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ALBANY -- Even as Senate Democrats start to rake in campaign cash days after securing the long-awaited support from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to wrest control of the Senate from Republicans, Cuomo appeared to cool his rhetoric.
At a press event Wednesday, Cuomo downplayed his vow to the liberal Working Families Party to end Republican rule in the Senate. He said the political turmoil he set off Saturday was part of "the political silly season."
"We have a very good relationship on both sides of the aisle," Cuomo told reporters Wednesday. "We've reversed that partisanship that existed in Albany for many years."
"The lack of partisanship is something that I am very proud of and Democrats or Republicans, we are New Yorkers first and that's how I govern," Cuomo said. "That's what turned this state around and I'm not going back."
On Saturday night, when Cuomo was fighting for the liberal Working Families Party endorsement, he was less charitable to the Republicans who have been his most reliable allies.
Cuomo referred to the Republicans as ultraconservatives. "That is a fight that we must wage," Cuomo told the liberal Democrats. "If we are unified . . . we can take control of our government."
Cuomo's Republican opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, said Wednesday Cuomo's support of a Democratic majority in the Senate will result in a "death spiral" of higher taxes and more spending. He cited the historically high taxes enacted by the Democrats in their brief majority tenure of 2008-10 during a fiscal crisis.
There was no immediate comment from Cuomo's campaign.
Whether Cuomo has tried to temper his zeal for a Democratic majority in the Senate or not, Senate Democrats are starting to reap cash from his Saturday night speech.
A fundraiser for Senate Democrats on Monday that was expected to draw 50 supporters and lobbyists drew more than 200 and resulted in a "six-figure" take, Democrats said. Wednesday, the influential 1199 Service Employees International Union committed its workers and campaign contributions to Democrats to replace the bipartisan coalition dominated by Republicans which has run the Senate for four years."Politics is a game of momentum," said Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens), who runs the Senate Democratic campaign.
"Everyone wants to be with the winner and coming off this amazing announcement of broad support, not only from the governor but from organized labor, we had a much better than expected turnout," he said. "We're feeling better than ever about our chances."
Since Cuomo's broad pledge to the unseat Senate Republicans and the Independent Democratic Conference, political leaders were still unsure Wednesday how much Cuomo will do to help flip Senate control.
But by the time that plays out, the biggest fundraising period of the elections will be over. The Senate Democratic and Senate Republican campaign committees will report their fundraising success in the July filings to the state Board of Elections. Those totals are seen as a show of the strength of the campaigns and ability to support candidates in the fall.
"We won't be giving any money to the Republicans," said SEIU 1199 Political Director Kevin Finnegan to Capital New York. "We are definitely on board with a Democratic-coordinated effort to take back the Senate."
On Wednesday, Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) and Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) issued a statement noting that it was the Republican-IDC coalition that helped the healthcare workers in the SEUI 1199 union.
"Politics aside, it's right for New York," Hannon said.