Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo took sides in the state attorney general race Sunday, throwing his support behind Democratic nominee Eric Schneiderman.
Cuomo announced his endorsement in Central Park.
“I think Eric is going to do an outstanding job on all levels," said Cuomo. "One of the challenging aspects of the attorney general's office is multi-faceted position. We talked about Wall Street. It's also doing health care work, anti-discrimination work, environmental work. It's also being part of the reform movement in Albany."
Schneiderman, a state senator, said he is prepared to take on the challenges of the office.
"When you're part of a coalition that says government can be a force for good, it can be," said Schneiderman. "But, as the attorney general said, the reality is, people have lost that confidence. You'll have, in the two of us, an unparalleled commitment to pursuing issues of public integrity and restoring the public confidence in the government that we need in order to accomplish anything."
Cuomo and Schneiderman met in 1982 on the gubernatorial campaign for Mario Cuomo. They both spoke about their long friendship.
However, there had been lots of speculation about whether Cuomo would actually endorse Schneiderman to replace him, since Cuomo did not support anyone in the Democratic Primary and was said want someone outside the State Legislature to become the next attorney general.
Sunday, Cuomo would not say who he voted for in the primary and said he felt it was not appropriate to voice support at that time.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice came up short in the Democratic Primary, narrowly losing to Schneiderman in the five-way race.
Schneiderman's opponent, Republican Dan Donovan, would not comment on the endorsement. But Carl Paladino, Cuomo's Republican rival, tried to use the nod as a way to build support for his own campaign.
“They're birds of a feather. Schneiderman comes from the same place that Cuomo comes from – the establishment in Albany,” Paladino said.
Cuomo's endorsement does put him at odds with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The mayor recently endorsed Cuomo and is supporting Donovan.
Bloomberg says Schneiderman is only interested in pushing a social agenda, something Schneiderman and Cuomo didn't back away from.
“I'm committed to the same aggressive, progressive approach he's taken to the office,” said Schneiderman. “I'm committed to the same progressive political ideals.”
It's unclear whether the two men will campaign together, but they do hope to push Democrats to the polls in what could be a close election this November.