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The Empire

'Cuomo is going to play a major role' in state senate fights

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Andrew Cuomo has made it clear he is running not as part of Albany’s current political establishment, but very much as an outside agent hoping to reform it, dramatically.

Which, for a gubernatorial candidate, is smart.

But for those currently in Albany, like the Democrats who hold a narrow majority in the State Senate, it can be a hurdle to overcome. Or so you’d think.

State Senator Jeff Klein, who heads the Democrats’ efforts to keep and expand their majority in that chamber, said Cuomo’s anti-Albany message is helpful to them. Also, Klein said the anti-incumbency message is a winning talking point for Senate Democrats because “a lot of Republican incumbents are much more long-serving than ours.”

Klein said his party’s gubernatorial nominee will help them in their fight to expand their majority in the State Senate which. Today’s Siena poll showed Democratic incumbents in two contested races below 50% against their Republican rivals.

“I think Andrew Cuomo helps us tremendously,” Klein said on a conference call with reporters this morning.

“I think Andrew Cuomo is going to play a major role in making sure that the Democrats keep the majority,” said Klein. Cuomo is “our party standard bearer [and] if he wants to move forward with his very ambitious agenda he needs a Democratic Senate that he can work with.”

Cuomo’s message, as Klein describes it, is “property tax cap, no new taxes, lower spending.”

“He’s espousing a message that resonates with voters. And by the way, each one of our challengers, as well as our incumbents, all espouse,” then, Klein added this important caveat: “incumbents who have races, of course.”

I asked Klein if he’d like Cuomo to tweak his anti-Albany, anti-legislature message to specify it’s Republicans, not Democrats, who’ve made a mess of the State Senate.

Klein demurred, saying, “I think when he [Cuomo] says the legislature he means the entire legislature. Again, I think we’re going to benefit, I believe, by the anti-incumbent messages out there. Again, it’s no secret that a lot of Republican incumbents are much more long-serving than ours. I think that not only is going to help us by promoting our candidates who are candidates for change, mostly women, who are running an anti-Albany campaign locally.”