New York Post

Gov supports pal – with ‘abandon’


FialaF [right]ght] is going to get her butt tt kicked and everybody dy knows it. t. Democratic source

Gov. Cuomo’s “fantastic’’ candidate in the important Nov. 3 special state Senate election will be “crushed’’ by her Republican opponent because Cuomo reneged on his pledge to go all out to help, senior Democrats have told The Post.

“Cuomo’s great candidate, Barbara Fiala, is going to get crushed on Election Day, and we all know why — he hardly lifted a finger,’’ said a prominent Democratic strategist, referring to Cuomo’s former Motor Vehicles commission­er, whom the governor picked in July to run for the Binghamton­area seat left vacant by the corruption conviction of Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous, a Republican.

A second prominent Democrat who knows Fiala also pointed the finger at Cuomo and said, “Fiala is going to get her butt kicked and everybody knows it.’’

A weakened Mayor de Blasio, Democratic insiders say, is a key reason Cuomo threw in the towel on the Fiala campaign.

“Cuomo was competing with de Blasio back in the summer for the mantle of top ‘progressiv­e’ in the party and winning the Libous seat, which could put the Democrats back in the majority, was a way to show his prowess,’’ said a Democratic activist.

“But with de Blasio as politicall­y weak as he’s become, that competitio­n is over, and with it Cuomo’s support for Fiala,’’ the activist said.

Cuomo’s selection of Fiala — who he claimed “would be fantastic as a candidate” — was widely seen as significan­t because of the widespread view among Democrats that the governor has worked for years to keep the GOP in control of the Senate in order to strengthen his overall control of the Legislatur­e.

Senate Democrats had been told to expect Cuomo to raise at least $100,000 for Fiala’s campaign — a drop in the bucket for Cuomo’s cashrich campaign machine — but as of the weekend, nothing approachin­g that amount had arrived, a source close to the campaign said.

“What’s come in is a very small piece of the amount promised,’’ said the source.

“They claim the remainder is being worked on, but time is short,’’ the source continued.

Campaign filings early in the month showed Republican candidate Fred Akshar had outraised Fiala by more than 20to1 — $430,000 to $20,000 — and had so far outspent the Democrat by better than 21.

A Siena College poll in late September had Akshar leading Fiala by 28 percentage points.

Cuomo faced a surprising­ly strong Democratic primary challenge from littleknow­n leftist law professor Zephyr Teachout last year partly because he was seen by Democratic activists as having kept Republican­s in narrow control of the Senate.

Many Republican­s also believe Cuomo has long had a peace pact with Senate Republican­s, but few, besides Assemblyma­n Bill Nojay (RRochester) have been willing to discuss the arrangemen­t publicly.

“Fiala’s clueless and underfunde­d campaign is clearly part of a deal between Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan [RSuffolk] and the GOP senators to protect the former Libous seat,’’ said Nojay, who has watched the special Senate race closely.

“This is consistent with Cuomo’s strategy going back to 20112012 with the redistrict­ing deals that ensure GOP control of the Senate in exchange for GOP ssenators rolling over on key Cuomo initiative­s such as the 2012 tax hikes, gay marriage, the SAFE [guncontrol] Act, and budget deals.

“So once again Cuomo has doublecros­sed the Working Families Party and his own Democratic Party by tacitly supporting continued GOP control of the Senate rather than turning the leadership of the body over to Senate liberals who might embarrass him or go rogue by teaming up with the New York City Democrats who run the Assembly,’’ Nojay continued.

Last fall, just days after Republican gubernator­ial hopeful Rob Astorino lost to Cuomo, his campaign manager, Michael Lawler, accused thenSenate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (RNassau) of having aided Cuomo’s reelection.

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