Friday, May 23, 2014

Hochul pick shows Western New York’s got clout

The selection Wednesday of Kathy Hochul as Andrew Cuomo’s running mate for his gubernatorial re-election bid it somewhat telling.

Despite what some will tell you, Cuomo’s re-election is pretty much already in the bag. Rob Astorino might be a nice guy, but he’s not going to be governor unless Cuomo somehow implodes in the next few months.

That’s not to say that Cuomo hasn’t made his share of gaffes. And it’s not to say that he doesn’t have his detractors. But the race is his to lose and he knows it. He also knows he could have chosen just about anyone other than Vladimir Putin as a running mate and gotten re-elected. I have it on good authority that Putin was on Cuomo’s short list, but got scratched when he got banned recently from Mighty Taco, by the way.

I digress — as usual.

Moral of this story is that Cuomo didn’t select Kathy Hochul out of political need or expediency. He was either genuinely interested in Hochul or genuinely interested in Western New York. Maybe both.

Making Hochul’s selection all the more interesting is the potential that Cuomo is eyeing higher office. While it hasn’t been discussed recently, he was rumored to be interested in 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Whether that’s true, I have no idea. Personally, I don’t see a Democrat from New York winning the presidency, but I also didn’t envision a black man from Chicago doing it, either, so all bets are off.

If Cuomo were to leave office for any reason, be it a White House win, to have time to campaign for the spot, or a good old fashioned Albany scandal, Hochul would step in and be the new governor or New York. Understand, the governor of New York would be from the Buffalo area. It would also be a woman. How it is that New York hasn’t had a female governor yet, I have no idea, but we haven’t.

Obviously a Gov. Hochul would shift some state priorities to our part of the state. Heck, even a Lt. Gov. Hochul would do the same. That’s not to say, mind you, that Robert Duffy hasn’t taken an active role in Western New York. The former Rochester mayor has done more than simply pay lip service to the region. And it’s been nice to see. But I feel Hochul would do even more.

So to sum it all up, Cuomo didn’t have to pick a Western New Yorker, but he did anyway. He knows that there’s a possibility he might not serve a full term and is willing to hand over Albany’s primary position of power to someone from this end of the state. And the rest of the Democrats in the state don’t seem to have a problem with it.

Yeah, the selection of Kathy Hochul says something. And it’s good for Western New York.

Scott Leffler likes corn. He likes cornflakes, corndogs, corn bread and cornstarch. He likes the band Korn and popcorn. He likes all kinds of corn. All kinds of corn! He’s also corny on Twitter sometimes @scottleffler.