2010 Gov Race

Paladino Calls Paul Ryan And His Trump Endorsement ‘Irrelevant’

Despite his endorsement of Donald Trump on Thursday, a boisterous Trump supporter didn’t back off of his criticism of House Speaker Paul Ryan.  Just a day after blasting Ryan in an email, former GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino didn’t seem impressed with the Wisconsin Republican’s change of heart.

“I said he’s a yellow-bellied coward in my memo,” Paladino said.

Ryan refused to endorse Trump even after his remaining GOP rivals exited the race.  He previously cited conservative principles as the reason for keeping Trump at arm’s length.

“For a man who didn’t show many conservative values when he took a bunch of RINO Republicans and joined the Democrats in voting in an omnibus spending bill for a trillion dollars that (President) Obama wanted,” said Paladino.

Paladino scoffed at establishment and conservative Republican opposition to his preferred candidate. He even defended Trump’s efforts to appeal to moderate and independent voters.

“If you’re way over to the right you’re not going to get elected,” Paladino said.

That statement is a bit of a departure from the Paladino we’ve come to expect. The Buffalo businessman described his 2010 gubernatorial campaign and his continued involvement in state politics as a continued effort to drag the state Republican party to the right.

“These days you have to be 100 percent conservative or we’re going to vote for the liberal?  What’s wrong with these people?” asked Paladino.

Ryan announced Thursday he would be voting for Trump.  He said a Trump presidency would aid the House majority in implementing its agenda.

Paladino called Ryan, and his “half-hearted” endorsement, irrelevant.

“Finally he comes out today and says he’s going to vote for him?  He didn’t want to give a full endorsement.  It’s like make up your mind buddy.  Obviously he’s not going to be a great statesman,” Paladino added

McMillan Calls It Quits

Hofstra University Hosts New York Gubernatorial DebateJimmy McMillan, the erstwhile gubernatorial and presidential candidate, is “walking away” from the Rent Is Too Damn High movement, he said in a statement released on Tuesday evening.

At the same time, McMillan said he is selling the trademark for his political party, movement and catchphrase.

McMillan came to national attention as a political novelty for his performance in a 2010 gubernatorial debate, which was subsequently lampooned on Saturday Night Live.

“I am walking away because I have know (sic) other choice the people have ignored my warning and my cry for help that the rent crisis was getting worse,” McMillan said in the statement. “The kind of help they cannot get from not one elected official, not the Governor neither Mayor can give them.”

The gloves-wearing, bespectacled and side-burns sporting McMillan did not run for governor in 2014, but did launch a short-lived campaign for president in 2012.

Press Release Quit by Nick Reisman

Paladino: ‘I’m Not Trying To Be Relevant’

When Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino announced he was running for the Buffalo Public School Board, more than a few political observers found the idea laughable. A year after easily winning a seat on the board, few are still laughing.

“One of the criticisms of Carl Paladino when he was running for governor was that he didn’t have a good understanding of the ins and outs of government and parliamentary procedure. I think a lot of people have watched what he’s done on the school board and have been impressed,” said Democratic Strategist Jack O’Donnell.

Paladino was adamant he never intended to use the Buffalo Public School Board as a way to remain visible in the public eye, but admits it may have been an unintended consequence.

“The press is always looking for a motive. I don’t need to stay relevant. I’m not here to learn about educational techniques. I’m not looking to hold a higher office. I don’t need that. I’m 67-years-old I just want to help this community,” Paladino said.

Others who’ve tried to their hand at Western New York politics are hoping to follow in Paladino’s footsteps. Former Buffalo Mayoral Candidates Bernie Tolbert and Sergio Rodriguez are seeking a seat on the school board in May.

Paladino believes they plan to use the board as a stepping stone to something else.

“It’s probably true. I don’t think either one of them will be relevant in the future,” said Paladino.

Whether or not Paladino is still relevant depends on who you ask, of course. But there are few people who have been written off as many times and still continue to make headlines.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt his voice is still relevant,” O’Donnell said.

Besides all things Buffalo School Board-related, Paladino is using whatever influence he has to rally support behind a potential Donald Trump gubernatorial bid.

