The Governor’s race in New York pits Democratic Andrew Cuomo against Republican Carl Paladino and the contest is becoming quite colorful. Before we look at the candidates lets review the political landscape, demographics and issues facing the State of New York.
All statewide offices are currently held by Democrats and the Democratic Party controls both houses of the State Legislature. The New York State Legislature is often referred to by the press as the circus in Albany; its members are depicted as clowns. The NYS Legislature is probably the most dysfunctional state legislative body in the Nation. Representatives have been involved in numerous ethical issues and in some cases criminal activity.
Sheldon Silver is the Speaker of the New York State Assembly; Assemblyman Silver wields a tremendous amount of power and virtually nothing passes the Assembly without his approval. The Democrats hold a slight majority in the State Senate and that body has seen a seesawing of control over the last several years.
Registered Democrats overwhelmingly outnumber registered Republicans in the Empire State; New York State Board of Election statistics as of April 2010 show the breakdown as follows:
All Third Parties 211,808
New York State is faced with major economic issues; the State has large deficit, a high rate of taxes and like the rest of the country has seen an increase in unemployment. The Legislature has been unable to deliver a budget on time in years.
Andrew Cuomo was elected Attorney General of the State of New York four years ago. Mr. Cuomo is a lawyer, career politician and son of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo. Andrew Cuomo has served in various positions in the administrations of Governor Mario Cuomo, New York City Mayor David Dinkins and President Bill Clinton. Cuomo is divorced from Kerry Kennedy Cuomo.
Mr. Cuomo is campaigning on a platform of cleaning up Albany and fiscal responsibility which includes no new taxes, a cap on State spending and the freezing of State salaries. Cuomo’s positions are articulated on his campaign website; the website link is included in the sources below.
Carl Paladino is a Buffalo area businessman and lawyer; he positions himself as an outsider that can clean up Albany. Mr. Paladino pledges to cut taxes by 10% and the State budget by 20% within the first two years he is in office. Mr. Paladino has the support of the Tea Party movement.
Paladino notes that any attempts by current Governor David Patterson to cut the budget have met with heavy resistance from the Legislature. Paladino goes on to note that members of the Legislature are significantly influenced by unions, particularly the Public Service Unions.
Mr. Paladino won an upset victory in the Republican primary against front runner Rick Lazio. Mr. Paladino is married to Mary Catherine Hannon and is a US Army veteran. Paladino’s positions are articulated on his campaign website; the website link is included in the sources below.
The Race So Far
The disturbing thing about this race so far is the personal attacks and coverage regarding Mr. Cuomo’s divorce and Mr. Paladino’s out of wedlock daughter.
Mr. Paladino has a shoot from the lip style, while Mr. Cuomo is more reserved and is a cautious politician.
Andrew Cuomo is trying to position himself as the person to clean up Albany when in fact he is part of that establishment; to Mr. Cuomo’s credit he has been an effective Attorney General.
Carl Paladino is trying to position himself as an Albany outsider with the business skills to manage finances and create jobs. Paladino’s off the cuff remarks at times makes him look like a loose cannon; he would benefit from staying on message and being a bit more reserved.
Both candidates realize the economic crisis facing New York is the major issue and the vibrancy of the Empire State is in jeopardy.
At this moment the polls show Mr. Cuomo has a commanding lead; whoever is elected will have to deal with these tough economic times and the circus in Albany.
Cuomo Campaign Website
Paladino Campaign Website