The political landscape has changed dramatically in the past two years in New York State. Dysfunction seems to have been put aside as the Governor and legislative leaders have hashed out deals on a number of key issues. Some republicans even stressed their relationship with Governor Andrew Cuomo in re-election campaigns this year, hoping to share in his popularity among voters. That willingness to associate with Cuomo was not always popular within the GOP. YNN's Bill Carey says, just ask Onondaga County's executive.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- ”Yes, I am a republican. But above all, I'm a New Yorker.”
With those words, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney committed, in the secular world of politics, the closest thing to sacrilege: A republican supporting a democrat in the biggest political contest in New York State. It's a decision Mahoney says she has never regretted.
Mahoney said, “That move, on my part, had to do with the governmental part of my job. It is very good for Central New York for us to have an opportunity to have our message heard in Albany. And being on the Governor's team has made that possible.”
The endorsement in Cuomo's race against republican Carl Paladino did exact a cost. The local republican committee was less than happy.
“Her support, in no way, reflects the spirit of the Republican Party, nor does it signal that our party will just stand by and let Cuomo assume the Governor's mansion,” said Onondaga County Republican Chairman Thomas Dadey in October of 2010.
Mahoney said, “I represent democrats. I represent republicans, conservatives, liberals, Green Party members. I represent people who don't affiliate with a party. My job is to represent everybody in the community. I'm going to continue to do that, even if it comes with the slings and arrows from the party. You know, they don't like it.”
Mahoney thinks the episode marked the start of her own strain with the local party.
“So, there's real irony to get criticism from the party and then watch the party go out and campaign with the Governor, side by side,” Mahoney said.
While Mahoney makes her enthusiasm clear about Cuomo's track record as Governor, she is less direct when it comes to the question of whether she'll consider endorsing him again in 2014.
“I haven't put any thought into, nor has he asked, whether I would be supporting him when he runs for re-election, if he does. But there's nothing about his performance that makes me question the support that I have given him in the past,” Mahoney said.
For now, she says, she's willing to wait until 2014.