Hochul: Cuomo Keeping Pledge For A Democratic Senate
Former Rep. Kathy Hochul, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, insisted Gov. Andrew Cuomo remains committed to a full takeover of the state Senate by their party even as both mull an endorsement of Republican Sen. Mark Grisanti.
Hochul was in Colonie, outside of Albany, on Monday for the party’s annual fall meeting.
In a speech, Hochul didn’t mention the state Senate, but pointed to the governor’s record on a range of issues from boosting the state’s minimum wage to gun control and same-sex marriage.
Speaking with reporters after the event, Hochul said nothing had been decided yet on a Grisanti endorsement.
“That’s still evolving. That’s something the governor and I are speaking about and we’re finding our position on that one,” she said.
Grisanti, a western New Yorker like Hochul, lost his Republican primary two weeks ago to Republican Kevin Stocker.
The incumbent lawmaker retains the Independence Party ballot line and has signaled he will go ahead with a November campaign.
The Grisanti primary loss has complicated the Senate map for both parties: Senate Republicans still have not decided whether they will back the incumbent or Stocker, while Cuomo — who pledged to help Democrats gain control of the chamber — doesn’t want to lose the final Republican in the Senate who voted for same-sex marriage in 2011.
The governor in 2012 had offered to help Sen. Roy McDonald, another GOP lawmaker who backed the measure who lost his primary, in the general election on the Independence Party line. McDonald dropped his campaign instead.
Cuomo did wind up endorsing Republican Sen. Stephen Saland that year, but the Poughkeepsie Republican lost his three-way race to Democratic Sen. Terry Gipson.
Cuomo last week at the Business Council’s annual meeting in Bolton Landing said the Grisanti situation is a complicated one, considering the marriage vote.
“It’s a difficult problem for me, because I want to be there, I want to be supportive,” Cuomo said.
Former Gov. David Paterson, the state party chairman, said earlier in the day whether Cuomo backs Grisanti or Democrat Marc Panepinto is “the governor’s choice.”
“Senator Grisanti — just showing there are Republicans who can think differently than other Republicans — took a courageous vote a few years ago,” Paterson said. “I certainly wish him well.”
Cuomo had made his promise to help Democrats take full control of the Senate — now under the control of Republicans and the five-member IDC — upon receiving the backing of the labor-aligned Working Families Party, which had threatened to back Fordham Law School Professor Zephyr Teachout.
In the end, Cuomo announced he would support a host of liberal issues, including a faster phase-in of the minimum wage increase to $10.10.
Still, the pledge to push for a Democratic Senate has given pause to the business community and its statewide lobbying organization, which endorsed Cuomo in 2010.
But at the same time, Cuomo has been appearing in public with Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, the GOP co-leader of the Senate who he has a good working relationship with.
While Cuomo campaigned with Democratic Senate incumbents in the lead up to the primary, the Skelos appearance at a news conference on the state’s anti-terrorism efforts raised eyebrows for members of both parties.
Bill O’Reilly, a top advisor to GOP candidate for governor Rob Astorino, blasted Skelos on Twitter, saying Democrats should be “furious” the governor and Republican lawmaker are on friendly terms (O’Reilly had previously lambasted Skelos after the lawmaker wasn’t complimentary of Astorino’s ethics proposals).
Hochul, however, defended Cuomo’s work with Republicans in Albany, saying it’s a matter of government work versus political work.
“I think the thing people need to understand is the difference between governing and campaigning. When the governor is appearing at government functions and continuing to work on issues already pre-existing before the campaign, it makes sense to be working with Republicans,” she said, while adding, “When you’re in campaign mode, he is also committed to helping elect Democrats which is why I’m being sent all over the state as well to help make sure they have the support they need. So I don’t think it’s inconsistent. People understand working with the people who are elected versus campaigning for change in November.”
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on September 22, 2014 at 2:28 pm, and is filed under Democrats. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|
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