With a special election pending to fill the seat left empty following the conviction of Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday talked up the candidacy of one of his former cabinet members: Barbara Fiala, the former Department of Motor Vehicles commissioner.

“She knows Albany, she knows Broome County, she knows the district,” Cuomo said in a radio interview on WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom. “She would be fantastic as a candidate.”

Fiala was the Broome County executive before she joined Cuomo’s cabinet in 2011. Earlier this month, Fiala quietly was named the chairwoman of the Women’s Equality Party, a new ballot line formed by Cuomo last year meant to promote his 10-point women’s agenda in the gubernatorial election (Fiala would have to either receive a Wilson Pakula to run as the Democratic candidate or switch her registration).

It is an unusual and eyebrow-raising step for Cuomo to essentially endorse a potential Senate candidate — a chamber whose politics Cuomo has sought to publicly steer clear of, even as critics say he has sought to help Republicans behind the scenes keep power.

The governor, a Democrat, has come under fire from members of his own party for not doing enough to help the minority conference win control of the chamber from Republicans.

With Libous out of the Senate, Republicans have a narrow majority: 31 members, plus Democrat Simcha Felder, who is aligned with the GOP conference.

A special election to replace Libous, convicted Wednesday of lying to federal agents, would be held in November.

Cuomo pledged to help Fiala if she were the candidate — a high stakes move considering the slim majority held by Republicans.

“Barbara Fiala — I would do whatever I can do to elect Barbara Fiala,” Cuomo said in the interview. “She’d be a great representative. Everything we’re talking about now — she’s 100 percent integrity and 100 percent performance. Those are the number two ingredients. You want good, honest people and you want people who can get something accomplished.”

The gamble may be a calculated one for the governor: Democrats are especially confident they will make gains in next year’s legislative elections. Given the presidential contest at the top of the ticket, Democrats are hopeful for a boost in turnout.

Fiala was also being considered a candidate to run for the Southern Tier seat next year to begin with, according to those familiar with the planning. At the same time, Cuomo’s backing of Fiala in an off-year special election could be an early litmus test for Democrats who are skeptical of whether the governor will substantially support their bid to win control of the Senate.

Still, there are pitfalls: The district is considered heavily Republican, having been represented by Libous since 1988 and before him, Majority Leader Warren Anderson. In a statement released on Wednesday night, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan insisted the GOP would keep control of the seat.

Republicans have been able to redraw the district multiple times and Libous, a power center in his own right in Binghamton politics, had easily won re-election, even despite his legal troubles.

Even if Democrats win the seat, there is still the question of what the five-member Independent Democratic Conference, which was aligned with Republicans for a two-year term in a majority coalition.

Cuomo has in recent weeks sought to shore up his support among liberals, ranging from a renewed effort on raising the minimum wage and backing a $15-an-hour pay for fast-food workers. He has embraced Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, granting him the authority to become a special prosecutor in cases in which police kill civilians.

All of this comes amid a feud with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who backed a Democratic takeover of the state Senate in 2014, only to have Republicans win an outright majority for the GOP.

As a result, de Blasio’s agenda in Albany has been stymied.