ALBANY—Len Lenihan doesn't want to get involved in the increasingly public display of discontent from some labor leaders about David Paterson's leadership.
"The governor and legislators should be left to do their jobs," Lenihan, the Erie County Democratic chairman, told me by phone. "For now, the time is for action–we should be worried about statesmanship and not politics."
Lenihan was invited to a meeting of labor officials and Democratic leaders last week in Kingston, but did not attend because he is recovering from hip surgery. At that meeting, labor leaders expressed concerns with the incumbent governor's poll numbers, and a feeling that they're being somewhat neglected. This week, some unions in Buffalo signed a letter saying they want Andrew Cuomo to run for governor, regardless of Paterson's stated plans to try and keep the office. Another union has come out supporting Paterson.
Lenihan's statements echo talking points by both Paterson and Cuomo on the topic this week. He acknowledged that the rumblings may make his position difficult, but said that "the governor deserves the benefit of the doubt."
"My assessment is that he's going assess things at the end of the year, after he's dealt with the fiscal situation," Lenihan said. He expressed support for the governor in the meantime.