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Once allies on the ticket, Skelos, Paladino trade barbs
One is the top Republican in the state Legislature. The other was the party’s last gubernatorial candidate.
Yet there’s no love lost between Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and Buffalo developer Carl Paladino.
That much was reinforced Tuesday amid a rally led by Paladino to protest New York’s new, comprehensive gun law — which Skelos and seven other Long Island Republican senators backed.
Paladino, who beat Long Island’s Rick Lazio for the GOP nomination in 2010 thanks to a conservative groundswell, said Skelos and other Republican senators “forgot their values, forgot where they came from.” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo trounced Paladino in the general election. Some Republicans later grumbled that Paladino was so conservative he cost the party victories in lower profile races.
On Tuesday, Paladino was especially critical of Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) for not blocking Cuomo’s gun-control initiative. He said Skelos should resign and “find a new vocation.”
“He should go and find himself a job at a car wash,” the Buffalo developer told reporters before the rally at the State Capitol. “He’s a bum and he’s a cowardly bum.”
A Skelos spokesman punched right back.
“We’re not going to comment on any statements from a failed former gubernatorial candidate looking to extend his 15 minutes of fame, especially one who has received millions of dollars in tax breaks from the same state government he so often criticizes,” Skelos spokesman Scott Reif replied, referring to a Democratic campaign criticism of Paladino.
Reif went on to note numerous “conservative victories” Skelos has achieved in the last two years, including a partial rollback of the MTA payroll tax and the new property-tax cap.