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Paladino launches petition drive to challenge Lazio in Republican primary

WBFO News File Photo
Carl Paladino

By Mark Scott


Buffalo, NY – Rejected by his party's leaders, Carl Paladino Thursday said he'll launch a multimillion-dollar petition drive to take on Rick Lazio in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

The Buffalo developer said he would use some of the $10 million he's promising to spend on his campaign to collect enough signatures to force a Republican primary. Paladino's announcement came as Republicans sought to unify the party behind Lazio after a bruising floor fight Wednesday.

Lazio decisively beat Paladino, denying him the 25 percent of delegates needed to automatically force a primary.

Paladino said he was promised a chance to speak to delegates before the vote, but had to resort to nominating himself as the only chance to address the convention.

"I thought guys in construction were cuthroat," Paladino said. "Some county chairmen here make these guys look like Girl Scouts."

Paladino said Republican leaders are already fighting his petition drive. He says Republicans and Democrats are in collusion to protect an Albany dynasty that benefits political insiders. Paladino described Andrew Cuomo as a liberal Democrat who is trying to say he's a conservative.

"The real demons are here in Albany right now led by Andrew Cuomo," Paladino said.

Lee Miringoff of the Marist College poll said Paladino could pull off a primary win by tapping into voter anger at established politicians. Miringoff said of the primary, "It's not a foregone conclusion at all."