Could the unhappiness felt by the left since Gov. Andrew Cuomo took office in January 2011 result in the labor-backed Working Families Party running someone other than Cuomo on its ballot line this fall?

That subject was broached last Friday at a WFP affiliates meeting held at NYSUT’s headquarters outside Albany, according to a source who was present for the discussion.

This source described the room as “unreceptive” to the idea of endorsing Cuomo for re-election without a “big” campaign win – like, say, creation of a public campaign finance system, or giving municipalities the ability to raise the local minimum wage, neither of which looks terribly likely this session.

The room was receptive to a proposal that the WFP run someone else for governor on Row D – a gamble, given the fact that the party risks losing its hard-won ballot placement if its candidate doesn’t perform well, and could lose its ballot status altogether if the candidate fails to win at least 50,000 votes.

When discussion turned to who might be able to raise enough cash to mount a credible campaign and also attract a sufficient number of votes, the name of the WFP’s national director, Dan Cantor, was floated. According to the source, the room was “receptive” to the possibility of a Cantor candidacy, though no formal vote was taken.

“There was a discussion about whether to explore giving him the line, and then someone noted that Dan is the embodiment of the party, and people were like, ‘That’s a great idea!’ But there was no motion and no vote,” the source said.

Cantor was not present for the meeting. According to his email “away” message, he is out of the country until Feb. 19 on a “paid vacation.”

It would be a pretty ballsy move for the WFP to run someone other than Cuomo on its line, since it has made a tradition of cross-endorsing statewide Democratic candidates. (At the local level, things are a little looser, with the party sometimes backing insurgent Democrats in primaries or, in the case of NYC Public Advocate Tish James’ initial election to the City Council, running candidates all its own).

It’s unclear if Cuomo will even seek the WFP line, though I assume he would want as many lines as possible heading into his first re-election bid. The governor hasn’t even formally announced his candidacy, though he has been raising campaign cash like it’s going out of style, and it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that he’s running.

Cuomo made the WFP sweat in 2010 when he initially declined to accept the party’s nomination, in large part due to the fact that it was under investigation by the US attorney’s office for work done by its now-defunct for-profit arm, Data & Field Services, during the 2009 NYC elections.

The party put a placeholder candidate, Kenneth Schaeffer, a legal Legal Aid lawyer, United Auto Workers member, and a longtime WFP member and activist on its line in June. In September, Cuomo agreed to run on the line (then Row D) – but only after the WFP agreed to embrace his “New New York Agenda” in full, even though it contained elements – like the property tax cap and a wage freeze for public employees – that its affiliates didn’t like.

The WFP largely sat out the battle over the so-called millionaire’s tax, which other lefties were pushing very hard to see reinstated in full to offset the deep health care and education spending cuts Cuomo had proposed. A scaled down version of the PIT increase was included in Cuomo’s tax reform deal with the Legislature in late 2011.

Since then, however, the WFP has started flexing its muscles again in Albany – particularly after NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s big win last fall. The party is engaged in a number of policy battles, including de Blasio’s push for the power to tax rich NYC residents to pay for universal pre-K in the five boroughs.