ALBANY - The upstate senator who nearly became majority leader of the state Senate claims Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo meddled in the Republican decision, even though the governor publicly said he wouldn't.
"I wasn't thinking that he would weigh in, but he did," said Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) on public radio's "The Capitol Pressroom" on Thursday.
"He called people. He said he didn't, but he did," DeFrancisco said, mirroring similar comments he made to YNN's "Capitol Tonight" on Wednesday.
Senate Republicans chose Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) on Monday to be majority leader over the more conservative DeFrancisco. Flanagan replaced Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) who faces federal corruption charges.
Cuomo didn't respond to requests for comment Thursday.
On May 7, Cuomo issued a statement declining to get involved in the decision by the Senate's Republican majority.
After the Republicans' vote Monday to replace Skelos, Cuomo told reporters he had no rooting interest in who won the Republican vote.
"I see my job as working with whoever they send me," Cuomo told reporters.
Governors have gotten involved in legislative leadership fights at some peril. In 2007, Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer was seen as actively seeking to wrest control of the Senate from Republicans to give it to Democrats. That move severely damaged his once good working with Senate Republicans on legislation and the state budget.