Carl Paladino

What’s Next For Trump’s Top Surrogates In WNY?

From the Morning Memo:

As Rep. Chris Collins left the stage following his victory speech Tuesday night, Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy gave voice to what plenty of people in the room were privately thinking about the Buffalo congressman’s future.

“He might be the Secretary of Commerce by January. Who knows?” Langworthy quipped.

Since Collins became the first sitting congressman to endorse Donald Trump for president in February, he quickly emerged as a top surrogate for the now-president-elect, making regular appearances on the cable TV news circuit and staunchly defending the nominee – even during his campaign’s darkest days. 

Now that Trump has beat the odds with his surprise victory, political observers have been speculating about what Collins might gain from his loyalty.

With his seat secure for another two years, Collins himself said he plans to be a voice in the Trump administration, but he also left the door open for a cabinet appointment – should one come his way.

Then there’s former gubernatorial candidate and mad-as-hell Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, a huge Trump supporter from Day One, who jokingly mentioned to me a few months ago that he could be a candidate for U.S. attorney for New York’s Western District. Paladino has a law degree, but hasn’t practiced in years.

The post was recently vacated by William Hochul, husband of LG Kathy Hochul, who, like most Buffalo Democrats, was a big Hillary Clinton booster.

A more likely fit for Paladino might be some sort of involvement with the U.S. Department of Education. Paladino, a Buffalo Public School board member, served as a Trump surrogate on education reform issues during the campaign.

Though he has been light on details, Trump is pushing an agenda that includes more charter schools and a voucher system for students who want to attend private schools. Those are proposals Paladino supports, but he nevertheless insists he has no formal plans to become a member of the Trump administration.

“I don’t need a job; I’m just fine,” Paladino said. “I’m not the one to sit down there and sit behind a desk. That’s not going to work for me anymore, not at this point in life.”

Paladino said he doesn’t lack for work at home in Buffalo, noting he has a stack of paperwork to catch up on at his development company after spending a good part of the past year focusing on Trump’s campaign.

Trump for NY Poll Shows A Much Closer Race In NY

From the Morning Memo:

The Trump for New York team has been critical of public polls showing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton with an overwhelming lead in the Empire State, insisting her GOP opponent, Donald Trump, is actually running a lot more competitively in the candidates’ shared home state than the conventional wisdom allows.

And now it believes it has some evidence to back up its claims.

The state campaign effort commissioned its own poll conducted by McLaughlin and Associates, a national research firm with a New York office in Blauvelt. According to that poll, 49 percent of voters said they are likely to vote for Clinton, while 38 percent said they’re with Trump.

While these numbers still represent a double digit margin for the Democratic nominee, it’s a far cry from the projected 24 point lead in the most recent Siena Poll conducted Oct. 19th.

“We want New York voters to know that New York State is in play for the Presidential election and the down ticket,” CEO John McLaughlin said.

Trump NY honorary co-chair Carl Paladino, who has long maintained the Republican candidate will win New York, took things one step further, insisting the state is indeed “in play, alive and well, and will send its electoral votes for its favorite son, Donald Trump.”

The Buffalo developer is one of Trump’s most steadfast and outspoken supporters. During a recent interview on Capital Tonight, Paladino took aim at the Siena poll, claiming the research institute is biased toward Democrats.

In a press release, McLaughlin compared his poll’s sample to the one employed in the most recent Siena poll. Both questioned approximately the same number of likely voters – 600 to 611.

The key difference though, is that McLaughlin is predicting the electorate will be 47 percent Democratic and 29 percent Republican, a 3 point difference both ways in favor of the GOP. The firm believes turnout will look more like a mid-term election in New York, with Clinton probably taking a “big hit from corruption nationally,” while “Trump’s people are energized.”

According to the McLaughlin poll, about 96 percent of people questioned were likely to vote. Before being asked who their favored candidate was, the pollster asked voters: “All things being equal, would you be more likely to vote for a candidate for president that will continue many of President Obama’s policies for the next four years or change and take the country in a new and different direction?”

