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Cuomo raises, then backs off idea of moving NY presidential primary

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks in Baldwin on Aug.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks in Baldwin on Aug. 13, 2019. Credit: Howard Schnapp

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's proposal to try to move New York's presidential primary to the front of the pack seems to have fizzled just as quickly as it was raised.

Cuomo floated the idea of moving the state's primary from April 28 to the beginning of February, which he said would make New York a much bigger player in the chase for the Democratic nomination. The idea included combining the presidential primaries with legislative primaries.

 NY1 first reported Cuomo's suggestion Thursday night, but legislative leaders immediately said no thanks.

"This is not something we are considering," Michael Whyland, spokesman for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) said.

The governor himself then talked about it Friday morning in a radio interview, walking back his own idea.

The trouble is, it's rather late in the primary game to change now. Further, the state Legislature already passed a bill to set the date for April 28 — at the suggestion of the Democratic State Committee, which Cuomo controls. Changing the date at this point would cost New York delegates at the national convention in 2020. Additionally, it would require calling a special legislative session to pass a new bill — an idea Senate and Assembly leaders immediately shot down.

 "The calendar is set. There is no consideration to move the primary," Mike Murphy, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) said.  

 Late Friday, Cuomo communications director Dani Lever said in a statement: "Ideally New York would have an earlier presidential primary date to be more relevant to the national dialogue but that is not under consideration as it is not politically feasible at this point."

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