Gov. Cuomo faces stiff test if voter turnout is low on Election Day

Gov. Cuomo faces stiff test if voter turnout is low on Election Day

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Warren County Democratic Chairwoman Lynne Boecher decided to watch the Notre Dame versus Florida State football game with her husband, to take her mind off politics.

It didn’t work, she said.

Commercial after commercial was a political attack ad.

“I mean nobody was selling a beer. Nobody was selling chicken,” she said.

Boecher is hoping the plethora of negativity doesn’t discourage voters from turning out to vote Nov. 4, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, is seeking re-election to a second four-year term.

“I am hoping that people will not back away and shut down, but look at the issues,” she said.

Warren County Republican Chairman Michael Grasso, on the other hand, views the potential of a low voter turnout in a non-presidential election year as an opportunity.

“They might not come out and vote period. So if that happens (Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob) Astorino might have a chance,” he said.

Gubernatorial candidates say the economy is a key issue.

Cuomo, on his campaign website, said his START-UP NY tax incentive program for companies that locate on or near college campuses and his regional economic development council program have given local communities input in the state’s strategy.

“Since 2010, 436,700 private sector jobs have been added to the economy, making New York number two in net private sector job creation since the recession,” his website states.

The state has the most private-sector jobs ever, and the unemployment rate in every region in the state has gone down since early 2011, according to his campaign website.

A Cuomo campaign spokesman did not return a

request for comment for this report, and Cuomo did not accept an invitation to meet with The Post-Star editorial board.

Astorino, the Westchester County executive, said New York’s economy is not growing as fast as other states’.

“He (Cuomo) says it’s 500,000 jobs in four years,” Astorino said Thursday in a meeting with The Post-Star editorial board. “Texas created almost 500,000 jobs last year alone. That’s what a great economy looks like.”

Much of the job creation has been in Manhattan, he said.

“Our economic growth in New York is 0.7 percent,” Astorino said. “Now to put that in perspective, the national rate is 1.8 percent, and that is terrible.”

Astorino said the state should focus on tax reform and easing regulations instead of tax incentives.

“They’re trying to give away the store to keep or get someone here, but they would come on their own if we had the right business climate here.”

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins said the state’s economic development strategy benefits the wealthy, instead of middle class and lower income workers who need the help.

“The theme is a Green ‘New Deal’ for New York,” he said in a meeting with The Post-Star editorial board in September, explaining the Green Party wants to expand on social reforms President Franklin D. Roosevelt enacted.

Turnout was dismal in the September gubernatorial primary which Cuomo won. Zephyr Teachout, a law school professor from New York City, carried many upstate counties, including Warren, Washington and Saratoga counties.

In Warren County, only 880 of about 10,500 active registered Democrats voted in the primary, a turnout of 8.3 percent.

Political leaders and analysts at the time said local votes against Cuomo may have been in protest of the SAFE Act gun control legislation, his casino gambling plan and Cuomo’s refusal to debate Teachout.

Grasso, the county Republican chairman, said he thinks there is still discontent with Cuomo over the SAFE Act.

Boecher said Cuomo and lieutenant governor running mate Kathy Hochul, since the primary, have addressed discontent.

“I would think the message has been clarified by all of our candidates. I do think that every issue has been talked and re-talked and resent,” she said.

Republicans, though, hope liberals will abandon traditional Democratic support.

Astorino said Thursday that opponents to hydrofracking should vote the Green Party line, not the Democratic line, Nov. 4.

“For those who are adamantly opposed no matter what — no matter what the science says, they are adamantly opposed — then Howie Hawkins is the guy they need to vote for,” he said.

Astorino said hydrofracking should be allowed, except for in watershed areas and in state parks.

Hawkins opposes hydrofracking.

Cuomo said Wednesday in a televised debate that he is not a scientist and will wait to take a position until state studies on hydrofracking are completed.

Hawkins has said he doesn’t mind if people vote for him as a protest vote.

“I’ll take any vote I can get,” he said in the September meeting with the editorial board.

Boecher said she does not think there will be many protest votes against Cuomo.

He has a reputation for working on legislation with Republicans such as state Sen. Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, and his women’s equality platform is resonating with voters, she said.

“They are two different philosophies,” she said, referring to Cuomo and Astorino. “They are two different manners of governing. And most important, they are two different resumes.”

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