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RYE BROOK -- Former Pataki administration aide John Cahill became the Republican nominee for state attorney general Wednesday.
With a mixture of humor, history (including references to Sept. 11) and some name-calling, the Yonkers native said he will become active in the issues of the day, including improving the Common Core in public schools, expanding drilling for potentially lucrative natural gas upstate and combating an explosion in heroin use.
Cahill said Democrat Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of Manhattan, who Cahill repeated dubbed “silent Schneiderman,” has failed to act on these other issues in his four years in office.
Cahill also cited Democrat Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Moreland Commission that was charged with ferreting out corruption in Albany.
“The fact is we wouldn’t need a Moreland Commission if we had a real attorney general,” Cahill said. “The root cause of corruption are criminals who disguise themselves as public servants … as attorney general, I will restore the public’s trust.”
Cahill resurrected some of the accomplishments of former Gov. George Pataki, the last Republican to hold a statewide office in New York. Among the issues was the memorial in New York City. Cahill was Pataki’s chief of staff.
Cahill also tried his hand at some humor. He quipped that he “almost didn’t get here today” because Democratic President Barack Obama “brought his gridlock from Washington” at a nearby event with Cuomo highlighting the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge.
Cahill joked that, “It’s almost as if he said, time for traffic problems,” in a reference to the scandal in New Jersey engulfing Republican Gov. Chris Christie. His staffers are accused of orchestrating a traffic jam on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge as political payback for the Fort Lee mayor.
Schneiderman will campaign on a record of corruption convictions against several state workers, including a former Democratic state senator. He also pressed legal action against Wall Street banks which brought hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and judgments.
Schneiderman is strongly supported by abortion rights activists and liberal groups.
Cahill has said he’s pro-life, but would enforce all laws including abortion protections.