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Gov. Cuomo Launches Re-Election Bid At Democratic Convention On Long Island

Takes Challenger Astorino To Task Over High Westchester County Property Taxes

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MELVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched his bid for a second term Thursday with sharp criticism of Republicans and resounding support from liberal New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Accepting his party’s nomination, Cuomo sounded a triumphant note in his party convention address that cited his successful efforts to pass gay marriage and gun control and his work to boost education investments and fix the economy of upstate New York.

The governor also took credit for the job growth in New York, the $2 billion surplus and for cutting taxes, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.

“Our borrowing is down. We took a $10 billion deficit; in four years we turned it into a $2 billion surplus,” Cuomo said.

He said he needs four more years in office because there’s more to do, including working on the inequality in education.

“It is a social tragedy that a majority of children from wealthy families attend college, but only 10 percent of children of poor families attend college,” the governor said.

Cuomo promised his fellow Democrats that if he has four more years in office, New York would be stronger, better, sweeter and fairer than before.

He also touched on immigration.

“We don’t care where you come from or the color of your skin or how much money you have in your pocket. We will work with you and invest with you, because we want you to do well. Because we are a family at the end of the day. And when you do well, we do well,” he said.

The governor drew clear distinctions between Republicans and Democrats, saying the GOP has an ultra conservative agenda, while the Democratic agenda is one of inclusion, D’Auria reported.

Cuomo further rallied the Democratic Party by saying “we are gay, we are straight, we are black, we are white, we are one,” D’Auria reported.

Cuomo was also endorsed, by video, by former President Bill Clinton, U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, musician and activist Harry Belafonte, comedian Billy Crystal and former Gov. Mario Cuomo, the governor’s father.

Cuomo and his running mate, former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul, will face off against Westchester County Executive and Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino and his running mate, Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss.

Polls suggest Cuomo enjoys a sizeable lead over Astorino, who is little known in many parts of the state. But the same polls also indicate the governor’s advantage would shrink if he faces a left-leaning challenger.

After taking some criticism from Astorino last week, Cuomo went after Astorino on Thursday in an attack that was anything but subtle, CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer reported.

“Westchester County … the highest property taxes in the United States of America. That’s the legacy of Westchester County,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo never uttered Astorino’s name, but the gauntlet for a no-holds barred campaign was thrown down.

“We have to send our local officials one simple message: those property taxes have to come down; lower my taxes and let’s make this state more competitive,” Cuomo said.

Pundits said voters shouldn’t be fooled by Cuomo’s failure to name Astorino. It’s going to be a gloves-off campaign.

“It’s clear that while the red meat wasn’t thrown out to the audience, as a convention it’s clearly in the refrigerator and not in the deep freeze, ready to be carted out when ever they need it,” Hofstra University’s Larry Levy said.

Cuomo’s business-friendly policies have angered some liberal Democrats, but praise from the mayor of New York City may help blunt that criticism.

In a nod to progressives, de Blasio boosted Cuomo’s candidacy with a strident partisan attack, including GOP oppositon to gun control, Kramer reported.

“Republicans have sworn and pledged to take us backward to remove even the small progress we have made to protect ourselves,” de Blasio said.

Republicans nominated their slate at a convention last week, and insist Cuomo hasn’t done enough to strengthen the economy and take on government corruption.

Cuomo has a war chest of more than $33 million, which experts say he’ll spend to make a splash nationally as well as locally, Kramer reported.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)