King boycotts state GOP dinner over Sandy aid vote

Rep. Peter King rejoices as he speaks to Rep. Peter King rejoices as he speaks to the media after a vote on the final passage of Disaster Relief Appropriations. (Jan 15, 2013) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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ALBANY -- Rep. Peter King Wednesday night boycotted a Republican dinner featuring Sen. Ted Cruz, who voted against a superstorm Sandy aid bill earlier this year.

King (R-Seaford) said the state Republican Party shouldn't honor Cruz (R-Texas).

"I decided not to go because I do not think we should be acknowledging people who are voting against us in our hour of need," King said in an email.

The state GOP dinner was scheduled for Wednesday night in Manhattan. Tickets went for up to $10,000. GOP officials said they were happy to land Cruz to headline the event.

"Ted Cruz is a rising political star with brains, ability and guts," GOP spokesman David Laska said Wednesday in an email. "We're thrilled he's joining us this evening."

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King criticized Cruz and other Republicans who voted earlier this year against a $50.5 billion Sandy aid bill that contained funding for disaster relief and money to fortify beaches and roadways against future storms on Long Island.

When the event was announced, King said Cruz had gone out of his way to attack New York on the Sandy aid issue.

Laska defended Cruz and said Senate Democrats had larded the Sandy aid bill with "pork."

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"Senator Cruz is on record with his support for Sandy aid," Laska said. "He cast a 'no' vote against the pork stuffed into the bill at the last minute by Senate Democrats.

"Those who take issue with that vote should be asking [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid why he wouldn't let even a hurricane relief package reach the Senate floor without stuffing it full of unrelated pork spending," Laska said.

King hasn't always attended the annual GOP fundraiser. He last spoke at the event in 2010, an aide said.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, a Bethpage Republican, said he was not attending the dinner because of a previously scheduled event in the county.

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With Robert Brodsky

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