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The New York Governor's Race Gets Vicious

Laura Walsh |
October 29, 2010 | 10:43 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Republican Carl Paladino is pitted against Democrat Andrew Cuomo in New York's race for governor. (Creative Commons)
Republican Carl Paladino is pitted against Democrat Andrew Cuomo in New York's race for governor. (Creative Commons)
Many people planning to vote in New York’s gubernatorial election Tuesday feel that they are simply pledging support to the lesser of two evils. 

This is undoubtedly due to the particularly vicious campaigns of both the Republican candidate Carl Paladino and his Democratic Rival Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo’s campaign has focused in particular on the irresponsible mismanagement of funds conducted by Paladino’s campaign affiliates. These include the failure of the Republican candidate’s campaign manager to pay the IRS about $53,000 over the last few years, a consultant’s charge from a hit-and-run DUI, his top aid’s indictment on charges of stealing $1.1 million, and a chairwoman’s wrongful placement of $1 billion in business to her donors. All of which suggest the predictable moral compass of Palandino’s party.
This hasn’t stopped the Tea Party from endorsing Paladino as a candidate, nor many other enthusiastic New York residents from promising him their vote. 

Greg Koziol, who is a licensed security guard for bars and nightclubs in New York, says he will be voting for Paladino because “he wants to take on the corruption and bureaucracy in our state capitol.” 

Koziol has lived in the state his whole life, and supports the candidate’s pledge to stop the Ground Zero mosque, cut taxes, and ensure the right to bear arms. 

It seems Paladino’s party affiliations are steering him through the election, though not enough to keep him ahead in the polls, which put him at a 20 percentage point deficit from Cuomo.  Somehow even this doesn’t deter Paladino’s most committed fans like Koziol who say, “they are just another myth created by the media and by Andrew Cuomo and Democratic strategists to try to de-rail Palandino’s popularity.”   
Despite claims like these and a chorus chanting “we’re mad as hell, and we won’t take it anymore,” Cuomo is still favored to win.  If Cuomo’s campaign isn’t characterized by such high levels of incriminating activity, the man himself carries with him the stigma of being secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the years preceding the current recession. However, Paladino’s campaign has chosen to focus on exposing the Democratic candidate’s extramarital affair in his now defunct marriage. 
Though it is difficult to determine the candidates’ real policies amid a clout of negative publicity, their stance on the right to gay marriage has set them apart.  Cuomo is in favor of gay marriage, while Paladino has given numerous speeches claiming the opposite. 

Ricka Gen, a long-time New York resident, says that gay marriage will pass in the state anyway.

“Everybody doesn’t have to love people that are different from them, but if you feel that way and you’re still willing to make a buck of it, that’s wrong,” she says, referencing the gay bar Paladino owns in Buffalo that is run by his homosexual nephew. She summarizes the campaign when she says “I don’t like either one.  But I feel a lot of time in elections, you’re just choosing the lesser evil.”

Reach reporter Laura Walsh here.

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