New Hampshire Democratic Party officials said Tuesday they have received phone calls from aides to Gov. Mario M. Cuomo saying he plans to announce his presidential candidacy as early as Monday if an accord is reached on the New York state budget deficit.
The party officials also said one Cuomo aide asked for lists of forthcoming Democratic events in New Hampshire. A national party source said similar calls have been made to several other key primary states by Cuomo advisers.
Resolving New York's budget gap has been central to Cuomo's presidential plans. And signs remain that the fiscal problem could linger despite his efforts to reach an agreement with state lawmakers. Some state Republican leaders said the talks could drag on past the Dec. 20 deadline for filing in New Hampshire's Feb. 18 primary.
Nonetheless, Cuomo advisers have begun considering a schedule for the governor on an initial visit to New Hampshire after a presidential declaration, sources said. And Cuomo's fledgling presidential campaign is starting to take shape in offices in Manhattan.
New York State Democratic Chairman John Marino, after conferring with Cuomo, has explored fund-raising mechanisms in 20 states for qualifying for federal matching money. Lawyers also have discussed with federal officials how much of the $3.5 million raised in New York by Friends of Mario Cuomo, the governor's fund-raising arm, could quickly be transferred to a presidential campaign. And panels of experts are being organized to advise Cuomo on issues, sources said.
But these preparations clearly are contingent on the budget. On Tuesday, talks continued in Albany between gubernatorial and legislative staff members on dealing with this fiscal year's $800-million deficit and a gap estimated at more than $2 billion next fiscal year. Little progress was reported.