Steve Bellone’s bid for Suffolk County executive got some serious star power behind it Monday night as Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined him at a packed ballroom at theHuntington Hilton in Melville.
The event, which typically serves as the Suffolk County Democratic Committee’s fall dinner, raised $500,000, according to Chairman Rich Schaffer. Not all of that money will go toward Bellone’s campaign, Schaffer explained, but will be used by the Democratic committee in key legislative races this November as well.
Cuomo’s attendance drew a stellar turnout – about 600 – which left many without seats at the $400 per person fundraiser. Roughly 100 individuals were forced to stand during Cuomo’s roughly 10-minute speech. While Cuomo has been seen as decidedly nonpartisan the last few months, many times praising Republican lawmakers like Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Rockville Centre, his speech leaned deeply to the left Monday.
“The other side wants to argue that you can’t [make government work efficiently],” Cuomo said. “Their argument is ‘government doesn’t work, so don’t even bother trying, because we can’t do it. We can’t help one another. If you’re born poor, you’re going to die poor. If you’re born rich, you’re going to die rich. That’s just the way it is. We can’t do it.’ Well I’m under the mindset we can.”
Even with Cuomo’s endorsement of Bellone, Schaffer implored supporters not to sit idly assuming Bellone would beat Republican candidate Angie Carpenter.
“I’m very concerned about this election,” Schaffer told the crowd after Cuomo had finished speaking. “I think people are upset about what’s going on in Washington right now. Luckily we have a firewall here in New York with Gov.Cuomo, but don’t take tonight’s festivities for granted. The public is in a bad mood.”