GOP leaders declare victory as upstate Republicans gather for unity caucus

By Sean Sullivan and Stanley Reed


ALBANY, N.Y. — GOP leaders attending a closed-door meeting Tuesday said they’re energized and ready to go for their chance to win the governor’s mansion in November.

At the same time, they warned that they must do all they can to protect what is left of the “Trump Cancel Culture” because it’s too much for other Republicans to take, and could threaten their own prospects, too.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who leads the Democratic majority in the Senate, downplayed the meeting, saying he’s always had the support of Republican leadership, as well as Democratic leaders in the Assembly and in the House.

Speaking at a news conference in Washington after speaking to a group of Jewish leaders about the funding cutbacks for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Cuomo said: “They’re supporting me, the Legislature’s supporting me. We’ve got the votes. We’re going to make sure it passes.”

Monday night, Senate Republicans gathered behind closed doors in the Capitol to nominate Pedro Espada Jr. as their new president. A colleague, Sen. Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, is a Democrat and defies the majority party by not serving in that body. Espada plans to run as an independent, too.

Said Sen. John Flanagan, the Senate majority leader: “We’re running just like we’ve been running. We’re taking leadership positions, and the people will make the final decision in November.”

Of the “Trump Cancel Culture,” Flanagan added: “I think it’s what turned out to be the reality of what people thought Donald Trump was. But it’s actually a threat to our general election candidate that we must do all we can to protect.”

Sen. Joe Griffo, R-Rome, who’s planning to challenge Sen. David Valesky of Oneida, where he’s first in line to become the most senior Senate Democrat, said, “I feel very good. We’re going to be a working majority and very energized.”

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