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State Sen. Diane Savino may have shot as potential candidate for public advocate


State Sen. Diane Savino (c.) may be a potential candidate for the public advocate post. (Luiz C. Ribeiro/For New York Daily News)

State Sen. Diane Savino's name is being floated as a potential candidate for public advocate — and a source close to her wouldn't rule a run out Tuesday.

Jockeying has already begun around the position, which would become vacant if Public Advocate Letitia James becomes the next attorney general. James is currently considered the front-runner.

If James were to win, that would mean a special election for the citywide seat and some are speculating Savino, a Staten Island Democrat long aligned with the Independent Democratic Conference, could have a shot at the job.

Republican Borough President James Oddo hinted at it on Twitter: "Did someone say @dianesavino for Public Advocate?"

A source close to Savino said Oddo wasn't the first person to raise the possibility — the source had heard people bring up Savino's name for the public advocate spot on "numerous occasions" since Eric Schneiderman's shocking resignation and James' rise to the top of the heap.

"She's always flattered when people believe in her record enough to think of her to run for public advocate, whether her colleagues in government or union leaders," the source said.

Savino was concentrating on getting Democrats, including James and those in the State Senate, elected in the fall, the source said — but would likely look at "all" options after.

"She'll probably look at all options after November's election to see how she can serve people of New York best," the source close to Savino said. "Her record in Albany would indicate she might serve them more effectively as a counter to this current administration."

Savino has deep ties to organized labor and while she shares a party with de Blasio, she has established herself as someone willing to criticize him publicly — often viewed as a requirement for the public advocate job.

A campaign spokeswoman said Savino, who with the rest of the IDC recently re-joined the Democratic fold, was focused on re-election.

"Senator Savino's priority is working to ensure that Democrats achieve a majority in Albany and is currently focused on her re-election campaign," Savino campaign rep Jennifer Blatus said.

A special election for public advocate would take place if Letitia James becomes the next attorney general.
A special election for public advocate would take place if Letitia James becomes the next attorney general. (Andrew Savulich/New York Daily News)

Oddo's ticked off attributes that would make her an attractive candidate.

"Let's play the box-checking game. Outer borough female, huge labor support, ability to raise money, who is super smart, articulate and has political balls," Oddo told the Daily News. "As an operative, I love her in a contested, multi-candidate citywide race."

But Savino's tenure as one of the most prominent members of the IDC — which fell out of favor with the left-wing of the Democratic Party for its role in governing with Republicans — could be an issue in a Democratic primary.

"She's a powerful speaker with strong labor ties and has never had a problem telling you what she thinks," another Staten Island Democratic source said. "Could make her a powerful candidate if she's able to overcome the anti-IDC feelings among some Democrats."