Despite efforts by the GOP leadership to dissuade him, Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino said this morning he intends to go forward with his plan to petition his way into a primary with Rick Lazio and also establish an independent, Tea Party-esque line for the general election.


In his typical no-holds-barred style, Paladino pulled no punches when it came to criticism of the political establishment, doling out some choice words for everyone from Lazio to AG Andrew Cuomo to state Chairman Ed Cox and even Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Paladino called Lazio a “good man,” but then slammed him for accepting a $1.2 million Wall Street bonus from JP Morgan, which received TARP bailout cash.

He predicted Lazio would lose the Conservative primary to Erie County Conservative Chairman Ralph Lorigo (whom Paladino is assisting), because he lacks the “pro-life, pro-gun” principles the party holds dear.

He then played an excerpt of a 2004 radio show that Cuomo and Lazio co-hosted, lavishing praise on one another and (oddly) discussing shoes. Paladino called Cuomo and Lazio “two career politicians who together crashed our economy.”

“We’re going to challenge everything that Mr. Cuomo has done in his past,” Paladino said.

“We’re going to reveal this freight train of smelly garbage that he carries around behind him.”

While insisting that he won’t be a spoiler in the general election, Paladino said he will spent $500,000 to collect some 30,000 signatures to get onto the ballot.

He accused Cox of plotting to scuttle his petition-gathering effort, and said he received this information from former LG-turned-governor candidate Myers Mermel.

Paladino suggested Cox should step down from his chairmanship to go work on the congressional campaign of his son, Chris, and also teach his son to be “a better man, somebody who’s not so spoiled.”

Or, perhaps Cox ought to go back to school himself, Paladino said, for “a lesson in loyalty,” adding:

“Here he was given the honor of being the state chair and he went out and did his own personal thing with that …for himself and his son.”

Paladino again defended his decision to hire GOP operative John Haggerty to run his petition drive, despite the fact that Haggerty is under investigation by the Manhattan DA’s office.

He said Haggerty is “good at his job,” noting it was Haggerty’s “genius” that led to his self-nomination at the convention yesterday when it became clear he would be denied the right to address the crowd.

Paladino scolded the press for asking questions about Haggerty, and used the opportunity to turn the attention to Silver, saying:

“We know that Sheldon Silver is a criminal; we already know that. Nobody seems to be prosecuting him.”

The candidate also directed some of his criticism at former US Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, saying the lawmaker-turned-lobbyist is “in bed with Andrew Cuomo” and backed Lazio for governor at the AG’s urging because he knows Lazio is too weak to beat Cuomo.