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Andrew Cuomo Picks Rochester Mayor for Lt. Gov. Candidate
By Karen DeWitt
Oswego, NY – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo has chosen an up stater, Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy for his lieutenant governor in the race.
Cuomo announced his choice of Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy at an event in midtown Manhattan. Cuomo says Duffy, a former police chief, shares his fiscally responsible values, and has a proven record of reigning in spending, and holding the line on taxes, two tenets that Cuomo has already said he wants to govern by, if he's elected.
"He has done in Rochester what we need to do in New York State," said Cuomo. Get our fiscal house in order, consolidate government, focus on economic development."
Duffy says he accepted the spot on the ticket because he says he feels "personally aligned" with Cuomo's governing philosophy of fiscal conservatism and social liberalism. Both support gay marriage.
"I believe in this man," said Duffy, who says if the ticket is successful, he "can do more to help our city and cities across the state than I can in my current position."
By choosing a politician who has experience as a chief executive, Cuomo is perhaps reacting to the problems faced by the current Governor David Paterson, says Siena college pollster Steve Greenberg. Paterson, of course, took over as governor when Eliot Spitzer was forced to resign over a sex scandal. Paterson, a long time State Senator and Democratic Minority Leader, has been criticized for having poor management skills, and state government is widely viewed as paralyzed. Greenberg says voters will be looking for competence in the number two person on the ticket.
"They're looking for someone who can step in if something should happen to the governor, and become governor on Day One," said Greenberg. "The events of the last four years have shown us that that's the most important thing."
The choice of the Rochester mayor helps balance a ticket that was leaning toward downstate. Andrew Cuomo makes his home in Manhattan, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is from Long Island, and the top Attorney General candidates live in the Greater New York region.
Rochester area Assemblyman Joe Morelle, who is also the Monroe County Democratic Chair, nominated Duffy for the post of Lieutenant Governor on the convention floor in Rye. Morelle describes Duffy as a "down to earth" type of person who gets along with people from all walks of life.
"I've been with him hundreds of times on Rochester street corners and coffee shops," says Morelle. "People just love to come up to him, and he gives everybody time."
A large part of the job of Lieutenant Governor is playing second fiddle to a governor, and in the past high achievers who have held the post have been bored with it. Morelle says he thinks Cuomo will give Duffy enough to do to keep him interested.