Democrat Andrew Cuomo made it officialSaturday after months of playing coy: He will seek the New Yorkgovernor's job once held by his father.
Cuomo, who as state attorney general has built a nationalreputation with his campaigns against public corruption, posted avideo and statement online announcing his candidacy, promising tocontinue his crusade and change the notoriously shady culture ofAlbany.
"New York state is upside down and backwards; high taxes andlow performance," Cuomo said in the video.
"Sometimes, the corruption in Albany could even make Boss Tweedblush," he said, referring to the most corrupt administration in
New York City history, from a century ago. "In my opinion,politicians of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, share theblame.
The formal announcement comes months after a member of PresidentBarack Obama's administration sought to have Gov. David Paterson,low in the polls and low on cash, not seek election to the seat hegained by default, indicating a preference for Cuomo.
The intent was to install a strong candidate at the top of theticket to assure New York as a certain Democratic stronghold. Thisfall, every state office and both U.S. Senate seats are up forelection, including the long-perceived weak candidacy of Sen.
Kirsten Gillibrand, appointed by Paterson.
The announcement for many Democrats also marks the resurgence ofNew York politically because it again has a potential presidentialcandidate in play in Cuomo.
His unusual choice of a video announcement on a Saturday, afterrefusing for months to confirm a campaign was under way, wasintended to have two primary effects. One was to get out a detailedmessage on what Cuomo plans to do, not just broad campaign speechrhetoric, according to an official in the campaign who was notauthorized to talk about strategy and spoke on the condition ofanonymity.
The choice of Saturday morning was an attempt to keep theannouncement focused on what Cuomo will do for New Yorkers, ratherthan the political glitz planned for the state nominatingconvention next week, the official said. It also gets the messageinto Sunday newspapers nationwide, and Cuomo has continued to workoften with print media even in a day of blogs and online news,according to the official, who spoke
"We didn't want to do it on the eve of the convention," thecampaign official said. "We are focused on dealing with New York'sproblems."
Cuomo enters the race with much higher popularity and namerecognition than several Republicans seeking the GOP nomination andfar ahead in fundraising.
In the video on his campaign website, which includes titles like"New York doesn't work," Cuomo calls for "honest, effectivegovernment" on the part of both major parties.
"Both are guilty of playing partisan politics and bringing NewYork state to the brink," Cuomo said. "My campaign is thissimple: I represent the people of the great State of New York, andwe want our government back."
The video features New Yorkers saying, "Andrew Cuomo works forus ... for my business and for my family."
Cuomo faces Republicans Rick Lazio, a former congressman from
Long Island; Steve Levy, the Suffolk County executive, also fromLong Island; and Carl Paladino, a Buffalo developer aligned withtea party activists in the party. There are no other announcedDemocratic contenders for the nomination.
Cuomo's father, Mario Cuomo, was governor from 1983 to 1994.
Andrew Cuomo was the secretary for housing and urban developmentin the Clinton White House. He dropped out of a 2002 race forgovernor before the primary because of a lack of political andfinancial support. But he returned four years later and beat alarge field of Democrats in the attorney general's race to succeed
Cuomo has since been a force nationally, and his office's publicintegrity unit has brought several cases against New Yorkers heaccused of improperly collecting pensions and misappropriatinggovernment funds. The biggest pending case now is against PedroEspada Jr., the Senate majority leader and a Bronx Democrat.
Cuomo had previously worked for his father, running hiscampaigns beginning when Andrew was 24 years old and as an adviser.Cuomo also worked for a Manhattan law firm, where he earnedmillions before mounting the 2006 campaign for attorney general.
He is divorced from Kerry Kennedy. They have three daughters.
Cuomo says he will combat the nation's highest local propertytaxes and reduce government by 20 percent, and will enlist formerVice President Al Gore to do it.
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