ALBANY – Despite widespread belief by Democrats and Republicans that he might inject himself into the internal partisan wrangling in the State Senate, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Thursday that he has “no intention” in getting involved in the power struggle.
Democrats, in unofficial results, appear to have won enough seats to regain control of the Senate. There are two, and possibly three, seats still in play, though, and final results may not be known for weeks as paper ballots are recounted.
The situation is made murky because there are four Democrats who two years ago broke away from the main Democratic conference to form their own caucus, and both Democrats and Republicans are already angling to try to woo them to join with them. Republicans say they are open to forming a coalition-type Senate with the help of the four Democrats, who are keeping their plans secret for now.
“It’s more complicated than it used to be,” Cuomo said Thursday about the Senate. Instead of just Democratic and Republican conferences, “Now it’s more of a coalition because [there are] three groups instead of just two” because of the existence of the four-member Independent Democratic Conference.
Cuomo said he believes that the Senate Democrats are aware they lost control of the Senate two years ago “because of the dysfunction” that characterized their two-year reign that began after the 2008 elections. “I think they learned that lesson the hard way,” Cuomo said of the Senate Democrats.
Senate Democrats, who have had cool relations over the last two years because of Cuomo’s coziness with the Senate GOP, privately say they think that the governor eventually will get involved behind the scenes to persuade the four renegade Democrats to join with the main Democratic conference to put his party in control of the Senate.
But one Senate Democrat said that no one should assume anything about the governor.
“I never presume what the governor decides is or isn’t his role,” said Sen. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan. But she said Democratic control of the Senate “will help him ensure” that some of his policy objectives are realized in the coming session.