The poll also focused on the supposed “hidden Trump vote” – a theory Paladino has also championed. Voters were asked if they knew anybody who planned to vote for the candidate but wasn’t telling people.

Forty percent said yes.

Paladino Not Buying Public Presidential Race Poll Results

From the Memo:

When it comes to polling, Western New York mega-Trump supporter Carl Paladino shares the same opinion as the candidate he backs. While Trump spent yesterday criticizing national polls, Paladino took a more local approach.

The most recent Siena Poll, which came out last week, showed Trump running 24 points behind Hillary Clinton. Paladino said he’s not buying that.

“We know that we’re a lot better off than the Siena poll,” the Buffalo businessman and School Board member said. “…the Siena poll has been right up the back end of (Gov.) Andrew Cuomo and all the Democrats.”

During an interview with TWC News anchor Casey Bortnick, Paladino also criticized Republican leaders who indicated last week the Empire State appears out of reach for Trump. He said that kind of talk only discourages people from voting.

“I think we’re going to see such a wave out of Upstate New York and Long Island that it’s going to overcome the liberal vote that’s going to come out of New York City,” Paladino insisted.

To back up his assertions, Paladino said local volunteers have been conducting polling of their own, surveying voters in the Erie County town of Cheektowaga – an area known for having, in his words, “blue-collar” and “hardworking” people.

According to Paladino, 44 percent of those surveyed from Cheektowaga favored Trump, while 42 percent said they were planning to vote for Hillary Clinton.

“Cheektowaga is 75 percent Democrat and the saying goes, like with Ohio back in 1965, the way Cheektowaga goes the nation goes with a presidential election,” Paladino predicted.

Paladino To Represent Trump At National Education Forum

From the memo:

Buffalo Public School Board member Carl Paladino, who continues to be a staunch defender of Donald Trump even as fellow Republicans shy away from the increasingly controversial presidential nominee, is taking to the air – literally – to represent his candidate in Florida. 

The honorary co-chair of Trump’s New York campaign will act as a surrogate for the candidate at the Council of the Great City Schools 60th annual fall conference, which is being held this week in Miami.

Paladino said more than 1,000 big city school leaders from across the country will be there. The debate, moderated by Dan Rather, will also be live-streamed at 2:30 p.m.

The Buffalo businessman will likely talk about privatizing public schools – a focus of his since becoming a school board member.

“The only solution for dysfunctional urban school districts which promote the urban cycle of poverty is to dismantle them and replace them with a competitive system based in charters, vouchers and tax credits,” Paladino said.

The surrogate for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is Mildred Otero, a former adviser for the nominee when she was a U.S. senator for New York. Otero currently is the vice-president of Leadership for Educational Equity.

The panel also includes superintendents from Miami-Dade County and Philadelphia and a school board vice president from Cincinnati.

Petition Calls For Paladino’s Removal From Buffalo Public School Board

More than 700 people have signed a petition asking Buffalo Public School Board President Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold to remove Carl Paladino from the board. The petition is in reaction to statements Paladino, the honorary co-chair of Donald Trump’s New York campaign, recently made to the Washington Post, regarding a leaked video of Donald Trump published by the Post Friday.

In the video, Trump can be heard bragging to then “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush that, as a star, women let him do anything. That included, he said, grabbing them by the genitalia (he used a more vulgar term).

Paladino told the Post Trump’s “gutter talk” was something “all men do, at least normal men.” The petitioners calling for Paladino’s removal said it’s evident not only that he condones sexual assault and rape but tries to normalize it.

They said allowing him to remain on the board makes the other members complicit.

“Paladino’s statements show a critical lack of good judgment. He does not deserve a position to make decisions about school youth and should resign immediately,” they wrote in the letter to Nevergold.

The Buffalo business man and former gubernatorial candidate, Paladino, said it’s unfair for the mainstream press to continue to dwell on Trump’s comments. He said 99 percent of the time, that kind of locker room talk is untrue or severely exaggerated.

As for the 737 people who had signed the petition as of 2 p.m. Monday, he called them “uninformed, racist types.”

