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NY State Senate leader admits he's thought about running for governor

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New York State Senate Leader John Flanagan said he’s not running for governor right now, but in an interview with New York state public radio and television, he admitted that he’s thought about it from time to time.

Flanagan, a Republican from Long Island, said in “real life,” he’s occupied full time with leading the Senate, where Republicans rule in conjunction with several independent Democrats.

“That is my absolute, overarching No. 1 priority,” Flanagan said.

But he said he won’t deny that throughout his lengthy career as a state legislator, he’s thought about a run for governor.

“Yes, of course I have,” Flanagan said. “It’s like paying for the Yankees in the World Series.”

Flanagan, who has begun putting his public schedule out to reporters more often, said he had “nothing to do” with a Newsday story that said the Senate leader might be considering a run.

Flanagan’s relationship with Gov. Andrew Cuomo has cooled in recent months, after Cuomo backed Democrats for some Senate seats in the 2016 elections and the governor and legislative leaders had a falling-out over a failed special session in December.

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.