Tick tock…Tick tock….

It appears we should again start practicing the words. “Gov. Cuomo.”

Not the Democratic icon Mario, but his son Andrew. Andrew’s time has arrived.

To have ever covered the younger Cuomo—one would almost have to know this day would inevitably come. It was clear going back more than 10 years ago and meeting with him in his Washington office as HUD Secretary. Even in private, you could tell from his smile, his confidence, and his political moves. Yes, Andrew Cuomo’s ambition almost cost him his career when he challenged Carl McCall in the race for Governor—but even his critics have to admit the discipline Cuomo has shown rebounding since them.

This race is Cuomo’s to lose.

How can one make such a prediction months in advance. Under normal circumstances, It’s tough for republican candidates in New York, even when the stars are perfectly aligned—but this year in particular the republican contest is shaping up as a bad episode of “All my Children.”

I grew up with my family watching the soap opera on ABC. Is Erica Cane—the Susan Lucci character still around? (Of course she is, friends that was just a test)

Before the Republicans can even get to Cuomo in the Fall, one of them has to be left standing after the primary.

We have been down the road before—but normally it’s the democrats. Candidates bitterly attack each other, spend badly needed campaign dollars—and then the nominee is wounded—already down for the 10 count going into the fall election.

Let’s look at the Republican drama.

The unknown factor—and that’s putting it mildly, but the unknown factor as of right now is Buffalo real estate developer Carl Paladino. Here’s the truth. Journalists love this type of candidate because he is liable to say anything.

In other words, if you look at it in terms of mayors for journalists. Bloomberg and Dinkins are considered boring. Giuliani and Koch made for great copy and sound bites. They were liable to say anything on any given day which made for more excitement and better stories. So Paladino makes an otherwise boring race, very exciting. Paladino has already shown no signs of toning down his rhetoric during this campaign nor limiting his money. Paladino estimates his net work to be 150 million and has pledged to spend as much as $10 million on this race. That means the media is going to cover this guy.

This is Paladino’s first run for public office and he calls it a “crusade.” He even pledged to send corrupt legislators to the state prison in Attica.

Well Paladino is already on the attack. He calls GOP rival and Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy a “turncoat” for leaving the Democratic party to run as a Republican. But get this, Paladino is also a former Democrat.

Levy’s campaign has responded to Paladino’s entrance into the race with a blistering statement that cast the Buffalo businessman as a nothing more than a sound bite machine.

And what about the third candidate—who was actually the first on the republican side to enter the race, former congressman Rick Lazio. Now, Lazio has to also deal with Levy—and the three of them are battling for conservative support.

The state Republican Party at least for now whether they like it or not, will have to deal with Paladino. With all of his money, he’s going around the party and the traditional way of getting on the ballot. Instead, he’s using the petition process which requires Paladino to collect 15,000 signatures from registered voters in at least 15 of the state’s Congressional districts.

Only downside in all of this for Cuomo, with that campaign warchest, Paladino can make life alittle difficult for Cuomo and is already hard at work at doing exactly that. Paladino calls Cuomo the “initiator” of the subprime mortgage crisis that pushed the country into this economic meltdown. In other words, the allegation is that Cuomo made it easier for poor people to qualify for mortgages that really couldn’t afford when he was President Clinton’s HUD secretary.

Cuomo folks will ignore this as long as possible—and in the past has denied Cuomo played any role in the subprime mess.

Paladino’s words at Cuomo:

“He did a terrible injustice to those poor Americans, telling them that they could have a house that they couldn’t afford.”

“He did a more egregious injustice to the taxpayers and the people who had homes as he created the subprime meltdown.”

So Paladino will be soon coming to one of your favorite political TV shows—with his “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore” tour, but at the end of the day—advantage still heavily goes to Cuomo.

Cuomo will have a ton of money, a record to run on, party machine behind him, and if that’s not enough, don’t forget at least an appearance/photo-op from the Chief Democrat at the White House, President Obama. If you believe I’m currently being unfair to the Republicans, please answer this question. Which candidate would you rather be right now. Carl Paladino, Rick Lazio, Steve Levy, or Andrew Cuomo?

Great story in the New York Times Thursday on Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco,
"In Cuomo’s Corner, a Pugnacious Aide Emerges."

Joseph is an advance "body man," and the guy seems to have invented the word loyality when it comes to Mr. Cuomo and his father Mario. He takes tremendous pride in his job—through the good times and the bad ones for the Cuomo family.

I hope you can join me Monday Morning at 7:00 A.M as I appear on the WWRL Morning Show.  AM 1600.  Have a great weekend.

 See you Soon