ALBANY – The state’s lieutenant governor, Robert Duffy, has resolved Albany’s worst-kept secret: that he will not run again with Gov. Andrew Cuomo as his running mate this year.
Unknown, for now, is who Cuomo will choose to be on the ticket with him this year, with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown still, sources say, in the mix of possibilities.
Duffy, the former mayor of Rochester, told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle Wednesday night that the job took its toll on him, both physically from traveling the state in a car with bad back and leg pain, and the time away from his family.
“It’s a life decision, not a political one. I have thoroughly enjoyed my four years,’’ Duffy told the paper.
The job, under Cuomo, is not an easy one. Duffy, Democrats say, found himself often finding out with little notice that he had to get from Rochester to one end of the state or the other to appear at some governmental or ceremonial function on behalf of the governor.
Yet, Duffy was a relentless, even in his own words, cheerleader for Cuomo, starting from the first day on the job when he introduced the new governor in 2011 at the state Capitol by telling an audience that he wakes up every day wondering how to best serve Cuomo.
Cuomo recently said that no one in his administration works harder than Duffy, who is also a former police chief of Rochester.
Duffy last year made overtures to become the head of a business advocacy group in Rochester, but then pulled back from pursuing the job. It is uncertain whether he might still take that post. The Rochester Business Alliance’s president is leaving her job at the end of the year, and Duffy has said he will stay on with Cuomo through the end of his term in 2014.
Duffy has been serving for a year with speculation swirling in Albany that he would not be on the 2014 ticket.
Cuomo has not indicated who he wants as his new lieutenant governor as he weighs the equation based on geographic, gender and racial balances, not to mention who he can personally get along with and trust to join his administration.
Besides Brown, a former state senator, former Rep. Kathy Hochul from Erie County has also been rumored to be in the mix; she is an executive with M&T Bank.
Among the other people who either are or were under consideration are Suffolk County Executive Steve Ballone, who could help Cuomo in the crucial Long Island suburbs, as well as one Republican: Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney.
The only certainty: the decision will be announced before the Democrats hold their party convention on Long Island in two weeks.