“He’s the number one brand in America and I think he could defeat Andrew Cuomo,” Paladino said.

Even before the effort to “Draft Trump” was launched, Paladino threatened to challenge any GOP candidate on the Conservative line if they didn’t call for the removal of the State Senate’s top Republican, Dean Skelos, and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb.

“Republicans and Conservatives statewide are still talking to or talking about Carl Paladino. There are a lot people who underestimate or don’t listen to him at their own peril,” said O’Donnell.

Paladino’s continued popularity in certain circles has allowed him to put pressure on State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino to get out of Trump’s way.

“Astorino is a good man and he’d a make a good governor, but getting there is the problem. Winning is the problem. Having the name recognition, and having the money it’s just not there,” Paladino said.

For Paladino it’s more about dragging the Republican Party and ultimately the state to the political right than it is about being governor. Four years after his upset win in the GOP Primary, Paladino believes he still has unfinished business.

“We haven’t seen the change I envisioned. All we’ve seen is the same old nonsense from Cuomo.  If you ask in this state if their lives are better than they were four years ago I think they’ll tell you no,” Paladino said.

While Governor Cuomo’s polling numbers remain strong, Paladino says Cuomo is vulnerable on issues like the NY SAFE Act, and hydrofracking.

“He’s deprived the entire Upstate population, the Southern Tier population, of an economic opportunity for no good reason Thirty-seven states drill, 36 frack.  There’s no reason that we shouldn’t frack.  Inciting the people into worrying about their water table getting infected, it’s all nonsense,” Paladino added.

Paladino has never been afraid to speak his mind or “ruffle people’s feathers.”  It’s a quality that his supporters love, and his detractors hate.

“It works both ways.  There are those who argue Carl has turned the school board into a circus.  It’s all in the eye of the beholder,” O’Donnell said.

And, if you’re one of those who is tired of seeing Paladino on TV, or seeing his name in print, he says don’t blame him.

“I never wanted to be relevant.  I never call the press.  The press calls me,” Paladino added.

Dueling Robos From Cuomo, Paladino In 145th AD

The 145th AD special election has turned into a redux of sorts of the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, pitting a Democrat backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo against a fellow Democrat (running on the GOP line) supported by Cuomo’s defeated foe, Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino.

Paladino, who sat down with me at the GOP convention Friday for his first extended TV interview since his loss to Cuomo, is determined to keep his hand in NYS politics. While he’s not running himself, Paladino remainds mad as hell and hell bent on teaching his perceived enemies in Albany a lesson – including the four GOP senators who voted “yes” on same-sex marriage and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.

Earlier today, I posted a robocall Cuomo recorded on behalf of Chris Fahey, an aide to Rep. Brian Higgins who is running for former Assemblyman Marc Schroeder’s seat in a special election tomorrow. A WNY source just sent me a dueling call Paladino recorded for his favorite in the race, Common Council Member Michael “Mickey” Kearns.

Here’s the script of the Paladino call, which was sent to 145 prime Republican and Conservative voters today:

“Hi, it’s Carl Paladino. If you’re fed up with the status quo, it’s important for you to vote for Mickey Kearns for the 145th Assembly District on Tuesday.”

“On Sheldon Silver’s watch, our state has fallen into tragic decline. With intimidation, illusion and theater, Silver has made a mockery of the Assembly, pandered to public employee unions and expanded entitlement programs, inviting every Tom, Dick and Harry to climb on the backs of our taxpayers, costing us jobs and higher taxes.”

“Silver is afraid that Mickey Kearns will disrupt the status quo in his caucus. And he’s doing everything he can to stop Mickey. Silver already bought Chris Fahey as his puppet with a $150,000 campaign contribution. Help us send Silver a clear message that his reign and Albany corruption will end.”

“Help us take back our state. Vote for Mickey Kearns.”

Cuomo And More Power For AG, A Gray Area

CapCon’s Jimmy Vielkind has a fascinating article in today’s TU about a dispute between AG Eric Schneiderman and Gov. Andrew Cuomo over expanding the AG’s power to probe public corruption.

