Here And Now

Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo warned legislators not to even think about trying to tax their way out of the budget crisis.

Twenty-one of the 38-member Downstate Business Advisory Council Cuomo created have contributed a combined total of $1.1 million to his campaign coffers.

“I see it very difficult to convene the Legislature if three members have yet to be seated,” said Sen. Tom Libous. “If we’re still counting votes in January, that would be unfortunate.”

It’s Florida 2000 all over again.

The Senate Democrats are invoking Florida in their recount fundraising appeals.

Newsday wants every vote counted in the three cliffhanger Long Island races.

The longer this drags on, the harder it will be for Cuomo to push his agenda through the Senate. (Bill Hammond says “greedy” lawyers are to blame).

Cuomo thinks LG-elect Bob Duffy will be able to cast a tie-breaking vote on the Senate leadership. The Republicans disagree.

Who in Cuomo’s circle will be heading to Albany? He says his top priority is “talent, talent, talent.”

Cuomo said he’s looking forward to working with the “leadership of the Assembly,” but didn’t specifically mention Speaker Sheldon Silver.

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Extras

Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo has yet to respond to PEF’s anti-layoffs missive.

The results of 10 races statewide have been impounded.

Chris Cillizza explains why the GOP won big in NY House races.

Michael Barbaro parses Mayor Bloomberg’s reported description of President Obama as the most “arrogant man” he had ever met.

The mayor insisted he doesn’t actually think the president is arrogant, and actually considers him “a very smart guy.”

“We’re not going to buy our way out of these problems,” Cuomo said.

Even dinner is a negotiation at the Clinton home.

Bill Clinton is staying in Harlem.

A new Website has launched calling for every vote in close NY races to be counted.

Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch is not pleased with Sen. Chuck Schumer’s redistricting comments.

Mass transit advocates hope Gov. David Paterson doesn’t plug the $315 million deficit hole with MTA cash.

NYC Health Commissioner Tom Farley is very fast.

Ditto, says NYC Councilman Jimmy Vacca.

Alec Baldwin might be considering a run in NY-1.

Wal-Mart hired Bradley Tusk.

Georgina Bloomberg is recovering.

Congressman-elect Michael Grimm finally had some face time with Bloomberg.

Get well soon Suffolk County Legislator (and almost US Senate candidate) Jon Cooper.

A goodbye, of sorts, to Marc Ambinder.

More Jimmy McMillan. (Warning: There are expletives in here).

Pataki: I Haven’t Closed The Door On 2012

Former Gov. George Pataki is making the rounds of TV shows today and letting people know, now that the 2010 campaign is over, that he indeed hasn’t ruled out another White House run.

“I’m certainly not making any decisions for myself right now because, as of today, there’s not one declared candidate,” Pataki told me in a CapTon interview that will air tonight at 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

“And I’m going to see who else is out there what their ideas and background and record is and then make a determination.”

When I said it sounded to me like he hasn’t closed the door on a potential presidential campaign, he replied:

“No I haven’t. I haven’t opened it. I haven’t closed it.”

“I think we need change in this country. I think for all the change that people voted for on Tuesday, we’re still going to have the wrong leadership in Washington, and I want to be very active in helping us to bring about that change in that leadership.”

The former governor spoke a lot about the importance of having someone in the White House with "executive experience," which, he noted, President Obama, a former Illinois state senator, didn't have when he ran in 2008.

It is something a number of the would-be 2012 contenders have, including Pataki, Sarah Palin (former Alaska governor) and Rudy Giuliani (former NYC mayor), among others.

Pataki took a pass on running statewide this year to instead focus on his Revere America committee, which dropped more than $2 million to opposes candidates who voted "yes" on, or simply spoke in support of, health care reform (or, as he puts it, "Obamacare").

He traveled the country stumping for candidates and calling for the law to be repealed, dropping the bulk of his cash here in his home state to oppose Rep. John Hall in NY-19 (who lost) and Rep. Bill Owens in NY-23 (who won), as well as two successful congressional candidates in New Hampshire...

....which just so happens to have the nation's first presidential primary.

Cuomo Weighs In On 31-31 (Updated)

Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo weighed in today on the 31-31 question, saying he believes LG-elect Bob Duffy would indeed have the power to cast a vote on the Senate leadership question, effectively placing the decision about who would control the chamber in the executive’s hands.

“I don’t want to get into the legal technicalities of it, but the lieutenant governor would be a tie-breaking vote in leadership selection if it came to that,” Cuomo told reporters at the Somos conference in San Juan.

“But let’s count the votes first, let’s find out who won first, and then we’ll figure out a strategy to deal with it.”

Cuomo also reiterated that it’s “not his job” to influence the selection of leaders in either house of the Legislature, even as the speculation machine has kicked into high gear (thanks to the Post) that the governor-elect might be trying to spur a coup against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

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Skelos Blames Labor For Padavan’s Loss

Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos just issued a statement lamenting the loss of soon-to-be-former Sen. Frank Padavan and took a shot at organized labor for abandoning the veteran Queens lawmaker in favor of his Democratic challenger, former NYC Councilman Tony Avella.

“Many mayors of New York have recognized that when they really needed someone to stand up for the City, they turned to Frank Padavan,” Skelos said.

“Senator Padavan led the way for mayoral control of schools that has helped to strengthen and improve the quality of education for millions of children.”

“It’s truly unfortunate that some vested union interests in the City failed to recognize his efforts. As a result of their shortsightedness, New York City school children will be losing their strongest advocate in Albany.”

“It’s a sad example of how union leaders put their political interests ahead of the children they are supposed to teach, and the children lose in the end.”

Skelos didn’t name names, but it’s fairly clear he’s referring to the United Federation of Teachers and SEIU 1199, both of which backed Avella this year after previously backing Padavan.

