That has now changed and Cuomo is in better known territory, both personally and historically. He was by his father’s side during the long slog from 1991, when Mario took the oath of office for the third time, until election night in 1994, when the upstart was Republican George Pataki ended the era of Cuomo the Elder. Those four years were notable for the lack of anything noteworthy aside from the annual spring snooping among three men apparently operating in separate rooms – it took Cuomo and the lawmakers without exception until June to agree on a state budget, to the chagrin and worse Local governments that rely on Albany funding. Voters were fed up with all of this in 1994, although they got more and more of them in the Pataki years.
New York’s history books are full of stories from other third-term crypts, ranging from the scandals that caught Ed Koch in the late 1980s to the Harangues of Fiorello LaGuardia in the early 1940s when the little flower officially became a big one Pain was in the tokhes. Koch lost his offer for a fourth term while LaGuardia refused to run for a fourth term after exhausting his reception. Mike Bloomberg really tried fate by telling New York City to suspend its term limit law just this one time so he could run for a third term. He won it and began naming glossy magazine editor Cathie Black to run the schools in New York City. It’s been a long four years.
These three were obviously not governors. But the curse still holds in Albany. Only Nelson Rockefeller got caught four four-year terms since the days of Al Smith, despite resigning to chair a federal body three years after his last term (and after the infamous Attica riot) the cumbersome title of the critical decision-making committee for Americans, filled with Rockefeller’s colleagues.
Herbert Lehman, who succeeded Franklin Roosevelt as governor in 1933, resigned eagerly towards the end of his fourth term. However, this statistic requires an asterisk because his first three terms in office were only two years. New York switched to a four-year term in 1938. Thomas Dewey and Pataki, two three-term Republicans, managed to get through their dozen years without a disqualifying incident, even though they both refused to take full FDR when their third term came to an end.