Thursday is primary day across the state and down in Queens, the question of marriage has divided two Republicans vying for the right to take on an incumbent Democratic senator in November. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman reports.
NEW YORK STATE -- In the final days leading up to the Thursday state legislative primary, Republican candidates who supported the legalization of same-sex marriage or deemed sympathetic to the law are being hit with anti-gay mailers, which in turn drew a sharp rebuke from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Giuliani said, “I find these attacks, these gay bashing attacks, childish, silly and real indication that you don't belong in public service. That you belong, I don't know, do something else.”
Giuliani endorsed Republican Eric Ulrich, a Queens Senate candidate who faces Juan Reyes, who worked in the mayor’s administration in the 1990s. Reyes had said he thought the former mayor would stay neutral, but a mailer set this week that criticizes Ulrich for hiring gay staffers and being friendly with a gay politician went too far for him.
“After seeing what his campaign has done, which is disgusting,” Giuliani said. “Juan doesn't belong in politics.”
But Ulrich isn't the only candidate facing attacks. Senator Mark Grisanti, a Buffalo Republican who backed the measure in June 2011, has been hit with two anti-gay ads, mailers that those in both parties have called homophobic.
Senators Roy McDonald and Stephen Saland, the other GOP lawmakers who backed the law running for re-election, also face primary challenges from socially conservative candidates.
“We'll know on Friday. We'll know if some of those Republicans might have guess wrong, guessed politically, but maybe they thought it was the right thing to do.,” Quinnipiac University spokesman Mickey Carroll said.
Democratic incumbents, too, are facing primary challenges on Thursday. Albany Senator Neil Breslin will square off against County Legislator Shawn Morse, who is supported by the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference. But Breslin received the endorsement from popular Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is officially backing only a handful of Democratic lawmakers for Thursday's primary.
Carroll said, “You know, coattails, endorsements, support, hard to say. I've always thought that it doesn't make much difference.”