The governor also said that its members — drawn both from more liberal areas downstate, and more moderate areas elsewhere — were not monolithic.
“There’s never going to be a situation where they have the entire Senate Democrats, all agreeing to the same thing and I’m opposing it,” Mr. Cuomo said, adding, “They have to represent their people otherwise they get into trouble as they learned in this past election.”
It was not immediately clear what lesson the governor was referencing; while two first-term incumbent Democrats lost in swing districts in the suburbs of New York City, Ms. Stewart-Cousins’s conference picked up more seats in other areas, including in Buffalo, Rochester and the Capitol Region.
Mr. Gianaris, who has clashed with Mr. Cuomo in the past, said that his members’ performance was no accident. They had seen an enormous increase in the absentee voters during June’s primary, after Mr. Cuomo expanded access to such ballots because of the coronavirus.
They expected the same in November, particularly with President Trump on the ballot, and focused efforts on winning the mail-in ballot vote. They spent $2.2 million on digital campaigns, and sent more than one million pieces of mail to absentee voters, making a special effort to find what Mr. Gianaris called “low-turnout, Democratic-leaning voters who were at risk of not voting at all in 2020.”
Voters who requested an absentee ballot, Mr. Gianaris said, were “called and texted multiple times” by campaign workers who gauged their level of enthusiasm for Democratic candidates, and encouraged them “to submit their ballots as soon as possible.”
They also preached patience, promising that initial Republican leads would evaporate as absentees were counted. “Our campaign plan was built on a surge of absentee votes,” he said. “Some people didn’t see that coming, but we certainly did.”