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The Other Carl

November 3, 2010

Who is the man of the moment? Andrew Cuomo? Dean Skelos?  Eric Schneiderman?

Try Carl Kruger.

Where Kruger caucuses will determine control of the State Senate if the house is tied. He could also give the Republicans a workable majority if recounts in the Oppenheimer, Thompson and Johnson races go their way. (Insiders now believe that Thompson and Johnson have indeed lost – giving the GOP the narrowest possible edge of 32-30.)

Kruger is the ultimate political animal. He started out as a community board member in Brooklyn, worked in the State Assembly as a policy aide and political operative for many years, and later won election to the Senate in 1994.

He is known for being smart and calculating. Underscore “calculating.”

He was the fourth Amigo (with Diaz, Monserrate and Espada) during the 2009 coup in the Senate, and maneuvered himself into the coveted position of Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, a position he wants to retain. Underscore “wants to retain.”

Kruger is the first call of the day for Skelos and Sampson who both know how tenuous 32-30 really is.

Insiders also wonder what role the Governor-elect will play in Senate machinations. They say Cuomo might intervene to keep Kruger in the Democratic fold as a way of easing hard feelings with Senate Dems, who think Cuomo undermined them.

The games have begun.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. whiskers permalink
    November 3, 2010 12:53 PM

    Nice analysis, but it only scratches the surface. Tim Kennedy and Ruben Diaz are two other conservative leaning Democrats who might caucus with Republicans. In addition, Kruger is under an FBI probe. If he is forced to resign then there would be a special election. His district, which has about the highest concentration of ultra-Orthodox Jews in the country, could conceivably go to the GOP given there it has tons of conservative Democrats who voted for McCain.

  2. whiskers permalink
    November 3, 2010 1:36 PM

    One more thing. Thompson’s challenger, Grasanti, is actually a registered Democrat. Will he caucus with the GOP or his own party? In any event, the GOP would be hard pressed to retain his overwhelmingly Democratic seat. He wont have Paladino at the top of the ticket and Thompson’s incompetence to help him next time.

  3. Assemblyman Michael Benjamin permalink
    November 3, 2010 10:46 PM

    Neat! Fair analysis. I think the remaining “amigos” are radioactive. No reason for Kruger, Diaz or Kennedy to caucus with the Republicans, in the event of a tie. It works to their advantage to remain in the Democratic conference. LG-elect Duffy can cast the deciding leadership votes. On legislative matters, there can be shifting, fluid majorities. Possibly a floating mix of Democrats and Republicans. That’s where the Governor-elect can best influence the process and senators can “maximize” their votes. Sadly, in 2009-10 we experienced crude (“thiggish” has become a code word to some) political style. Hopefully, in 2011-12 we will experience a more subtle approach that doesn’t make embarassing stark headlines. In the halcyon days that the Governor-elect is fond of recalling, I believe that’s how the “oldtimers” conducted themselves. In this way, the “amigos” may recast themselves (and the floating majority) as “independent” principled actors working in the best interests of their constituents.

    Finally, Grasanti may be a registered Democrat but I don’t forsee the Council of Black State Senators welcoming him into the conference, even if it means the majority.

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