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Duffy says departure was his decision; Bellone in the mix for lieutenant governor

New York Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo and Lt. Gov.-elect

New York Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo and Lt. Gov.-elect Robert Duffy celebrate their election victory on Nov. 2, 2010. Duffy, 59, formally told Cuomo in a letter on Wednesday, May 7, 2014, that he won't seek re-election. Photo Credit: AP

Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy won't seek re-election, citing, in a letter to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, constant back trouble and a hectic travel schedule as the main reasons.

His departure is no surprise, having been expected for months. Among the names that have been mentioned as a possible running mate for Cuomo, a Democrat, include  Assemb. Joseph Morelle (D-Rochester), Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, former Buffalo-area U.S. Rep. Kathy Hochul, former Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll (who currently serves in the Cuomo administration) and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

 Cuomo's decision on a running mate likely will be made before Democrats hold their nominating convention, scheduled for May 21-22 at the Huntington Hilton.

 Duffy, in a letter the administration released Thursday, told Cuomo that he wants to return to the Rochester area. He called it a “life decision” rather than a political one.

“While the consistent travel is vitally important to this position, the thousands of miles per week in the car have resulted in the residual effects of constant back and leg pain,” wrote Duffy, 59. “While I do not like to offer excuses for anything, I would be disingenuous if I did not state that the pain of travel has increased to the point that I cannot commit to a second term.”

Later in the letter, Duffy, the former Rochester mayor, added: “I have reached a point in my life where I am choosing not be constantly traveling from my home and family. I am a lifelong Rochester resident, and the Finger Lakes region is where I wish to spend the rest of my life.”

Cuomo issued a statement praising Duffy.

“I have said repeatedly that asking Bob to be New York’s lieutenant governor was the first and best decision I made since running for governor, and that statement remains true today,” Cuomo said. “I am deeply grateful for his service and friendship and I look forward to working together in the years ahead.”

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