In his concession speech two years ago, Carl Paladino made it clear he wasn't going away.
"You have not heard the last of Carl Paladino," he said.
Now, the former Republican gubernatorial candidate is taking on the political establishment again. This time, he is supporting Republican candidates in GOP primaries across the state.
"I call it the 'Turning Albany Upside Down' effort," Paladino said in an interview. "I'm doing it locally. I'm doing it in mid-state. I'm doing it in downstate. I'm doing it in upstate. I'm supporting candidates who speak our language.
"This year, it's an effort to send a clear signal to all the others that they better stop acting as RINOs (Republicans in name only) if they are Republicans. They better start advancing Republican issues and the concerns of the conservative Republican constituency that put them in the job."
Locally, Paladino has endorsed Jim Blake. Blake is challenging state Sen. Jim Seward for the Republican nomination in the 51st Senate District. The district includes six towns in southern Cayuga County.
"Blake is an enlightened young man, has Republican principles, will not sell out his state and doesn't play the political games," Paladino said.
While most of the candidates Paladino has endorsed are running in state legislative races, he has supported at least one congressional candidate.
In the 22nd Congressional District, Paladino has backed Michael Kicinski in the GOP primary against U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld.
According to Paladino's website, as of Friday, he has endorsed at least seven other Republican candidates running for Congress or state Legislature seats.
In other news:
- U.S. Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-Onondaga Hill, and Democratic candidate Dan Maffei filed their latest campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission this week.
According to the pre-primary reports, Buerkle raised more than $264,000 between April 1 and June 6, while Maffei raised $140,615 during the same period.
Buerkle has $695,000 cash on hand. Maffei isn't far behind, with more than $670,000 in the bank.
- Maffei picked up the New York State AFL-CIO's endorsement this week.
The labor union's president, Mario Cilento, said they will "mount a full-court press" in support of Maffei this year.
"Dan Maffei was a strong and passionate advocate for his constituents in Congress, and his leadership has been sorely missed over the last two years," Cilento said in a news release. "We need Dan Maffei back in Washington fighting for middle class New Yorkers."
- At 7 p.m., Tuesday, Buerkle will join me for an online Q-and-A. To follow the Q-and-A or ask questions, go to auburnpub.com/citizenlive.