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New York Times Refuses To Endorse Cuomo In Democratic Primary

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The New York Times on Tuesday declined to endorse Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, claiming he "resisted and even shut down opportunities to fix" a state government controlled by big money.

The newspaper's editorial board noted that when he campaigned for his first term as governor four years ago, Cuomo said "Job 1" would be to clean up Albany and "make the government work for the people."

But the Times accused Cuomo of failing to live up to that promise. The paper said his first budget cut education by $1.5 billion, and that he also instituted a property tax cap and refused to extend a tax surcharge on the highest-income New York state residents.

The Times also took Cuomo to task for dismissing Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan for a tax hike on wealthy New York City residents to pay for universal pre-kindergarten.

But the Times reserved special criticism for Cuomo on the issue of ethics reform, accusing him of failing to push for reform the campaign finance system and most of all, accusing him of mishandling the Moreland Commission that was set up to investigate corruption.

Cuomo has been dogged by questions about his handling of the anti-corruption panel he created last year, and dismantled this spring, after the Times reported that a top aide pressured the commission not to investigate groups with ties to the governor.

The Times stopped short of endorsing Cuomo's primary opponent, Fordham Law School professor Zephyr Teachout, though the paper did call her "a national expert on political corruption and an advocate of precisely the kind of transparency and political reform that Albany needs."

The paper declined to endorse Teachout on the grounds that "she has not shown the breadth of interests and experience needed to govern a big and diverse state."

Instead, the Times declined to endorse any candidate in the Democratic gubernatorial primary at all, reasoning that Cuomo is likely to win anyway, and is also likely to beat Republican Rob Astorino in the general election in November.

"Nonetheless, those who want to register their disappointment with Mr. Cuomo's record on changing the culture of Albany may well decide that the best way to do that is to vote for Ms. Teachout," the Times editorial said. "Despite our reservations about her, that impulse could send a powerful message to the governor and the many other entrenched incumbents in Albany that a shake-up is overdue."

The gubernatorial primary is set for Sept. 9.

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