fastfoodFrom the Morning Memo:

An SEIU campaign backing a gradual increase in the state’s hourly minimum wage to $15 is launching a TV advertising effort on Tuesday, a push that comes more than three months before lawmakers return to the Capitol.

In an anticipated move, the state Department of Labor approved a wage board’s recommendation for a phased-in $15 minimum wage for the fast-food industry at a rally in New York City attended by both Vice President Joe Biden and various labor union members.

Those in New York City will see the wage increase to $15 by 2019, workers elsewhere by 2021.

The 30-second commercial shows a woman working at a fast-food restaurant, but pivots to touting Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who last week announced plans to push for a $15 minimum wage across all low-wage sectors.

“They stand on the other side of the counter, but a world away from the American dream,” the ad states. “They have a fighter on their side named ‘Cuomo.'”

Cuomo is naming the campaign in honor of his late father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, who died in January. The ad takes note, too, of Mario’s legacy.

“Governor Cuomo followed that proud legacy,” the ad’s narrator says. “Its’ the right thing, it’s the fair thing and if you’re named Cuomo it’s the only thing.”

The push for the $15 minimum wage has been seen in other states, but the effort in New York now makes this state its most prominent battleground.

Even with some GOP state lawmakers in the Republican-controlled Senate expressing reservations, supporters of the wage hike like the chess board they’ve been handed.

The issue is coming out now, making it one of the more prominent agenda items when lawmakers return to Albany in January — especially for Democrats.

Cuomo, meanwhile, has put a potentially potent 2016 campaign issue front and center more than a year away from all 213 legislative seats being up for re-election.

GOP consultant Bill O’Reilly noted in Newsday the push puts Senate Republicans in a “tight box.”

“If Republicans maintain their opposition to a higher minimum wage, it could cost them their slim 32-29 majority in 2016,” he wrote. “A minimum-wage increase is the best rhetorical weapon Democrats have. It polls well statewide, with more than 60% in favor. Only creeps oppose pay hikes, right?”

Supporters of the wage hike expect the wage issue to resonate not just in New York City, but also in the suburban metropolitan counties immediately outside of the city — where the cost of living is still high and a number of Senate seats just happen to be key to controlling the chamber in the Hudson Valley and on Long Island.

On top of it all, should Hillary Clinton become the Democratic Party’s nominee for president, down-ballot races deep blue New York will likely be impacted as well.