Gov. Andrew Cuomo yesterday released a letter he sent to Sen. Roy McDonald, pledging his full support to the Saratoga Republican if he chose to run on the Independence Party line in November’s general election.
Today, McDonald — one of four Republican senators to vote in favor of same-sex marriage — dropped out of the race. (He had previously lost the Republican line in a primary.) But when Cuomo was asked if he would support the two other Republican “yes” votes still running for re-election, he said the situation was different.
Sens. Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo, and Stephen Saland, R-Poughkeepsie, were successful in primaries and are moving on to the general election.
“(McDonald’s) race would have been really uphill as an Independent, and that’s why I think it was different than the others,” Cuomo said. “Senator Saland won (by a) slim margin and there’s no doubt the senator paid a price, but it wasn’t politically fatal for Senator Saland. Senator Grisanti actually won; Senator McDonald lost, and that’s the difference.”
Cuomo, a Democrat, hasn’t crossed party lines to make a Senate endorsement at this point, but he did say he was “elated” that Saland won and the he hoped the senator wins re-election.
On Thursday, Cuomo said he will be making individual endorsements depending on the race.
“I’ll make decisions on a race-by-race basis as we go forward,” Cuomo said. “But I thought this was right from a point of timing for Senator McDonald because I wanted him to know while he was considering his options, I thought this was a piece of information that could be helpful for him.”
Lynn Faria, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, released a statement in support of McDonald.
She said, in part:
“Although recent polling suggested that he could have won the general election, Senator McDonald is a man of principle who made the humble decision to step aside in the interest of his party. We respect that decision. However, it’s unfortunate that such a small, extreme faction of the electorate was able to steer the future of the district. New York State has lost a valuable public servant as a result.”