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Cuomo finally backs his rival, de Blasio, for mayor

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio in Brooklyn on

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio in Brooklyn on primary night, Sept. 12, 2017. Credit: Corey Sipkin

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, head of the state Democratic Party, on Monday endorsed his rival, Mayor Bill de Blasio, for re-election. But it was hardly a ringing endorsement.

“I am a Democrat, I support Democrats and I will support Mayor de Blasio in the general election,” Cuomo told WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show.”

The lukewarm support prompted Lehrer to say, “Nothing more enthusiastic than that?”

“Life is options,” Cuomo said. “I think in this contest he is the better person to serve the city of New York, period.”

De Blasio faces Republican challenger Nicole Malliotakis, a Staten Island Assembly member, in November in a bid to win a second term.

De Blasio campaign spokesman Dan Levitan, when asked to weigh in on Cuomo’s endorsement, did not respond directly. Instead, he issued a statement that focused on the mayor’s upcoming seven-week stretch of campaigning.

“Our campaign is focused on vigorously engaging people across the five boroughs over the next seven weeks, talking directly to New Yorkers about how we will make this a fairer and more affordable city for all,” Levitan said in an email

Asked about Cuomo’s endorsement, Malliotakis, who has said she would work with the governor to tackle issues of common interest to the city and state, including upgrading the city’s crumbling subway system, said in an email, “It’s sad that Governor Cuomo chose party politics over what’s right for New Yorkers.”

“After 3 1⁄2 years of failing schools, a transit system in crisis and a worsening quality of life, New Yorkers understand that Bill de Blasio is in trouble and needs all the help he can get,” Malliotakis said.

Cuomo had refused to endorse de Blasio in the Democratic primary a week ago. Each is considered a major figure in the national party, but they have feuded over policies, personalities, funding and blame for problems while in office.

With Laura Figueroa

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