Carl Paladino, a Buffalo real estate developer and big Donald Trump supporter, announced Saturday that he intends to run for Congress in New York’s 27th district. The seat is being vacated by Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), who was arrested on charges of insider trading last week.
Paladino is basically Buffalo’s version of Trump ― loud, into real estate, conservative and known for offending people.
Paladino was co-chair of Trump’s presidential campaign in New York. He most recently served on the Buffalo school board until the state education commissioner kicked him off in August 2017 for revealing confidential information about negotiations with the city’s teachers union.
But members of the school board had previously voted for him to leave after he made racist comments in response to a local newspaper’s questionnaire about what he would like to see happen in 2017. Paladino said he’d like President Barack Obama to die from mad cow disease and called first lady Michelle Obama a man who should go live with gorillas.
Paladino tried to downplay his comments and insisted they were not about race, and he later tried to claim that he meant to send them to only a few friends rather than the newspaper.
In 2015, Paladino bemoaned all the “non-Americans walking around” the University at Buffalo and specifically referenced the “damn Asians coming here to go to school.”
And in 2010, Paladino garnered national attention after WNYMedia.net published racist and sexually explicit emails Paladino sent to friends. They included a video called “Obama Inauguration Rehearsal” that appeared to be Africans dancing in traditional attire, racial epithets and pornographic images.
Paladino won the Republican nomination for governor in 2010, although he lost in the general election to Democrat Andrew Cuomo.
Collins initially said he was going to run for re-election but changed his mind on Saturday, allowing Republicans a chance to try to replace him on the ballot.
Nate McMurray, the town supervisor in Grand Island, is running as the Democratic nominee. The district leans Republican, encompassing wealthy suburbs of Buffalo and rural towns in the surrounding area between Buffalo and Rochester.
Paladino has plenty of competition on the GOP side. Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, state Assemblymen Ray Walter and veteran and local radio host David Bellavia are among the others who have said they’re interested in the seat. Read a fuller list of the names that have been floated at the Buffalo News.
Interested candidates are competing to win-over the eight GOP county chairs in the district, who get to pick the nominee, if they’re able to get Collins’ name removed from the ballot.