Of the four Republican state senators who voted for gay marriage last year, two are fighting for their seats with results too close to call, and Governor Andrew Cuomo expressed support for those incumbents, saying they showed political courage. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Steve Saland, who was elected to the State Senate over two decades ago, is now hanging on for his political life after voting for same-sex marriage.
Roy McDonald was first elected to the State Senate in 2008, after serving in the Assembly. He also faced a primary challenge from the right, and the results have yet to be determined.
"I believe in Senator Saland's case, there is evidence that the vote did hurt him in the election; Senator McDonald also," said Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The historic gay marriage vote on the last day of the legislative session in 2011 came down to the State Senate, and whether republicans who control the chamber could provide enough votes.
After months of back-channel negotiations, four Republican senators voted with the Democrats. They were Jim Alessi, who is not running for re-election, Mark Grisanti, who won his primary, and Saland and McDonald, who may lose their seats.
"It would be disappointing for me. It was a vote that I urged they support and they take. They did," Cuomo said. "And although we discussed it at length, that they could lose their seats, they both went ahead. It would be sad for me."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who used his money and influence to urge "yes" votes from Republican senators, was asked if more could have been done to protect them.
"Maybe all of us could have done more. Unfortunately, what you see reflects primaries where a very, very small percentage of people vote and so you get a distorted view of the general public's opinion," Bloomberg said.
Both Saland and McDonald could conceivably run on the Independence Party line if they lose their respective primaries. Cuomo did not rule out endorsing either of them in the general election if they choose to do that.