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Cuomo Says He Won't Get Involved In Senate Leadership Battle

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While leadership in the state Senate remains up in the air, the governor said he doesn't want to get involved. NY1's Zack Fink has the story.

There are a lot of variables that will determine the leadership of the next state Senate, set to convene in January. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he is staying out of the process.

"I haven't gotten involved in a leadership dispute or debate," Cuomo said. "The Assembly will pick a leader and the Senate will pick a leader. And I have no intention of getting involved in either situation."

Some races still have yet to be decided, but insiders believe that the key to a governing coalition is the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference led by Bronx Sen. Jeff Klein.

The group split off from fellow Democrats after fighting over leadership when the party briefly captured control of the Senate following the 2008 elections. The IDC caucuses independently.

"On the Senate, its more complicated than it used to be, I think, when it was just Democrats and Republicans and whoever had more won," Cuomo said. "Now it's more of a coalition because there are three groups instead of just two."

But sources say there have already been preliminary discussions between the IDC and Republicans about building a governing coalition.

The animosity between the IDC and the Democrats they broke off from remains potent though Democrats say they want to welcome back the four members.

"Across the state [people] made it clear they want a Democratic majority in the state senate," Queens Sen. Michael Gianaris said. "Every Democratic seat was returned safely. Every competitive Republican held seat was won by the Democrats."

The period when the Senate was under Democratic control was marred by what even Democrats have characterized as dysfunction. It's an image of state government Cuomo has fought hard to change.

"No one is going back," Cuomo said. "I think they learned the hard way. The Democrats were in power, the Democrats then lost power because of the dysfunction."

There had been talk of a special session this fall to tackle unfinished business including raising the minimum wage and campaign finance reform.

But with the Senate's composition still up in the air, that now seems unlikely.

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