Democratic State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr.–who is running for re-election on both the Republican ticket and the Democratic one–wants to clear the air about a few things.
“They are not organizing it,” Diaz told me. “They never organized nothing for me.” Diaz said his paid fund-raiser for the event is Anne Noonan, and that he is calling contributors himself.
Diaz also said of the party, “I’ve been there when they needed me,” and added that he contributed money to help his conference pick up seats. Diaz said he gave $5,000 to Craig Johnson’s race on Long Island, and $2,000 to help elect David Valesky upstate. The State Board of Elections web site shows a $5,000 donation from Diaz to the state Democratic Campaign Committee on January 23, 2007. (Johnson’s election day was in February).
In defense of his cozy relationship with Republicans, Diaz recalled the 2005 mayoral election, when Democrat Fernando Ferrer opposed (then) Republican Michael Bloomberg.
“Half of the Democratic senators went against Ferrer, including Malcolm Smith,” Diaz said. “I’m not saying I’m going to go against Smith, but I am saying that people have done it before.” He added, “Where were all these Democrats when Fernando Ferrer needed them?”
Diaz also noted that in 2002 the union 1199 SEIU supported Republican George Pataki against Democrat Carl McCall.
UPDATE: When asked for comment, Smith’s office referred the request to political consultant Doug Forand, who declined to comment.