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Cuomo Announces Run for Governor


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ALBANY, NY (WXXI) - Andrew Cuomo made it official, he's running for governor of New York. The news slipped out in the form of a website video, released early Saturday morning.

The 20 minute video on Andrew Cuomo's website is part campaign ad, part power point presentation, as the Attorney General and now candidate for governor outlines what he says is a plan to fix a state government that he claims has become a "national disgrace".

"New York State government has failed," said Cuomo. "I represent the people of the great state of New York, and we want our government back."

Cuomo's plan includes campaign finance reform, a constitutional convention to circumvent the legislature, a cap on property taxes, a promise not to raise state taxes, and a freeze on state worker raises.

The popular Attorney General is considered the frontrunner in the race, Governor David Paterson is not seeking election to the post he filled when Eliot Spitzer resigned over a sex scandal.

In recent election cycles, major candidates for office like governor have announced their intentions to run at least a year before Election Day. But circumstances are different this time. State government is widely viewed as dysfunctional, and anyone associated with it rapidly becomes unpopular.

Most candidates announce early because they need to build name recognition and raise money, but Cuomo, with a famous ex- governor father, three years as a prominent Attorney General, and $16 million dollars in his campaign war chest, has plenty of both.

And polls show the public, who have thought all along that Cuomo will run for governor, aren't concerned about the wait. Mickey Carroll, with Quinnipiac University, says the most recent survey shows Cuomo well liked, with a 74% approval rating, and far ahead of any potential challengers, with as much as a three to one lead against three announced GOP candidates, former Long Island Congressman Rick Lazio, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, and Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino.

"I don't know if he ought to walk over to Eagle Street (where the governor's mansion is located) and start measuring the curtains," said Carroll. "But it certainly looks very, very, very good."

Carroll predicts that what he calls Cuomo's "stratospheric" numbers will go down, though, now that the campaign has begun.

The Attorney General, in his three and a half years in office, has managed to stay above the fray and one step removed from the budget problems and the string of scandals plaguing the Capitol. Instead he's gone after high profile bad guys, including Wall Street transgressions, student loan scams, and public pension fraud. He's let his actions, not his words speak for him.

This will be Cuomo's second run for Governor. In 2002, he attempted to challenge Carl McCall, the state's first major party African American candidate for Governor, in a primary. Cuomo withdrew just days before the vote, with the knowledge that he would lose. McCall was then defeated by George Pataki.

Cuomo also served as HUD Secretary under President Clinton, and in his youth, was an aide to his father, Mario, in the governor's office, where he was known as something of a hatchet man.

Carroll, with Quinnipiac, says Cuomo has changed since then, and learned from some of his past mistakes.

"He's a disciplined, seasoned mature official," said Carroll. "When we first met him, he was a kid."

Cuomo, now 52, hopes to win back the seat last held by a member of his family, Governor Mario Cuomo, in 1994.

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