It pretty much boils down to this: Schneiderman, through intermediaries, reportedly tried to get Cuomo to use his executive power to issue a so-called “blanket referral” that would give the AG subpoena power in corruption cases.

That’s something Schneiderman does not currently have on his own, though he has teamed up with state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli (another Democrat with a tricky, and sometimes contentious, relationship with Cuomo) and can piggyback on his power in certain instances.

The Cuomo camp, which denies anyone connected to Schneiderman ever made such an ask, argues that even if the governor wanted to expand the power of the office he used to hold, he couldn’t do so because acting unilaterally through executive order would be illegal.

Cuomo’s former top aide, Steve Cohen, (to whom, incidentally, the Schneiderman appeal was reportedly made through the AG’s top aide, Neal Kwatra), argued the following in a Nov. 26, 2010 response to a NY Times OpEd calling for the governor to empower Schneiderman:

“(C)alling for Governor-elect Andrew M. Cuomo to immediately and unilaterally empower the attorney general to investigate the Legislature is, I believe, wrong on the law and misguided in approach.”

“…In truth, what New York needs is wholesale reform of its ethics laws, not a jerry-rigged solution. This state is more likely to get real reform if the governor-elect can build consensus with the Legislature, rather than attacking it on Day 1 with an illegal proposal. We should all know by now that steamrollers don’t work in Albany.”

“Also, the governor does not have the legal authority to broadly delegate prosecution of corruption in the Legislature to the attorney general. The governor does, however, have legal options if the Legislature fails to act by passing real reform. For example, under the Moreland Act the governor could appoint a commission to investigate corruption.”

(That “steamroller” reference is, of course, a swipe at former Gov. Eliot Spitzer).

More >

With Friends Like These… (Updated)

In a rather clever two-birds-with-one-stone move, the conservative Club for Growth just issued a statement that tweaks both Gov. Andrew Cuomo AND President Obama, urging the president to “take a page out of the tax playbook” of his fellow Democratic leader and end his call for increasing taxes on the rich.

“When even Democrats like Andrew Cuomo oppose raising taxes on millionaires, you know your class warfare rhetoric has failed to resonate,” said Club President Chris Chocola.

“Higher taxes like the ones proposed by President Obama will hurt the economy, not help it. We need to move towards a flatter, more pro-growth tax code and we need to encourage investment by cutting taxes on capital gains and dividends. I applaud Andrew Cuomo for recognizing that higher taxes are not the answer.”

Now, to be fair, Cuomo has opposed extending the so-called millionaire’s tax, which is set to expire at the end of December, or even support a “true” millionaire’s tax with a $1 million threshold, arguing that to do so would make New York less competitive with neighboring states.

He has refused to budge on this, despite widespread public support – even among Republicans – for taxing the state’s wealthiest residents at a higher rate. And he has even compared his unwillingness to do the politically popular thing to his father’s staunch opposition to reinstating the death penalty, which contributed to his loss to then-GOP Sen. George Pataki in 1994.

However, after initially waffling on Obama’s proposal to tax the rich, Cuomo endorsed the millionaire’s tax (AKA “the Buffett Rule”) at the federal level and urged Congress to pass it.

UPDATE: Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller (who, incidentally, was the spokesman for former Rep. Rick Lazio’s unsuccessful campaign against Cuomo last fall), sent the following statement:

“What, exactly, would stop the rich or businesses to flee to different countries if a similar tax is passed on the federal level? Andrew Cuomo’s a smart guy, and he must know that if the wealthy can find their way to Connecticut, then they can find their way to Switzerland as well. A reasonable observer must conclude that Andrew Cuomo either smartly opposes raising taxes on the wealthy or he doesn’t – maybe he needs to clarify his stance.”

The Club for Growth also took the opportunity to revisit a bit of semi-ancient (in the digital age, anyway) history, calling Cuomo a “strong ally” of Obama, and offering as proof reports in 2009 that the White House had tried to clear the 2010 field for the then-AG by getting then-Gov. David Paterson to drop his plan to seek re-election.