The Democrats considered the UFT nod a particularly important get for Avella since the union has some 7,000 members in the district. Padavan did have some labor backing, including the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 16.

Buerkle Cries Foul On Absentee Ballot Contact Effort (Updated)

Republican Ann Marie Buerkle, who leads Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei by just under 700 votes in NY-25, just sent out a statement condemning an effort in the district to contact absentee and military voters and ask them to confirm who they cast a ballot in last Tuesday’s election.

“It is regrettable that this action is underway prior to those absentee votes being tabulated by county election officials,” Buerkle said.

“While the reasons for this effort are unclear – many agree it could be an attempt by some to identify who each person voted for in an effort to disqualify certain eligible ballots from being counted. I would like the public to know that my campaign is not connected to this current effort.”

“Further, no American – in Upstate New York or anywhere – is in anyway under obligation to provide information to anyone on how he or she voted in any election, including my own.”

(Snip)

“If anyone is contacted in this effort please know that your vote is privileged, and under no circumstances should an individual be pressured in to revealing how their vote was cast. If you are contacted, ask them to provide their full name, for whom they work, why they are seeking this information and if you are required to provide this information.”

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Cox’s Defender

While a number of disgusted Republicans are publicly venting their displeasure with state GOP Chairman Ed Cox and calling for him to resign, he still has some supporters, including Suffolk County GOP Chairman John Jay LaValle.

“First of all, he was elected to a two-year term, and he should serve the two-year term,” LaValle told me during an interview this weekend.

“You know, let’s face it Ed Cox was not, put it this way, Lazio was not his pick. He was right about the governor’s race, obviously.”

“There are a number of things that could have been done better. I understand people have been critical of his leadershi, but on a number of the races, he was in the right spot. People that are his critics were actually not helping the party.”

“I think it would have been a whole differnt world had some of these same individuals not blocked Steve Levy. We would have won Harry Wilson. We would have won Dan Donovan and possibly even taken out Kirsten Gillibrand.”

“Steve Levy would have changed the whole dynamic of this election. Without question in my mind. Even Eliot spitzer agrees with that.”

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WFP Hopeful On Row D

The Working Families Party is cautiously optimistic that it has managed to move from Row E to Row D on the ballot after crunching the unofficial results from last Tuesday’s gubernatorial election.

“We have manually collected unofficial returns from all of New York’s lovely 62 counties, the results of which (excel attached) show the WFP pulling in 138,615 votes for Andrew Cuomo – 2,034 more than the Independence Party (currently sitting at 136,581) which experienced a large drop-off this year,” WFP spokesman Dan Levitan said in an e-mail.

“If the numbers hold, 2010 will be highest percentage share of the gubernatorial vote ever for the still-young WFP.”

“Of course, all this could change as machines are re-canvassed and paper ballots counted. (For a bit of history: The WFP gained 11,046 votes in 2006 from this process; the Independence Party gained 8,264 – despite beating the WFP by more than 35,000 votes statewide).”

The WFP got its information by contacting every single board of elections in all 62 counties.

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Schumer: We Need ‘Some Change’ In The Senate (And Elsewhere)

Sen. Chuck Schumer is continuing he “thank-you” tour to demonstrate his appreciation to New York voters for returning him to Washington for another six years with just shy of 66 percent of the vote.

(That’s not a personal best, for the record. In 2004, Schumer won with an historic 71 percent of the vote against little-known GOP Assemblyman Howard Mills. So, one might argue that Jay Townsend at least prevented the senior sentor from making another PR).

Schumer was in New York City and on Long Island yesterday. Today’s schedule (weather permitting) includes Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo. The senator has been hitting the “middle class” mantra hard, and today was no different.

And then, in response to a question from YNN’s Steve Ference about whether it might be time to change leadership in the Senate, even though the Democrats managed to retain the majority and Sen. Harry Reid successfully fended off a challenge from Tea Partier Sharon Angle.

“Not looking at individual personalities, as everyone knows I supported Harry Reid,” Schumer said.

“I said up here that he would win when people didn’t believe me. And he is a friend of mine, and I believe in loyalty. But I also believe we need some change – in the Senate, in the House, and on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue. By both Democrats and Republicans.”

Schumer chalked his success at the ballot box when so many other Democrats across the state and nation failed to the fact that his focus on been on “what people here in Albany and the Capital Region tell me they want me,” adding: “I am proud of that, and I am going to continue to do that.”

He suggested there needs to be “greater focus to keep that American dream alive, which means good paying jobs for ourselves and our children, and stretching that paycheck.”

Padavan Out, Officially

In what is pretty much just a formality, given the overwhelmingly 3,000+ vote margin of victory of his Democratic opponent, former NYC Councilman Tony Avella, soon-to-be-former veteran GOP Sen. Frank Padavan just released an official concession statement.

“It has been a deep honor to serve my Country and City and a privilege to serve as a New York State Senator for nearly four decades,” the 38-year Senate veteran wrote.

“Over that time, we faced times of unimaginable adversity and moments of great triumph. We have overcome odds never thought possible and we stand stronger for taking on each and every challenge. ”

“I am proud of the countless good works our community has undertaken together and moreover I am proud to have been a part of them.”

“Earlier today, I officially ended my pursuit for another term in the State Senate. The voters of the 11th Senate District have spoken and now our community heads in a new direction. While the decision comes with a heavy heart, I welcome new and exciting opportunities to continue my life-long service to the Northeast Queens community.”

Padavan filed a court motion last week to impound all ballots and voting machines in the 11th SD, citing problems with the new equipment, even though the unofficial results showed him badly trailing Avella, 25,864 votes to 22,781 votes.

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