NEW YORK (TIP): Upstate Republicans continued to abandon support for Dean Skelos staying on as majority leader, with Monroe County Chairman Bill Reilich announcing in a statement that he could no longer support the Nassau County lawmaker.
“Now is not the time to have someone leading the NYS Senate who cannot give their full time and attention to the matters at hand,” Reilich said. “I believe that Senator Skelos should step down from his leadership position until this matter is brought to a conclusion. I feel this action would be in the best interest of all of our residents and taxpayers.”
The statement makes him the latest Republican county chair to call on Skelos to step aside as majority leader as he fights federal corruption charges. Erie County Chairman Nick Langworthy has previously called on Skelos to resign, while the most significant downstate Republican to do so has been Suffolk’s John Jay LaValle.
Skelos’s office on Wednesday night released a statement backed by 16 Senate Republicans affirming their support for the embattled majority leader.
Still, there are at least seven Republican members in the GOP conference who are publicly calling on Skelos to resign as their leader.
The latest is Sen. Kathy Marchione, a Republican who represents much of the area that was the old district of Skelos’s predecessor, Joe Bruno.
In an interview, Marchione said she decided to call on Skelos to step aside after she was asked to sign on to the statement.
“Last night when asked about a letter to be signing on to strongly support the senator, I realized this was not going to be something we could work around,” she said.
Marchione added that Skleos’s legal problems have become too much of a distraction for the chamber.
“I think it’s getting to that point where he has to think about the good conference,” she said. “I believe he has been thinking about the good of conference.”