Here is an expanded version of the second item from “Albany Insider” column from Monday’s print editions:
New York Republican consultants want to borrow a page from new Democratic Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s campaign playbook by focusing relentlessly on the issue of corruption when challenging Gov. Cuomo this year.
Manhattan GOP Chairwoman Andrea Catsimatidis last Wednesday held a meeting with more than 15 GOP operatives for the second time in recent weeks to discuss the race.
Catsimatidis said the heavy focus was on how to use the upcoming federal corruption trials of former Cuomo aides and associates, including one set to begin next week involving long-time close aide and friend Joseph Percoco, against the governor.
Consultant O’Brien Murray, who attended the meeting and was on the wrong side of Curran’s victory over GOP candidate Jack Martins, said the Democrat hammered Martins non-stop over ties to Nassau County Republicans hit with corruption charges.
“It worked in Nassau when there wasn’t an issue about the candidate,” Murray said. “Here you have a case where the issue is right at (Cuomo’s) doorstep.”
Another consultant who attended the meeting said the discussion focused on how to ”leverage the trials to educate voters.” Ideas included running ads, even before the party picks its candidate to head the ticket. It should also be a central theme to the campaign once a candidate is selected, he said.
“The race is about Cuomo, we just need an acceptable person,” agreed GOP consultant Rob Cole.
A Democratic insider referenced Republican corruption scandals involving former Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos, upstate ex-state Sen. George Maziarz, and President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.
“New Yorkers are concerned about the Republican tax assault on New York, but if Republican consultants want to talk about Skelos, Maziaraz, and Manafort, then by all means,” the Dem said.