Outsider Looks In On Gov’s Race; Cuomo’s Off


By Queens Courier Staff |

Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld has now become entrenched in the middle of an increasingly interesting race for New York’s top spot in ’06.
While Governor Pataki hasn’t yet shown his hand on whether he will run again, the news world was abuzz this week of Weld’s possible interest in the position.
One leading local GOPer wasn’t quite convinced yet, however, that Weld was the party’s savior.
State Senator Serphin Maltese, the chair of the Queens elephant party, told me Tuesday that while Weld certainly brought some much needed interest to the GOP field, New York’s Secretary of State Randy Daniels is still his horse of choice.
“Randy has been making Queens a focal point and I think he’s doing all the right things,” Maltese said. “I think when more people learn more about him, they are really going to like his candidacy.”
As for Weld, “The bonus is that he is a multi-millionaire who could finance his own campaign,” Maltese said. “The big issue with Weld is whether he would be able to get good visibility in the state. Also, he has indicated that he is very close in political philosophy to Gov. Pataki. Weld is a moderate Republican and I am a conservative Republican and I’m really looking for someone who adheres to traditional, moral family values. I think you can adhere to them and still get the votes. I wouldn’t be in office if I couldn’t do that in my district.”
And for those Republicans still holding out hope that Super Rudy Giuliani can swoop in and save the day, Maltese said, “It’s become very plain that he is becoming increasingly interested in the presidency and increasingly disinterested in being governor.”
Only one thing is certain in this race… the person in the driver’s seat on the other end of the ticket is current Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. The only other Democrat who has expressed interest is Nassau County Exec Tom Suozzi.
Someone else thinking of running for statewide office could be Andrew Cuomo. Former head of HUD and son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo, the energetic speaker appeared last week at the John F. Kennedy Regular Democratic Club general meeting.
Certainly a cameo like this is indicative of wheels being in motion for a run for something, right?
The would-be 2002 gubernatorial candidate, who dropped out and supported Carl McCall, now has his sights set on Spitzer’s office as a possible destination.
There is a crowded field of wanna-be’s for this position already, as the current occupant of the chair, the aforementioned Spitzer, is everyone’s Democratic darling for governor thus far.
Lining up for the AG spot to date are Assemblymember Mike Gianaris, former public advocate and failed mayoral candidate Mark Green, State Senators Richard Brodsky and Jeffrey Klein, attorney and former Lt. Governor candidate Charlie King and Republican Westchester D.A. Jeanine Pirro.
So was Cuomo on his game last week?
“I think he had a good impression on the crowd,” said JFK Club administrative assistant and man-about-Queens Jeff Gottlieb. “I saw him two years ago when he was running for governor and he came off a bit arrogant, but I think some things occurred to him in the past two years and he seemed much more down to earth.”
Gottlieb added that Cuomo directly talked about what he would do as attorney general, basically saying he would carry on the work of Spitzer, for whom he had nothing but praise.
“He also dropped his dad’s name a few times, just to remind you of his pedigree,” Gottlieb said.
Ironically, just a few months ago Cuomo’s brother-in-law Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. was the name Democrats were hoping to be able to tout for the post. He removed himself from contention early though, opening the door for the junior Cuomo.
It appears he’s sprinting through it.
politics@queenscourier.com