A few notable quotes from the world of New York politics:
*"I'm not in that. That's up to the local officials here." -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, when asked if he supports Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan. That's the way governors answer such questions. They quickly point out that they focus on much bigger subjects and problems than mere local politics. Nevertheless, Lenihan's leadership has been the focus of the governor's top political advisers for months. How can anyone forget last summer's "shuttle diplomacy" efforts of Charlie King, executive director of the state Democratic Party, to replace Lenihan?
Now sources close to the process say "things are improving." They note that Lenihan, significantly strengthened by the election of Mark Poloncarz as county executive, recently met in Albany with Cuomo right-hand man Joe Percoco. They say a truce rules the valley.
How long this new era of good feeling lasts is anybody's guess. And it will be interesting to see if Lenihan tries for another term later this year. If he doesn't, one name surfacing more and more among top party people as a potential successor is attorney Anthony Colucci III, already signed up as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
*"I've been to this rodeo before. I intend on running and running strong." -- Republican Assemblyman Dan Burling of Warsaw, on the primary challenge mounted by former East Aurora Mayor David DiPietro. Burling says the reapportionment that threatens to shift him into a mostly Erie County district doesn't faze him in the least, and that he will have $100,000 on hand by Primary Day.
A tea party favorite, DiPietro must win over Erie County Republican insiders still smarting over his Senate primary runs against party icons like former Sen. Dale Volker and former Chairman Jim Domagalski.
*"We will primary good people against bad Republican legislators. We will send a message to [Senate Majority Leader] Dean Skelos that times have changed." -- 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, on his 2012 plans to take on sitting Republicans.
Paladino is targeting Republican Sens. Mark Grisanti of Buffalo, James Alesi of Monroe County and Roy McDonald of Saratoga County -- but not because they all supported same-sex marriage last year.
Rather, the Buffalo real estate developer says the trio did not "keep their word" by voting recently for the millionaire's tax. He said at least seven others may also be targeted by a "network of Paladino supporters throughout the state."
Paladino also said he will back South Council Member Mickey Kearns in the March 20 special election for the Assembly, pointing to opponent and Democratic endorsee Chris Fahey's close association with Rep. Brian Higgins -- an official Paladino archenemy.
*"He broke his word and I won't carry his petitions again." -- Kevin Backus, senior pastor of Bible Presbyterian Church and Grand Island Conservative chairman, on his refusal to support Grisanti. He said the Republican promised not to vote for same-sex marriage, then did.
While Erie County Conservative Chairman Ralph Lorigo has left the door open to Grisanti for the often-crucial minor party line, stalwarts like Backus and state Chairman Mike Long are still fuming over the marriage vote.
*"I don't take money from downstate special interests." -- Mark Grisanti, as quoted by the Niagara Gazette on Oct. 28, 2010.
The Buffalo News reported on Jan. 19 that none of the nearly $247,000 Grisanti reported to the state Board of Elections last month stemmed from his district. Much of the latest sum was contributed at a fall event in Manhattan hosted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and gay rights supporters.