From the Memo:

When Western New York Assemblyman John Ceretto decided to switch from the GOP to the Democratic Party last year, he ticked off a lot of local Republicans. Now up for re-election, Ceretto’s former allies haven’t forgotten the perceived betrayal.

Erie County Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy made that much crystal clear.

“This was one of the great sellouts of all time,” the chairman said of Ceretto. “He was elected and re-elected and re-elected by Republicans and with a lot of help.”

“He is a very unremarkable legislator, which I said the day he switched parties. I kind of said what’s been on my mind here. This is a guy who really doesn’t have it between the ears to handle what the important issues that we needed in Western New York.”

The Democrats hold an overwhelming majority in the Assembly, and under normal circumstances, the 145th district race wouldn’t be that big of a deal, since it won’t influence the balance of power in the chamber. But Langworthy said this year is different.

This is about payback, and there’s also a candidate for the GOP to get behind, as former Niagara Falls City Judge Angelo Morinello is challenging Ceretto for the seat.

“There is massive investment at this point by the state Republican campaign committee for the Assembly,” Langworthy said. “That is an absolute – it’s the number one target opportunity in the state.”

Emails and calendar items are circulating to news organizations, including Capital Tonight, that Republicans say prove Ceretto played politics with state allocations and used government time and resources to campaign.

Though Ceretto has insisted he did nothing wrong, Langworthy said voters won’t tolerate even the perception of wrongdoing.

“We have learned things in the last two weeks about John Ceretto and the way he has run his office which I think will make this race one of the most competitive in the state of New York,” the chairman predicted.

Ceretto meanwhile, said he believes the attacks are clearly a result of sour grapes over his decision to change parties. He nevertheless maintains his switch was the best choice for his constituents and is standing by the decision.