“When someone wrongly accuses me of such heinous things, of course every idiot on the street will believe it and sign a petition. It doesn’t mean it’s true,” he said.


Gender Policy A Hot Topic At Buffalo Public School Board Meeting

Did you remember that Carl Paladino is a Buffalo Public School Board member? The polarizing developer and former gubernatorial candidate spent the summer helping the Trump campaign in New York, but with students preparing to go back to school, it’s back to politics at the local level.

Paladino and his fellow board members met for the first time in more than a month Wednesday evening. If he was looking for a reprieve from the controversial social topics surrounding the presidential race, he didn’t get it.

Just hours before the meeting began, the board decided to table a vote on a gender policy aimed at making district school’s more accommodating to transgender students. Paladino said the issue should not have been on the agenda because it’s still playing out in federal court.

Sunday, a judge in Texas issued a temporary injunction blocking an executive order that would’ve required public schools to allow students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity.

“A judge has issued an injuction against Obama’s rule and what (other board members) were trying to do in discussion was obey Obama’s rule. Well, Obama has been told by the court that they need to follow proper procedures. So for that reason, it probably should have been withdrawn. But we tabled it,” Paladino said.

That did not stop dozens of members of the community from speaking out about the issue at the meeting. The board changed venues to accommodate the crowd.

The district had been working with the Pride Center of WNY to form the policy.

“There was a lot of discussion tonight people were passionate. People went so far as to say that we would have on our backs the responsibility for suicide if somebody committed suicide over this. I think the passion was over the top. There’s no place for it here and the discussion basically is we have the rights of 32,000 kids and we have the rights of the few for which this is a problem and if we can’t find some other way of addressing it I don’t think it should be addressed, Paladino said.

He went on to say that he does not believe the activist who spoke out represent the opinions of many Buffalo parents. Despite Paladino’s objections to the discussion the board plans to take it up again during a committee meeting next month.

Paladino: ‘I Think (U.S. Attorney) Preet Bharara Will Stay There And Stay In That Job”

U.S Attorney for New York’s southern district, Preet Bharara, has a fan in Carl Paladino. The Buffalo businessman said he’s going to start a foundation to commission a bronze bust of the prosecutor… and he said he’s not joking.

“We’re going to place in the state capitol and I think that would be an appropriate signal to those in state government whenever they walk by it that they better behave themselves,” Paladino said.

Earlier this week, the New York Daily News wrote about how many politicos are expecting Bharara to close cases before the next President takes office. From Paladino’s perspective, there’s no hurry.

“I think Preet Bharara will stay there and stay in that job,” he said. “I don’t think he’s going to be replaced by the Trump campaign and that certainly wouldn’t be my vote if I was asked.”

The developer once had his own private law practice. He sheepishly mentioned someone had suggested to him that he could be the U.S. Attorney for the Western District.

He said he’s not jockeying for that job or any other appointment from a potential Trump White House.

“I’m not particularly interested in being the U.S. Attorney but it would probably be a very fun experience, a lot of low-hanging fruit in New York state.”


Paladino Says Trump Coming Back To Buffalo As Soon As September

The honorary co-chair of Donald Trump’s New York campaign team, Carl Paladino, is encouraging Republicans to take a drive to Erie, PA. Donald Trump will be speaking there at 2 p.m. on Friday.

“We’ve announced it to the entire state, but particularly Western New York that if you can get there, please do. I think it will be a good experience,” Paladino said.

The plans come a bit last minute, but Paladino believes Trump’s message in Pennsylvania will resonate back home.

“The issues are the same in Pennsylvania. They’re suffering the same that we are with the same progressive governments that have literally destroyed the fabric, the economic fabric of New York state,” he said.

At the same time, the Buffalo businessman is planning to bring Trump back to New York in the near future. Paladino said Trump will hit all the major cities in September or early October, just as he did during the primary season.

“We’re for sure going to do Buffalo. Buffalo will be a key location. It will be, hopefully, a weekend night when people can for sure get there,” he said.

