BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The NY-23 congressional primary race between Nick Langworthy and Carl Paladino has already been a hotly contested one and some are saying it’s starting to get ugly.

Both candidates have been vying for endorsements and West Seneca GOP Chairwoman Patti Stephens detailed her experience with News 4.

She says that after the West Seneca GOP endorsed Nick Langworthy, she received a “threatening” phone call from Carl Paladino.

“The way that I look at it is that it’s not the bullying remarks, it shows a very negative side of a character for someone who’s running for office. What I do know is that when you make a threat like that, I’m not going to back down. You don’t get to bully people because you didn’t get your way,” Stephens said.

She said that in 2019, the town of West Seneca experienced a resurgence and Paladino’s phone call “was a threat to tearing down what the town has built.”

Stephens said that Paladino’s phone call further solidified her belief that the West Seneca GOP had made the correct decision by endorsing Langworthy.

“Nick Langworthy is a person who will lead with dignity, he’ll lead with respect,” Stephens said. “As Carl is ranting on the phone, I just knew that we needed to support Nick even more than ever before.”

Paladino would not comment on the phone call. On Wednesday, Paladino turned down News 4’s invitation for a debate with Langworthy before the August 23 primary. A WPA Poll that was conducted from July 9-11 shows that Paladino is up 30 points on Langworthy.

Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.