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Powerful CSEA union endorses Cuomo; had withheld backing in 2014

ALBANY — The Civil Service Employees Association, which represents government workers, endorsed Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Monday after sitting out Cuomo’s 2014 re-election bid.

Cuomo ran his successful re-election campaign in 2014 without the usual strong public union support Democrats in New York often depend upon. The friction stemmed from Cuomo’s actions as governor that included threatening layoffs to contend with a $10 billion deficit and securing a cap of 2 percent on property tax growth that angered teachers unions.

CSEA was among the unions that didn’t help Cuomo when he faced a challenge from Zephyr Teachout in the 2014 Democratic primary, which Cuomo won.

This year, CSEA made a clear endorsement even as Cuomo faces another challenge from the left in the Democratic primary, this time from activist Cynthia Nixon.

“Governor Cuomo has already taken monumental steps to make sure unions are stronger than ever,” CSEA President Danny Donohue said in a statement. “He has stood side by side with us to secure legislation that will keep public sector labor unions strong in New York. I proudly endorse Governor Andrew Cuomo for re-election. I have said on many occasions, when the Governor does right by CSEA, then CSEA will do right by the governor.”

The CSEA endorsement has been important for candidates for its campaign donations, but also for the union’s ability to put thousands of members to work for the campaign, knocking on doors and staffing phone banks to call voters.

“Rank-and-file members have a long memory,” said Nixon spokeswoman Lauren Hitt. “They will remember the governor was only their friend in an election year.”

CORRECTION

Zephyr Teachout’s name was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.

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