Governnor Andrew Cuomo says he wants to make things simpler for New York primary voters.
"The first traunch is, how do we coordinate the elections? And I think everyone has to say yes as a matter of good government. And again, who is going to go to the taxpayers and say we need spend another $20 million on an election?" Cuomo said. "Second, when is that election? And then you get into the timing of the presidential."
A bill currently sitting on Cuomo's desk would set New York's presidential primary for April 28. The state and congressional primaries are scheduled for June 23. If Cuomo vetoes the bill, the presidential date for New York defaults to February 4, just a day after the Iowa caucuses, the first nominating contest in the country.
Sources say Cuomo initially tried to get the legislature to consolidate all three primaries on that February date, which would require a special session of the state legislature to make the change this month. But the two legislative leaders rejected that idea.
Organizations that are planning to mount primary challenges to incumbents in both houses have their own theory on why Cuomo wanted the February date, including that it would be tougher for challengers to take out sitting Assembly members.
"I have to imagine that the rationale is to make it easier for Cuomo to control the state legislature," said Cea Weaver of the Democratic Socialists of America. That's something that he clearly is having trouble doing. It's not getting any easier for him. And I have to imagine that the rationale is to just make it harder and harder for people to run for office and for Cuomo to keep controlling what happens in Albany."
Cuomo says he'd like to see New York have an earlier primary to be relevant in the presidential contest next year.
"April 28, on the presidential primary, you are sort of in no man's land, no person's land because you're after Super Tuesday, so are you really impactful as a state?" Cuomo said.
Late Friday, a spokesperson for the governor issued a statement saying the governor would now like to consolidate all three primaries on April 28.
That would seem to contradict his earlier statement about making New York relevant. Either way, the two legislative leaders say the calendar is set, and they are not changing it.