Carl Paladino, the legendary New York Republican racist and politician, lost the Republican primary election to represent New York’s 23rd Congressional District Tuesday.
Paladino, a real estate developer and Donald Trump’s New York campaign co-chair in 2016, is a former Buffalo Board of Education representative and failed New York gubernatorial candidate.
Endorsed by third-ranking Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) among others, Paladino faced off in the primary against — and ultimately lost to — Nick Langworthy, the chair of the New York Republican Party.
The 23rd district is among the most conservative in New York, meaning Langworthy has a good shot at joining the next Congress. The seat opened up after incumbent Rep. Chris Jacobs said he would support certain gun reform measures — an unacceptable position in the modern GOP — and soon after announced he would not seek reelection.
Paladino is perhaps best known for being a font of racist comments — like in 2016, when, while serving on the Buffalo school board, he asserted, “I don’t think of myself in any way as a racist,” then said Black people were “held hungry and dumb so as to provide a base for the Democratic Party.”
Perhaps Paladino’s most prominent racist tirade was when he wished that Barack Obama would die and Michelle Obama would be “return[ed] to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.”
Pressed by The Buffalo News about the comments, Paladino named a Black editor at the paper: “Tell that Rod Watson I made that comment just for him.” (The Buffalo Board of Education voted to oust Paladino over the comments, and he was ultimately removed by the state for publicly discussing confidential collective bargaining negotiations. .)
Langworthy has said he ran against Paladino in part because he was worried about Paladino dragging down other Republican candidates in New York, namely gubernatorial nominee Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY).
“We’ve got the best shot to win in 20 years, and the three-ring circus that he brings to the table, with the way that he handles things and himself, will basically be held against every candidate in the state,” Langworthy told The New York Times earlier this month.
Earlier this year, Paladino shared a Facebook post speculating that the Uvalde and Buffalo mass shootings were false flag events (he denied responsibility for sharing the post, saying “I don’t even know how to post on Facebook.”) He said separately that Adolf Hitler was “the kind of leader we need today.”
“We need somebody inspirational. We need somebody that is a doer, has been there and done it, so that it’s not a strange new world to him,” the candidate added. Paladino later said, supposedly as a defense of his comments, that he was merely “repeating” something he’d heard on the radio. He attacked the media for implying he supported Hitler.
After FBI agents raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, armed with a search warrant for missing federal records, Paladino said Attorney Merrick Garland “probably should be executed,” before saying he was being facetious.