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ELECTION 2002

Candidate May Quit N.Y. Governor Race

November 03, 2002|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Billionaire Thomas Golisano, who has been running a strong third in the governor's race as the Independence Party candidate, canceled campaign appearances Saturday and scheduled an announcement for today after Democrats asked him to drop out of the race and endorse their candidate.

"I am a candidate for governor of this state. I've put a lot of effort into it, but there will be a special broadcast tomorrow afternoon," Golisano said during a televised debate Saturday.

When pressed for details, Golisano wouldn't elaborate.

"There are some Democrats who are arguing to Mr. Golisano that he should endorse Carl McCall," said Roger Stone, Golisano's chief strategist. "I'm not saying he's decided to do that, but we are getting entreaties to do so."

After the debate, during which McCall and Golisano took turns hammering at Republican Gov. George Pataki's tenure, McCall said he had no idea what Golisano planned to do.

Golisano and McCall have been trailing the governor in recent polls.

A Marist College survey released a week ago showed Pataki with 47%, followed by McCall with 27% and Golisano with 17%. When Golisano was taken out of the equation, Pataki led McCall, 54% to 33%. The poll of 432 likely voters had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

"Just in and of itself, there's not enough Golisano numbers there to change the outcome," Marist pollster Lee Miringoff said Saturday. "There has to be an added impact for McCall to have a chance."

Miringoff said the best McCall could hope for is for Golisano to quit the race and do heavy television advertising on Monday urging New Yorkers to vote for McCall.

Golisano has spent more than $54 million on his self-financed campaign and run ads that have largely targeted Pataki's record as governor. He recently canceled some television advertising, though an aide said he was cutting back ads in New York City and Long Island to focus on more traditionally conservative upstate voters.

Pataki campaign spokesman Michael McKeon said it won't matter what Golisano does.

"Every poll has shown that half the Golisano support comes from us and half comes from Carl McCall, and so if he ends up being a quitter, then we expect the votes will return in about that proportion," McKeon said.

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