Gubernatorial elections pit Paladino against Cuomo

As Election Day draws near, St. John’s students are trying to determine which candidate running for Governor is right for them. Many are asking whether to vote for the candidate with a rich political background or the underdog.

The state’s incumbent attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, is running uncontested in the Democrat spot on the ballot.

His opponent, Carl Paladino, has already taken most of America by surprise when he defeated ‘top pick’ Rick Lazio in the Republican primaries on September 14. Lazio has since been backed by the Conservative Party until his decision to dropout earlier this week.

Many are considering this to be one of the most important elections in the state’s history. Sophomore Jessica Cambiero does not feel New York necessarily needs a fresh start.

Cambiero said she planned on voting but had not selected a candidate yet. When introduced to each politician’s platform, she said she would side with a candidate like Cuomo. “I would go with the experience,” she said, “because then we at least know our governor has some idea of what they’re doing.”

Bayside native Michael Guzowski disagrees and feels that Paladino is the safer choice.” People are tired of voting for the same politicians who are going to do the same exact things in Albany,” he said. “I’m not poor, but by no means am I rich. That’s who he is campaigning for, the people caught in the middle.”

Paladino is campaigning with the support of the Tea Party. According to Jack Cunningham, a member of the organization’s chapter in Morristown, New Jersey, the Tea Party is a grass roots “party that does not label itself a party.”

Paladino’s “I’m Mad As Hell!” campaign is intended to express the concerns of the Tea Party. Paladino’s intent to take office is based upon lowering taxes on the middle class and a smaller government.

Andrew Cuomo, son of former New York governor Mario Cuomo, has been involved in politics since the early 1980’s when he became involved in developing low income housing for those in need. He went on to become secretary of the Department for Housing and Urban Development during the Clinton administration, according to his campaign website.

As attorney general, Cuomo’s campaign seeks to highlight his pursuit to prosecute political and corporate corruption within New York.

According to a poll released by Quinnipiac University on Sept. 22, Cuomo is leading the race 49% to 43%. 

Cuomo has received several major endorsements in the last few weeks, including that of New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“Andrew Cuomo is the kind of effective leader to clean up the state government and put our state back on track,” the Mayor said to Businessweek.

Paladino has already been criticized for sending out racist and sexist e-mails. The e-mails were first posted this spring by WNYmedia.net, a blog site, and later investigated by news outlets such as the New York Daily News.  

Both Cuomo and Paladino list similar platforms on their campaign websites. The two politicians state that the current government in Albany must be restored to order and steps must be taken to fix the infamous budget problems that plagued the state this summer.

The candidates have sprung into a heated competition on whose plan will be most effective at bettering the state.

Junior Anthony Barracca feels that when it comes down to the wire, people are willing to break from the typical politician.

“Everyone’s sick of it,” Barracca said, referring to the general feeling toward the condition of politics today.

Barracca said he may ultimately be swayed by the fresh image of the older Paladino. He did not completely rule out Cuomo’s promise to become a strong leader in Albany.

“The safer bet would be experience, but I think people are willing to take a chance,” he said. 

The gubernatorial election takes place on Nov. 4. Current governor David Patterson withdrew from campaigning on Feb. 26 of this year, in a public press conference, to focus on the immediate matters concerning the state.