ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo urged patience Thursday as New Yorkers await the full results of legislative races across the state — and commended Republicans for effectively painting Mayor de Blasio as a boogeyman.
The Democratic governor, taking a dig at his longtime rival, gave props to the GOP for staying on message leading up to Election Day as they hammered Dems as soft on crime and used images of the mayor in mailers and commercials.
“They ran de Blasio’s picture all over the state... law and order that was their message and it resonated more than it should have," Cuomo said during an interview with WAMC. "I think when they count all the ballots we’ll be fine, but it should not have been this close.”
Republicans emerged from Election Day with big leads over incumbent Senate Democrats across several Long Island seats as well as one in Brooklyn, but thousands of absentee ballots have yet to be counted.
Dems' dreams of a supermajority in the Senate remained uncertain Thursday as election officials prepared to start counting thousands of absentee ballots.
The party currently controls 40 of the 63 seats in the chamber, they need to add two more seats for a two-thirds veto-proof majority.
Republicans, who lost the majority in 2018 and endured a rash of retirements in recent months, slammed Democrats during the election cycle over criminal justice reforms, changes to bail laws and echoed President Trump’s mantra of “law and order” amid protests over police brutality and racism.
In its quest to regain seats, the GOP and its supporters took a page from the president’s playbook and made the mayor the poster boy of chaos and lawlessness, linking him to left-leaning lawmakers in the Legislature.
Republicans currently lead in eight Senate races, including five where they challenged sitting Democratic incumbents.
In Brooklyn, Republican Vito Bruno, a former nightclub owner, emerged with a narrow Election Day lead over Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Bay Ridge) in the city’s solitary competitive race.
Cuomo said he’s confident Dems will fair better once absentee ballots are counted in the coming days, but said he believes the GOP’s messaging, as misleading as it was, worked.
“I think the Democrats are going to do better in the House races and the Senate races and the Assembly races when they count all the ballots,” he said. “But it shouldn’t have been this close. I believe the Republicans beat the Democrats on the messaging. I think they branded Democrats as anti-law and order. And that hurt Democrats.
“It was untrue. Democrats, we are against the injustice in the criminal justice system, we’re against the racism and discrimination in policing,” he added.
De Blasio laughed off the governor’s comments, joking that he would back GOP candidates in the future.
“I’ll look at that for sure,” he said. “I think what I’ll do going forward is just make sure I strongly endorse the Republican candidates and confuse matters going forward in New York State. That’ll be my plan for the years ahead.”
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