Get ready: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is likely coming to a campaign near you.
The popular Democratic governor says he anticipates hitting events in battleground states for President Barack Obama. On Tuesday, he will be part of a Manhattan fundraiser for Democratic congressional candidates featuring House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. He also plans a stream of endorsements and appearances across New York for congressional and state legislative candidates.
“Now you are coming to the point that endorsements are relevant,” Cuomo said Monday.
Cuomo says he’s still waiting for direction from Obama’s campaign, but he’s ready to go anywhere including Obama fundraisers.
At the same time, Cuomo says he will begin to endorse and campaign for New York candidates. Cuomo is two years away from seeking his own re-election and four years from a possible presidential run. But supporting other candidates can help in future political and policy efforts or as payback for cooperative efforts.
Cuomo on Monday also didn’t back off his endorsement last week of a Republican state senator who cast the critical vote to legalize gay marriage in 2011. Cuomo also revealed his criteria for endorsement, which he said could be for candidates of either party.
“I had a glimpse of the man’s character,” Cuomo said of Stephen Saland, a Hudson Valley Republican who mostly supports GOP policies. “That vote by Sen. Saland was a test of character … a vote that in many ways defines you.”
Cuomo, who is head of the state Democratic Party, is taking some criticism from Democrats for not supporting Saland’s opponent, Democrat Terry Gipson, who supports gay marriage and most of Cuomo’s other policies.
Cuomo said he’ll support “a man of courage and conviction who doesn’t agree with me” from either party over someone who says they agree with everything he stands for before they face those difficult decisions on the Senate floor.
Cuomo seemed excited to hit the campaign trail and even riffed off a reporter’s question about it by saying his theme song could be, “Hit the Road, Andrew,” a reference to the Ray Charles’ classic. Cuomo has rarely left the state in his two years as governor, even on vacation with his daughters.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.