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Mario Cuomo loomed large over NYS Democratic convention


Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo with his father Mario (R) in 2014. (LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS)

The following is an expanded version of the second item from my "Albany Insider" from Monday's print editions:

Gov. Cuomo's father, former three-term Gov. Mario Cuomo, passed away more than three years ago, but his presence loomed large at last week's Democratic state party convention.

Cuomo's mother, Matilda Cuomo, former Vice President Joseph Biden, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez and others all warmly discussed Mario Cuomo during their remarks before delegates and tied the governor to him and his legacy.

Mario Cuomo remains revered by many on the left who are less than enthused with the current Cuomo residing in the governor's mansion.

"Invoking Mario Cuomo's name creates a kinder reference to the Cuomo name, makes it less harsh, and makes it more left," said veteran Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf.

Perez, who grew up in Buffalo, praised the two Cuomos.

"I not only admire Andrew Cuomo, but I admire the Cuomo family since my youth," he said. "I admire what they stood for and what they fought for since I was a kid."

Biden reminisced about Mario Cuomo and how both his own late son, Beau Biden, and Andrew Cuomo, went on to becoming successful politicians in their own right while growing up with fathers already in the political limelight.

But it was Matilda Cuomo who spoke emotinally of the relationship between her late husband and son. She noted how Andrew Cuomo was an advisor to Mario Cuomo during his time as governor and how the father performed the same role after her son became governor in 2011.

"I feel in many ways Mario still lives through Andrew's work and I know he is looking down on us right now, smiling," the governor's mother said.