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Cuomo, Duffy Mum on Rumors He May Leave to Lead Business Group

10:54 PM, Oct 14, 2013   |    comments
Lt. Governor Duffy arriving for a staff meeting.
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ALBANY - Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy once said that working with Gov. Andrew Cuomo is like "taking a painting class from Picasso."

But whether Duffy sees the completion of the artwork may be uncertain.

There has been increased speculation in recent days that Duffy, the former Rochester mayor, might be considering leaving the Cuomo administration to head the Rochester Business Alliance.

On Wednesday, Duffy declined to dismiss the speculation, saying, "I've heard the rumors, and I'm not going to comment."

On Thursday in Utica, Cuomo was asked about Duffy's future.

He also did not vow that Duffy would be his running mate next year when the Democratic governor seeks re-election.

"I think the lieutenant governor has said we're going to leave the politics to next year," Cuomo said in Utica. "That's when we'll talk politics and we'll talk campaigns. We're talking about governing now, and that's what we want to focus on."

Asked if Duffy was being recruited for the job, Cuomo said: "He's done a fantastic job as lieutenant governor, but I don't want to get into the politics this year. That's next year."

Cuomo's office on Thursday offered no immediate comment on whether Duffy is considering leaving, or to clarify Duffy's remarks from Wednesday.

In August, Cuomo's office released a statement that said Duffy would be on the 2014 ticket.

Duffy resigned as mayor in 2010 to run with Cuomo.

"The governor and I have the same plans," Duffy said in a statement at the time. "We plan to seek re-election and will formally announce it at the appropriate time."

Assemblyman Bill Reilich, R-Greece, Monroe County, said if Duffy plans to stay as lieutenant governor, he should make that clear to the public to quash the rumors.

"If he's refusing to talk about it, there must be something to it because if it was absolutely out of the question, I think it would be easy enough to end the rumors and speculations by saying that," said Reilich, who heads the Monroe County Republican Committee.

Duffy, 59, has taken a public role as lieutenant governor, traveling the state on behalf of Cuomo and touting the governor's agenda.

Joe Spector/Gannett Albany Bureau

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