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Cuomo, Lazio top readers' picks for governor

Rochester Business Journal
February 26, 2010

The plurality of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll would pick Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for governor. Cuomo, who was favored by 38 percent, has been expected to challenge fellow Democrat Gov. David Paterson in a primary.

Paterson on Friday announced he is ending his campaign for governor.

Paterson on Feb. 20 announced his candidacy for a full four-year term and embarked on a campaign swing that included a stop in Rochester. Twenty-one percent of poll respondents said they would choose Paterson in a gubernatorial election.

Former Rep. Rick Lazio of Long Island is a Republican candidate for governor. Nearly 30 percent said they would pick Lazio.

Three percent of readers said they would prefer Republican Rudolph Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and 2 percent backed Paychex Inc. founder and chairman Thomas Golisano.

The latest Siena Research Institute poll of registered voters statewide, released Monday, showed Paterson trails Cuomo by 42 points in a potential Democratic primary and trails Republican Lazio by 7 points.

When the question was asked in 2009, Giuliani garnered 43 percent of the vote, with Cuomo receiving 28 percent and Paterson receiving 9 percent. Five percent picked Lazio.

Roughly 830 readers participated in this week’s Snap Poll, which was conducted Feb. 22 and 23.

Who is your pick for governor in this year’s election?
Andrew Cuomo: 38%
Rick Lazio: 29%
David Paterson: 21%
Rudolph Giuliani: 3%
Thomas Golisano: 2%
Other: 8%
(Because of rounding, the totals do not equal 100.)

What is your political affiliation?
Republican: 40%
Democrat: 25%
Non-affiliated: 31%
Other: 3%

Here are some readers’ comments:

David Paterson may not be a smooth, error-free politician, but he makes the hard choices. Statesmanship sometimes necessitates choices that not all of your political friends will approve. In fiscally troubled times, statesmanlike choices—and telling it like it is—create some enemies, even among your former and fair-weather friends. This is why the governor’s poll numbers are low. Unless we seek yet another free-spending showboat governor, we need to be willing to make an unpopular choice ourselves as voters and support re-election of Gov. David Paterson.
—David Lovenheim, managing director, Keystones Global LLC

I’ve got 20 bucks that says Paterson’s mother won’t vote for him.
—Bill Lanigan, Chamberlin Rubber Co.

We have a slogan in our household: Re-elect no one. I would support a number of private-sector leaders, with Tom Golisano leading the pack. I would not support a single career politician.
—Mike Tedeschi

Our options are poor at best.
—Keven Michaels, Victor

It is almost comical that Gov. Paterson seems so confident he will be re-elected. Paterson has had a growing string of actions that are successfully alienating him from the general New York State populace. The most recent is the announcement of plans to hold back taxpayers’ income tax refunds, and before that the announcement of plans to force new license plates (and attendant fees) upon motorists. And being a snowmobiler, I’m seething over plans Paterson has announced to raid the state snowmobile trail fund (paid for out of annual snowmobile registration fees) to support the state’s general fund. Does Paterson believe there will be no repercussions for his politically antagonistic actions?
—Christopher Burns, Rochester

The system is dysfunctional—and that is a result of the people in it. Mr. Lazio would provide a clear message that the people are not being served by the status quo. Gov. Paterson can still earn the public trust and confidence by his actions during the current budget crisis. He did not directly create it, but he has to lead us through it.
—Jim Baker, Foundation Design P.C.

Paterson is the only person remotely interested in balancing the state budget and persists in spite of the poor poll numbers he gets.
—Thomas Mulford

With little to no faith in Paterson, I’m hopeful that Cuomo will run and win. At this point I would almost prefer to forgive Spitzer for his poor behavior and welcome him back to Albany than continue to have Paterson lead our great state into the gutter.
—Andy Daman, Victor

I remember the campaign Rick Lazio ran against Hillary Clinton. Please give me someone else to run against Andrew Cuomo. Paterson is a lame duck, or at least an ugly duckling, and Rick Lazio is the retread of retreads. Don't we Republicans have someone like Scott Brown, with good Conservative values we can run against the "tax and spend," "borrow and spend," "devalue-the-dollar" and "spend-and-spend" New York State Democrats? How many more Tom Golisanos are we going to drive from New York State, before we get our taxes under control? We'll just follow the leader, so Arnold: "Cal-i-for-nia here we come."
—Clifford Jacobson,

Gov. Paterson is unpopular because he is trying to do his legal obligation to balance the state budget. The leadership of the Assembly and Senate, which has the same obligation vs. the budget, has been playing politics as usual and done nothing (both parties). Loud opposition to the governor’s plans without presenting doable alternatives is cheap and not helpful. However, it is effective to placate those who refuse to take responsibility and to get elected /reelected. The others who are running for governor have done nothing nor offered any proposal how to balance the budget. They are gathering popularity by unpractical partisan empty talk. For the good of the state, we need Paterson.
—Ingo H. Leubner, Crystallization Consulting

Yes folks, even Mickey Mouse can do a better job than anyone of these candidates. We need someone who has a business back ground not a political background. Someone who has made a payroll not some tax eater. Someone who does have a clue how to make real tough and hard choices on what programs cut and sticks to it. What a fantasy.
—Jim Duke, Victor

I'm not crazy about Rick either, but at least he claims to be conservative. What we really need is a fiscal and constitutional conservative from outside of the "establishment"!
—Ted Miller, AVIK Technologies, Inc.

