Andrew Cuomo Wins Re-election in NY Governor's Race

Gov. Andrew Cuomo defeated Republican challenger Rob Astorino Tuesday, according to NBC News projections, making him the first Democratic governor since his father to win re-election in New York.

"The bright sunlight of opportunity shines in places that were too long in the shadows," Cuomo told supporters at a New York City hotel. He added: "We are just getting started."

Cuomo, whose father was governor for three terms in the 1980s and '90s, welcomed his 82-year-old father to the stage at his victory party, and the two joined hands.

The 56-year-old 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 replace Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy, who is retiring.

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 campaigned on his record over the past four years: tax cuts, tighter gun control, legalization of gay marriage, reductions in government gridlock and a renewed focus on the upstate economy.

Astorino had criticized Cuomo as a corrupt Albany insider who hadn't done enough for the economy.

"You can't lose when you tell the truth, and tonight I know that's true," Astorino told supporters in a concession speech in White Plains. "We have not tilted at windmills in this campaign. We have planted a flag. We will be back to reclaim it."

Astorino won a nearly even split of the vote among whites, but that wasn't enough to overcome Cuomo's big advantage among women and blacks, according to preliminary results of an exit poll conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks.

The poll of 994 New York voters found that Cuomo won three-fourths of the vote in New York City and also won easily in the Long Island and Hudson Valley regions. Astorino beat out the governor in rural areas and cities upstate.

Cuomo raised $45 million for the race, versus less than $6 million for Astorino, allowing the incumbent to rely heavily on TV ads. Cuomo agreed to only one debate and held few campaign events until the final weeks.

Astorino tried to get traction by repeating allegations that Cuomo meddled with an anti-corruption commission once it began investigating groups linked to his administration. Cuomo abruptly dismantled the commission this spring.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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