1:55 pm Sep. 17, 2012
Governor Andrew Cuomo is raising the bar for what to expect from him this campaign season. According to an unnamed source quoted in the Daily News this morning, Cuomo will do "more than just paper [endorsements]" for some of the state's close congressional races.
But can Democrats in the State Senate expect the same kind of help?
"Well, he's already actively campaigned for some of our candidates who were in very difficult primaries," State Senator Michael Gianaris, who heads the Senate Democrats' election committee, told me this afternoon. "We're very grateful for that."
As I noted earlier, Cuomo made a handful of endorsements before last week's primary, all but one by press release, in the closing days of the campaign. Cuomo did not personally appear with any of those candidates, or appear in ads for them.
Previously, Cuomo has said he'll make his endorsement decisions on a case-by-case basis, leaving the door open to supporting Republicans, or avoiding close races all together. Cuomo maintains a close working relationship with Republican majority leader Dean Skelos, and helped Republicans remain competitive in the state, despite a deep disadvantage in registered voters, when he signed off on new district lines drawn by the legislature.
Gianaris argued for why Cuomo should support Senate Democrats, saying the benchmark should be candidate who share the governor's "progressive values."
"I've maintained from the outset that when the governor looks at which candidates are more in tune with his progressive values, only the Democrats will fit his criteria, and I think the primary makes that more clear than ever," Gianaris said, noting the results of last week's primary, in which two longtime moderates received surprisingly strong challenges from more conservative Republican challengers. (The results of those races are still being determined.)
Gianaris said Cuomo's speech to the New York delegation at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte was the most public articulation of Cuomo's progressive agenda. "If you look at just the issues that he's identified, that he's supported—campaign finance reform, an increase in the minimum wage, sensible gun laws—these are all things that we support and Republicans do not."
"So," Gianaris added, "he has done it on an issue by issue basis but he really made the point most clearly in the speech in Charlotte."
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