From the Morning Memo:

Despite his claims to the contrary, Gov. Andrew Cuomo “definitely” influenced the recent leadership battle in the state Senate, according to the candidate who came up short in that fight, Syracuse Sen. John DeFrancisco.

Cuomo reportedly preferred the ultimate winner, Long Island Sen. John Flanagan, to succeed former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. But publicly insisted he had no preference, telling reporters “I’m not in the Legislature,” and “I see my job as working with whoever they send me.”

But during a wide ranging CapTon interview last night, DeFrancisco rejected Cuomo’s claims, saying his colleagues specifically told him they had received calls from the governor on Flanagan’s behalf.

“Oh definitely he made calls, definitely, no doubt about it,” the Senate Finance Committee chairman said, adding: “He can do whatever he wants, but be honest about it.”

Asked why he thought Cuomo would prefer Flanagan, the former Education Committee chairman, over him, DeFrancisco replied:

“Maybe the question might be, if you’re the governor and you wanted to deal with John Flanagan or John DeFrancisco, this abrupt person who tells it like it is, maybe that might answer it….the governor’s reasons will have to come from him, and no doubt, if you ask him that question, he’ll say he didn’t call anybody.”

DeFrancisco expressed frustration with the fact that some of his colleagues said one thing and did another when it finally came time to cast their votes in the closed door conference, where he reportedly received 15 votes to Flanagan’s 18, with six fellow upstaters casting deciding votes.

“What should be practiced in Albany, like any other place where people work professionally, is look people in the eye and you tell them the truth,” the senator said. “You don’t lie, you don’t make things warm and fuzzy.”

“The reason we couldn’t get an agreement, people were telling John something, people were telling me something. In order to agree, you have to have an accurate count.”

“We could have resolved this in two minutes if everybody told us, straight up, who they supported.”

DeFrancisco insists he has no hard feelings, and, as of yesterday, was continuing his morning routine of working out with his former opponent in the Senate gym. He was the first to nominate Flanagan on the floor of the Senate to lead the chamber, and stressed the need for the GOP conference to go forward united.

DeFrancisco admitted that “maybe you’re going to look at someone a little differently than you did before” if that person reneged on a promise to back him in the leadership fight. But, he said, the needs of the conference – and, more importantly, preserving GOP control – should take precedence over any one senator’s personal grudges.

“We have 32 Republicans, one Democrat,” DeFrancisco said. “If a bunch of people go off ship, we’re going to end up with two years of Democrat control of everything in the state…there will be no voice for upstate New York. So we’ve got to maintain the conference.”

DeFrancisco did express frustration over the rumor that he had planned to retire at the end of this two-year election cycle until the possibility of becoming majority leader was raised.

“I don’t know where that came from,” he said. “…it’s not true. I’m still a vital human being. I still can do what I need to do to lead a conference.”

At the same time, DeFrancisco refused to commit to seeking re-election in 2016, saying: “A lot of things happen between now and then, and we’ll evaluate it at that time…I definitely was not planning on anything, whether I’m running or not.”