Andrew Cuomo Gives Subtle Boost to Possible Jeff Klein Challenge

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Photo: Governor's Office/Flickr)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Photo: Governor’s Office/Flickr)

Just call him AG.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo today pumped up Oliver Koppell’s potential challenge of State Senator Jeff Klein, the co-majority leader of the State Senate.

Asked by a reporter for his thoughts about “Assemblyman Koppell’s” potential bid–Mr. Koppell is a former Bronx assemblyman, councilman and one-time attorney general–Mr. Cuomo referred to the ex-lawmaker by his highest title, attorney general, and said Mr. Koppell was heeding “good advice” by waiting until April to decide whether to pull the trigger.

“I think the, what was said, he was going to wait–former Attorney General Koppell–was going to see what happened on April 1 whether or not the state passed the budget and what the state budget looked like and then he was going to assess whether or not this was a relationship was working,” Mr. Cuomo said. “And I think that’s good advice, I’m going to do the same thing, I’m going to focus on getting a budget passed and April 1 we’ll know whether or not we were successful and who did what.”

The reporter’s question came in response to a recent New York Observer¬†story about Mr. Koppell’s possible bid against Mr. Klein. After ripping Mr. Klein, the leader of a faction of breakaway Democrats who govern the senate with the GOP, for not shepherding the Dream Act into law, Mr. Koppell told the Observer¬†he would decide whether or not to take on Mr. Klein after the state adopts a new budget in April.

Mr. Cuomo, who can be reluctant to talk about politics openly, has not been warm to Mr. Klein of late. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Mr. Cuomo has been pressing Mr. Klein, who backs Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to raise takes on the rich to fund universal prekindergarten, to limit the amount of funding the state will provide for Mr. de Blasio’s program.

Mr. Cuomo is against raising taxes to fund the plan.

Mr. Klein did not immediately return a request for comment.