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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 17, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 51
Michael Bloomberg hedges his bets, stalls marriage
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Michael Bloomberg hedges his bets, stalls marriage

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The New York Daily News reports that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg hedged his bets in the November election, contributing publicly to a Democratic state senator but privately to a Republican fund helping his opponent.

By doing so, he may have effectively stalled marriage equality in New York for at least the next two years.

According to the Daily News, Bloomberg gave Democrat Craig Johnson $9,500 to help him keep his seat in a Long Island swing district.

Bloomberg also gave nearly 10 times that amount - $900,000 - to a secret Republican "housekeeping" account that was used to help Johnson's opponent, Jack Martins.

Martins beat Johnson by 451 votes in a contested election that was ultimately settled by a New York state court more than a month after Election Day.

His victory means that Republicans now control New York's state senate by a 32-30 margin. The state's Assembly remains in Democratic control.

On December 2, 2009, New York's senate killed a marriage equality bill by a vote of 38-24. Equality advocates looked forward to the 2010 elections, hoping that more sympathetic senators would be elected.

Now it seems that will not be the case. Republican control of the state senate means that same-sex marriage legislation may not even get to the senate floor for debate.

Like Assembly members, New York's senators serve two-year terms, so it may be 2013 before the balance of power in the senate shifts back to Democratic control.

As mayor of the country's largest city, Bloomberg has become a national political figure and has been mentioned as a possible opponent for President Obama in the 2012 election.

Sources told the Daily News that his support for both Johnson and Martins was part of Bloomberg's complex political calculations.

Bloomberg supported Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo, assuming he would easily beat Tea Party lunatic Carl Paladino.

Bloomberg then calculated that a Republican-controlled senate would check Cuomo's power, so he secretly backed Martins.

"We had endorsed Cuomo, assumed he was going to win, and wanted to have some partisan balance in Albany," a Bloomberg insider told the Daily News. "It was a big bet, and it paid off."

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