Who's up and who's down this week?

Who's up and who's down this week?

Our Winners & Losers list is always written anonymously.
September 6, 2018

Unnamed administration sources blasted President Donald Trump in Bob Woodward’s latest book, “Fear: Trump in the White House.” An anonymous senior White House official sounded off on the president’s alleged incompetence in an unusual editorial posted by The New York Times. Who are behind these attacks? Who cares! What everyone really wants to know is who actually writes City & State’s Winners & Losers – and we’ll never tell.

Winners: 
Andrew Cuomo

Must be nice to take a bevy of political reporters on a taxpayer-funded boat ride to gawk at the new bridge, bearing your last name, opening the weekend before the Democratic primary. Must be nice to have property tax rebate checks showing up in 350,000 mailboxes the week of the Democratic primary. And it must be nice to get the endorsement of the Times, the Daily News, the Times Union and the Buffalo News all in a week.

Fred Kowal

Gov. Andrew Cuomo hasn’t always had a great relationship with unions. But lately they seem to be happy with the contracts they’re getting with his administration – including United University Professions, a union of SUNY employees that just ratified a new six-year contract. Kowal, UUP’s president, was pleased with the vote to ratify, saying it “proves without a doubt that UUP members strongly support this contract and their union.”

Stephanie Miner

The former Syracuse mayor will appear on the November ballot as an independent now that a Cuomo ally has dropped a legal challenge to the 41,000 signatures Miner submitted to the state Board of Elections. But a greater challenge looms for the former co-chair of the state Democratic Party: breaking out from her current place at the bottom of the polls by raising enough money to compete against Cuomo – assuming he wins his primary fight – and Republican challenger Marc Molinaro, who remains the main rival to the two-term incumbent in the general election. Money from her mayoral races and friends is running out.

Zalman Teitelbaum

While Cynthia Nixon has support from one bearded Williamsburg sect, the other is all in for Cuomo. The governor met personally with the Satmar Rebbe, leader of Williamsburg’s Hasidic community, and reportedly helped earn his support by promising not to interfere with yeshivas – which are currently being investigated by the city for allegedly offering subpar educations. Just like with Trump, it pays to be a friend of Cuomo.

Troy Waffner

After years serving merely in an interim capacity, Cuomo finally appointed Waffner as the official director of the New York State Fair. For five years, Waffner toiled away, proving that he was indeed the right man for the job. The announcement came a day after Cuomo celebrated record-breaking attendance at this year’s fair, finally making it the biggest fair in the state. Waffner was not mentioned during the celebration, but his hard work was nonetheless rewarded with his appointment, enabling him to continue setting records for years to come.

Losers: 
Una Clarke

Like Lazarus rising from the dead and walking the Earth once again, so too did Clarke. At least, that’s what Cuomo might have you think. At the West Indian American Day Parade, the governor paid homage to the longtime leader in the Caribbean-American community, but mistakenly referred to her as dead. “Una Clarke, God rest her soul,” Cuomo told the crowd. If he wants to challenge God to strike him down, that’s his business, but speaking for someone else is just rude.

Phillip Eng

As Long Island Rail Road president, Eng will have to explain the LIRR’s 2018 on-time performance, which is on its way to be the worst in nearly two decades. Two things that make matters worse for Eng: 1) This is the first year Eng will hold that title, and 2) Last year set the bar really low. Eng took office in April after Patrick Nowakowski stepped down amid growing complaints from riders and officials, given 2017’s worst on-time performance in 18 years. The first seven months of 2018 are already worse than the first seven of 2017, and we haven’t even gotten to the hardest months of the year for rail transportation yet.

Kirsten Gillibrand

New York’s junior senator isn’t one of the 10 Democrats on the Judiciary Committee that get to grill Brett Kavanaugh for days about why he should (or shouldn’t) serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Gillibrand has sent strong signals about her bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, and hasn’t been shy about her less-than-adoring thoughts on former and sitting presidents. Instead of sitting in on a major hearing that would allow her the chance to do both on national TV, she’s forced to stand out there with her ear to the door, protesting via tweets.

Julia Salazar

Bad publicity continues to pile up for the insurgent candidate’s campaign against incumbent state Sen. Martin Dilan. First there were reports of a “self-created” identity as a Jewish-Colombian immigrant. Then there were revelations from her brother and mother that contradicted the working class roots Salazar presents on the campaign trail. The New York Times revealed that she didn’t graduate from Columbia University and then came the bombshell allegations that she had an affair with Mets legend Keith Hernandez, impersonated his then-wife Kai Hernandez in order to access her bank account, and then lodged a defamation case against Kai that kept her arrest in the public record.

Donald Trump

If there’s one thing the president hates, it’s being insulted. If there’s one thing he loves, it’s getting revenge. In recent days, he had to deal with deeply uncomfortable questions about his basic competence – and unless he can figure out which current and former White House officials are behind the anonymous condemnation of his actions, he won’t even have the satisfaction of a target as he fights back.

City & State
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