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Pigeon Endorses Andrew Cuomo for Governor

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Erie County Democratic Chairman Steve Pigeon Thursday made his pick for the Democratic nomination for governor in New York. Former Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo won the nod over State Comptroller H. Carl McCall.

Among the handful of local Democrats joining Pigeon in the endorsement were Erie County Legislator Chuck Swanick and State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt.

"We need somebody who is going to come in with energy, with ideas, with vitality, and with an eye to the future, who is going to bring upstate to be the region that it should be," Pigeon said.

But few from his own party stood with Pigeon in making the announcement. Indeed, following a series of losses for the party, many local Democrats have called for Pigeon's ouster as chairman, saying he lacks the very same energy, ideas and eye for the future he says are so vital at the state level.

But Cuomo downplayed the impact local party divisions will have on his campaign. He says Pigeon is still a powerful voice.

"He's a force in Albany, He's a force in Buffalo, he's a force statewide," Cuomo said. "And his endorsement today means a lot to my campaign, not just in Erie, but he's going to helpful on a statewide basis with my campaign. And I think this is a major, major boost to my effort and I'm pleased to stand with him."

But the potential weakness of the endorsement was evident by those who were not standing there. Absent were key local Democratic leaders, like Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello, who recently joined the cry for Pigeon to step down. The mayor, who was instead a few blocks away giving his State of the City address, has yet to announce his endorsement. But like Pigeon, Masiello has said he will choose the person who will do the most for Buffalo and the region, regardless of party politics.