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Gov. Cuomo mulls moving up New York’s presidential primaries


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference in the Red Room at the state Capitol on March, 31 in Albany, N.Y. (Hans Pennink/AP)

Gov. Cuomo wants New York to move up its presidential primary to make the state more relevant in next year’s elections.

He’s also pushing to combine next year’s federal and state primaries into one election on one day — as opposed to two held a couple months apart.

“I want a robust debate and dialogue among the Democratic candidates that takes into consideration New York’s issues,” Cuomo said on WAMC Friday. “You have to least coordinate the schedules in my opinion or it’s all a mockery,” he added.

Cuomo reached out to leaders in the Assembly and Senate about setting the presidential primary in February, after other critical early-voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire, NY1 reported on Thursday.

On top of moving that primary from April 28, the governor reportedly wants to move primaries for seats in the U.S. Congress, the state Assembly, and state Senate that are currently scheduled for June 23.

But Cuomo said on the radio Friday that a February primary “is really not a viable date politically” because New York could lose delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

“But you have to at least coordinate the schedules in my opinion,” Cuomo said on WAMC. “Otherwise it is all a mockery.”

Lumping the Assembly and Senate primaries with the presidential one was seen as a way for Cuomo to help incumbents survive challenges, though the governor said separate elections in April and June cost taxpayers an extra $20 million.

“We’re going to have two separate elections two months apart, and the state races…and congressional are going to be after the presidential,” Cuomo said. “I mean, who votes in that second election, right? You just go to a presidential primary, and now I’m supposed to come out and vote two months later for my congress people and my Assembly and Senate?”