Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos and fellow Senate Republicans have been conspicuously absent from the campaign trail with GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino.
They haven’t raised money for him, given him any from their campaign coffers or even attended many events with him.
“I endorsed Rob Astorino months ago. I told the governor I was going to do it,” Skelos said today on “The Capitol Pressroom.” “I spoke at the Republican convention.”
Still, Skelos has attended more events with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat seeking a second term, than with Astorino. Skelos said he’s not attending tonight’s fundraiser with Astorino and Texas Gov. Rick Perry in Buffalo.
Skelos was among legislative leaders who went with Cuomo to Israel in July, and he’s attended terrorism briefings with the governor.
Skelos defended his appearances with Cuomo, saying they were about the state’s security and support for Israel.
“If you look at the appearances that I’ve made recently with him: it’s about support of Israel, it’s about security for our communities in New York state. That’s an obligation I have to do as majority leader,” Skelos explained.
Gannett’s Jon Campbell wrote Sunday about the tricky politics at play for Cuomo and Senate Republicans, who have enjoyed a solid working relationship since they’ve held power in 2011.
Senate Republicans are fighting for their political lives in the November elections, when all 63 seats will be on the ballot.
Skelos charged that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to knock Republicans out of power.
“He’s said on numerous occasions he’s going to take us out,” Skelos said. “And I think that would be the worst thing that could happen to the state. Everything would be dominated by New York City.”
He added, “I’ve never know a mayor of the city of New York to go so aggressively against one of the houses, which Bill de Blasio is doing. He’s calling up people, raising liberal New York City money in races against us.”
Democrats knocked Skelos.
“The Republicans have controlled the Senate for over 50 years and that has resulted in higher taxes, a crippled upstate economy, out-of-control mandates and a State Senate that has lacked transparency and accountability,” said Josh Cherwin, executive director for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.