Andrew Cuomo swept to victory Tuesday over Republican gubernatorial rival Carl Paladino, with some political experts already speculating Cuomo has a shot at the White House if he shines in Albany.
“The people of the state of New York want a government they can trust, a government they can be proud of once again, and they are going to get it,” the governor-elect said in his victory speech.
In his rambling concession speech, Buffalo businessman Paladino said of his Tea Party colleagues: “We opened many eyes in New York. ... We’re frustrated by big government and politicians spending like drunken sailors.”
Exit polls showed Cuomo trouncing Paladino 60 percent to 35 percent with 65 percent of votes counted.
“Andrew is a ‘new Democrat.’ He’s saying, ‘I’m going to take on the unions, I want smaller government.’ And he’s got (Mort) Zuckerman, (Rupert) Murdoch and (Michael) Bloomberg on his side,” said political analyst Alan Chartock. “Some people are saying — get ready for this — Andrew wants to be president, and this is the money crowd.”
As Cuomo follows the path of his father Mario, who governed New York from 1983 to 1994, the 52-year-old attorney general has his work cut out for him in dysfunctional Albany.
“If you’re Andrew Cuomo, you want to New York to be seen as the national model, and not the butt of everybody’s joke,” said Basil Smikle, a political consultant with Smikle Associates.
While Paladino, 64, self-destructed under the weight of racist and homophobic comments during the campaign, Cuomo prepared “The New NY Agenda,” a plan intended to whip the state into shape.
Cuomo’s priorities include reducing the deficit, projected to be $9 billion in the next fiscal year.
“It’s all about how he handles the budget. Getting the budget in on time, should he be successful, would be his biggest and most memorable victory,” Smikle said.
Much of Cuomo’s success — and that of his lieutenant governor, Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy — depends on how the state Senate elections play out. Experts, however, said Cuomo seems prepared to work with a GOP-run Senate.