Cuomo’s very balanced approach to state Democratic leadership

Andrew Cuomo and a rainbow flag. (Azi Paybarah via flickr)
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One upstate, one downstate; one executive, one legislator; one white woman, one African-American man.

Let no one accuse Governor Andrew Cuomo of failing to achieve balance in his designation of two new state Democratic party co-chairs, Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner and Harlem assemblyman Keith Wright.

Stephanie Miner was elected mayor in 2009, after eight years on the local city council. She graduated from Syracuse University with a B.A. in political science and journalism in 1992, the year Keith Wright was first elected to the Assembly.

Wright, by contrast, was practically born into politics. His father was the famous judge "Cut 'em Loose" Bruce Wright.

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Cuomo is particularly big on regional balance, which complements his efforts to avoid being identified with his party any more than necessary. He picked the mayor of Rochester as his lieutenant governor and targeted another upstate city, Buffalo, for one billion dollars in state aide. 

In Harlem, Cuomo is giving a boost to a political establishment whose power in on the wane. Rep. Charlie Rangel, whose congressional district includes Wright's, and who would likely annoint Wright as his successor if he wins, is running in a tough re-election campaign. Cuomo, who endorsed Rangel in 2010, has not done so this year.

Choosing Wright as party co-chair is a gesture that could assuage some of the negative feeling that exists from his decision not to support Rangel.

Wright's selection also continues Cuomo's streak of promoting a Democrat from the Assembly majority, rather than finding a suitable Democrat from the State Senate's minority conference. (Cuomo's releationship with the Senate Democrats is getting particularly frostly, thanks to his decision to back a Republican-gerrymandered redistricting map.)