Western New York was once again highlighted during Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s fourth State of State Address – a focus that has fueled rumors the governor may be considering Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown as his new running mate.

“The governor has been incredibly focused on Buffalo, on Western New York, Upstate New York,” Brown said.

“He has certainly put his Money where his mouth is. He has visited Buffalo frequently; I think more than 15 times last year alone.”

Despite weather concerns that prompted Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz to cancel his trip to Albany, Brown was in attendance at the Empire State Convention Center for Cuomo’s speech.

The three-term Buffalo mayor was gushing with praise after the governor concluded his remarks.

“He (Cuomo) certainly recognized that over the past decades, Upstate New York, Western, New York, Buffalo seemingly was forgotten by the state; we were left behind in many ways,” Brown said.

“But we’re also an area with great promise, great resources and he is making the investment in the second largest city in the State of New York to make the entire state stronger.”

“And those investments are certainly paying dividends in business development and job creation in our community.”

Since Lt. Governor Bob Duffy interviewed for the top job at the Rochester Business Alliance last year, without notifying Cuomo beforehand, whispers about his desire to leave the position have become louder. 

Brown was mentioned as a candidate for Lt. Governor back in 2010 and, with continued speculation over Duffy’s future, his name keeps coming up as a potential addition to the 2014 ticket.

Capital Tonight’s Nick Reisman asked Brown if he’d consider running as Cuomo’s running mate, if asked.

“My full focus and attention is on serving as Mayor of the City of Buffalo,” Brown responded. 

When Reisman noted that wasn’t exactly a Shermanesque denial of interest in the job, Brown responded:

“I’m just very focused on Buffalo and what’s happening here in Buffalo, tremendous year 2013, over $2.2 Billion in investment I’m hoping to see a continuation of that in 2014,” Brown responded.

Cuomo was scheduled to visit Buffalo Thursday for a Western New York version of the State of the State, but cancelled because of what his staff called a “scheduling emergency.” He’s sending EDSC President and CEO Ken Adams in his place.

Cuomo has lavished attention – otherwise known as “Buffalove” – on Western New York since the 2010 election, when he lost the region to his GOP/Conservative challenger, Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino.

This year, Paladino is threatening to mount a re-match against Cuomo, potentially running only on the Conservative line if the GOP’s selection of a gubernatorial candidate doesn’t measure up to his standards.