Mike Sapraicone speaks at the NYS Republican Nominating Convention in...

Mike Sapraicone speaks at the NYS Republican Nominating Convention in Binghamton on Feb. 22.   Credit: Newsday/Keshia Clukey

WASHINGTON — Former Republican Rep.Peter King on Wednesday urged former NYPD detective Mike Sapraicone to withdraw as the state Republican Party’s candidate for the U.S. Senate because his security company donated to New York Attorney General Letitia James’s campaign.

Sapraicone, a Glen Head resident who last week won the backing of New York’s Republican and Conservative parties, rejected King’s plea and vowed to stay in the race to run against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who is seeking a third full term.

King said the $1,000 donation by Sapraicone’s company Squad Security in 2022 to James’ campaign raises concerns because later that year she filed a civil fraud case that recently won a $450 million judgment against former President Donald Trump and his business.

“I can tell you that after finding out that he donated to Tish James, I don't see how Nassau Republicans or others around the state can continue to support him,” King said on the Sid & Friends in The Morning Show on WABC radio.

“I think the right thing for him to do would be to withdraw from the race. And if he doesn’t, I would ask President Trump to ask him to,” King said.

In a statement, Sapraicone said he will stay in the race.

“I would never drop out of the race and I am full speed ahead in our effort to defeat Kirsten Gillibrand in November and help President Trump win New York State,” Sapraicone said.

Sapraicone said he won 84% of the vote at the New York Republican State Convention last Thursday, easily dispatching two other candidates, and won near unanimous support at the New York Conservative Party’s convention.

New York State Republican Chairman Ed Cox did not immediately respond to a query.

Nassau County Republican Chairman Joseph G. Cairo, who nominated Sapraicone at the GOP convention, had no comment on calls for Sapraicone to step down. 

Though Sapraicone is a major Republican contributor, he has given to Democrats other than James, including Rep. Tom Suozzi, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, former Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and several others.

At the convention last week, Sapraicone spoke to reporters about his contributions.

“I’m a businessman in New York City, in Long Island, in New York State and anybody who does business in this country, this city, donates to both sides of the aisle. I’ve never taken a local contract from a county or city, a state or a country, but I donate," Sapraicone said.

King, who backed Sapraicone at the convention, said he did not know about his campaign contribution to James.

“I understand a guy in business can make contributions to both parties and all that. So I'm not judging him that way, even though I have a hard time seeing why he gave to Tish James,” King told Newsday.

“He owed it to the leaders of the party, the people in the party, to let them know that he had made the contributions," he said, "and then how do you explain that in an election.”

With Scott Eidler

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