I just ran into New York State Republican Party Chairman Joe Mondello at the Malden rest stop on the Thruway, just outside the Catskills. He, like me, was on his way to Albany. But unlike me, Mondello didn’t seem like he had been surprised by the announcement that Bruno will not seek reelection.
“I’ve been a longtime friend of Joe Bruno, and I’ve been a political ally of Joe Bruno, for many, many, many, many years,” Mondello told me. “I’m going to miss him dearly.”
When I asked how Mondello heard the news, he said, “Well, it’s interesting that you ask that question. Joe Bruno and I have been longtime friends, as I pointed out to you, and we have been political allies and we have kept no secrets from each other throughout the years. This is an announcement, however, of such a tremendous magnitude that I believe the principal himself has the right to disclose it at his will. So, I think that answers your question.”
Mondello seems willing to work with whoever takes Bruno’s place. If Dean Skelos is the new majority leader, however, upstate legislators may look to get one of their own in Mondello’s place, since Skelos and Mondello are both from Long Island.