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Carl Paladino speaks to reporters in the lobby at Trump Tower on Dec. 5, 2016, in New York.
Carl Paladino speaks to reporters in the lobby at Trump Tower on Dec. 5, 2016, in New York.Drew Angerer / Getty Images file

Paladino, Langworthy jockey for Trump ties on the airwaves

The former president looms large over this primary between his 2016 state campaign chairman and the New York Republican Party chairman.

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The two top Republicans squaring off in the Republican-leaning New York 23rd District primary are both up on the airwaves trying to tie themselves to former President Donald Trump less than a week before their primary.

While Trump hasn't endorsed in the race yet, the two candidates have made it clear they're both running to be "Trump Republicans."

Carl Paladino, who was Trump's 2016 state campaign chairman, evokes Trump in a new ad that shows him with Trump's arm around him. And the spot also attacks Nick Langworthy, his primary opponent and the state GOP chairman, for being a "career politician," putting his photo up next to a separate one of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Langworthy's new ad starts by referencing Trump's criticism of the recent FBI search of his Florida home related to possible concerns about handing classified material. Going onto criticize Paladino for making donations to New York Democrats in the past (including then Sen. Hillary Clinton), Langworthy's ad references Trump's support for him to lead the state party with numerous photos, and narration saying that "When President Trump needed a conservative fighter, he called on Nick Langworthy to lead the state Republican Party."

Those references to Trump's support during his bid for state party chairman have drawn criticism from Paladino allies. But Langworthy's camp told Politico recently that the comments were specific to his chairman bid and put in the proper context.