Pardon my frankness, but we need to use common sense. Cutting teachers is no answer, but maybe how many stops for the buses. Maybe not travel for sports games and do some more local games? Maybe eliminate paying committee members and make it mandatory for local officials to participate? Fewer dinners and more social work environments to accomplish what a $10,000 dinner would not accomplish—use the money that we have and make the people that have had a good free ride (politicians) start paying back in terms of volunteer work effort. The things we are cutting make no sense; cut the nonessentials not the health care the elderly. I am so pissed off at the local government, maybe it is time for me to run for office. To hell with traditional politics, it’s time to run it like a business.
—David DeMallie

We need someone who has a real commitment to the betterment of our state as a whole, not the betterment of some special interests. Such a person will have to deal with the old saw that, when the trough gets smaller, the pigs get meaner. If the person succeeds, he or she will not get re-elected. Too many pigs will want to go back to the good ol' days. Let's elect someone who would accept that fate.
—Don Adair, Adair Law Firm, LLP

So, don’t want the Republicans in, no way to we propagate our mistake from last election: Spitzer and Paterson; what were we thinking? Cuomo seems level-headed enough to do a credible job. He is my pick!
—Hutch Hutchison, In T'Hutch Ltd.

Is this really the best that NY has to offer? Is there no one else besides these three that can be brought before us as candidates? This system has GOT to change.
—Steve Beyer

Paterson is an incompetent idiot. Cuomo is a sneaky, self-serving egoist a la Spitzer. He can't be trusted. Lazio is a lightweight with no direction. All of Albany is corrupt and a cruel joke on its victims, the citizens of New York State. At least we could legitimately laugh at Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck!
—Jim Weisbeck

Democrats have been running (ruining?) this state long enough. Time for a real change!
—George Thomas, Ogden

We need a governor that will reduce the size of our state government, reduce the cost to live in N.Y. and establish term limits that allow politicians the freedom to work to the people of N.Y.
—Jon Tobin

We have to make budget cuts. We cannot tax people or business any more. We need to stop adding fees and other charges to everything. We need a smaller government, not a larger one. We are chasing people out of this state with taxes and fees.
—Ken Williamson

I think Gov. Paterson has gotten an unfair rap, for being the only apparent official in Albany with the guts to take on the budget challenge. Maybe a stronger candidate will emerge, but I wouldn't throw him over for Andrew Cuomo just on the poll numbers, and Rick Lazio? Come on—get serious. That is a Donald Duck candidate for the GOP if I ever saw one.
—Marty Nott, O'Keeffe & Co.

We need a governor like Chris Christie in N.J. willing to stand up within a month of taking office and declare a Fiscal State of Emergency for the State. We need to stop playing "timing" games by withholding checks and delaying payments. Rather we need someone with the courage to cut, cut and cut again our wasteful spending and our high tax rates. Someone who will spread the pain to all including those accepting welfare checks, workers comp benefits, Medicare benefits and CSCA members and NYS employees. The trough is empty it is time to slaughter the pigs!
—Peter Short, J.J. Short Associates, Inc.

Being a Republican will have no bearing on my vote this year for any public office. The mainstream, including Gov. Paterson, has fallen quite flat in achieving any substantive improvement in the state's state. We are moribund in Albany, with a bunch of jellyfish moving around and going nowhere. It's even worse than Washington. Maybe I could give Rick Lazio a second look once he becomes more vocal but I just think that, with all the experience he has already, there should be more to him than there appears to be. Too bad that Mr. G. didn't get more support, although he did have mine. If I were an elected official in Albany, I'd have a hard time showing my face in public. I'd surely not want to have the slogan "Tro 'da bums out" associated with me or my performance. Too bad, Mr. Dave. But you're a tad late with the spiffy appearance and promises that you know you can't keep.
—Rick Bradley

Just get rid of Paterson.
—Anthony Casserino

A change in governorship does little, if anything, to solve our state's problems. More meaningful would be term limits in the state Senate and Assembly, especially in their respective leadership positions. What we have now is too much power, in the grip of too few people, for too many years. New brooms needed; incumbents need not apply!
—Tom Shea, Thomas P. Shea Agency, Inc.

We need a Republican who has business savvy to take the helm of the state. Liberal tax and spend must be a thing of the past.
—Mike Kaser, Penfield

I am a fiscal conservative, small-business owner who is disgusted with both parties, and Paterson seems to be the lone voice in the wilderness that is not beholden to the political machine. It is time for taxpaying New Yorkers to take our state back from the special interests that have driven into such a deep financial crisis. I know of no better way to let our representatives in the legislature know that times have changed than to reelect Gov. Paterson.
—Bob Wagner, Rochester

(c) 2010 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail

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