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Gubernatorial Politics in Buffalo

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – With just less then three weeks remaining before the November 5th election, politicians were busy making appearances in Buffalo Thursday.

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, a Rochester Democrat, was in Buffalo to attend the Western New York Women for McCall's leadership luncheon. Slaughter and the group are backing Democrat H. Carl McCall in his race against Republican incumbent George Pataki.

Slaughter says she's worried about a state deficit in 2003 and criticizes Pataki for handing out too much funding during this election season.

"I don't want him to be bonding a lot of gifts that he's handing out so that we'll be saddled with interest debt for years to come," Slaughter said. "I don't think that's smart. I don't think the people of New York want that.

Slaughter says even with Independence Party candidate Thomas Golisano in the race, she believes voters will end up supporting the two major party candidates once they enter the voting booth.

Pataki was also back in Buffalo Thursday for another endorsement. The region's largest business organization, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership says it's endorsing the governor because of his commitment and dedication to the area.

While in Buffalo, Pataki defended the state's finances in response to criticism from McCall. Pataki says he has been very prudent in "controlling spending."

"That's why we've been able to create multiple billions in reserve funding," Pataki said. "And that's why after last September 11th, and the difficulties of the past year, we still have reserves that are five times higher than when I first took office."

The latest statewide poll shows Pataki leading challenger McCall 39 percent to 28 percent -- just 11 points apart. Golisano checks in with 16 percent. Fifteen percent of voters remain undecided.