That message was delivered to Paterson by former White House political director Patrick Gaspard, who is now at the DNC. Gaspard, a former 1199 political director, still has close ties to Cuomo and the governor reportedly would like to see him back in New York after the 2012 election.

As you’ll recall, Paterson refused to heed the Obama administration’s call for him to step aside for Cuomo, but ended up dropping out of the race less than a week after formally announcing he would run in hopes of keeping the job he inheritied from former Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

Edwards Mounts Anti-Albany Revolution

Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards, the man best known for running (through an odd twist of fate/NYS Election Law) as Carl Paladino’s No. 2 in 2010, is now trying to change Albany from the outside, urging his local Legislature to reject the “sham” 2 percent property tax cap champhioned by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“The 2% property tax cap is nothing more than a campaign slogan meant to get them re-elected and give local leaders the pain for their failure to act,” Edwards wrote in his weekly “Monday Morning Memo” (#196). “Enough is enough.”

Edwards, who last week unveiled a 2012 budget proposal that called for a 12 percent property tax increase, said he wants the Legislature to debate refusing to fund state mandated programs like welfare and Medicaid beyond the 2 percent cap.

“When the money runs out, we stop delivering the programs and Albany can receive the telephone calls looking for services,” Edwards wrote.

The Republican country executive also suggested the Legislature support him in refusing to send “one more penny” of the approximately $600,000 a week Chautauqua must send to Albany as of Jan. 1, 2012 unless the state “immediately” take over the counties’ share of Medicaid costs, pass a law preventing the approval of future unfunded mandates and authorize counties to set their own sales tax rates.

If Edwards makes good on his threat, he won’t be the first county executive to withhold Medicaid funds from the state. Oneida County Executive Tony Picente has intermittently refused to pay his weekly Medicaid bill to Albany in retaliation for the state’s habit of delaying reimbursement.

The Jimmy McMillan Story

…We all know how this one ends – at least from the 2010 gubernatorial race standpoint, although the Rent is Too Damn High! founder/spokesman says he’s running for president as a Republican in 2012.

Casey Seiler has more here about the feature-length documentary titled “DAMN!” The film’s director told the NYO’s David Freedlander:

“It’s about what happens to someone who sees success overnight in the viral age, especially when the media latches on so quickly.”

Jimmy McMillan Prepares For Presidential Run

Surely you didn’t think you’d heard the last of the Rent Is Too Damn High party candidate, Jimmy McMillan.

Now, the fast-talking, mustachioed New Yorker is preparing to take on Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election.


He made the announcement last week and explained his decision in a Christmas Eve interview with Curtis Sliwa on AM 970 The Apple.

You can listen to a portion of the interview here: McMillan Explains Presidential Run – AM 970

Here are a few other gems from the interview…

On why he’s unofficially announcing his run for president:

“What I want to do is let the people know that I’m not playing.  The President Barack Obama has made a sandwich, but he forgot to put the meat between the bread.  And that’s what I’m here to do.”

On how he ran an “effective” campaign on just more than $16:

“I master-minded social media, marketing, advertising, the publicity and didn’t spend a dime to do it.  No one in America has asked me.  I’ve been invited to come to London, Australia, China, Egypt and places like that.  But not one American college has invited me to talk to find out, what is it that you did?  How did you do it?”

On his beard:

“I don’t know what made me do this, Curtis.  I wanted to be different… I said I don’t want to look like nobody, but me.  I want my own identity.  So I let my beard grow… and then I began to shape it up.”

Big Spender Cuomo

An analysis of Andrew Cuomo’s 27-day post-general election filing by NYPIRG’s Bill Mahoney found that while the Democratic governor-elect spent less overall on his successful campaign than previous gubernatorial contenders, he spent more in the final days of his bid than all but self-funding candidate Tom Golisano.

Cuomo’s filing is now on-line. It shows he has jsut under $5 million on hand ($4.98 million, to be exact).

That’s slightly more than the $4 million he said his report would show. The governor elect has pledged to use that cash – and whatever else he can raise – to do battle with the state worker unions next year.

Nypirg 27 Day Post Gen