Back in 2011, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was working behind the scenes to move votes on same-sex marriage.

First he concentrated on the Democrats in the state Senate who had previously joined with Republicans to vote down the legislation. Then he focused on the GOP lawmakers who had been conflicted on the issue to change their votes.

In the end, the Republican-controlled state Senate allowed a vote, and the history-making law was approved with four GOP lawmakers in favor of it.

On Tuesday evening at the latest Democratic presidential debate, however, it was former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg taking credit for the vote.

"I got the Republican state Senate to vote for gay marriage," he said.

Not surprisingly, this was news for Cuomo's team.

The claim is a bit of hyperbole, but also draws out what had been a thread of the same-sex marriage push at the time: Lining up the donor class to communicate to Republicans the vote would not redound on them or their hold on the majority.  

Bloomberg at the time was a financial backer of the Senate Republican majority. He, along with a range of wealthy donors, sought to encourage Republicans to hold a vote on the legislation.

Implicit in this push: We'll help you in campaign season to mitigate fallout at the polls or, if the vote doesn't happen, open our wallets to help opponents.

Bloomberg ultimately did provide campaign donations to the Republicans who voted for the measure: Sens. Mark Grisanti, Stephen Saland and Roy McDonald.

Sen. Jim Alesi, the fourth Republican to vote in favor of the law, chose not to run for re-election; the other three GOP lawmakers lost primary challenges.

Still, Bloomberg would continue to remain a prominent supporter of Republicans in the state Senate as they were aligned with him on issues like charter schools.

Bloomberg at one point wrote a $1 million check to the Senate Republican's soft money account.