Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, told the Albany Times Union on Sunday that he has high hopes for the Republican Party in 2016. Norquist said that promising GOP candidates for the 2016 presidential race far outnumber those in past elections.
"We are in so much better shape today than we were in the last presidential race," Norquist told the Times Union's Capitol Confidential blog. "Last time we had 10 guys up on the podium, three of whom were really running for president, some of them were looking to be radio talk show hosts, some of them were selling books, a couple of them were doing marriage counseling. There were three guys who were really running for president and the rest of them were taking up a great deal of time and confusing people."
Norquist said the same cannot be said for the Democrats, particularly New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Though Cuomo has not announced any specific plans to run for president, Norquist said he believes Cuomo is hinting at higher aspirations.
"He said he wasn’t going to raise taxes, and then he did, which probably helps you in a Democratic primary by saying, ‘See? I can lie to voters, vote for me!' But I don't know that it helps nationally," Norquist said.
Despite a high approval rating in his state, Cuomo, Norquist believes, is a "problematic" candidate for a national election, but he doesn't think that will stop him from running.
“I think he’s probably the perfect candidate for the post-Obama Democratic Party in terms of picking the most left-of-center guy running,” Norquist said.
Norquist pointed to a number of Republican party figures as among the many hopefuls the GOP boasts for 2016, including Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.
Norquist himself has wavered on tax issues in the past, most notably on the recent fiscal cliff deal, which he agreed with despite his firm anti-tax stance.
"I'm happy," Norquist said of the agreement. "It ought to give you a little bit of a clue about who won Round 1 of this fight."