Rye, NY – Attorney General Andrew Cuomo received his party's nomination for the Democratic convention, promising to restore public trust in government, which he says is sorely lacking.
Andrew Cuomo livened up what had so far been a somewhat dispirited convention, acknowledging the tough economic times that have paralyzed the state, and taking a shot at the current state lawmakers, saying state government is "part of the problem".
"And that is undeniable and irrefutable," said Cuomo. "As we sit here today there is still not a state budget that is done."
Cuomo says the public has lost it's trust in government, and his job is to restore that trust through his actions.
"We're going to have do more with deeds than with words, my friends," said Cuomo. "We have to clean up Albany."
Cuomo, currently the most popular politician in the state, could face any one of four little known Republican challengers. Former Long Island Congressman Rick Lazio, Suffolk county executive Steve Levy, Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, and real estate consultant Myers Mermel, are all vying for the GOP nomination.
Nevertheless, Republican Party Chair Ed Cox remains undaunted. He says voters are angry, and predicts it will be an even bigger year for the GOP then in 1994.
"There's a culture of corruption," said Cox, who says Democrats now hold every major statewide office, and control both houses of the legislature.
"This is all theirs," said Cox.
Cuomo seems to realize that change is in the air, and that the public is looking for something different. He has already has ruffled some feathers at the convention with his 200 plus page reform book, with many proposals that challenge the current leadership of the Democratic Party in the legislature, as well as interest groups like unions. Cuomo is running as a fiscal conservative, saying he wants a cap on spending, and a freeze on taxes.
When Cuomo's Lieutenant Governor candidate, Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy, listed some of those ideas in his acceptance speech, including an admonishment that New York government generally live within it's means, he received only tepid applause.
"Andrew has a plan," said Duffy, who says the plan includes capping spending, and freezing taxes.
"That is critical," said Duffy.
Pollster Lee Miringoff with Marist College, says Cuomo's strategy is to reach beyond the traditional Democratic voters, and attract independents and moderate Republicans in the suburbs and upstate.
As a result, the core of the Democratic Party may not be as excited about his message. Also, Miringoff says, tough economic times can be depressing.
"Cleaning up the mess is not as exciting as a big reformist movement that would put six new programs on the table," said Miringoff.
There also were echoes of the past at this convention. Four years ago, democrats were excited about Eliot Spitzer, David Paterson, and Comptroller Alan Hevesi, all of whom are either gone from office due to scandal or are having a difficult time governing. Democrats hope, with Cuomo it will be different this time around.