Republican Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano crossed party lines Tuesday to endorse Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's re-election bid in a 30-second TV ad.
Mangano and Cuomo, a Democrat who is running against Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, have long shared a close working relationship on issues such as superstorm Sandy.
"When Sandy hit, he stood shoulder to shoulder with us, day and night, and then went to Washington and got us the money to rebuild," Mangano says in the ad that debuted Tuesday. "I'm a Republican, and I'm voting for Governor Cuomo, because his leadership is working for Long Island."
Political observers say the endorsement, though not completely unexpected, delivers a blow to Astorino, who has campaigned heavily on Long Island and trails Cuomo in the polls. Nassau -- with 328,503 registered Republicans -- has the largest GOP enrollment of any county in the state. There are 371,490 registered Democrats and 215,123 voters unaligned with a major party, according to the county Board of Elections.
"Both Cuomo and Mangano have worked hard on this relationship and it benefits both of them," said Lawrence Levy, executive dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University. "It obviously gives Cuomo a chance to say, 'I have effective relationships with Republicans so I'm not just a partisan Democrat.' It allows Mangano to not only say the same thing, but to hopefully have a direct line to the governor."
Astorino's campaign did not respond to requests for comment. Last week, Astorino told a Newsday reporter, "Honest to God, I don't care about endorsements. I'll have a very close relationship with Ed Mangano when I'm governor."
In March, Nassau GOP chairman Joseph Mondello told Newsday he expected Mangano to eventually support Astorino, but acknowledged "Eddie will not be leading the charge against" Cuomo. Nassau GOP spokesman Anthony Santino said Tuesday Mondello "supports the entire Republican ticket and has no further comment."
Also Tuesday, Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio, a Republican, endorsed Cuomo. Vecchio cited Cuomo's work on superstorm Sandy and the statewide property-tax cap.
"I am a proud Republican, and I am also proud to endorse Gov. Andrew Cuomo for re-election," Vecchio said in a statement released by the Cuomo campaign.
Cuomo's campaign also released a TV ad Tuesday featuring Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, a Republican, endorsing the governor.
Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs issued a statement lauding Mangano's endorsement of Cuomo. "While I do not always agree with County Executive Mangano, one thing we can agree on is that Andrew Cuomo has delivered for Long Island as Governor and we need him to continue the great work in his second term," Jacobs said.
The Mangano endorsement comes as Cuomo holds a sizable lead in the polls against Astorino. The most recent Siena College poll released Sept. 29 showed Cuomo leading Astorino by 29 percentage points, 56-27.
With David M. Schwartz
and Yancey Roy