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NYSNYS NEWS: NY no battleground state, but top presidential candidates have ties here and campaigns are gearing up. Includes a list of two dozen declared and undeclared hopefuls.
NYSNYS NEWS: NY no battleground state, but top presidential candidates have ties here and campaigns are gearing up. Includes a list of two dozen declared and undeclared hopefuls.

By Kyle Hughes

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 14) – New York is ready to reprise its role as a non-battleground state in the race for the White House, but that doesn't mean there's little interest in the spectacle of Bush vs. Clinton vs. Trump vs. two dozen other candidates.

While no Republican has carried New York in three decades – the last was Ronald Reagan in 1984 – the campaigns are stirring and some of the most prominent contenders have roots in and around the state.

"New York is a very blue state, it's got a better than 2-1 Democratic enrollment edge … but absolutely New York will always be relevant in a presidential race for two reasons," Siena College Poll spokesman Steve Greenberg said Friday. "One, we are the fundraising capital of the world; and two, we are the media capital of the world."

The most recent Siena Poll on the campaign showed overall 52 percent of New Yorkers back Hillary Clinton for president, including 77 percent of Democrats. The news is not so good for Trump, who is viewed unfavorably by three-quarters of voters in the state, with 55 percent saying, in effect, "you're fired" – Trump is the candidate New Yorkers least want to see elected president.

"That takes work," Greenberg said. "That's not easy to do, to have that many people in New York know you and dislike you."

New York can claim ties to Clinton (who moved here to run for the U.S. Senate in 2000), and Trump, former Gov. George Pataki and Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (all native New Yorkers).

And if you squint, Gov. Chris Christie looks a little like a New Yorker, born in Newark, NJ, just 9 miles away. His combative persona fits in well in a state that has elected bare-knuckled fighters like Mario and Andrew Cuomo, Eliot Spitzer and Alfonse D'Amato.

Even the Bush dynasty has New York roots. Prescott Bush, Jeb Bush's grandfather, was a Wall Street banker who, among other things, helped create the New York Mets baseball team in 1962 after the Giants and Dodgers moved out of state.

New York City and its seemingly endless supply of hedge fund and Wall Street cash is helping candidates and PACs build up 2016 warchests. Jeb Bush is here August 22 to raise money at the East Hampton home of New York Jets owner Woody Johnson.

Hillary Clinton is also raising money here and most Democratic leaders have lined up behind her. She and Bill Clinton facilitated Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio's rise to the top. Cuomo was Clinton's HUD secretary, and de Blasio was a Clinton aide who ended up managing her 2000 campaign.

"Having known and worked with her for over 20 years, I wholeheartedly endorse Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President," Cuomo announced in April. De Blasio, who Cuomo is openly feuding with, has so far declined to endorse anyone, raising eyebrows in party circles.

Both Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer are also backing Clinton.

If there is any catch in this for Cuomo, whose own White House prospects appears to have evaporated under the heat of Albany scandal and a reputation for misanthropy, it's that Vice President Joe Biden is now deciding whether to run himself. Biden has emerged as something of an ally to Cuomo, who otherwise treats virtually all other pols as rivals.

Biden has traveled to New York to boost Cuomo's legacy projects, including rebuilding La Guardia Airport, and his entry into the race could be awkward for Cuomo. Still, reports Friday indicated that Biden was making calls to advance his candidacy while on vacation in South Carolina.

On the Republican side, Jeb Bush has the endorsements of Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning), whose district includes the Southern Tier west of Binghamton, and Rep. Chris Collins (R-Clarence), who represents Western New York apart from Rochester and Buffalo.

Judging by bumper stickers, Trump is popular among some voters upstate, though he has no big endorsements. Pataki, who served three terms as governor from 1995-2006, has generated no interest in his campaign nationally, though he is still viewed positively by many people in New York.

Pataki scored 14 percent support in the Siena Poll that gave Clinton 52 percent of voter support. He is actively campaigning in New Hampshire despite being in the cellar in every voter survey that has come out.


NYSNYS News (August 14)

Here's a list of the declared and undeclared candidates in the crowded 2016 field


• Joe Biden, vice president and former Delaware U.S. Senator.

• Lincoln Chafee, former Rhode Island governor and U.S. Senator. His father was a governor and U.S. Senator for years in the state.

• Hillary Clinton, former First Lady and New York U.S. Senator. She became a national political figure beyond First Lady when she led the failed healthcare reform push in Bill Clinton's first term. She made the history books during the Lewinsky intern sex scandal during his second term.

• Martin O'Malley, former Maryland governor and Baltimore mayor who been in politics since college.

• Bernie Sanders, Vermont U.S. Senator and self-described socialist. He moved to Vermont in the 1960s and was a well known left-wing and antiwar activist before getting elected mayor of Burlington, the sparsely populated state's biggest city.

• Jim Webb, Vietnam War veteran and former Virginia U.S. Senator and Secretary of the Navy during Reagan Administration. He was awarded both the Navy Cross and Silver Star for heroism, along with a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.


• John Ellis Bush aka "Jeb" Bush. Former Florida Governor, brother and son of Presidents Bush and one of the heirs to the Bush family political and business dynasty.

• Ben Carson, retired Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon from Maryland, who rose to prominence as eloquent critic of Obamacare. He is the only black candidate in the race so far.

• Chris Christie, New Jersey governor and former federal prosecutor and a lobbyist and lawyer earlier in his career.

• Ted Cruz, Texas U.S. Senator who had a career as a lawyer before politics. He was born in Canada to a mother with U.S. citizenship and held dual citizenship until he renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2014. He is described as a brilliant lawyer with very conservative views and has become prominent in Congress by challenging GOP leaders.

• Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard corporation. She is the only woman running on GOP side

• Jim Gilmore, former Virginia Governor and lawyer before politics.

• Lindsey Graham, South Carolina U.S. Senator and lawyer before politics. He came to national prominence as the only Republican to vote against any of the articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton.

• Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor, born in same small town of Hope, AR where Bill Clinton was from. He was a minister before politics and is best known now as a cable TV host.

• Bobby Jindal, Louisiana governor. Son of Indian immigrants, Jindal has been involved in politics since college.

• John Kasich, Ohio governor and former Congressman.

• George Pataki, former New York Governor and lawyer who has been involved in politics since college.

• Rand Paul, Kentucky U.S. Senator and son of Ron Paul, who also ran for president. Both father and son are medical doctors, Rand an eye surgeon and Ron an OB-GYN.

• Rick Perry, former Texas governor. Served in the military and farmed cotton before politics.

• Marco Rubio, Florida U.S. Senator and lawyer. Like Cruz, a Cuban-American. Attracted national notice for his abilities as a public speaker.

• Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator, best known for his conservative views on social issues, homosexuality and abortion.

• Donald Trump, billionaire developer and businessman, whose long resume includes writing best-selling books on business and starring in reality TV shows.

• Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor best known for repealing laws favoring public employee unions in a labor-friendly state and for fighting back a union-led attempt to oust him through a recall.