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July 19, 2019

In a reversal from his past two campaigns, key state union backs Cuomo’s reelection

June 27, 2018
Gov. Cuomo got backing of Civil Service Employees Association. (Frank Franklin II / AP)

In a reversal from Gov. Cuomo’s previous two runs for governor, a powerful state union has decided to back his bid for a third term.

Civil Service Employees Association President Danny Donohue, who in 2014 called Cuomo a “moron” and a “monkey,” on Monday was full of praise for a governor he said has come around on public sector union issues the past 18 months.

“I’m the first one to kick the governor when I think he’s wrong, but CSEA recognizes that when he does the right thing, we stand with him,” Donohue told the Daily News.

Civil Service Employees Association union president Danny Donohue.
Civil Service Employees Association union president Danny Donohue. (Mike Groll / AP)

Donohue said Cuomo has supported unions at a time when labor is under attack nationally, particularly with the U.S. Supreme Court currently considering a key case that could reduce the power of public-sector unions by doing away with their right to charge fees to workers who choose not to join them.

“Here in New York, Gov. Cuomo has already taken monumental steps to make sure unions are stronger than ever,” Donohue said. “Gov. Cuomo stands united with us in this fight.”

During Cuomo’s first bid for office in 2010, he talked about reducing public pension costs. After taking office, he pushed through pension changes while also going through a contentious contract negotiation.

Rather than endorse a gubernatorial candidate, CSEA in 2010 and 2014 chose to sit on the sidelines.

“The first year, we were very bitter enemies, but this is a business where times change and things change,” Donohue said. “Clearly over the last year-and-a-half, the governor has stood with us.”

Lauren Hitt, a spokeswoman for Cuomo’s Democratic primary opponent Cynthia Nixon, downplayed the endorsement, saying that “rank and file members have a long memory.”

“They’ll remember the governor was only their friend in an election year,” Hitt said.

Cynthia Nixon is challenging Cuomo from the left in gubernatorial primary.
Cynthia Nixon is challenging Cuomo from the left in gubernatorial primary. (Gregg Vigliotti For New York Daily News)

Meanwhile, Cuomo, who has been attacked by Nixon for relying mainly on big corporate donors, is set to hold a small-donation gay community fund-raiser on Wednesday.

Tickets for the LGBTQ for Cuomo event at Hudson Terrance on W. 46th St. in Manhattan will cost between $25 and $250.

That’s a far cry from a “Best of Broadway” fund-raiser Cuomo held last week, where donations went as high as $50,000 a person.

Noting Nixon has already received far more small donations since entering the race in March than Cuomo did since taking office in 2011, Hitt called the governor’s small donor event “just another example of the Cynthia effect.”

“But the governor needs to put his money where his mouth is and actually commit to comprehensive campaign finance reform,” she said.

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