ICYMI: Last night on CapTon I was a bit surprised by SEIU 1199 President George Gresham’s response when I asked how active the powerhouse health care workers union plans to be in the upcoming legislative races.

“I think we want to be very active at the state level,” he responded. “At the end of the day, you know, the national election, we are – and I’m very proud to say – we are in Obama mode. That is what we call it. That is what we’re in.”

“And everything that we can do to help re-elect that administration…because at the end of the day, the state differences are not going to matter if we don’t have control of the national agenda.”

“But, yeah. We want to be visible. We want to be part of the state agenda. We have a good relationship with Governor Cuomo. We don’t always agree with everything, but we do believe he’s a governor that we can work with. And we do want to make sure our voices are heard in all of the elections, as well as New York State.”

That’s not exactly a full-throated endorsement for any of the state-level candidates, which might be particularly troublesome news for senators who are heading into a heated re-match for control of the chamber.

SEIU 1199 might be true blue at the national level, but has been far more pragmatic when it comes to New York politics.

The union crossed party lines to endorse Gov. George Pataki in 2002 after he inked a deal that resulted in $1.8 billion (yes BILLION) worth of cash to provide raises for its members, and also had a long alliance with former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno.

But in 2008, 1199 started hedging its bets and giving cash to the Democrats as they pushed to take the majority for the first time since 1964. They were successful, and we all remember what a disaster that turned out to be.

Now the Senate majority is back in GOP hands, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo seems just fine with that.

The governor and 1199 have a long history, too. The union played a key role in his political comeback after a near-career ending gubernatorial run in 2002, and he was advised during his successful run for governor in 2010 by the union’s former political director, Jennifer Cunningham.

Cunningham’s successor as 1199′s political director was Patrick Gaspard, who went on to hold that same title at the Obama White House and is now executive director of the DNC.

So 1199′s focus on the presidential race makes sense. But its lack of involvement at the state level – particularly when it comes to the Senate races – also provides a nice benefit for Cuomo.