During his nomination speech yesterday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo mentioned Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone very briefly before moving to heap praise on his choice for lieutenant governor, former upstate congresswoman Kathy Hochul.
Bellone was often mentioned as a possibly lieutenant governor but a lot of things stood in the way, not the least of which was that Bellone wasn’t interested.
“I had made it clear that I’m running for reelection next year,” Bellone said after the convention.
Bellone artfully dodged follow up questions while continuing his unwavering advocacy of Cuomo, his politics, and what he says is Cuomo’s support for Suffolk County.
“I’m looking forward to partnering with the Governor. It’s been a great partnership for Suffolk County and New York. And I don’t think he could have made a better selection in Kathy Hochul.”
A big reason Bellone was not interested in moving up to state politics is his young family. Bellone has three children, the youngest is still in diapers. Current Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy cites the constant travel around the state as the main motive behind his resignation. Those familiar with Bellone’s conversations with Cuomo said Bellone made it clear “months ago” that he didn’t want to be separated from his family.
Others at the convention gave a host of reasons for not picking Bellone.
Bellone as Cuomo’s running mate would have meant the Democratic Party would have, for a second time, four white males atop the state ballot hurting the party’s inclusive image.
Also, all of them would have been from downstate.
Nick Forster, Chairmen of the Niagara County Democrats, said not having an upstate name could have hurt other down-ballot candidates from western New York.
“She just energizes the ticket,” Forster said.
In the 2010 election Cuomo struggled in the western part of the state. Forster said with Hochul, Cuomo has a natural delegate who can help him build future support.