New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has been relying on an adviser as “perhaps the most powerful political force in New York who almost no one knows.”
Now, the adviser — Adam Sullivan — is resigning in disgrace, following a disappointing midterm election and reports of what the New York Post called “reports of toxic behavior.”
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Sullivan made the announcement Sunday. “I am writing to formally let you know that I have decided to step back from my role helping or advising the Governor as well as the State Party and any other efforts in New York State for the foreseeable future,” he said in an email obtained by the paper.
All month, New York media has been buzzing with reports about Sullivan’s surprising influence on the governor.
“Mr. Sullivan, 42, has no formal job title or social media presence,” The New York Times reported Wednesday. “He operates a small consulting firm from his home in Colorado mining town, delivering strategy directives on issues like public safety far from the streets of New York City, where crime has unsettled some residents.”
“We listened to him and he called the shots,” one former campaign staffer told the NY Post anonymously.
Last year, the Hochul campaign reportedly created a television advertisement about Hochul’s plans to secure the state’s subway trains. However, Sullivan nixed the ad. “Let’s focus on abortion,” Sullivan wrote in a memo later obtained by The New York Times.
In the end, Hochul won her 2022 race by a measly 6.6 points in the heavily Democratic state. By comparison, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo was elected in 2010 by 26.5 points… in an election without an incumbent.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the former House speaker, has blamed the House Democrats’ losses on the New York Democrats’ failure to address this issue. The California Democrat faulted Hochul for failing to address crime until “10 days before the election.”
Some staffers reportedly blamed the disappointing election on Hochul herself, not on Sullivan. Still, others have spoken to the media about Sullivan’s influence on the governor… and it gets even worse from there.
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Staffers have anonymously told the Times about Sullivan’s habit of disparaging subordinates, berating his female colleagues with different opinions, and blaming everyone but himself for the governor’s failures.
“Almost entirely that ire was directed at women – and young women usually,” one insider said, according to the NY Post.
Sullivan, when asked, did not dispute the allegations. He simply said, “I have always tried to treat everyone with respect and regret that there are people who I feel did not meet that bar.”
He also apologized Sunday “to anyone who felt harmed in any way by my behavior.” The Colorado-based consultant made the remarks in a staff email, later obtained by the NY Post
He added —
As you know, the New York Times published a painful piece about me that caused me to reflect on my interactions and my relationships. In retrospect, I can see the toll that the campaign took on me. And after some serious thinking, I think it’s best if I take some time away from politics and the campaign environment and get healthy…
I know that New York is in good hands with Governor Hochul at the helm.
The Horn editorial team