New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro campaigns on Sept. 14 in...

New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro campaigns on Sept. 14 in New York. Credit: AP / Bebeto Matthews

ALBANY — The state Conservative Party started airing radio ads Monday that called on supporters of President Donald Trump to fight back against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who once ridiculed Trump and his slogan by saying America “was never that great.”

State Conservative Party chairman Michael Long said the ads will run until Election Day and urge Trump supporters to vote for Republican nominee Marc Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive, on the Conservative line.

“The Conservative Party backs Trump. Unapologetically,” the ad states. “And when you vote Marc Molinaro for governor on the Conservative Party line, you do more than vote. You make a statement. … Send a message that you stand with President Trump, because there's more to do to make America great again.”

Cuomo, in one of his many insult-hurling attacks on Trump, said, “America was never that great,” a response to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. Cuomo’s spokeswoman later explained that Cuomo didn’t articulate his stance well and believes America is great and has been great, but that it must push back at Trump’s hard-line policies.

The Conservative Party ad comes as Molinaro’s Republican campaign team plays down his alliance with Trump. Molinaro has said he didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 and won’t follow him in lock-step. Cuomo has tried to label Molinaro a “Trump mini-me” in the state, where Trump is seen unfavorably by 59 percent of likely voters, according to Monday’s Siena College Research Institute Poll.

“This ad from Marc Molinaro’s most enthusiastic supporters confirms what New Yorkers knew all along — Molinaro is a Trump mini-me whose extreme conservative views fly in the face of New York values,” said Dani Lever, the Cuomo campaign’s communications director.

Molinaro spokeswoman Katherine Delgado said the Cuomo camp is showing a lack of tolerance.

“When Marc Molinaro is governor, New York will again enjoy freedom of expression and be tolerant of all views, even Bernie-lite Andrew Cuomo socialism," Delgado said.

Molinaro is running on the Republican and Conservative lines. Minor parties like the Conservative Party need to attract at least 50,000 voters in a governor’s race to keep their line on ballots for the next four years without having to mount an expensive and intensive petition process.

A Siena poll on Monday found Cuomo had a 50-28 percent lead over Molinaro.

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