ALBANY—Andrew Cuomo was in Buffalo this week not campaigning for governor as he once again made the case for reducing the number of local government entities in New York.
Polls show his position as a gubernatorial candidate solidifying as David Paterson’s standing melts. And Cuomo, the son of a three-term governor and himself a prior candidate for the office, is hardly unprepared for the possibility of a run. (Though he has repeatedly said his only plan at this time is to run for attorney general in 2010.)
Here’s a look at some of the people who would comprise the Cuomo-for-governor brain trust, based on conversations with a number of smart political operatives.
John Marino —Called “the ultimate guy” in Cuomoland by one Democratic politico, Marino, a former state party chair, has spent his post-Mario career working for public relations man Dan Klores. He did not return a call seeking comment.
Joe DePlasco—Also now working for Dan Klores, DePlasco is a veteran of several New York campaigns, including Mark Green’s 2001 mayoral bid. Reached by phone, DePlasco declined to comment.
Joe Percoco—He served as political director of Andrew’s 2006 campaign and is currently working as an assistant attorney general in the Manhattan office. Fiercely loyal to the Cuomos, Percoco was reported to have worked to trip up Caroline Kennedy’s bid for Senate. He did not return a call seeking comment.
Jennifer Cunningham—Cunningham was involved as a senior adviser on Cuomo’s 2006 campaign for attorney general when she was still executive director of SEIU 1199, the powerful health care union. She’s currently at Knickerbocker SKD. She did not return a call seeking comment.
Sandy Frucher—A longtime friend of Andrew, he was the chairman of the Philadelphia stock exchange, and is now the vice chair of NASDAQ-OMX. Frucher served as New York’s chief labor negotiator from 1978 to 1983, as well as president of the Battery Park City Authority. Frucher would be a valuable fund-raising asset, and is described as a close confidant and adviser of Cuomo. He did not return several calls seeking comment.
Michael Del Giudice—Mario Cuomo’s former chief of staff, he has been working as an investment banker and sits on several boards, including Con Edison, Barnes & Noble, and Fusion Telecommunications. He did not return a call seeking comment.
Tonio Burgos—Another longtime aide to Mario Cuomo, he also served as an appointee to the LMDC and Port Authority. He is currently a partner in his eponymous consulting firm. He did not return a call seeking comment.
John Milgrim—Milgrim was hired as Cuomo’s deputy press secretary in 2006 and has since become press secretary. He might be the one to handle everyday press calls and inquiries if he were to jump to a campaign side from the state payroll. Milgrim had years of experience as a reporter in Albany for Ottaway Newspapers and The Middletown Times Herald Record. He declined to comment.