Tea Party organizers from across Upstate New York have been urging former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino to begin phoning Republican State Committee members, to lobby for votes in a coup they hope to stage at the party’s upcoming nominating convention.
In order to win the nomination, Paladino would need to earn 60% of the committee’s vote; or 25% of the committee’s vote to provoke a September primary.
The party establishment has coalesced around the gubernatorial candidacy of Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro. He is expected to receive the nomination, but if Paladino decides to launch a stealth candidacy at the last minute and aggressively works the committee, the whole process would be thrown into chaos.
Skeptics doubt Paladino’s ability to sway the Committee — such an effort would require activists across the state to relentlessly pressure locally elected Republican party officials.
It looked like Molinaro, the moderate-to-liberal Republican, would have a smooth ride to the nomination — until Molinaro publicly revealed that he didn’t vote for Donald Trump in the most recent presidential election. For weeks, activists were outraged that the party’s standard bearer so shamelessly and brazenly prided himself in undermining his party’s presidential nominee. To save face, Molinaro later claimed that he cast a write in vote, largely to quell suspicions that he cast his vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton.
While the GOP establishment is stuck in a malaise — uninspired, and largely resigned to the narrative of a blue wave that the national media has unabashedly embraced — the activist base of the party is aching for a fight.
In a crowed field of candidates and a scandalized incumbent, a strong personality like Paladino could pose a serious Trump-like risk for Cuomo.
“Carl is an honorable person who has worked hard to bring the city up out of poverty and for [the media] to describe him as ‘offensive, repulsive, and libelously criminal’ is offensive, repulsive, and libelously criminal,” the cheif organizer of TEANY said in a statement to The Chronicle.
Paladino retains a discontent and equally crass base of voters who are entirely capable of upending a gubernatorial election (at least in the case of a sufficiently crowded field).
“Rus Thompson is not, nor even considered, running against Chris Jacobs,” the statement adds. “Carl Paladino has no plans to stage a coup.”