The New York City-BKLYN-L.I. Republican Party Meetup Group Message Board › Where are the NYS Senate Republicans?
New York, NY
Fredric U. Dicker
Gov. Cuomo will wait at least six more months to answer the $64,000 question of New York politics.
In a disclosure sure to disappoint many Democrats and thrill most Republicans, a political source close to Cuomo told The Post that the governor won’t decide until the end of the next legislative session — in late June — whether to launch an all-out effort to wrest control of the Senate from the Republicans, who hold a tenuous one-vote majority there.
“The governor plans to focus on the legislative session and on governing in the upcoming months and won’t be making any decisions on politics until the session is over,’’ said the source.
“He’s interested in downplaying politics and partisanship in the next several months,’’ the source continued.
Cuomo’s strong popularity, great organizational skills and access to large sums of campaign cash could easily be decisive in helping Democrats recapture control of the Senate, especially in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2 million voters.
Taking back control of the Senate — which was held by Democrats in 2009-10 after more than 40 years of continuous GOP control — is the top priority of many left-of-center Democratic activists bent on advancing many of the tax-and-spend policies Cuomo has rejected.
Cuomo, the de facto head of the state’s Democratic Party, has steered a fiscally moderate course during his first year in office, even while supporting a “progressive’’ social agenda that includes passage of the landmark gay-rights marriage law.
Another factor weighing on Cuomo is the embarrassingly poor quality of much of the Senate’s Democratic leadership, which disgraced itself with a combination of scandal, political tone deafness and buffoonery during its chaotic two-year run in power.
“You think the governor wants to put [Minority Leader] John Sampson [D-Brooklyn] back in power?’’ was how one prominent Democrat put it.
Coincidentally, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, unimpressed with the hapless leadership of then-Minority Leader Manfred Ohrenstein (D-Manhattan), was repeatedly criticized by Senate Democrats during his 12 years in office — from 1983 to ’94 — for doing little to help his party take control of the Senate.
Gov. Cuomo, meanwhile, has all but wrapped up his second State of the State Address, to be delivered to the Legislature and hundreds of invited guests Jan. 4.
It’s expected to emphasize private-sector job creation, legalization of casino gambling and pension reform and mandate relief for fiscally hard-pressed New York City and other local governments and nonpartisan legislative and congressional redistricting.
Not expected to be mentioned: the controversial use of “fracking’’ technology to extract natural gas from the shale-rich Southern Tier region of the state.
“Look for the governor to leave that one for later in the year, when the state [Environmental Conservative Department] report comes out,’’ said a source.