From today’s Morning Memo:

Aaron Woolf, the Democratic candidate seeking to replace retiring Rep. Bill Owens in NY-21, declined yesterday to choose a favorite in the upcoming Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Asked if he would be supporting either Gov. Andrew Cuomo or his challenger, Fordham Law School Prof. Zephyr Teachout, Woolf replied:

“I’m going, I’m going to reserve…just as I sought support from many colleagues when there was a possibility of me having a primary and they refused to comment, I think we’ll let the democratic process play out.”

Woolf has drawn some criticism in his successful push to toss his own primary challenger, Stephen Burke, off the Sept. 9 ballot, paying an attorney with ties to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to assist in that effort.

Given his New York City roots and background as a documentary filmmaker focusing on issues like big agriculture, the automotive industry and human trafficking, Woolf might seem like someone who would support Teachout in her long-shot bid to upset Cuomo. Woolf is also a political outsider who has never before run for elected office – much like Teachout herself.

But Teachout is running to Cuomo’s left, and Woolf is trying to position himself as a centrist in a district that – before Owens’ surprise victory in a 2009 special election – was viewed as a GOP stronghold.

The district has a considerable GOP enrollment edge, with 181,832 Republicans to 127,262 Democrats and 90,227 so-called “blanks” who are not affiliated with any political party. Woolf has his own challenger on the left, the Green Party’s Matt Funiciello.

The NRCC has recently been trying to boost Funiciello, highlighting his candidacy in an attempt to bring down support for Woolf and assist the Republican/Conservative in the race, Elise Stefanik.

Allying himself with Cuomo might not be such a great idea for Woolf, either, even though the governor did fairly well in the North Country in 2010 and has been working hard to boost his numbers there ever since (pushing particularly hard when it comes to helping the tourism industry in the Adirondack Park).

Opposition to Cuomo’s controversial gun control law the SAFE Act gets stronger the further north (and west) of Albany you travel, and the rural areas continue to trend Republican, though their vote hasn’t been strong enough to counter Democrat-dominated NYC’s clout.

President Obama carried NY-21 by six points over Mitt Romney in 2012 – two points higher than the president’s national margin.

But the race between Cuomo and his GOP opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, isn’t competitive enough to draw anywhere near the kind of turnout a presidential race does, so Woolf is fighting an uphill battle – especially with Funiciello in the race, potential drawing votes away from him to Stefanik’s advantage, (though that’s definitely not how Funiciello sees it).