NEW YORK – Andrew M. Cuomo, New York's attorney general, won a big victory Tuesday over Carl Paladino, a millionaire Buffalo developer, according to The New York Times. Cuomo was running comfortably ahead in a race that nearly everyone expected him to win handily.
Born and bred in politics, Cuomo inherits the mantle and liberal political legacy of his father, Mario M. Cuomo, the 52nd governor of New York, who at one time entertained the idea of running for president but never did.
Andy Cuomo, 52, is widely regarded as New York's most popular politician.
His personal life, which he strives to keep private, has nevertheless become glamorously public with his long-term relationship with the celebrated chef and TV personality Sandra Lee, 43, host of the Food Network show "Semi-Homemade."
Cuomo's life today is a far cry from his life in 2002 and 2003, when he endured political defeat (a failed run for governor) and the brutal end of his 13-year marriage to Kerry Kennedy.
Though he seems to have been in politics since birth, Cuomo's political career began while chairing the transition
committee for his father after the elder Cuomo's election as governor. It was at that time that the young Cuomo's abrasive personality became an issue, alienating people in and out of the party.
After a stint as President Clinton's Housing and Urban Development secretary and a failed run for governor in 2002, he didn't run for office until 2007, when he won the state's attorney general's job. In that role, he seems to have tamped down his reputation as brassy, secretive and manipulative.
His opponent in this race, Carl Pasquale Paladino,
known for his "mad as hell" slogan and his rants and rages, is a 64-year-old anti-abortion businessman who distinguished himself in the past months by antagonizing or offending constituents and the media.
He denigrated gays (in a state were 58 percent of the residents favor same-sex marriage), tongue-lashing Cuomo for taking his teenage daughters to a gay pride parade, where, Paladino said, men wear "little Speedos and grind against each other." Those remarks came soon after he told a group of Orthodox Jewish leaders in Brooklyn that he didn't want children "brainwashed" into thinking that homosexuality was an acceptable way of living.
Along the campaign trail, Paladino, who had tea party backing, promised "to take a bat" to the legislature in Albany and vouched less government, less taxes and less spending, all standard conservative positions. But he peppered his campaign with distractions. He picked a fight with a well-known New York Post columnist, accusing him and the newspaper of harassing the 10-year-old daughter Paladino fathered during an extramarital affair. He also admitted forwarding pornographic and racially degrading e-mails to friends.
New York had rarely seen the likes of Paladino. And the polls showed that his brand of politics did not suit the majority of the state's voters. By mid-October, the Quinnipiac University poll showed Cuomo opening an 18 percentage point lead over Paladino.
It seemed then that Paladino was done, and a new Cuomo era was about to begin.