“I will turn Albany up-side down and take out the trash,” promises Carl Paladino who faces Rick Lazio in Tuesday’s primary to determine the Republican NY gubernatorial candidate.
The 64 year old was down 43-30 according to the Siena College poll just a month ago. Now that same poll shows he trails Lazio 43-42, a statistical dead heat.
Buffalo native Paladino is a self-made multi-millionaire and describes himself as a “businessman”, an “outsider” who is “mad as hell” at the “ruling class” which he derides as “obscene cowards” who hear “the thunder of a revolution down the road.”
He claims Republican, Conservative and Tea Party labels and has pledged to use $10-million of his own estimated $150-million net worth to win the governor’s seat.
And if he gets there? He pledges to reduce state taxes by 10 per cent and the size of government by 20 percent. He will chop $10-billion out of the NYS Medicaid budget. This he notes will bring NY to California’s level of Medicaid expense. NY is now highest in the country. As for a mosque near ground zero Paladino calls it “an affront and an insult” which he would stop by “any legal means necessary.”
The New York Times doesn’t like any of this and last week endorsed Lazio referring to Paladino’s ideas as “clownish”. However in that same editorial the gray lady admitted things are so bad that with a couple of exceptions their best advice was to vote against all state legislative incumbents.
Whoever wins will face Andrew Cuomo. Either Republican would from the conservative view point be much preferrable to Cuomo. But Paladino’spugnacity promises the far more interesting campaign. Cuomo is an unabashed liberal/progressive. He too promises reform, but carefully omits mention of New York’s public service unions who support him.
Paladino has been attacked because some of his real estate is leased to the state and for e-mails containing racial and sexist jokes. Instead of being cowed Paladino runs ads dismissive of such items as distractions from his reform candidacy.
The latest poll shows Palladino most popular with upstate Republicans while Lazio gets the GOP majority in NYC and suburbs. However Paladino has recently campaigned on Staten Island indicating his campaign thinks he can pick up votes in the midst of Lazio territory. At any rate the latest poll shows the momentum with the candidate who like a lot of New Yorkers is “mad as hell.”