Candidates Throw Final Punches in the Hours Before Polls Open
By Jill Colvin
LONG ISLAND CITY, QUEENS — The candidates vying for state-wide office pumped their fists in the air, shook hands, kissed babies and threw their last punches Monday in the final hours before Election Day.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo returned to his home turf of Queens for his last campaign rally, telling supporters one last time that he was depending on their votes.
"This election matters!" he repeated to several hundred students, faculty and union members gathered at LaGuardia Community College in Queens. "We know that we’re scared. We know that we’re anxious. We know that we have a lot to do."
But, he continued, "We are not going to go back to where we were. We are moving forward."
The latest Siena poll shows Cuomo 25 points ahead of Buffalo Republican Carl Paladino. But Paladino has shown no signs of slowing down.
About 200 of the Republican candidate's supporters, some waving brooms in a nod to his vow to "take out the trash" in Albany, showed up for Paladino's final rally in downtown Buffalo.
The Republican candidate framed the the vote in historical terms.
"Tomorrow is the most important election in our lives," he told the crowd. "You can say, 'I was there.'"
Paladino also took the opportunity to again raise the issue of the proposed Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero — and bash his opponent's support for the plan.
"Cuomo said it’s okay to build a mosque," Paladino said. "He doesn’t understand what honor and respect are.”
Meanwhile, State Sen. Eric Scheiderman and Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan, who are locked in a dead heat in the race for attorney general, also spent the day racing from one campaign stop to another.
Scheiderman, who joined Cuomo in Queens, tried to paint Donovan as a radical conservative who wouldn't fight for women's rights.
"If he weren’t standing next to Carl Paladino it would be clear how bad he is. But everything is relative," Schneiderman said.
Cuomo also voiced support for his ticket-mate.
"Eric’s opponent has said he doesn't want to be the sheriff of Wall Street...The job is policing what happens on Wall Street," he said.
Cuomo did not mention incumbent comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who is also tied with his Republican challenger, Harry Wilson, according to the Siena poll. Cuomo has refused to officially endorse DiNapoli for the position, despite appearing with him on the campaign trail.
Donovan also hit Queens Monday. He met with supporters in Flushing for a get out the vote rally in the morning and planned to finish the day with a final event on Long Island.
The polls are set to open at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Ben Fractenberg contributed reporting.