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Cuomo withdraws name one week before primary

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Queens voters have one less candidate in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary to worry about now that native son Andrew Cuomo has stepped aside in the race for governor.

After making his announcement Tuesday, Cuomo immediately threw his support behind state Comptroller H. Carl McCall, whom he had faced in a sometimes rough-and-tumble contest.

Early on in the race, Cuomo, 44, the former federal housing secretary, was considered the front runner, but in recent weeks his campaign began to founder. The turning point may have occurred when he failed to receive his party’s nomination.

“While it is harder for me to step back than step forward, today I step back,” Cuomo told a news conference. “I believe the banner we carry is bigger than the person who carries it.”

McCall, who received the Democratic Party’s nomination at its convention, has visited the borough frequently and has the support of powerful politicians in southeast Queens.

Cuomo, joined at the event by former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Astoria), said his advisers told him the only way to make up the difference in the polls against McCall was to run negative television advertisements.

Hearkening back to last year’s Democratic mayoral race between Fernando Ferrer and Mark Green, which turned divisive and acrimonious and split the party’s campaign, he said that was something he would not do.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll showed McCall leading Cuomo by a 22 percent margin — 47 percent to 25 percent — among likely Democratic voters. Those leaning toward one candidate over another had McCall leading Cuomo, 53 percent to 31 percent.

In Queens races there are only eight Democratic primaries being held, although there are 32 congressional, state Senate and Assembly seats up for grabs. There is no GOP primary.

Incumbents with opponents in a primary are U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans), U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing), state Assemblywoman Michele Titus (D-Laurelton) and state Assemblywoman Vivian Cook (D-Jamaica).

There is a primary for a newly formed state senate seat and primaries in two new assembly districts.

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

Posted 7:20 pm, October 10, 2011
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