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2014 Governors Race Into Final Weekend

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas
Governor Andrew Cuomo in Goshen, NY 09.22.11

The race for governor in New York is entering its final weekend. Candidates planned get out the vote rallies across the state as the contest comes down to whether supporters will turn out at the polls.  

Governor Andrew Cuomo, with a large lead in the polls, has nevertheless been pulling out all the stops to try to win over more voters.

He not only had Hillary, but also Bill Clinton appear at get out the vote rallies, he met with Orthodox Jewish leaders, and sent emails to women voters touting his support for the Women’s Equality Act, an issue he has campaigned for in bus tours across the state.

Cuomo in the final weeks of the race, spent from his hefty campaign war chest at the rate of nearly half a million dollars a week on television advertising, some featuring his daughters and partner Sandra Lee, but much of it negative against his Republican opponent Rob Astorino. Cuomo’s portrayed Astorino as an ultra conservative on social issues, like a woman’s right to choose abortion.

“Rob Astorino, not just wrong, dangerously wrong,” a narrator intones.

Astorino says while he is pro life, he would not interfere with state laws that legalized abortion in 1970.  The Republican challenger has kept up a traditional campaign schedule, appearing at several events a day. He’s charged that Cuomo badly fumbled his handling of an anti corruption commission, -the panel is now under federal  investigation, -and that the governor was too hasty in passing what Astorino says is flawed gun control legislation.  

The Republican challenger, who is severely underfunded compared to Cuomo, has taken to robo-calling voters to try to counter act the negative image that Cuomo’s ads created.

“This is Rob Astorino. The real Astorino, not the one Cuomo is spending millions to smear,” Astorino says in the recorded call. 

There have been a number of skirmishes between the two major party candidates over various issues, but one of the key differences between the two major party candidates is their view of the state’s economy and its future.

Cuomo says overall New York has improved. He says it’s because of steps he’s taken as governor over the past four years to transform the state from a scandal- scarred punch line on late night TV.

“Taxes were out of control business were leaving the state, and we have turned that around,” says Cuomo who says he got budgets passed on time four years in a row and created 500,000 new jobs.

And we reduced taxes,” Cuomo said.

Astorino says Cuomo’s claims of success ring hollow. He says many regions of the state remain mired in economic depression, and he mocks Cuomo’s plan to offer some new businesses ten tax free years in New York- as a “gimmick”. He says taxes are still among the highest in America.

“Nobody’s taxes have gone down under Andrew Cuomo, that’s a farce,” said Astorino, who says people are leaving the state in “record numbers.”

Andrew Cuomo has failed us,” Astorino said.

Many major newspapers have now endorsed Cuomo for re election, saying while he has some flaws in his record, and has not adequately cleaned up Albany,  he is likely to be better at managing the state over the next four years.  Astorino says polls showing Cuomo far ahead are inaccurate. He says he was behind in the Westchester County Executive’s race, running as a Republican in a Democratic County, and he won, twice.   

The governor’s race also includes Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, who is running better than in 2010, perhaps capitalizing on discontent with Cuomo form the left in the Democratic Party. Libertarian Michael McDermott is also running. 

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