Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a radio interview this morning was asked about whether New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio should drop his long-shot bid for the party’s presidential nomination.

He pretended his phone line went dead, eventually eliciting a long chuckle at his own joke.

De Blasio is almost certainly not going to be the Democratic presidential nomination. U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, once considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, dropped out of the race after only eight months after failing to qualify for next week’s TV debate.

Elected nine years ago, Cuomo is now the longest-serving governor in the country. He has a resume that in most presidential election cycles would make for a strong front-running candidate from the centrist-to-liberal wing of the party (Cuomo has a complex relationship with the progressive-advocacy left and how that would have played in a hypothetical presidential run by the governor is best suited for a blog post all its own).

And yet, Cuomo spent much of this summer in Albany, zip lining at the beach, hitting up the state fair, betting on the ponies at Saratoga or fishing on Lake Ontario, not in the sweaty confines of Iowa or New Hampshire.

Running for president is a lot like trying to get called up to a major league baseball team. A lot of people want the job, think they’d be good at it, only to fall on their faces and come away a little diminished as a result.

Cuomo, like anyone in public life, seems to have little appetite for being publicly diminished.

He’s not running for president, and yet he seems to be filling a role in national politics anyway. He’s in line next year to become the head of the National Governors Association. He’s challenging Democrats who are actually running for president to take a stand on gun control.

And, this week, he’s floated the idea of combining the presidential primary scheduled for April with congressional and state legislative races, potentially holding both nominating contests earlier.

New York rarely matters in presidential nominating politics. But imagine an early New York primary in the beginning of 2020, the still unwieldy field of Democratic candidates trooping to the executive mansion to pat Captain the dog on the hand and talk with Cuomo about the direction of the Democratic Party.

Cuomo is adept at finding ways of projecting power, especially when it comes to the inherently powerful governor’s office. Why not project New York’s power as well?

Cuomo is famously something of a homebody. He rarely travels out of state, and when he does, it’s rare he’s spending more than a night or two away. But that doesn’t mean he can’t leverage his own influence on the national stage.