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NYSNYS NEWS: After decades on the sidelines, NY claims starring role in 2016 elections with Clinton, Trump, Bloomberg, Cuomo, Schumer, and Brooklyn's Bernie Sanders.
NYSNYS NEWS: After decades on the sidelines, NY claims starring role in 2016 elections with Clinton, Trump, Bloomberg, Cuomo, Schumer, and Brooklyn's Bernie Sanders.

By Kyle Hughes

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 29) — Call it a coincidence or a resurgence, but New York is suddenly claiming a starring role in national politics in a way that hasn’t happened in decades.

Iowa and New Hampshire presidential combatants Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are all either New York residents or have roots here. Meanwhile, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is said to be preparing a possible independent bid for the White House.

In Congress, the next leader, majority or minority, of the U.S. Senate is likely to be Charles Schumer, New York’s senior senator. And four of the nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court are from New York City.

And then there is Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who held a campaign-style rally for his family leave proposal in New York City Friday with Vice President Joe Biden. Some pundits say Biden appears ready to jump into the presidential race if Clinton stumbles, with Cuomo on his short list of running mates.

In his remarks, Biden offered high praise for Cuomo as well as for Mario Cuomo, whom he called “a moral force.”

"If I only get to pick one man or one woman that I gotta stand with in taking on opposition that is real or fighting for a cause that starts in my heart, this is the guy I want with me — this is the guy,” Biden said, turning around to point at Cuomo, who nodded and gestured in thanks.

“Governor, you have picked up the mantle and you have exceeded I think probably even your dad’s expectations, because what you have done here — you really have, you really have led.”

Earlier, Cuomo called Biden “the champion of the working man in this country.”

Friday’s Biden-Cuomo display of mutual admiration was the latest twist for a state with history of producing national leaders. Every governor for the past few decades with the exception of David Paterson and Malcolm Wilson was mentioned or active as a presidential contender.

New York’s role as a proving ground for national office dimmed after the heyday of Mario Cuomo nearly 30 years ago, when he twice turned down entreaties to run for president in 1988 and 1992. Since then, the Empire State’s political history until the current presidential cycle has focused more on scandals and managing decline than rising to greatness.

“There are a lot of New York leaders now,” Siena College Poll spokesman Steve Greenberg said Friday. “I don’t know — is it coincidence, it is the resurgence of New York, is the timing just fortuitous? I don’t know the answer to that.”

Greenberg said New York remains a “solidly blue” Democratic state in presidential elections, and said Trump himself is not a popular figure here. The last Siena poll in September showed him with a 65 percent disapproval rating here, with the number rising to 81 percent among Democrats.

If the November election finds Trump as the GOP nominee and Clinton as the Democratic pick, as some polls suggest will happen, it will be the first match up of New York politicians in a presidential race since President Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Gov. Thomas Dewey in 1944.

Sanders, too, has roots in New York, born and raised in Brooklyn before moving to Vermont in the 1960s. Bloomberg is originally from Massachusetts, but has lived in New York City much of his adult life, becoming a self-made billionaire in the process.

Donald Trump was born into a wealthy family in Queens and has built a business empire from his home in New York City. Clinton is from the Chicago suburbs and moved here when she and President Clinton purchased a home in Westchester County in 1999 in order for her to run for the soon to be vacant Senate seat of Daniel P. Moynihan.

Like Clinton, Dewey was not a native New Yorker, having been born in Michigan. He came to New York to attend Columbia University Law School and ended up living most of his life in Pawling. He ran twice for president, losing both times.

Another matchup of New Yorkers in a presidential race came in 1904, when Republican Theodore Roosevelt of Oyster Bay defeated Democrat Alton Parker of Esopus in a landslide in the 1904 election.

Roosevelt was a former governor and Parker, who got his start as a lawyer in Kingston, was chief judge of the Court of Appeals in Albany. He later returned to Albany and helped impeach Gov. William Sulzer in 1913.