According to a recent poll (See The Record, May 5, 2005) 5% of New Yorkers know Mary Donohue is the state's Lieutenant Governor. Among upstate voters the percentage of recognition jumps to 7%.
The good news for Mary is that the percentage who recognize her name is probably better than any other New York Lieutenant Governor.
The bad news: Governor Pataki was not in the 5% that recognized her name.
The poll also found that nearly two-thirds that did recognize Ms. Donohue believed she should never wear orange and three-fourths believed she should be promoted to Captain.
We hope Mary, a very nice lady, isn't hurt by the poll. No one ever knows the name of the lieutenant governor. Governor Cuomo had thirty-five different lieutenants during his twelve years as governor. Cuomo actually forgot that he had been Governor Carey's LG.
Traditionally, the LG's office has been something of a political dead end. Not unlike being the assistant night manager at Stewart's. Malcolm Wilson was able to become governor only when Spiro Agnew resigned and Rockefeller was appointed Vice-President. Cuomo was able to make the leap but he is the exception.
Mary's name recognition is irrelevant. For some reason the State GOP has never really embraced her and she has no chance of ever becoming governor. Odd, when you think about the current state of New York's Republicans. Today, almost everyone believes Pataki will not run for a fourth term. Most believe that Attorney General Spitzer will be the next governor.* Rather than send a sacrificial lamb against Spitzer, why not Donohue? She'd lose, but she'd do better against Spitzer than what's his name (no seriously, what's his name?) did against Senator Schumer.
Mary was a marginal District Attorney. She was a Supreme Court Justice for approximately ten minutes. She is, however, likeable and a proven vote-getter. We think she'd be much more formidable against Spitzer than the current names being floated by the Republicans. Compared to Pataki, who could put caffeine to sleep, Donohue is positively charismatic.
* Democrats should not be too smug. Spitzer is the odds-on favorite today. However, neither Pataki nor Donohue have ever lost a general election.