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Editorial: The meaning of Andrew Cuomo's primary win

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo walks to record his

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo walks to record his ballot after voting in the primary election Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, at the Presbyterian Church of Mount Kisco in Mount Kisco. Credit: AP / Craig Ruttle

Sometimes politicians are best defined by their enemies. That's the main message from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's expected win in Tuesday's Democratic gubernatorial primary.

His main opponent, Zephyr Teachout, ran a protest campaign fueled by the party's usual left-wing disgruntlement and by those angry about the very accomplishments that made Cuomo a successful governor in his first term. Teachout is wrong to claim that the 62 percent-to-34 percent result means Cuomo should return to the big-government, big-spending ways that public employee unions want, and abolish the property tax cap. Or that he should rescind the progress made to evaluate teachers and raise educational standards. Others were furious that he hasn't banned fracking for natural gas.

In the suburbs, where Cuomo's property tax cap is starting to provide some relief, and downstate overall, where his fight for same-sex marriage and gun-control laws was significant, Cuomo prevailed.

Cuomo's move to the center to get the state's finances under control and his drive to make sure New York's children get the real value of the education we pay for so dearly are accomplishments. Voters in a low-turnout primary -- about 9 percent of registered Democrats cast ballots -- don't speak for an entire state that is on the rebound. Still, if he should win a second term, one of Cuomo's next challenges will be to nurture the disaffected wing of his party so he can continue his coalition governing.