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By Tom Precious

Melville -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo has tapped Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, a Buffalo Democrat, to be the co-chair of his re-election campaign. (Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. will be the other co-chair.)

The announcement comes after Cuomo said former Gov. David Paterson, who was once investigated by the governor when he was state attorney general, will become the state Democratic Party's new chairman. (He replaces Assemblyman Keith Wright, a Harlem Democrat; a few weeks ago, Stephanie Miner, the Syracuse mayor who has battled with Cuomo over public policy issues, said she was no longer going to be the party's other co-chair.)

Cuomo also announced that former Oswego mayor John Sullivan will be the head of the party's "coordinated campaign'' effort for upstate.

The appointment of Peoples-Stokes is a political boost for the Buffalo Democrat. Given the governor's hands-on style, few doubt who will be the campaign's real chairman: Cuomo himself.

“The 2014 campaign will give New Yorkers an opportunity to join in a statewide movement to continue and build on the success and progress of the past three years,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement. “I am pleased to announce a new all-star leadership team to guide Democratic campaigns and help bring New Yorkers together in all regions of the state. I welcome Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Assembly Member Crystal Peoples-Stokes, and John Sullivan on board, and I know their leadership and guidance will be vital in the months ahead.”

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