With less than a week to go before the Democratic Rural Conference straw poll in Niagara Falls, which will be the first contest of the 2010 election season, would-be AG Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice has released a six-point agenda for rural New York.

Rice’s proposal include creating a 311 line so residents in less-populated regions of the state can get legal help, appointing a deputy attorney general for rural affairs and visiting all 62 counties of the state during her first her in office, if she’s elected.

Rice basically makes the pitch that she is a “smart fiscal manager” who will be able to do more with less in the AG’s office to maximize services for all New Yorkers, no matter where they live.

The DA is a little late to this game. Some of her primary rivals have been focused on upstate for weeks now.

Eric Dinallo released his rural agenda, which includes assigning an assistant attorney general to every rural county within two weeks of taking office if he’s elected, in mid-March. Sean Coffey has made numerous trips upstate and last week launched a TV ad – the first of the AG race to hit the airwaves – that is running in upstate markets.

The bulk of the Democratic primary vote is generated in NYC, but there are pockets of Democratic voters upstate – particularly in the cities, but also in some of the rural counties, where Democratic enrollment has been steadily increasing in recent years.

Another of the AG contenders, Sen. Eric Schneiderman, has been focused primarily on the downstate vote, particularly in his home base of Manhattan.

But a smart political observer pointed out to me this weekend that none of the would-be AGs hail from the outer boroughs, which means voter there are largely up for grabs.

A candidate who makes inroads there and also does well upstate could eke out a victory – particularly if the field is large (there’s up to seven potential contenders at this point), which means the winner won’t have the majority of the vote.

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