NEW YORK (WABC) — It is the campaign Andrew Cuomo didn’t plan for as Carl Paladino just keeps attacking.
This week Paladino wrote Cuomo, the son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo: “For the first time in your life be a man. Don’t hide behind daddy’s coattails even though he pulled strings to advance your career every step of your way. Come out and debate like a man.”
A week before, a flier questioned whether Cuomo can clean up Albany.
Cuomo finally responded today.”I’m not going to run a campaign that engages in gutter politics. I’m not going to do that,” Cuomo said.
Paladino claimed he has Cuomo on the ropes, that he’s dazed the democratic frontrunner with a barrage of insults.
“From everything we’re seeing, he’s confused. He didn’t expect a real contender and he has one now. And he has a problem He sent his bird dogs out all week. We sent them all back bloodied up,” Paladino said.
Surprisingly, Cuomo did not promise a face-to-face debate would ever take place. That leaves Paladino open to keep up his unusual campaign, while Cuomo refuses to hit back hard.
“But in terms of getting involved in a name-calling situation, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to further degrade the political process of New York,” he said.
While Cuomo tried to stay above the fray, one group of liberal democrats in Suffolk County blasted the Republican nominee.
“I don’t want to see New York state devolve into the know-nothing, no-thinking, stone-throwing, inflammatory rhetoric that Mr. Paladino will bring,” Vivian Viloria-Fisher of the Long Island Progressive Coalition said.
One of the few politicians to say almost nothing about Paladino is Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He’s campaigned against tea party candidates in other parts of the country, but he avoids he topic of Paladino.
“I’ve never met Carl Paladino, so I just can’t tell you,”: he said. “You never know from the reports, whether they’re accurate or not.”
Cuomo, the state’s attorney general, had a 2:1 lead in the polls and a $20 million fundraising advantage in the latest state filings before last week’s GOP primary.