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Duffy decides not to run again for lieutenant governor

Ellen Abbott/WRVO
Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy. (file photo)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will have to pick a new running mate now that Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy has announced he won't seek a second term.

Duffy notified Cuomo of his intentions in a letter first reported by the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester. The 59-year-old former Rochester mayor cites the travel demands of his current job and a desire to spend more time with his family.

The announcement comes two weeks before Democrats are scheduled to gather on Long Island to nominate candidates for the fall elections.

(Read more on Duffy's term as lieutenant governor from Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt)

In a statement, Cuomo called Duffy a "great partner" and "true friend."

I have said repeatedly that asking Bob to be New York’s Lieutenant Governor was the first and best decision I made since running for Governor, and that statement remains true today. I am deeply grateful for his service and friendship and I look forward to working together in the years ahead. I wish him and his family all the best.

In Duffy's letter to the governor, he wrote, in part:

My decision not to run again is neither a career decision nor a political one- but rather it is a life decision. Throughout the past four years, I have traveled to every corner of New York State as part of my role. I have often traveled thousands of miles weekly because of the importance of being on the ground and reaching out to our constituents. While the consistent travel is vitally important to this position, the thousands of miles per week in the car have resulted in the residual effects of constant back and leg pain. While I do not like to offer excuses for anything, I would be disingenuous if I did not state that the pain of travel has increased to the point that I cannot commit to a second term. While I appreciate your offer to reduce my travel, I do not wish to continue in this role and operate at a reduced level because I believe New Yorkers deserve a Lieutenant Governor who is able to work and travel at the pace I was able to over the past four years.

Cuomo is widely expected to tap a running mate from western New York or Long Island. Potential candidates include Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul of Buffalo, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone or Joanie Mahoney, the Republican county executive of Onondaga County.