BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Carl Paladino, a candidate in the Republican primary for New York’s 23rd congressional district, said Wednesday that former President Donald Trump isn’t planning to make an endorsement ahead of the Republican Primary slated for later this month, but claimed “the president [Trump] has told me personally, ‘Go out and win.'”
Paladino is facing New York State Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy in the primary for the recently redrawn district, which stretches from Lake Erie to Elmira.
Paladino said Trump and his staff “have told us they’re not doing endorsements. It’s very tricky and, it’s very, in this case, you’ve got the New York State Republican chair — ok, for the entire state — running against me. So the Trump administration doesn’t want to dig the hole, OK, to absolutely bury him.”
View Paladino’s full press conference below.
Langworthy responded Tuesday evening between campaign events in the Southern Tier. He told News 4 he has spoken with Trump many times over the last few weeks and doesn’t expect an endorsement from the former Commander-in-Chief because he is friends with players in both campaigns.
“He’s got friends and allies on both sides of this and he doesn’t want to hurt Carl’s feelings,” Langworthy said.
Paladino held the press conference Wednesday after announcing a $200,000 ad buy in the final push to turn out voters for early voting on Aug. 13 and primary day on Aug. 23. The controversial candidate also called on Langworthy to denounce a “DC swamp dark money group for falsely smearing his record.”
“He’s a swamp animal and I don’t respect him,” Paladino added.
Paladino criticized Langworthy in the press conference for donations coming in from outside the district.
“Why aren’t the local people supporting him? Because they know he’s a loser,” Paladino said. “They know he’s going to lose this thing.”
Paladino said Wednesday his campaign has more than $1 million cash on hand. In his most recent financial disclosure, Paladino reported writing his campaign loans totaling $1.5 million.
Langworthy responded saying a large portion of his campaign money is from within New York State.
“We’re very proud of the funds that we’ve received. We’ve received those funds mostly from in state,” Langworthy said.
Both campaigns have thrown several political punches. Langworthy called Paladino a coward after he refused to debate Langworthy. On Wednesday, Paladino fired back.
“I’m calling him Lying Langworthy because he is. He’s a career politician who’s been doing this for years. I know him well…I think it’s terrible for him to stoop and call me a coward. I’m not a coward,” Paladino said.
Once political allies, they are now political foes.
“I’m really sad about how Carl has devolved this campaign,” Langworthy said.
As for polling, Paladino says his internal poles conducted by out-of-town pollsters, who he calls reputable, shows him ahead by 30 points. When asked how the poll was conducted, Paladino said it was a 600 person poll, which he called “a pretty heavy poll”.
Langworthy has not released any internal polling numbers yet, but points to another poll by Barry Zeplowitz & Associates released by The Buffalo News that puts the race at a virtual tie.
“We see a tight race, but I have a lot of momentum. I have grown support throughout this district and we have a clear and direct path to victory,” Langworthy added.
Also Wednesday, ten local officials endorsed Paladino:
- Robert Leary – Lancaster Councilman
- Tom Gavin – Blasdell Trustee
- Skip Gingerich – Marilla Town Supervisor
- Dawn Pearce – Marilla Town Clerk
- Don Butcher – Wales Councilman
- LaKeisha Shoemaker – Aurora Republican Committee Chair
- Mark Burkard – Lancaster Councilman
- John Pilato – Lancaster Highway Superintendent
- Deb Rogers – Mayor of Williamsville
- Dr. Nargis Hussein – Lancaster Republican Committee Chair
Following Paladino’s comments in the afternoon, the Langworthy campaign responded by attacking Paladino’s numerous scandals and claiming voters “are abandoning Carl Paladino’s campaign in droves.”
“Sounds like every day is a tough day for Carl’s campaign, who continually has to choose between praising Hitler and defending Carl’s protection of a child sexual predator. No amount of political theater can distract from the fact that as voters learn more about Nick Langworthy’s conservative record, they are abandoning Carl Paladino’s campaign in droves”Chris Grant, advisor to the Langworthy campaign
Grant was referencing a radio interview in 2021 in which Paladino reportedly said Adolf Hitler is “the kind of leader we need today.” Paladino last month defended having a convicted sex offender on his staff.
Early voting for this race begins August 13 and runs through August 21. Primary day is slated for Tuesday, August 23. Usually in June, the State Senate and Congressional primaries were delayed until August due to the lengthy redistricting process.
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Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.