From the Morning Memo:

Democrat Steve Bellone is running for a third term in Suffolk County, a purple-tinged suburb that President Donald Trump carried three years ago.

It’s home to the Senate Republican minority leader and prominent supporters of the president in Congress.

But Bellone has held the county executive’s office for Democrats over the last two terms.

And Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a fundraiser on Thursday praised Bellone’s leadership, casting him as a bipartisan leader who can make decisions quickly.

“It’s a tough county,” Cuomo said, according to a recording of his remarks obtained by Spectrum News. “You have to be not only moderate, but you have to be skilled in being moderate.”

The event was attended by a range of figures in New York politics: Republican businessman John Catsimatidis, Democratic fundraiser Dennis Mehiel and RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum.

“To represent Suffolk, that is a political argument,” Cuomo said. “You have Democrats, you have Republicans. It is moderate. You have to be able to work with both sides. It’s not a like a New York City Democrat who just talks to the Democrats and is preaching to the choir.”

It’s a pitch that may seem largely out of fashion with the Democratic base, especially as incumbent Democrats continue to be challenged by progressive primary candidates.

But Cuomo has internalized the lessons learned from 2018, when he successfully defeated Cynthia Nixon, running to his left, in a Democratic primary.

Cuomo a year ago was re-elected to a third term himself and in his remarks said he is better in his third term than when he was when he was first elected in 2011.

“I’m a better governor than when I took office,” Cuomo said. “You grow and you learn.”

The governor also praised Bellone’s leadership during Hurricane Sandy and his efforts to combat toxic algae blooms in the county.

“That is natural born,” Cuomo said. “You can’t teach that type of leadership where they are willing to step up.”

For his part, Bellone echoed a Cuomo governing philosophy at the fundraiser: “It’s about actually getting things done that help change peoples’ lives.”

Bellone faces Republican Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy next month in the general election.