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Cuomo calls public financing debate ‘politics on steroids’

One thing to know about Gov. Andrew Cuomo is this: The man lives and breathes politics.

This isn’t a pejorative. Plumbers plumb. Carpenters hammer nails. Reporters love news. Politicians politic.

And Cuomo, soon to enter his 10th year in office, is unusually adept at navigating the politics of a complicated state. But when it comes to issues like the arcana of campaign finance, the very way New York’s smashmouth campaigns are funded and fueled, the stakes are high and for a relatively small group of individuals.

The public financing commission — a panel of officials appointed by the Legislature and the governor — is entering its endgame in the next month when it comes to laying down the specifics of how a public financing system will work.

Among the questions the commission will, in theory, resolve: How much will candidates receive in public funds for each dollar raised? What will the caps on campaign donations be? Will money raised outside of a district be eligible for public matching dollars? What is the future of minor parties that need a mechanism known as fusion voting, which allows candidates to run on multiple ballot lines, to stay alive?

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