Senate GOP Versus Top Astorino Advisor
A dispute between Bill O’Reilly, a top advisor to Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, and the leadership of the state Senate Republicans grew today after O’Reilly authored a critical Newsday column knocking the GOP conference as part of the problem over the last 3-1/2 years.
O’Reilly, a prominent political strategist who has worked on several Astorino campaigns, criticized Senate Republicans for “complacency” and being little more than a “speed bump” to hurting the state’s economic standing.
“Indeed, the senate’s surrender stance has probably squandered whatever momentum New York Republicans once had as the party of reform following the elections of Rudy Giuliani as mayor of New York City in 1993 and George Pataki as governor a year later,” O’Reilly wrote in the column posted this afternoon.
“Since the early 2000s, state voters have drifted away from the feckless GOP in droves. Consider this: When Pataki beat Mario Cuomo in 1994, there were about a million more Democrats than Republicans in New York. Today, Democrats outnumber Republicans by almost 2.5 million, and that trend continues.”
This was not O’Reilly’s first shot across the Senate GOP’s bow.
O’Reilly on Twitter Monday called Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos a “prison punk” after the Long Island Republican provided a congratulatory quote on a press release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the historic improvement of the state’s general obligation bond rating.
Astorino responded to the “prison punk” statement in a radio interview on Talk-1300, saying that he didn’t condone the language. He did not, however, call for O’Reilly to apologize or retract his words.
Needless to say, the Senate GOP wasn’t happy with O’Reilly – or Astorino, for that matter. But it wasn’t until after the publication of the Newsday column that the gloves came off.
A statement from Senate spokeswoman Kelly Cummings included a laundry list of accomplishments by Senate Republicans.
“Contrary to what (O’Reilly) contends, Senate Republicans have been working overtime to help hardworking taxpayers and their families succeed,” Cummings said.
“Our agenda matches the people’s priorities, and without the contributions of our tax-cutting conference most of the meaningful taxpayer relief initiatives enacted into law over the last two decades wouldn’t have ever seen the light of day.”
Cummings called O’Reilly’s criticism “deeply concerning.”
“These disgraceful comments are beneath the campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, who he should be helping,” she said. “Mr. Astorino should have a very frank conversation with Mr. O’Reilly as to whether these actions are worthy of his campaign.”
The reality is that the successes Cuomo experienced in his first term are very much tied to Senate Republicans – and vice versa – which is something both sides continue to tout, albeit selectively.
The Senate GOP has allowed for key votes on the legalization of same-sex marriage and gun control, while Cuomo has also racked up significant economic victories, including a property-tax cap and three budgets in a row passing in advance of the April 1 deadline.
Cuomo pledged as part of an endorsement deal with the Working Families Party to help give Democrats full control of the state Senate last month, though in recent weeks has adjusted the rhetoric to tout his bipartisan credentials as the legislative session winds down.
It’s also worth noting O’Reilly worked for at least two Senate GOP candidates in 2012 – Bob Cohen and Eric Ulrich – both of whom lost to their Democratic opponents.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on June 17, 2014 at 6:20 pm, and is filed under Consultants, Dean Skelos, Republicans, Rob Astorino, State Senate. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|