Carl Paladino takes tea party to Andrew Cuomo in NY governor race
Carl Paladino, a millionaire Buffalo developer, rode a wave of conservative tea party anger on his way to delivering another blow to the GOP in a heavily Democratic state. Paladino takes on Andrew Cuomo in the November election.
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After speaking for about 15 minutes, Paladino led the crowd in an a capella version of "God Bless America."Skip to next paragraph
Gallery Primary Day 09/14
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Democratic Gov. David Paterson defended Cuomo, saying others tried to "take a baseball bat" to Albany "but ended up with a broken bat." He said Cuomo would work hard and is not "one who sits on a lead or think he's annointed."
Lazio wouldn't say if he would abandon a Conservative run for governor on the line he won Tuesday night. But such an effort hasn't been mounted for decades.
"We came up short and that is a disappointment," Lazio said in Manhattan. He said he embraces Paladino's platform of fiscal reform and that he wants to "be part of that effort ... and this campaign continues in terms of the ideas and the spirit."
Paladino overcame early criticism and ridicule over sexist and racist e-mail jokes he once forwarded to friends and his description of the Democratic Assembly leader as being like an anti-Christ. Some of his promised programs also were critically received, such as renovating prisons to provide jobs and "life lessons" including personal hygiene habits to welfare recipients, an idea he patterns after the New Deal's Civilian Conservation Corps.
State Republican Chairman Ed Cox, who had backed two candidates before embracing Paladino, called Paladino a tough competitor who would make a good governor.
Lazio hadn't conceded and was awaiting returns from all of Long Island, his base when he was a congressman. He was trounced upstate, where in his 2000 race for U.S. Senate against Hillary Rodham Clinton he made the mistake of saying the region's economy had "turned the corner."
Paladino lost to Lazio at the state GOP convention but then petitioned his way to the primary by securing 30,000 Republican signatures statewide.
"I don't know if he wins if he'd beat Cuomo, but I hope he does," said Kenneth Bray, a 54-year-old woodworker from Buffalo. Bray's goal: "Getting rid of the bums in Albany."
Paladino does little to follow traditional politics, bucking party bosses along the way. He has courted tea party activists angry over high taxes and the major political parties.
Cuomo has a better than 2-to-1 edge in the polls over Paladino and more than $23 million in his campaign account. Paladino has promised to spend up to $10 million in the whole campaign, but has spent just a fraction of that so far in his underdog effort.
In an unusual turn, Lazio's running mate for lieutenant governor, Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards, defeated Paladino's choice of Tom Ognibene of Queens. That gives the Republican a narrow geographic flavor, with both candidates from western New York.
Associated Press Writer Carolyn Thompson in Buffalo contributed to this report.