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THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: Gloves come off in gov. race


YOU GOTTA’ LIKE TOM SUOZZI. I know that I do. He really wants to be governor of New York. If he were on a Little League team, he would be the kid described as having “a lot of heart.” He gets up there and really swings away. It’s interesting—politics is truly a competitive sport but a lot of people do not like that idea. After all, the whole idea of democracy is that the people have the right to make political decisions. Some Democrats might suggest that it isn’t right for people in the same party to be attacking each other but that’s an ignorant position since the whole basis of our system should be competition. A few months back, Andrew Cuomo departed and Kathy Hochul came in. You would have thought that anyone who raised doubts about Hochul had committed a capital crime. But Suozzi has taken the gloves off. I’m sure some people will try to paint him as “anti-woman” because he might take the opportunity to be governor away from Hochul. That’s ridiculous, of course. It is surely un-American to think that a woman should not hold high political office or that a man should be punished for his gender.

I suspect that Suozzi knows he can prevail in an upcoming primary. I had an opportunity to speak with him for an extended interview on public radio, as I had with Kathy Hochul weeks before. The guy makes an impression. He is not afraid to call out Hochul. That may be opportunistic, but he does take advantage of her current political vulnerabilities. He certainly makes a lot out of her wish to spend a fortune on building a huge stadium in western New York which, by the way, recent polling shows is a project detested by New Yorkers. That puts Hochul in a tough spot. By supporting the stadium, she can claim to be delivering for the upstate crowd. On the other hand, the rest of the state can be depended on to say, “Why should We be responsible for building Them a stadium?” That may be irrational but it’s the way of politics.

Suozzi can also be depended on to credit Hochul for every bad thing that happens on her watch. That may not be nice but again, it is the way of politics. If you take a poll and find New Yorkers are predictably most concerned about crime in the streets, then you give them crime in the streets. If something is else is bad, you give them that, too. You can be sure that Suozzi will tell New Yorkers that they are paying too much in taxes and that there are too many rats in the streets.

So will Suozzi win because he is an out and Hochul is an in? He may. Naturally, all those pro-Hochul folks who are just too ready to proclaim that their candidate is the right person to run the state will not like the fact that there is any competition. All of the county chairs seem to be backing Hochul but there is something about New Yorkers who just don’t like a loaded game. Clearly Hochul has the advantage now but there are enough reasons to think that the independent streak which exists in so many New York Democrats might just mean trouble for Hochul.

Up to now, endorsements of Suozzi’s candidacy have been few and far between. If any Democrat now endorses Suozzi over Hochul and Suozzi prevails, they will be owed big time.

The Republican candidate, Lee Zeldin, is such a weak choice that the winner of the Democratic primary will clearly win the state’s top job. Things could get interesting.

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