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Koch and the Cuomos: A Tale of Feuds and Forgiveness

forgiveness on Politics - Andrew Cuomo is among the mourners attending Ed Koch’s funeral today in Manhattan, but the governor and his family didn’t always enjoy the best relationship with the former mayor.

Koch ran against Governor Cuomo’s father, Mario, twice. They first faced off when Koch made it to City Hall in the 1977 mayoral election. In 1982, Koch ran for governor and was defeated by the elder Mr. Cuomo. The 1977 campaign included an incident where posters alluding to the widespread rumors about Mr. Koch’s sexuality by proclaiming “Vote For Cuomo, Not The Homo” were placed all along Queens Boulevard.

“He appeared before a gay group looking for their support, I think it was when he was attorney general, and he said, ‘I had nothing to do with it,’” Koch said of Mr. Cuomo and the poster incident. “And he came up to see me and he said, I’d like your support.’ And I said, Andrew, I could never support you. I’m not talking about ‘Vote For Cuomo, Not the Homo,’ because you said you didn’t do it. … I don’t know who did it, but somebody did it. I’m willing to accept that. I’m not desirous of holding grudges anymore.’ That’s what I said to him, ‘It takes too much energy. But I can’t vote for you because of what you did in attacking your wife and also you destroyed the Liberal Party.’”

Mr. Cuomo addressed these accusations and was able to earn Koch’s support. “He said, ‘I didn’t attack my wife, my friends did, and I told them not to do it and I’m sorry they did it. And I did injure the Liberal Party, but they have forgiven me. Ray Harding has forgiven me,’” Koch said Mr. Cuomo told him. “So, I said, ‘Look, if he’s forgiven you, then I don’t have to hold it against you, I’ll endorse you.’ And I endorsed him.”

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