The New York Republican Party is continuing its effort to oust Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver — a campaign Chairman Ed Cox today says needs some fundraising help.

The state GOP circulated a petition last week urging supporters to back Silver losing his leadership post over his role in negotiating more than $132,000 in settlement money for the alleged sexual harassment victims of Assemblyman Vito Lopez.

Now Cox says in a fundraising appeal blasted out this morning that the effort to unseat Silver from the powerful position he’s held since 1994 needs some monetary help.

Update: And a sharp-eyed reader points out that the fundraising letter calls for the removal of “Shelly Smith.” Is this an unintentional cominbation of Malcolm Smith? Al Smith?

“Please donate $25, $50 or even $100 to the New York Republican Party so we can help fund the effort to remove Shelly Smith from the Speaker’s chair and begin to restore credibility and respect to Albany,” Cox writes in the email. “Political dirty tricks will not be tolerated in the Empire State! With the the spread of this petition and your financial help, we will show the voters of New York that the Republican Party is one of reform and responsible government!”

Silver has said he regrets keeping the settlement money a secret, but has said nothing was improper about the arrangement.

Lopez, a longtime Brooklyn power broker, has lost both his chairmanship of the Assembly Housing Committee and his perch atop the Brooklyn Democratic Party.

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