Janison: Cross-partisan cheer can be fleeting

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks during New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks during a news conference in the Red Room at the Capitol in Albany. (Sept. 19, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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By mail and on television, Long Islanders are bombarded this season with election campaign fallout -- not only from conventionally nasty congressional fights, but from Albany's rare cross-partisan period of good feeling.

Mark the moment. Such things can be fleeting.

With all nine of the State Senate seats in Nassau and Suffolk in Republican hands and on the Nov. 6 ballot, one GOP incumbent after another is looking to tap into the high-polling karma of Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo with whom they reached agreement on much-touted legislation.

First-term state Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) sent out a mailing that cited the tax and spending hikes that occurred "before Andrew Cuomo became our governor and Lee Zeldin became our senator."

At the same time, Zeldin is running a political action committee backing -- for example -- GOP New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich of Queens against Democratic Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., son of the late Rep. Joseph P. Addabbo Sr.

Cuomo has made clear his full-throated support for Addabbo.

Yet even reaction from the Ulrich camp had an unusual dose of the touchy-feely.

"Governor Cuomo is doing a good job . . ." came the GOP campaign's response, "and Joe Addabbo is lucky to have his support. It's not surprising given the close family ties and years in politics that the governor would back him. Eric has been a strong proponent of the governor's reform proposals and looks forward to working with him when elected."

The official website of Sen. Charles Fuschillo (R-Merrick) greets you with a photo of the incumbent walking beside Cuomo at the Broadhollow Bioscience Park. Click on kemphannon.com and you soon see a photo of the veteran GOP Garden City senator with Cuomo visiting Farmingdale-based D'Addario & Co. The campaign website for Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) shows him with Cuomo. And the list goes on.

Cuomo sounds no call for Democrats to recoup the upper house. That party's term in the majority remains widely panned. But tensions are glossed over in the upbeat talk about Cuomo-GOP Senate cooperation on tax caps and paring the MTA payroll tax. Cuomo has also seen the Senate reject his proposals for raising the minimum wage, introducing public campaign financing, and changing rules on pot arrests, and Senate Democrats say only they would bring those changes.

The next governor's race comes in two years. On Oct. 17, a potential 2014 Republican candidate, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, headlined a Suffolk GOP dinner. The next day, in a budget preview, Astorino called the ballyhooed state tax cap enacted last year "a farce" and "absurd" in the absence of new "spending controls in Albany and the reduction of unfunded mandates."

In contrast, Nassau's GOP Executive Edward Mangano, whose county fell under the control of a state fiscal board -- and which sends GOP Majority Leader Dean Skelos to the Senate -- has exchanged public praise with the governor.

Cuomo does still evoke progressive and Democratic goals. His speech to the state's Democratic National Convention delegates last month mocked as magical thinking the GOP's incantations about the role of the "great entrepreneurial spirit" in balancing the budget. Cuomo is due soon to campaign out-of-state for President Barack Obama.

But the Cuomo bloom has yet to come off the GOP Senate rose -- even if it may in the long run.

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