NEW YORK CITY — The long, often nasty campaign to pick New York’s next governor in a time of fiscal and ethical crises ends Tuesday as Democrat Andrew Cuomo seeks the office his father once held and tea party Republican Carl Paladino hopes to pull off one more upset.
Cuomo has coveted the office since he was a 20-something political wunderkind running his father Mario’s campaigns.
Paladino is trying to muster voter anger aimed at Albany and fueled by a recession to overcome a gaffe-prone campaign that saw him repeatedly knocked off message.
Cuomo has led all the way in the polls and in fundraising, often blanketing TV ads statewide that even Paladino, a millionaire Buffalo developer, couldn’t match.
Cuomo promises to clean up Albany’s ethics and end its overspending and to cap the growth in some of the nation’s highest taxes.
Paladino aims to cut taxes by 10 percent and spending by 20 percent and said he’d “take a baseball bat” to Albany.
“New York state government was the finest state government in the United States,” Cuomo told supporters at a rally in Cheektowaga, the heart of Paladino’s base. “This state passed programs that other states followed. This state passed legislation the federal government followed. We were not a national embarrassment, we were the nation’s leader.”
Paladino petitioned his way into the Sept. 14 Republican primary then won in a shocking landslide against the party leaders’ choice. He parlayed that into the Conservative endorsement, critical for Republicans running statewide, after that party’s leaders had passed him over.
Voters “look at us because we’re about change and they’ve had just about enough of this government,” Paladino said of Albany, where every statewide office and both chambers of the Legislature are controlled by Democrats.
“And Andrew is incapable of doing anything about it,” Paladino said outside the Capitol.