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Anti-casino ad gets personal: Cuomo (father) vs. Cuomo (son)

By Tom Precious

ALBANY -- A new political committee has begun running an ad downstate using the long-ago words of Mario Cuomo against the plans of his son, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to expand casino gambling.

The advertisement is being run by the Committee Against Proposition 1, which listed a post office box in the Catskills town of Youngsville on its state board of elections registration form. The committee was not organized before the election agency's recent final filing deadline before November 5; it could not, as a result, be revealed how much the group has raised or spent.

The major anti-casino group, the Coalition Against Gambling in New York, said it is unaware of the group or its activities. Anti-gambling groups have been wondering for months if an out-of-state casino operator might drop a last minute ad in New York to try to block any new casino competition from emerging in New York, though it is unknown how this new organization is funded. Officials with the group could not be immediately reached for comment.

UPDATE: Stephen Shafer, head of Coalition Against Gambling, said the ad is being funded by Catskill Mountainkeeper, a environmental group located in Youngsville. The group appeared with lawmakers today at New York's City Hall to oppose Proposition One.

The ad uses the position of former Gov. Mario Cuomo from a generation ago -- he was against the spread of commercial casinos -- to challenge the position of Andrew Cuomo's proposal on next week's ballot to add up to seven casinos in the state. [State of Politics, a YNN blog, reported that NY1, also a Time Warner channel, will be running the ad from now until election day.]

Release of the ad comes as a pro-casino group began airing two new statewide ads.

UPDATE: Mario Cuomo released a statement tonight distancing himself from the claims in the new ad. "I made those statements in 1994. A great deal has changed in 20 years. The New York that I was dealing with was a different place. We didn't have casinos on every border. Gaming was only in Las Vegas and Atlantic City,'' he said in a written statement.

Mario Cuomo said his statement was made before New York legalized racetrack-based casinos and before casinos came to other states and provinces surrounding New York. "So if you want to vote with Cuomo, vote yes on Proposal One,'' he said.


 

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

rmccarthy@buffnews.com


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

tprecious@buffnews.com


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | jterreri@buffnews.com


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | jzremski@buffnews.com

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