If the Republican nominee does hold a public rally in Western New York, it will be unprecedented. Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy said he believes the last time a Republican candidate made a stop in Western New York during the general election was 32 years ago.

President Reagan dedicated the Santa Maria Towers and spoke at a luncheon on September 12, 1984. That election was also the last time a Republican won New York.

Paladino insisted the state is not only in play again this year, but that Trump will win it.

“New York has never been a battleground state because it’s been so blue, but I think the blue is shading over to red right now and times are changing,” he said.

In December of last year, Paladino promised to bring Trump to Buffalo before New York’s April 19th primary and “fill the arena.” On April 18th, the candidate spoke before more than 11,000 people at First Niagara Center.

Paladino said he’s planning something similar this time.

“It’s going to be an arena event,” he said. “If we can count on the weather and no rain, we’d even take the football stadium but I’m not sure we can count on that.”

Paladino Says Questionable Loretta Lynch Tweet Was a Mistake

Carl Tweet
Former gubernatorial candidate and Donald Trump mega-supporter Carl Paladino is no stranger to accusations of racism. Two months ago, I wrote a blog detailing some of that history.

So when this tweet surfaced on Paladino’s Twitter account Wednesday morning referencing United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch, an African-American woman…

Let’s just say his critics weren’t ready to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Paladino said it was a mistake though, and one for which he wasn’t even directly responsible. He said it was his assistant who sent out the tweet.

“It was well-intended. We are novices learning how to tweet. My assistant thought that was the way to direct the tweet at Lynch,” he said.

The Buffalo business man said they realized something was wrong when media started calling and deleted it.

Paladino is the honorary co-chair of Trump’s New York State campaign. He says he’s not heard anything from the campaign about the tweet.

Of course, the candidate himself has been accused of tweeting bigoted content throughout his campaign, most recently an image of the Star of David.


Bipartisan Support For Tea Party Activist Charged With Voter Fraud

Western New York Tea Party activist Rus Thompson was arraigned on voter fraud charges in State Supreme Court Thursday. At the recommendation of his attorney, Thompson isn’t commenting on the case but he has plenty of people speaking on his behalf.

Among the most vocal was former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino. Thompson is accused of voting in the Town of Grand Island during the last three elections, even though he was a resident of Niagara Falls.

Paladino had no interest in arguing Thompson innocence Thursday.

“I’m here primarily because I have a severe disagreement with the Erie County district attorney over the way they’re handling this matter. I think it’s overkill,” he said.

Thompson’s attorney, Tom Eoannou, said the district attorney’s office offered them a terrible plea deal, the highest felony he’s accused of with the option to request state prison. Paladino believed his friend should’ve been offered a misdemeanor to be adjourned in contemplation of dismissal.

“If a man can’t use his good judgment on something like this, how is he going to use his good judgment in the future in the other cases that he’s supposedly going to handle,” he said.

It’s not just Republicans coming to the Tea Partier’s defense. Current Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray, a Democrat, was also at the arraignment.

“Everybody knows Rus on Grand Island. He is part of that community. Does it make sense to try to put this man in jail for years because he voted in a place that he believed is his home and that everybody sees him as part of,” he said.

Thompson’s friends said he was evicted from his rental home in Grand Island last year for political reasons. Acting DA Michael Flaherty said he received the complaint from the Erie County Board of Elections.

“They brought it to us and we were under an obligation because I promised the citizens, I promised the citizens that I would take seriously allegations of election law violation and we did. I don’t care what his enrollment is. I don’t care who he is and who his friends are,” he said.

Eoannou said these kinds of charges have only been prosecuted in New York five times since the 1800’s. He plans to ask the judge to dismiss the case for selective prosecution.

“We’ll ask the court to take a long hard look as to not only why this prosecution was brought but why you would afford, recently, murderers reduced pleas, but not Rus Thompson,” he said.

If it does go to trial, he said although Thompson wasn’t technically allowed to vote where he did, he believes the law is unclear. If convicted, Thompson could receive up to four years in prison, but there’s no mandatory term of incarceration.