Cuomo wins second term as governor
(AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo won a second term on Tuesday by easily dispatching a challenge from Republican Rob Astorino, becoming the first Democratic governor of New York to get re-elected since his father, Mario, a quarter-century ago.
Cuomo was declared the winner based on projections from exit poll data.
Consistently leading the lesser-known Astorino in the polls, Cuomo enjoyed a nearly 10-to-1 fundraising advantage over the Westchester County executive in the campaign's final weeks. The only question in many political observers' minds was how big Cuomo's margin of victory would be.
Astorino criticized Cuomo as an Albany insider who hadn't done enough for the economy, while Cuomo campaigned on his record over the past four years, including tax cuts, tighter gun control, legalization of gay marriage, reductions in government gridlock and a renewed focus on the upstate economy.
While Democrats in solidly blue states like Illinois, Massachusetts and Connecticut all faced formidable challenges from Republicans, Cuomo was able to appeal to a wide range of voters with his socially liberal, fiscally conservative record.
The 56-year-old Cuomo is believed to harbor national ambitions and has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate, though he has said he intends to serve a full four-year term.
Cuomo, whose father was governor for three terms in the 1980s and '90s, was expected to address supporters at a Manhattan victory rally late Tuesday night.
Cuomo raised $45 million for the race, versus less than $6 million for Astorino.
"He was up against the largest war chest in the country," said Tom Basile, a political consultant, commentator and former executive director of the state GOP. "A lot of folks didn't give Rob a shot from the beginning."
Cuomo will begin his second term with a long list of challenges, including the implementation of a new medical marijuana law, a decision on whether to allow fracking for natural gas and the selection of up to four new casino operators upstate.
Liberals are expected to press Cuomo to make good on promises to push for a higher minimum wage, abortion rights protections and broad public campaign financing.
Cuomo's running mate, former U.S. Rep. Kathy Hochul, of Buffalo, was elected lieutenant governor over Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss and will succeed Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy, who is retiring.
Cuomo's support for tax cuts and charter schools and his wait-and-see approach to fracking led to some dissatisfaction among liberals.
Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins vowed Tuesday to hold Cuomo accountable in his second term.
"Grassroots progressive Democrats are in a time-warp," he said. "They think of Democrats as being the old New Deal Democrats. That's changed."