Joey Saladino — a controversial Youtuber known for urinating into his own mouth — has ended his bid for southern Brooklyn’s congressional seat to back a fellow Republican candidate, he announced on Thursday.
“Six months ago, there were no true Conservative / Pro-Trump candidates running in NY-11. Gun grabber, Never-Trump Nicole Malliotakis was the only option- and that was just unacceptable to me,” Saladino wrote in a Facebook post. “But in the last month, that has changed. A new candidate decided to join the race, Joe Caldarera.”
The 26-year-old internet personality announced his bid for the congressional seat — which encompasses part of southern Brooklyn and Staten Island — in May, and spent the last several months drawing heated opinions for his outrageous social media stunts.
For example, the Youtube prankster — who goes by the name “Joey Salads” online — staged a viral video in October when he attended a Bernie Sanders rally in Queens, and confronting attendees about whether they would house an undocumented immigrant.
Saladino has also been recorded donning a Nazi outfit — complete with numerous swastikas — for a “prank.”
But most infamously, Saladino went viral for peeing into his mouth for a provocative internet video — although he claims he “never swallowed.”
But his political fun came to an end on Dec. 13, when Saladino announced that he’d drop out of the race to back former Brooklyn prosecutor Joe Caldarera — a fellow Staten Islander whose values align closely with Saladino’s, according to Saladino’s campaign manager.
“Both of them are young south shore guys. They’re both Italian Catholics,” said Adam Kordeniwski. “Just looking at it, it would’ve split the vote too much.”
Caldarera — a staunch Republican and Trump supporter — didn’t respond to comment on whether or not he welcomed Saladino’s endorsement, but Saladino’s aide said the internet star’s infamy is undoubtedly an asset for any campaign.
“There’s this attitude in politics that controversies are bad, but he’s used it to his advantage,” said Kordeniwski. “You have to have a little bit of an edge on you in order to stay in the news.”
Saladino’s exit from the June 2020 Republican primary campaign leaves Caldarera to face Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis for the party nod to run in the 11th District’s general election.
The District is currently represented by Congressman Max Rose, a Democrat who won the seat in 2018 during a wave election for the left-leaning party. Prior to that election, the area was solidly Republican — having voted heavily for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential election.
As a whole, Staten Island has only sent two Democrats to congress in the last 30 years — including Rose.
Whoever wins the Republican nomination will face-off against Rose in Nov. 3, 2020 — on the same day that Americans vote for President.
The District 11 race continued to heat up on Friday, when Rose announced his support for the impeachment of President Trump — after initially hesitating to support the impeachment inquiry.
“A President coercing a foreign government into targeting American citizens is not just another example of scorched earth politics, it serves as an invitation to the enemies of the United States to come after any citizen, so long as they disagree with the President,” Rose said in a statement.
The position caused a new wave of outrage among the district’s Republicans, who used the stance to align Rose with Democratic-Socialist candidates like Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and fellow New York City Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“His words send a clear message to Staten Island and southern Brooklyn & next November we’ll send a clear message back by voting for [Donald Trump] & sending Rose packing,” tweeted Assemblywoman Malliotakis.