There were 1,000 people in attendance at Andrew Cuomo’s birthday fund-raiser last night–even David Paterson, a prospective political adversary, dropped in–mingling with the attorney general and enjoying a dinner of cucumber salad, beef and vegetables.
Like David Paterson’s holiday fund-raiser last week, the stalwarts of Albany’s lobbying community showed up–Paul Tokasz, Brian Meara, Patricia Lynch, David Weinraub, Kenny Shapiro and Steve Weingarten–to name a few. But unlike Paterson’s event, a cohort of the state’s elected leaders was also in attendance.
People at the fund-raiser spotted Assemblymen Keith Wright, Joe Morelle, Mark Schroeder, Adriano Espaillat, Karim Camara, Hakeem Jeffries, Carl Heastie, and Sam Hoyt in the room, as well as Senators Brian Foley, Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Craig Johnson, Eric Schneiderman. Representatives Jerry Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Nita Lowey and Brian Higgins attended, as well as Borough Presidents Scott Stringer and Ruben Diaz Jr., Comptroller-elect John Liu and Public Advocate-elect Bill DeBlasio.
And the other legs of Albany’s governing troika were there–Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, as well as Senators John Sampson and Malcolm Smith, leaders of the Democratic conference in that chamber.
The State Senate has feuded epically with Paterson in recent months, so I asked spokesman Austin Shafran if their presence at Cuomo’s event indicated a potential preference in who they want to see as chief executive.
“After a long year it indicated their need to attend a good party,” Shafran told me by phone.
I posed the same question to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “Andrew Cuomo is a constituent and a long-time friend,” he said through a spokesman.
Tickets to the event cost a minimum of $1,000, and a Cuomo aide told me they raised about $1 million.
Campaigns will file fund-raising documents on January 15, and the expectation is that Cuomo will have vastly more money on hand than David Paterson, possibly nudging him from the race for governor.