Despite anger at incumbents across the country, New York Atty. Gen. Andrew M. Cuomo, who has spent most of his adult life in government, Tuesday was elected governor of New York, the job his father, Mario, held for three terms.
In recent weeks, Democrat Cuomo, 52, ran far ahead of his Republican opponent, Carl Paladino, 64, a crusty Buffalo real estate developer who promised to take a baseball bat to the dysfunctional state government in Albany and came out of the primaries with strong support from the "tea party" movement.
In his second attempt to become governor, Cuomo always led the race, but he gained momentum this fall when New York voters began to have doubts about Paladino's character and qualifications after he expressed disgust for gays, had a difficult time answering questions at a debate and nearly came to blows with a New York tabloid editor who was pressing him about his out-of-wedlock young daughter.
Paladino, who was dismissive of most of voter-dense New York City, focused his campaign on communities in the northern part of the state, which has been hit hard by the recession. While his initial attraction was his outsider rage at Albany, he turned out to appear a little too angry to govern.
Although Cuomo has promised vast change, he was the establishment candidate from the start. In addition to serving as a special assistant to his father when he was governor in the 1980s, Cuomo also held the job of secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton.
Cuomo has vowed to pull together a broad coalition to reform Albany and confront a state budget deficit that is expected to rise to $15 billion shortly after he takes office next year.