Deputy Senate Minority Leader Mike Gianaris was bullish on Wednesday over the chances his conference will pick up the seat held by now-ousted ex-Sen. Dean Skelos.

Skelos, the Senate majority leader until May, was formally removed from office last week following his conviction on eight counts of federal felony corruption charges.

Gianaris, speaking on Fred Dicker’s Talk-1300 radio show this morning, said Republicans will have trouble finding candidates to run in Skelos’s place, given the ongoing public corruption concerns in Nassau County.

“The Republicans would have a hard time putting someone up who is not part of the Dean Skelos corruption machine,” said Gianaris, a Democrat from Queens. “Dean Skelos’s finger prints have been so deeply embedded in that part of Nassau. I’m sure they will be hard-pressed to find someone who wasn’t taught at the knee of Dean Skelos.”

Still, the argument is a similar one that was advanced in the last special election for a Senate vacancy created by a corruption conviction. In the Binghamton area, Democrat Barbara Fiala sought to link her GOP opponent, Fred Akshar, to the political apparatus of Sen. Tom Libous, who was found guilty of lying to the FBI.

Fiala, however, lost the race in a landslide.

Democrats nevertheless see differences in the upstate race versus the coming election to fill Skelos’s seat, with the Long Island district being majority Democratic.

But there are other factors at work as well: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to call a special election for April 19, the same day as an election is being held to fill the seat vacated by former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. The date is also the same as the presidential primary, which could draw out more Republican voters.

Gianaris brushed off that concern when asked about it in the interview.

“As you pointed out, nothing has been officially called yet,” he said. “I would imagine if there’s one election going on that, there will be specials on that day. I think it’s a fair assumption.”

Even before Skelos’s convictions, Democrats have been eyeing Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, a former federal prosecutor, to run in the district. Several other Democratic candidates are in the mix as well.

“If someone like Todd Kaminsky is our candidate, people would be hard pressed to find a better champion of ethics reform than he,” Gianaris said.

Then there’s the question of Cuomo’s involvement. The governor had pledged to back Fiala’s Senate bid, only for him to take a more muted role in the district where he is deeply unpopular (Cuomo did contribute money to Fiala’s campaign).

Liberals have been frustrated by what they see as Cuomo’s unenthusiastic efforts to back his own party’s takeover of the Senate, with some charging that he prefers Republicans in control of the body.

Gianaris wouldn’t speculate as to whether Cuomo will push for the Demcoratic candidate in the race, though he has spoken to the governor in recent days.

“I’m not looking to disparage anyone,” he said when asked about Cuomo’s track record with the Senate. “I want to unite everyone under our cause.”

Updated: Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif provided a running commentary of Gianaris’s interview on Twitter, noting a few things.

“Last time the Senate Democrats has a chance to pick up an open Republican seat they were drubbed 80-20 in the Southern Tier,” he posted. Reif also pointed out Senate Democrats have in recent history struggled with suburban Democrats representing Long Island.

“Last Dem Senators on Long Island – Brian Foley and Craig Johnson – were bounced from office in 2010 after voting for MTA payroll tax,” he tweeted.