Hot on the heels of Andrew Cuomo’s long anticipated announcement of his run for NY Governor comes news that Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy will sit on the bottom of the ticket.
I get that this is potentially a great personal opportunity for Duffy. It puts him for the first time on a statewide stage. And given Cuomo’s likely fall victory, it also gives him a shot at succeeding to the big chair when and if Cuomo’s big scandal hits, or failing that, an eventual run for Governor himself someday. But I have trouble with all the local news claims that this will be good for Rochester or good for upstate for Duffy to have the governor’s ear. Historically, the Lt. Governor is one of the most invisible people in the state. Maybe they have a behind the scenes influence we never see, but at any given time, I’ll bet most citizens couldn’t even name their #2 guy.
Locally, Duffy has been a popular mayor. And love him or hate him, he’s shown the courage to take on some big issues like proposing the takeover of the city school district. I’m personally still on the fence over that one, but politically, it was a risk to propose it and fight for it, and I do respect that. Although now that Duffy is focusing on his career, that issue will be pretty much dead in the water.
I can understand that Duffy has eventual ambitions to be Governor. But it’s not clear to me that being Lt. Governor is a productive step in that direction. He might better leave his mark by finishing his reforms in Rochester, and then heading to statewide office as a successful mayor. It seems he might get as much if not more visibility that way than by lurking in the Capitol for four to eight years. And Rochester might benefit more that way as well.
The only one who seems to be getting a clear advantage here is Cuomo who has an effective name and useful partner to run a campaign with.