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ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s opponents on the left and on the right joined forces Tuesday to try to hit the Democrat on the issue that helped usher him into office four years ago.
Republican and Conservative candidate Rob Astorino and liberal candidate Zephyr Teachout criticized Cuomo for what the challengers called rampant corruption in Albany.
“One thing we can agree on is that Albany corruption is growing under Andrew Cuomo,” stated Astorino, the Westchester County executive, and Teachout, who is challenging Cuomo in a Democratic primary.
“New York taxpayers are getting hammered by Albany’s corruption tax,” Astorino said. He says Albany’s pay-to-play culture adds to the cost of state spending.
"Four years ago Governor Cuomo stood on these steps and promised to clean up Albany,” Teachout said at Manhattan’s Tweed Courthouse. “And so I voted for him. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo broke the promises he made four years ago. The system is still corrupt. Governor Cuomo not only refuses to fix it, he is making it worse.”
They cite the continued string of more than 30 politicians snared in corruption cases within the last 10 years. Astorino also accuses Cuomo of using taxpayer-paid ads for economic development and tourism as thinly disguised campaign ads.
Cuomo’s campaign denies that and notes neither Cuomo’s image nor his name is used in the ads. State law bars governors from appearing in such ads.
Cuomo had no immediate comment.
The teaming up of two challengers at opposite ends of the political spectrum is rare. But Astorino and Teachout have little name recognition so far against the popular Democrat and Cuomo has amassed more than $33 million in his campaign account to Astorino’s $5 million. Teachout has even less.
That provides a huge advantage to Cuomo for spending on TV ad blitzes which are the most potent weapon in statewide campaigns.