By FREDRIC U. DICKER
AN INFLUENTIAL GOP leader wants a prominent Republican Party consultant fired for allegedly working to help a Democrat defeat an upstate Republican congressman.
The extraordinary demand was made over the weekend by Saratoga County GOP Chairman Jasper Nolan, a prominent upstate GOP leader.
He says consultant Patrick McCarthy, a former executive director of the party and a close political ally of Gov. Pataki, is trying to undermine incumbent Rep. John Sweeney.
Sweeney, a former GOP executive director, has been highly critical of Pataki's leadership.
Sweeney, a Saratoga County resident and close political ally of Mayor Bloomberg and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, has told friends he believes that Pataki himself approved of McCarthy's alleged efforts to help his Democratic opponent, Kirsten Gillibrand.
Gillibrand is the daughter of Albany lawyer/lobbyist Doug Rutnik, a longtime fixture at the state GOP headquarters and the significant other of Zenia Mucha, the Walt Disney Company exec who was once one of Pataki's top political advisers.
"Doug Rutnik's daughter is not going to challenge Sweeney without Pataki's OK," said one of the state's most prominent Republicans.
Nolan made his demand over the weekend in a stinging letter to state GOP Chairman Stephen Minarik, a copy of which was obtained by The Post.
"I am deeply concerned to learn a paid consultant for our party was recently spotted having dinner at an Albany restaurant with the announced 2006 Democratic opponent of Congressman John Sweeney," Nolan wrote.
"This is an outrageous development, and I respectfully request that Mr. McCarthy be removed from the Republican Party payroll immediately.
". . . He should be replaced by someone who is committed to defeating Democrats and not to aiding and abetting those who seek to defeat incumbent Republicans like our congressman."
McCarthy, who was once Pataki's chief patronage dispenser and is now a lobbyist with the politically wired Patricia Lynch Associates, is paid $25,000 a year as a part-time consultant to the state GOP.
He told The Post that he'd merely had "a couple of sodas" with Rutnik and his daughter.
"I have nothing to do with that effort at all," he insisted, saying that Rutnik was a longtime family friend and that the meeting was strictly social.
But others familiar with the situation said they believe that McCarthy was an informal adviser to Democrat Gillibrand as part of Pataki's effort to retaliate against Sweeney, who has publicly blamed the governor for a long string of GOP defeats.