Kristin Davis, the ex-Manhattan madam turned third-party gubernatorial candidate in New York, and her campaign strategist Roger Stone, the Republican operative who has informally advised Carl Paladino, expressed their disappointment with Paladino's antigay remarks.
Davis allegedly supplied female escorts to former governor Eliot
Spitzer, who resigned in 2008 over a prostitution scandal. This past
summer she qualified for the ballot
as the candidate of the new Anti-Prohibition Party, which she hopes to
turn into a permanent political force if she can garner at least 50,000
votes November 2.
"I find Mr. Paladino's comments appalling and wrong," Davis said in a statement to The Advocate. "To say that being gay is 'not an equally valid option' to anyone reinforces an environment of hate. Enough of the hate! Being who you are, regardless of race, gender or sexual preference, is the only option and should be embraced as a matter of equality. I also think Paladino's opposition to marriage equality is the wrong direction for the people of New York."
Stone, who told The Advocate that he spoke with Paladino Sunday night after news of the comments broke, said he was "very disappointed" in Paladino, an unpredictable Tea Party favorite who opposed marriage equality but seemed to be running on an economic platform, at least until recently.
"It is clear that my advice is having no impact," said Stone, who added that Paladino has a gay nephew whom the candidate welcomed into his campaign. "I just can't imagine why he would go out and do this. I strongly disagree with it. It's inconsistent with any of the advice I have given his campaign."
On Sunday, Paladino spoke with ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders in
Brooklyn, where he reiterated his opposition to marriage equality and
said that children should not be "brainwashed" into believing that homosexuality is acceptable. He also slammed Democratic candidate Andrew Cuomo for attending the gay pride parade this year.
According to Stone, Paladino read directly from remarks prepared for him by the rabbis hosting the campaign event. The candidate changed some but not all of the speech, as evident in the video from WNYC reporter Azi Paybarah.
"I don't understand why you would in this case read a statement handed to you by a group of rabbis," said Stone. "They gave him suggested remarks that he changed. He took out some of the suggested remarks but not all of them."
Davis, the only woman in the race, will join a debate with other gubernatorial candidates October 18. She took the Paladino controversy as an opportunity to promote herself as the best choice for marriage equality, even compared to Cuomo, the front-runner.
"I don't believe that there are any real pro-gay and lesbian equality candidates for the people of New York, except for myself," her statement read. "Andrew Cuomo says he supports gay marriage but when the bill was on the NY state senate floor he was asked to call six undecided senators and he declined. I marched in the gay pride parade and I didn't see any other candidates marching along side with me."
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