Former New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, a tea party favorite, is continuing to make himself a statewide presence, telling The New York Times he would "blow up" the Republican minority leader of the state Assembly.
Paladino, who was sworn onto the Buffalo Board of Education earlier this month, told the Times on Monday that he would continue to be a statewide presence and that any Republican who challenges Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in next year's election will "answer to me."
Paladino lost in a landslide to Cuomo in the 2010 governor's race. Paladino has himself ruled out a rematch with Cuomo, but did say he plans to be involved in state politics in some other capacity.
Paladino told the Times:
"I'm a very spontaneous person," he said. "If someone aggravates me, I'm going to go after them. I wake up every morning and I say, 'What bad guys should I go after today?'"
Indeed, Mr. Paladino's Web site features "Carl's Bucket List," a nonpartisan list of peeves ("Thruway Toll") and Albany-based opponents like Sheldon Silver, the speaker of the Democrat-dominated Assembly, and the Republican Senate leader, Dean G. Skelos, someone whom he called "two-faced." He labeled Mr. Cuomo "a total phony," and said he wanted to "take out" Brian M. Kolb, the Assembly minority leader.
"I'm going to blow him up," Mr. Paladino said. Mr. Kolb called those remarks childish, but they should not come as a shock; during the 2010 campaign, after all, Mr. Paladino promised to "clean out Albany with a baseball bat."
Paladino has made waves on the Buffalo Board of Education since launching his campaign. He has called the African-American women on the board a "parasitic black sisterhood" and has demanded the firing of Schools Superintendent Pamela Brown.
Paladino has also sought permission to bring his dog, Duke, to board meetings. During a July 10 board meeting, he held up a photo of the dog and described him as a "good guy" who would sit quietly in a corner. The board did not grant him permission, citing potential allergies, according to a live blog of the meeting by The Buffalo News.
Paladino told the Times that the decision was "very insulting" to his dog.
Paladino, a Buffalo real estate developer, has long courted controversy. Last year, he placed birther movement bumper stickers on rental cars at a Thrifty franchise he operates at Buffalo Niagara International Airport. When he ran for governor a series of racial and sexually charged emails surfaced. Paladino has long denied being a racist, but also said he would not run a politically correct campaign.
While controversial, Paladino is popular in the Buffalo area. He won his Board of Education seat, representing south Buffalo, by 59 points earlier this year. During the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary, he won 93 percent of the vote in Erie County and landslides in neighboring counties.