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Paladino Well Received at Conservative Conference

By Tony Farina

Carl Paladino
Ralph Lorigo

With Gov. Cuomo's stinging words that extreme conservatives have "no place in New York" still ringing in their ears, state Conservative Party leaders held their annual conference over the last two days near Albany and gave fiery Buffalo developer Carl Paladino a warm reception, listened to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino make his pitch for support, and debated the possible candidacy of the absent mogul Donald Trump, who reportedly had a commitment in Florida.

"Carl received a great reception," said Erie County Conservative Party Chairman Ralph Lorigo in describing Paladino's speech on Sunday to the annual political conference of state party chairmen.

"He [Paladino] is extremely sincere," said Lorigo, "and he speaks from the heart." Lorigo said Paladino called Trump a "game changer" if he runs, saying we can't have people like Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos, who voted for the Safe Act, representing conservatives on such important issues.

Paladino has said he would support a Trump candidacy but would not support Republicans unless they joined him in condemning so-called RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) like Skelos and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb who have been on Paladino's political hit list for some time.

"If it's just Rob Astorino, who refuses to come out and attack the RINOs-yeah, I'm gonna run," he said. "You've got to have somebody with the guts to go out there and confront these issues and confront these bad people in our party who have given Cuomo the pedestal he stands on."

Paladino, who won a GOP primary four years ago to take on Cuomo and in the process raised the Conservative Party to the second line on the ballot, says he will run again if Trump is a no-go candidate when the time comes as he has been so many times in the past. But Paladino is on the record as saying he believes Trump is serious about a run this time, although he admits he doesn't know for sure. Trump has said he won't run unless the party unites behind him and there is no primary race.

In his brief remarks at the conference, Astorino pointed to his strong win in Westchester County, telling conferees he received 62 percent of the Hispanic vote and 25 percent of the black vote, saying he believed he could produce those same results statewide.

Astorino told the gathering that New York "is a state on its heels" and also took the Cuomo administration to task for not going forward with hydrofracking, a cause taken up by other speakers at the conference who said there are millions of fracking wells throughout the country without any (environmental) problems, and that thousands of jobs are being missed out on in New York, noting particularly the Southern Tier of the state along the northern border of Pennsylvania.

Lorigo, the longest tenured party chairman in Erie County, led a delegation of five members of his committee and said he stated at the conference's executive committee meeting that he is encouraging a Trump candidacy but he is known to be a strong advocate for Paladino on the Conservative line if Trump pulls out.

One thing that makes a Trump candidacy intriguing is that he has the money and the name recognition to make an exciting run against the incumbent who has already raised more than $33 million for his re-election bid. Astorino's war chest is extremely thin by comparison. And, if Carl Paladino is in the race, look out. As is well known, Carl will let you know where he stands on the issues, like it or not, and he has the resources to make himself heard.

Stay tuned!



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Jan 28, 2014