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Cuomo wins re-election

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Karen DeWitt/WRVO News
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo at his election night victory party in New York City.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo won re-election to a second term easily beating his nearest opponent, Republican Rob Astorino.

Cuomo, to chants of “four more years,” promised to deliver in his next term on a mostly progressive agenda, including enacting a number of items that were stalled in the state Senate over the past couple of years, like an abortion rights provision as part of a women’s rights agenda and public financing of political campaigns.

“We’re going to raise the minimum wage for working families, we’re going to pass the Women’s Equality Act, because discrimination and inequality against women stops in New York  state," Cuomo said, to cheers.
 

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Credit Karen Dewitt / WRVO
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WRVO
Gov. Andrew Cuomo gives his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, a kiss during his reelection speech.

He also promised to continue to enact the Dream Act, to offer college aid to children of immigrants in the country illegally, hold down the state’s near highest in the nation property taxes, and to make New York’s education system the best in the nation.

The now two term governor received the biggest cheers, though, when he invited his father on stage, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, who lost to Republican Gov.George Pataki twenty years ago.

Cuomo spent millions of dollars from his hefty campaign war chest on television ads that defined his GOP opponent negatively, and as an ultra conservative, before Astorino could raise the money to introduce himself. Other ads portrayed the governor in a positive light.

Cuomo avoided a one-on-one debate with Astorino, and he reached out to women voters, even starting his own Women’s Equality Party. All of those actions defused any threats his challengers may have posed, and kept him at least 20 points ahead in the polls throughout the race.

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, from Syracuse, had a strong showing for a third party candidate. Receiving about 5 percent of the vote, Hawkins said in a statement that would move the Green Party up two lines on the next statewide ballot, from row F to row D. The Green Party said it was the best turnout its ever had for a statewide office in New York.

Hawkins performs well, chastises Cuomo

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Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins may not have won the race for governor last night, getting only five percent of the total vote, but he says the voters of New York have sent Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo a message.

"There's a lot of dissatisfaction with Cuomo, but it didn't manifest itself," Hawkins said. "I mean, some people thought they would send a message to Cuomo by voting for him. He had four lines, you know, Working Families, Independence, Women's Equality. But to me, those are all just votes for Cuomo. That was affirming his record and giving him his mandate."

Hawkins ran on a platform that included banning the controversial gas drilling process known as hydrofracking, ending the Common Core and increasing the minimum wage. The Green Party performed much better this year than it had in 2010. Hawkins and his running mate, Brian Jones, earned 160,000 votes, more than three times what the party earned in the 2010 governor's race, when Hawkins earned about 60,000 votes.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.