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Cuomo, Astorino each get plaudits from Nassau Republicans

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Billy Joel and Nassau

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Billy Joel and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano plant oyster seed in Oyster Bay Harbor on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and his GOP challenger, Rob Astorino, were on Long Island yesterday, each surrounding himself with -- and getting praise from -- local Republican politicians.

The Democratic governor – making a nautical entrance with singer Billy Joel -- joined Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and two Republican legislators from Nassau at an environmental cleanup event in Oyster Bay.

Cuomo joined Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and two Republican legislators from Nassau at an environmental cleanup event in Oyster Bay.

Astorino, the Westchester County executive, got a strong plug from Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) and also went to events with Assemb. Brian Curran (R-Lynbrook) and Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray, a Republican.

Cuomo has long worked on cultivating his relationships with Mangano and other Nassau Republican leaders, many of whom have shown little interest in helping Astorino.

"The fact of the matter is, we have a governor that works with all levels of government regardless of party affiliation," Mangano said yesterday to a crowd gathered for the cleanup. State Sen. Carl L. Marcellino (R-Syosset) and Assemb. Michael Montesano (R-Glen Head) made similar comments.

Cuomo attributed at least part of his success working with Republicans to superstorm Sandy.

"Hurricane Sandy was a very humanizing experience," he said. "And all the politics goes out the window. And you wind up [as] just people trying to help other people."

Mangano has made no endorsement in the governor's race. He did not join Astorino at any of his four Nassau events yesterday.

"It really doesn't matter to me," Astorino said when asked about the Republicans who were with Cuomo. "I won in Westchester because we had 30 percent of the Democrats supporting me, a majority of Hispanics and 25 percent of African-Americans. My whole campaign is about people together building coalitions."

King, who was launching his own re-election campaign in Wantagh, gave Astorino an introduction filled with praise.

He called Astorino a "man with a proven record. He does an outstanding job as a county executive of Westchester County. It was a Democratic county, he won it in an upset and was re-elected in a wide margin."

Cuomo's North Shore visit was not technically a campaign event.

The 21st annual Oyster Bay Beach and Harbor Cleanup is organized each year by the Town of Oyster Bay, the North Oyster Bay Baymen's Association and Friends of the Bay and draws community volunteers and town employees.

The governor arrived by boat with Joel about 10 a.m. at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park. They walked ashore bearing black garbage bags filled during the cleanup effort.

"It's good to see the support to keep the bay healthy," said Joel, who steered clear of politics in his remarks. "Our oysters and our clams that come out of this bay are the best."

Cuomo and Joel eventually headed back into the bay to seed oysters for a photo opportunity, dumping crates of them into the water.

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