NYC
05/24/2010 01:39 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Tea Party Favorite Carl Paladino Leads Mainstream GOP Candidate In NY Gov Race

Despite a stumbling start, Tea Party favorite Carl Paladino is now among the leading Republican challengers against Andrew Cuomo.

But that's not saying much.

According to a new Siena poll, Paladino, Steve Levy, and Rick Lazio would all be trounced by Cuomo if the election were held today. Lazio would fare best with 29 percent of the vote.

But the real story is Paladino's rise, and Levy's continued slide.

The Buffalo businessman with Tea Party ties was hit with a series of race and sex-tinged scandals right from the start. That he has jumped from 13 percent to 16 percent in the polls proves many who thought Paladino was dead in the water wrong.

Levy on the other hand, who state GOP head Ed Cox has championed, has slipped from 15 percent to 14 percent. Levy, a former Democrat, has had a hard time gaining traction in the race.

But considering that the leading contender in the Republican field is "I don't know", it's still most certainly anyone's ballgame.