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Noodge Versus Bully

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Polls taken before Cuomo’s decisive convention win put his lead over Green at everywhere from two to fourteen points. Green claims he’s confident he can make it a close contest in September—“I’m doing much better than it appears. As they said of Wagner’s music, it’s better than it sounds.” First, however, Green must try to get on the ballot by petitioning, an effort he started last week at a rally in Union Square, where he competed for attention with no-hope-Senate-candidate- of-conscience Jonathan Tasini. Green couldn’t resist floating the kind of innuendo that antagonizes his rivals, implying that because Cuomo has done real-estate business in Dubai, he somehow endorses the monarchy’s anti-Israel agenda.

The personal animus suffusing the attorney general’s race promises to keep things interesting. Four months ago, Vito Lopez underwent open-heart surgery, but last week he kept his doctor waiting so he could blast Green. “I wish I could be that magical, but some people switched votes because they saw which way the tide was running,” Lopez says. “If anyone was pressuring people at the convention, it was Mark Green. He needs to calm down. The real outrageousness in Buffalo was that Mark Green’s wife pushed someone, a person of significance and importance.” Lopez is referring to Emily Giske, a major lobbyist who is also, incredibly, a vice-chair of the state Democratic Party, as well as a staunch Cuomo backer. Green’s wife, Deni Frand, did angrily confront Giske, accusing her of spreading rumors that Green would quit the race. Giske denies rumormongering; Frand denies pushing anyone.

Would Mark Green be a better attorney general than Andrew Cuomo? I don’t know. But this battle is worth continuing. And Green, after a lifetime in Democratic politics, deserves to have his fate determined by actual voters, not insiders. Signing a Green petition in broad daylight would be the fitting democratic answer to the scribbled signature of a party hack fleeing Buffalo.

E-mail: Chris_Smith@nymag.com.


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