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Cuomo to seek third term

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Gov. Mario Cuomo announced Sunday he will seek a third four-year term, bucking the trend of Northeastern governors stepping down because of economic woes.

'A great deal of work still lies ahead,' Cuomo said.

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For the past eight years, Cuomo, 57, has been considered a prospect for the Democratic presidential nomination. Cuomo has often derided such speculation, but has never squelched it and sometimes encouraged it.

The 57-year-old governor declined to say Sunday if his decision to seek re-election this year means he will not run for the White House in 1992.

Referring to a 1984 promise never to run for higher office if he were a sitting governor, Cuomo said, 'I said in 1984 what I said about '84.' When asked if he would quell any speculation about the 1992 presidential race with a similar pronouncement now, he said, 'That wouldn't work at all.'

Cuomo's announcement that he will run again for governor came less than 24 hours before the Democratic Party's nominating convention and 24 hours after the Liberal Party endorsed him as its 1990 gubernatorial candidate.

Although the governor's popularity has sunk from its record-high level of 77.1 percent in polls reported in January 1988, it hovers now around 60 percent, making Cuomo a formidable opponent in November.

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His expected Republican opponent, Pierre Rinfret, is a political unknown and not a registered party member. Rinfret is an independent and supports abortion rights. On those grounds, some GOP leaders are talking about mounting a petition drive to force a Republican primary.

The disarray in the once-strong New York Republican Party could offset Cuomo's vulnerability on issues such as the state's budget problems and economic slowdown.

Similar woes prompted Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, Vermont Gov. Madeleine Kunin and Connecticut Gov. William O'Neill to announce they would retire at the end of their terms in December.

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