(CNN) – With New York Gov. David Paterson's announcement Friday afternoon that he won't run this year for a full term in office, all eyes are on fellow Democrat Andrew Cuomo, the state's attorney general.
With Paterson out of the campaign picture, Cuomo is considered the Democratic Party's likely gubernatorial nominee. While the son of former three-term Gov. Mario Cuomo has not formally indicated if he'll make a bid for governor, he hinted Friday that some kind of announcement would be forth coming.
"This is an election year and I will announce my plans at the appropriate time. In the meantime, I will continue to focus on my job as Attorney General and the many important issues we are pursuing," he said in a statement.
Cuomo added that he is "sure this is a difficult choice and a sad day for the Governor and his family. It is in the best interests of all New Yorkers that the state government function through this difficult time and address the pressing budgetary problems we face."
According to a Siena College Research Institute survey released Monday morning, Cuomo led Paterson by 42 points in a hypothetical Democratic primary matchup. The survey also indicated that Cuomo would top former Rep. Rick Lazio, the probable GOP nominee, 63 percent to 26 percent in a hypothetical general election matchup. In that same poll, Lazio led Paterson 46 percent to 39 percent. The survey also showed two-thirds of New York state voters had a favorable opinion of Cuomo.
Besides his flattering poll numbers, Cuomo has also built a formidable campaign warchest.
"We are confident that we will field a strong candidate for the general election and that the New York governorship will remain safely Democratic," says Nathan Daschle, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association.
The 52 year-old Cuomo was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in President Bill Clinton's second term. He unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in New York in 2002 and successfully won election as the state's attorney general in 2006.
Paterson was lieutenant governor when a sex scandal led to then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer's departure from the office in March 2008.
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(This article was updated with new information at 4:50 p.m. EST)