Here's a conspiracy theory that just happens to be totally true. Zack Fink has a quick hit about what looks like a deal cut between Andrew Cuomo, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and, probably, Dean Skelos. The deal involved Mangano, a Republican, endorsing Cuomo's re-election in return for Cuomo not appointing a replacement for Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, who was elected to Congress last November and it's so very, very Andrew Cuomo.
In November, Kathleen Rice was elected to the United States Congress, leaving a vacancy in the office of Nassau County District Attorney. It is within Governor Cuomo's power to appoint a replacement, and so far he has chosen not to do so. Sources say that decision might be part of a well-orchestrated deal to enable Republicans to win the office this year in exchange for the cross-party endorsement Cuomo received from Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano. Cuomo ended up winning Nassau County, although he lost Suffolk indicating to some that Mangano's endorsement may have played a big role.
Here is how this allegedly unfolded. Cuomo wants the Mangano endorsement, so he works out a deal with Mangano and Republican County Chair Joseph Mondello. If Rice wins, the Governor will not interfere with the office, giving Republicans the opportunity to win it in 2015, an off-year election that could be more likely to produce higher Republican turnout. If the Governor were to appoint someone DA, it would give that person a leg up in fundraising and the ability to use the power of incumbency to run again. By not appointing anyone, the acting DA Madeline Singas, who served under Rice could have less of a chance to retain the office. Singas has already begun fundraising, and insiders say she could face a challenge from Kate Murray, Supervisor for the town of Hempstead. This is also right in the backyard of Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, and it never hurts Skelos and the Governor to do each other favors. Besides, The DA's office is a solid platform for an up-and-comer of either party. Republicans have indicated they'd like that position back under their control. Not to mention the mountain of patronage jobs that would be available to award friends and supporters, which is why party leaders want it.
Here's why this is almost certainly true. We know that Cuomo cut a "secret" (LOL) deal with Dean Skelos to essentially stay out of state Senate races in Long Island in return for Mangano's endorsement, a deal that really pissed off Republicans supporting poor, doomed Rob Astorino.
"But after Mangano actually endorsed Cuomo in a video on TV, I called Mangano's guy and said, 'What the f–k?' He said, 'When this is over, give me a call.'
"So I called him a few days ago, and he said, 'A deal was cut for Mangano to endorse Cuomo in exchange for Cuomo staying out of the Senate races on Long Island,' " Lawler continued. "I asked him, 'Who cut the deal?' And he said, 'People higher than me.'
"I said, 'Dean?' And he responded, 'That would be a pretty good guess.' "
Both GOP and Democratic sources had been speculating on the possibility for a while, noting that in the lead-up to last week's election, Cuomo had been doing little to help his party win a majority in the Senate. If the governor made any appearance on behalf of a Democratic candidate on Long Island, it was a token in-and-out visit, with no follow-up and virtually no financial support, observers said.
We know what Skelos got out of the deal. We know what Andrew Cuomo got. What was in it for Mangano, especially given the fact that other GOP bigs were going to hate his guts for coming out on TV for Cuomo?
I think we know the answer to that now. Mangano got a great shot at delivering the Nassau County DA's office, and all the juicy patronage that goes with it, to his party. There's real power in that office and it greatly helps the Nassau County GOP build their bench for higher offices.
And that's why I say this deal is just so damn Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo wanted endorsements from some high profile Republicans. He wants to be perceived as a bipartisan problem solver that appeals to moderates in the GOP. The fact that Mangano is from a suburban county like Nassau didn't hurt either.
And he doesn't give a crap about things like party building or building power that doesn't benefit him directly or that he has little use for. Andrew Cuomo isn't really a Democrat or a Republican. He never has been. He's a "Cuomocrat." He does what he does to benefit the cause of Andrew Cuomo, period. He has always been this way.
If he could get a coveted endorsement from a bold name Republican while also achieving another of his completely self-serving goals, a Republican majority in the state Senate, that's exactly what he was going to do.
And he did.
Sorry Nassau County Dems. You just didn't have anything that Andrew Cuomo wanted or needed.
Originally posted at The Albany Project.
(image via Zack Seward's flickr)