NY19 district that runs from the Catskill north through the Hudson Valley and into the Mohawk Valley.

Gibson formed an exploratory committee this week for a run for governor and has debuted a new website, He also appears to have settled on an introductory theme by building on perceptions of Cuomo as a bare-knuckled politician, repeating it on Facebook, on the website and in interviews and stop around the state this week.

“We are a state that doesn’t need to be governed by fear, anger and division nor by a leader that doesn’t put service to those who elected him first,” Gibson wrote in his online postings.