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Cuomo endorses candidate across party lines

Governor Andrew Cuomo has crossed party lines and offered a political endorsement to Republican state Senator Roy McDonald, who lost a primary this month after voting to support same sex marriage in 2011.

Cuomo, in a letter released by his staff, tells Senator McDonald that it’s evident that he “paid a price” for his convictions when McDonald agreed to be one of four Republican votes in the Senate to ensure passage of Cuomo’s gay marriage bill.  The governor laments what he says is the “disproportionate power of the political extremists,” and writes to McDonald “you should not be left to stand alone now.”

Cuomo says if McDonald  decides to run on the Independence Party line, where he is still on the ballot,  then he would have the governor’s “full endorsement."

Cuomo admits he doesn’t know if a candidacy on the Independence line would be viable. McDonald would face Republican primary winner Kathy Marchione, who is backed by the local GOP, and Democrat Robin Andrews.

“If you [McDonald] choose not to run and to unify your party, I respect and understand that choice as well,” Cuomo said.

McDonald is facing pressure from Republicans to drop out. He has not yet decided what he will do.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.