Picente Responds To Intimidation and Thuggery Claims From Rochester Assemblyman
Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente refuted and dismissed accusations of 'thuggery' and political intimidation which were lobbed against him Monday by Rochester-area Assemblyman Bill Nojay.
Appearing on the daily radio show of New York Post columnist Fred Dicker on the Albany area's Talk 1300 (click here for an audio podcast of the show - Mon 2/29/16), Nojay accused the Republican county exec. of 'orchestrating' the Oneida County GOP Committee's endorsement of Madison County businessman Steve Wells, over New Hartford's Claudia Tenney - an Oneida County native, herself a sitting state assemblywoman. Nojay alleged that Picente 'by all accounts' spent the week leading upto the vote 'twisting arms' and 'squeezing county employees', while calling Picente a 'Rino, who is in bed with Andrew Cuomo, and is not a Republican by most measures', especially compared to Claudia, Nojay said.
Dicker, at one point, also labeled Oneida County Republicans as being 'notoriously in the tank' for Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo.
'Some of this isn't even worth responding to,' Picente said on WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning on Tuesday, however, he did say he lobbied in favor of Wells' endorsement by the county committee.
'Absolutely [I did]' Picente said, 'and there's nothing wrong with that. He said I spent the whole week twisting arms and going to town committees, which is really laughable.'
Regarding Picente's public endorsement of Cuomo's re-election bid two years ago, the county executive said 'it's like they're breaking [news of it] for the first time. Move on. I never forced the county committee, or any county Republicans to do anything or support Andrew Cuomo. That was a decision I made on my own, by myself, for myself and for the betterment of this county. They can stir around all the pots and say that this was a Cuomo move, that's ridiculous. And, you can ask (Oneida Co. GOP Chair) Pete Sobel that.'
When asked if there would be any committee members who would come forward to claim they had been threatened by Picente if they did not support Wells:
'I'm not even going to dignify that with an answer,' Picente responded.
Referring to Nojay, 'I guess it must be an awful thing to a be a Republican Assemblyman, that you don't have anything to do all day other than go on the radio...and take the airwaves and beat up people that you don't even know,' Picente said.
'The real point here is that Steve Wells is a businessman, a successful businessman, and yes he did contribute [to Cuomo], as Donald Trump admitted to contributing to Democrats himself...but [Wells] is also the chairman of the state Republican committee', saying Wells had worked tirelessly in previous elections to get Republicans John Katko and Elise Stefanik elected to congress.
And, when asked about the criticism of supporting someone from outside the county, Picente said:
'Would I have preferred to have someone that I could have supported from Oneida County? Of course. There were other candidates out there that I was interested in and would have supported had they chosen to run, people like Ray Meier and Joe Griffo and others. But, I've been clear, I couldn't support someone who has done nothing for this area other than criticize that which others worked so hard to accomplish,' he said.