Democrat Andrew Cuomo campaigned Sunday with his rival in the 2002 governor’s race, H. Carl McCall, the former state comptroller, prompting a harsh response from Republican contender Carl Paladino.
McCall was the only African American to hold a statewide office in New York before David Paterson became governor in 2008, and McCall remains the only black politician elected statewide. He retired from politics after losing the governor’s race to George Pataki eight years ago.
McCall’s endorsement is important in helping Cuomo, the state attorney general, gain minority support as some, including Brooklyn City Councilman Charles Barron, accuse the Democratic nominee of ignoring African American concerns until shortly before the election. Barron, a former Black Panther, has launched his own campaign for the statehouse on the newly created Freedom Party ballot.
Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino on Monday attacked both Cuomo and McCall, noting that the attorney general questioned McCall in an investigation into the state pension fund’s awarding of fees to investment managers, which targeted McCall’s successor, Alan Hevesi.
"Andrew Cuomo should be prosecuting Carl McCall, not accepting his endorsement," Paladino said in an e-mail statement. "Carl McCall and his firm, Convent Capital, took a sizeable fee for securing state pension funds without being registered with the SEC as a broker. Andrew Cuomo prosecuted Ray Harding and Hank Morris for doing the exact same thing. Why not McCall?"
The statement also noted that McCall’s 2002 campaign called Cuomo (who dropped out of that race shortly before the primary that year) ‘divisive’ and ‘crass’ in response to Cuomo’s remarks, first reported by The Jewish Week, about a ‘racial contract’ among Democratic leaders to back a minority candidate.
In a statement in response to Paladino’s comments, Jay Jacobs, chair of the state Democratic party, said “Carl Paladino is once again showing himself to be erratic and hypocritical. This morning he said that he would stop the smears and lies to actually address the issues New Yorkers care about – like creating jobs. But only hours later, Carl is back to his old playbook trying to smear Carl McCall, this State’s former Comptroller. Carl Jekyll meet Carl Hyde."