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Cuomo announces campaign for N.Y. governor

Democrat Andrew Cuomo is making it official: He will seek the New York governor's job once held by his father.
Andrew Cuomo
Democrat Andrew Cuomo is making it official: He will seek the New York governor's job once held by his father.David Goldman / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Democrat Andrew Cuomo is making it official: He will seek the New York governor's job once held by his father.

Cuomo, who as state attorney general has built a national reputation for his campaigns against public corruption, posted a video and statement online Saturday announcing his candidacy.

The formal announcement comes months after a member of President Barack Obama's administration sought to have Gov. David Paterson not seek election to the seat he gained by default, indicating a preference for Cuomo.

Cuomo enters the race with much higher popularity and name recognition than several Republicans seeking the GOP nomination and far ahead in fundraising.

In the video on his campaign website, which includes titles like "New York doesn't work," Cuomo calls for "honest, effective government."

It features New Yorkers saying, "Andrew Cuomo works for us ... for my business and for my family."

"I'm Andrew Cuomo, and I work for you," Cuomo states in the video. "Together, we can make New York great again. Let's get to work."

Cuomo faces Republicans Rick Lazio, a former congressman from Long Island; Steve Levy, the Suffolk County executive; and Carl Paladino, a Buffalo developer aligned with tea party activists in the party. There are no other announced Democratic contenders for the nomination.

Cuomo's father, Mario Cuomo, was governor from 1983 to 1994.

Rising profile
Andrew Cuomo was the secretary for housing and urban development in the Clinton White House. He dropped out of a 2002 race for governor before the primary because of a lack of political and financial support. But he returned four years later and beat a large field of Democrats in the attorney general's race to succeed Eliot Spitzer.

Cuomo has since been a force nationally and his office's public integrity unit has brought several cases against New Yorkers. The biggest pending case now is against Pedro Espada Jr., the Senate majority leader and a Bronx Democrat.

Cuomo had previously worked for his father, running his campaigns beginning when Andrew was 24 years old and as an adviser. Cuomo also worked for a Manhattan law firm, where he earned millions before mounting the 2006 campaign for attorney general.

He is divorced from Kerry Kennedy. They have three daughters.

His campaign issued his first policy positions after refusing for months to say whether he would run for governor, despite glitzy fundraisers that landed governor race-size donations.

Cuomo supports capping local property taxes at 2 percent a year or the rate of inflation. He also wants to raise the limit on the number of charter schools in part to give the state a better chance to qualify for federal grants tied to improving instruction.

He also opposes some of Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch's long-term plans to stabilize the state's finances and avoid years of deficits and tax increases. He doesn't support Ravitch's plan for an independent board to make the hard fiscal decisions on spending cuts that politicians so far have been unable to make.

As governor, the Democrat would also revamp the Empire Zone program, long plagued by political favoritism, and create a new program that attracts employers from out of state with incentives.