Mayor Byron W. Brown could be headed toward nomination as chairman of the State Democratic Committee when it meets Monday in Saratoga Springs.
Several sources who asked not to be identified said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has held discussions with the mayor on leading the party, though it is not yet clear whether he would serve as sole chairman or in a co-chairman arrangement, as the party has been guided in recent years. Some of the sources say Brown’s election is not yet a “done deal,” while others said they are expecting an official announcement at the Monday meeting.
Politico New York reported Friday that Brown supporters are pushing him for chairman and former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn as head of the party’s Executive Committee.
Brown spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge did not return calls seeking comment. Neither did a Cuomo spokesman.
But Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner said late Friday he had spoken with Brown and expects to place the mayor’s name in nomination at the state party meeting on Monday.
“I expect him to be the next state chairman and will be calling the other chairs in Western New York to ask for their support,” Zellner said.
Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes of Buffalo, a close Brown ally, said she is aware of the discussions and supports his election.
“It’s clear to me the governor supports upstate New York economically and now politically, too,” she said.
State Democrats have been without a leader since October when former Gov. David A. Paterson resigned.
Before him, Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie A. Miner (whose relationship with Cuomo has since deteriorated) led the party.
But party sources say Cuomo and the party hierarchy felt the need for permanent leadership as the state delegation heads to Philadelphia in July for the Democratic National Convention and the expected presidential nomination of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a New York resident and former New York senator.
It is expected Brown would emerge as a national figure in this year’s presidential election, cementing his position as a statewide Democratic leader and major Cuomo ally.
If Brown is officially elected on Monday, he will be the first Western New Yorker to serve in the post since former Erie County Chairman Joseph F. Crangle, from 1971 to 1974.