Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is offering his continued support to a Republican senator who lost his primary over his vote to legalize gay marriage last year.
Cuomo pledges to support Republican Sen. Roy McDonald as he considers an independent run in the November elections to retain his seat.
"Whatever you decide it would be my honor to stand with you and support your decision and effort," Cuomo said in a letter to McDonald. "If you decide to go forward with your campaign [as an Independent candidate] you will have my full endorsement. If you choose not to run and unify your party, I respect and understand that as well."
McDonald represents the Saratoga County area. Two other Republicans who crossed the party line to support Cuomo's proposal to legalize gay marriage won in tough primaries. A fourth retired in the face of strong opposition to his same-sex marriage support.
Cuomo says in a letter released Wednesday that McDonald is already a winner because he voted for what he believed was right on the landmark legislation.
"I accept personal responsibility for proposing and strongly adovcating the marriage equality legislation, and I remember personally asking for your support," Cuomo wrote. "You stood up for your principles, for equality and for a population long victimized.
"It is not evident that you paid a political price for your convictions," he continued. "You should not be left to stand alone now."
Cuomo has also praised the other Republicans and pledged support.