New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo formally announced Saturday that he’s running for governor.
“My campaign is this simple: I represent the people of the great state of New York and we want our government back,” says Cuomo, in a video released by his campaign. Cuomo was scheduled to hold a formal campaign kick off event Saturday afternoon in New York City.
New York’s current governor, fellow Democrat David Paterson, announced in March that he would not run this year for a full term in office. Paterson became governor in 2008 after Eliot Spitzer resigned in disgrace following a scandal.
Cuomo, the son of former three-term New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, has been widely expected for many months to make a bid for Paterson’s job.
“Our state government in Albany is disreputable and discredited. New York State is upside down and backwards. High taxes and low performance. The New York State government was at one time a national model. Now unfortunately it’s a national disgrace,” adds Cuomo. “We must use this moment to reorganize the government, reform its ethics, and restructure its finances to solve the problems we have ignored for too long.”
Polls in the Empire State indicate that New York State voters overwhelming support Cuomo for his work as the state’s top law enforcement official. Surveys also suggest that Cuomo holds very large leads over possible Republican contenders in hypothetical general election matchups. Former Rep. Rick Lazio, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy – a Democrat turned Republican – and Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, are among the leading contenders for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Cuomo also holds a large fundraising lead over his opponents.
Cuomo’s announcement comes three days before New York State Democrats hold their nominating convention.
The 52-year-old Cuomo was secretary of Housing and Urban Development in President Bill Clinton’s second term. He unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in New York in 2002, which was followed by a messy public divorce from his wife, Kerry Kennedy. Cuomo bounced back in 2006 to win the state’s attorney general seat.
In his video, Cuomo spoke openly about his difficult times earlier this decade: “A few years ago I ran for governor and I lost and I then went through a very difficult time in my personal life. It was a public humiliation. People said it was over for me. They said my public service career was finished. There was no way that I could come back. Some days even I thought they were right. Well it wasn’t easy, but I worked hard, and with the help of true friends and family I built back. And with the compassion and empathy of New Yorkers you gave me a second chance.”
In the past two years Cuomo has been back in the national spotlight, as his office has investigated corruption on Wall Street.