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Democrats Select Cuomo for Governor

The state Democratic Party ended its three day convention Thursday by officially nominated Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to run for governor this fall.

The state Democratic Party on Thursday wrapped up its 2010 convention  at the Rye Town Hilton by nominating Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for governor.

Cuomo officially announced his candidacy for governor on May 22, but pundits in Albany have been anticipating his candidacy since former Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned in disgrace in 2008.

In a speech accepting the nomination, the 52-year-old Queens native stressed the need to create jobs, "reinvent government" by streamlining bureaucracy and imposing greater ethics standards, lower property taxes across the state and address racial and gender discrimination.

"We need to make New York the progressive capital of the nation," he said.

Cuomo derided opponents, without naming names, by accusing them of exploiting the surge of outrage and anti-incumbency sentiment surrounding this year's elections.

"Voices and forces will try to exploit anger and turn the people of this state against each other," he said. The Democrats "practice the politics of inclusion, not exclusion."

He also touted a proposed $3,000 tax credit for businesses that hire previously unemployed people and reiterated his intention of convening a Constitutional Convention to "rewrite the rules."

Earlier this week Cuomo chose Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy as his running mate, and the 54-year-old was officially nominated Wednesday. Duffy, a former police chief, spoke Thursday to the crowd at the convention.

Duffy mainly ticked off the finer points of a 250-page campaign manifesto released by the Cuomo campaign this month. The platform includes strict campaign finance laws, the creation of an independent commission to redraw legislative districts, and reducing the influence of special interest groups and lobbyists.

"Andrew Cuomo will lead a change in New York State that we've yet to see in our careers," the 54-year-old said.

Cuomo has dubbed his platform "The New NY Agenda", which goes along with the "New Democratic Party" slogan adopted by the party for its convention.

Duffy, whom Cuomo called "a phenomenal leader," also stressed that the state must exercise greater fiscal restraint.

"We have to show people that we can do what every family in this state has had to do; live within our means," he said.

As the nominees spoke, Gov. David Paterson and legislators were in Albany trying to hammer out a deal on the state budget, which faces a $9.2 billion gap and is now two months late. Paterson has had to pass a number of "extenders" that include bare-bones funding for state government. He also furloughed thousands of state workers, in effect giving them a 20 percent pay cut.

Outside of the convention, state GOP Chairman Ed Cox blasted Duffy, claiming that he's leaving his post in Rochester because he failed to gain support for one of his biggest projects - bringing mayoral control to city schools.

But Cox saved his choicest words for Cuomo.

"Andrew Cuomo has never showed the stomach or the fortitude to cross his party by effectuating policies that are the antithesis of the Democrats' principles of governance," the chairman said. 

"Similarly, Cuomo has made it clear to his Democrat colleagues, with a wink and a nod, while he's reciting these Republican policy proposals, that if elected he promises to perpetuate the same tax-and-spend, fee-raising budget policies enacted by his predecessors Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson. A leopard doesn't change its stripes, and New Yorkers will see through the ruse."

The GOP has a launched a website, Prince Andrew Watch, with the goal of "telling all the people of New York about Prince Andrew [Cuomo], his character, his judgment and his princely court full of political cronies and special interests as he crusades to convince people he should be king of New York," according to the site.

Republicans will select their nominees at a convention in Manhattan next week. The party is divided over the gubernatorial nomination, as Cox supports Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, who switched parties just this year, while much of the GOP establishment supports former Congressman Rick Lazio.

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