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Gov. Cuomo may have an ally in new Speaker Corey Johnson.

Last year Councilman Corey Johnson spent Super Bowl Sunday at Dorrian’s on the Upper East Side, rooting for his beloved Patriots and huddling with Gov. Cuomo and 200 of the guv’s friends and supporters at a private viewing party. It was a harbinger of things to come. Johnson’s team would triumph, he would win the...
Time: 17:39     Date: 13.01.2018
Metro News: Gov. Cuomo may have an ally in new Speaker Corey Johnson. NY Post 24 - US News

It was a harbinger of things to come. Johnson’s team would triumph, he would win the speakership 12 months later and his friendship with Cuomo would strengthen.

And now, from the looks of it, Johnson and Cuomo might find themselves on the same sideline in the perennial rivalry between Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio.

“Corey has worked relentlessly over the last few years to develop a strong relationship with the governor,” a Democratic insider said.

Johnson was chosen to lead the Council earlier this month without help from Hizzoner, but he did lean on Cuomo pals.

“Cuomo’s fingerprints weren’t on it, but his allies were actively working to make sure that Corey was standing in the winner’s circle,” a political insider said.

Johnson’s hired help in the speaker’s race included Metropolitan Public Strategies, a consulting and lobbying firm closely tied to the Cuomo administration. He also had an assist from Chris Coffey, a consultant and lobbyist who works for former Mayor Bloomberg aide and Cuomo friend Bradley Tusk. Tusk desperately tried to find a viable candidate to run against de Blasio last year.

Another link in the chain is former Cuomo aide Erik Bottcher, who is Johnson’s district-office chief of staff.

“There’s lots of people around Corey who are Cuomo allies,” veteran Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf said. “That should be a warning the mayor: Don’t get into a battle with a speaker who’s got a friend in Albany.”

Johnson, not beholden to Hizzoner for his speaker race victory, has already promised to be an independent foil to the mayor.

“He’s a tool for the governor,” said a state legislator — who added only half-jokingly, “He’s a plant.”

Johnson is more progressive than the moderate governor, but they both disagree with de Blasio on hot-button issues. The two Democrats back increasing city funding to the MTA, closing Rikers Island more quickly than is already planned, and the “congestion pricing” scheme to toll drivers to get into Manhattan.

“Having a speaker that you can rely on if you’re the governor means you can keep the mayor busy,” Sheinkopf said. The Cuomo-Johnson bromance didn’t blossom overnight.

In 2006, Johnson was the political director of Mark Green’s bitterly failed bid for state attorney general against Cuomo. He once groused to New York magazine: “When your father’s been governor for twelve years, you have plenty of chits to call in. … Andrew has never won anything. His 2002 campaign [for governor] was a disaster.”

Cuomo’s victory against Green set him on the path to the governor’s mansion, and the enmity of the 2006 race seems forgotten now.

Johnson, who represents Chelsea, attended Cuomo’s 2016 “summer challenge” upstate aimed at boosting Catskills tourism.

Some tried to down-play the governor’s influence on the new speaker.

“I don’t think it’s a situation where I or anyone else from Cuomo world is whispering in his ear,” one prominent lobbyist said. “He’s a big boy.”

Some City Hall vets worry about worsening bad blood between Cuomo and de Blasio.

“Hopefully the mayor doesn’t try to use the Council or use Corey to fuel his vendetta,” Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Queens) said.

Johnson spokeswoman Robin Levine said, “The Speaker has good working relationships with both the Governor and the Mayor.”

De Blasio spokesman Eric Phillips, without mentioning Cuomo’s name, said: “The Mayor and Speaker Johnson have always had a strong working relationship.”

Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever, with mentioning de Blasio’s name, said: “We respect smart and dedicated public servants, and Corey Johnson — who has fought for criminal justice reform and real transportation investments — is one of them.”

Metro

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Opinion

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Living

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Business

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Metro

Metro News: ISIS wannabe who stabbed FBI agent gets 17 years. NY Post 24 - US News
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An ISIS wannabe was sentenced Thursday to 17 years in prison for attempting to aid ISIS and trying to kill an FBI agent....
Metro News: Woman can’t sue husband over topless pics in sex-harassment case: judge. NY Post 24 - US News
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What a buncha boobs! Back in happier times, Sandra Piedrabuena posed topless for her husband, hedge funder Russel Abrams,...
Metro News: NTSB investigates dragging death of man on LIRR platform. NY Post 24 - US News
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The feds are investigating the death of a man who was dragged by a Long Island Rail Road train earlier this month, officials...
Metro News: Cuomo touts $1.4B in new Brooklyn projects. NY Post 24 - US News
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Heading into his re-election, Gov. Cuomo on Thursday boasted that he’s set aside $1.4 billion on projects in Brooklyn....
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Sport

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