The state’s most powerful Republican secretly worked for months to help Democratic Gov. Cuomo win re-election — in exchange for Cuomo’s promise not to aid Senate Democrats in their Long Island races, a top New York GOP leader has charged.
Former state Republican Party Executive Director Michael Lawler — who managed Rob Astorino’s ill-fated gubernatorial run against Cuomo — told The Post that he learned of the alleged bombshell deal between Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos and Cuomo just days ago, after suspecting for months that it existed.
“Dean Skelos clearly was working against Rob’s campaign — he and the governor cut a deal,’’ seethed Lawler, a protégé of GOP Chairman Ed Cox.
The Nassau County-based Skelos and his aides “fight for nothing, stand for nothing except staying in power,’’ Lawler charged.
Lawler said he found out about the alleged Skelos-Cuomo arrangement from a top political aide to Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, a Republican and Skelos ally who, in a serious setback to Astorino, endorsed Cuomo last month. “We heard rumblings that Mangano was going to [endorse Cuomo], and I reached out to his folks and was told ‘absolutely not,’ that Mangano would endorse Astorino, although he would then let Cuomo use a video of him praising the governor,’’ Lawler said.
“But after Mangano actually endorsed Cuomo in a video on TV, I called Mangano’s guy and said, ‘What the f–k?’ He said, ‘When this is over, give me a call.’
“So I called him a few days ago, and he said, ‘A deal was cut for Mangano to endorse Cuomo in exchange for Cuomo staying out of the Senate races on Long Island,’ ’’ Lawler continued. “I asked him, ‘Who cut the deal?’ And he said, ‘People higher than me.’
“I said, ‘Dean?’ And he responded, ‘That would be a pretty good guess.’ ”
Cuomo never wanted a Democratic-controlled State Senate anymore than he wanted a third party challenge to him on the Working Families Party line in the general election.
The fix was in with the state GOP to starve GOP candidate Astorino of money and aid, helping Cuomo in the process, and keeping the status quo going in Albany - a State Senate controlled in part (or in full) by the Republicans.
Cuomo got help from Republican Governors Association head Chris Christie as well - Christie did not lift a finger to help Astorino, calling the race unwinnable.
There is a theory that Cuomo, who was on the other end of the BridgeGate mess that has caused Christie so much trouble, had a quid pro quo with the NJ governor to keep quiet about BridgeGate in return for Christie's aid in the general election.
In the Dicker story, Lawler says these politicians stand for nothing, fight for nothing, except their own power.
When you watch what these guys do, you can see how true that is.
I would add the members of the Independent Democratic Conference into that calculation - they promised to rejoin the mainstream Dems this session but are making noises like they will continue to caucus with the GOP.
It's all about power - blind f---ing ambition" as somebody put it yesterday when talking about the sell-outs these politicians engage in.