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State's powerful unions pave way for AG, comptroller victories

Eric Schneiderman

Eric Schneiderman Credit: Getty Images

Unions gave a big boost on Election Day to Democrats winning two tight races for attorney general and state comptroller.

Eric Schneiderman defeated Republican candidate Dan Donovan for attorney general by 55 percent to 44 percent, according to the latest results Wednesday, buoyed by his activist base and support from big labor, including the United Federation of Teachers and three branches of the SEIU.

“We won because we took this message straight to neighborhoods and our communities across the state,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

Current Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli barely held onto his seat by ekeing past Republican opponent Harry Wilson, 50 percent to 47 percent.

“This victory shows it’s not about the polls, nor the pundits, nor the papers,” DiNapoli, 56, said in a statement. “It’s about the people.”

And the backing of labor groups, said political analyst Jerry Kremer.

“What (DiNapoli) lacked in money, he made up in the strength of the union support,” Kremer added. “Corporate America doesn’t provide foot soldiers, they provide money ... but the unions have the ability to provide the phone banks, the personal contacts.”

Among the unions endorsing DiNapoli was DC37, the city’s largest public employees union.

Wilson, 39, had spent almost twice as much as DiNapoli in his campaign and used his financial expertise on Wall Street as a positive with voters.

Schneiderman, 53, astate senator from Manhattan, who outspent his GOP rival Donovan, Staten Island’s district attorney.

Democratic strategist Dan Gerstein said it didn’t help the Republican candidates having gubernatorial contender and loose-canon Carl Paladino at the top of their ticket.

“Schneiderman and DiNapoli got a pass because of such low expectations,” he said. “They were running in an environment where Paladino cast a pall over the race.”

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