OLEAN — Carl Paladino’s Second Amendment supporters turned out on Saturday for his rally against State Sen. Catharine Young, but so did the Olean senator’s supporters.
Of the 200 or so people in attendance at the Lincoln Park rally, Young’s supporters had a slight edge — maybe a dozen. Her Republican supporters waved dozens of Cathy Young yard signs to the sounds of honking cars on East State Street.
Paladino said he can’t forgive Young for first siding with Dean Skelos in his losing battle to keep from losing the Senate majority leader’s title after his arrest on federal corruption charges, then voting for another Long Island Republican, John Flanagan, over a conservative from Syracuse, John DiFrancisco, who stands for repeal of the N.Y. S.A.F.E. Act.
Cattaraugus County Republican Party Chairman Robert Keis Sr., who helped organize the support for Young, said, “We’re here to show our support for Cathy Young, not to be anti Carl Paladino. She’s very pleased,” he said. “She really appreciates the support,”
Young, who was not in attendance, was among a half dozen Senate Republican women recently targeted for assassination by someone from the New York City area that allegedly targeted them for racism and other allegations. State police are investigating and trying to locate the letter writer.
Paladino, who arrived about 45 minutes late for the scheduled noon rally, led the group in singing “God Bless America” before speaking for about 20 minutes.
After starting by berating Republicans for speaking without cohesion or leadership, Paladino veered off into what some thought was “borderline” racism by referring to all the “non-Americans walking around” the University at Buffalo campus. Asking “why do we have this huge population of foreigners?” Paladino answered his own question. While they pay higher out-of-state tuition their first year, they soon declare themselves residents, and pay the lower tuition, Paladino stated.
This is because “we have la-de-da legislators,” Republican-in-name-only GOP officials and liberals allied with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Paladino said.
Later, when he spoke to reporters, Paladino made reference to those “damn Asians coming here to go to school” and keeping local students from educational opportunities.
Meanwhile, Young was “taking care of herself” in voting for Flanagan and against DiFrancisco, Paladino charged.
With Cuomo and downstate Democrats eager for a renewal of New York City rent controls, the Republican-led Senate has a great bargaining chip to repeal the S.A.F.E. Act, Paladino maintained. “Is she willing to play that card?” he asked of Young.
Paladino who previously promised Young a “blistering primary” next year for her support of Skelos and voting for Flanagan over DiFrancisco, said, “We don’t have a candidate to oppose her yet. We’re looking for one.”
He told reporters later that people have suggested some names of people who might be willing to challenge Young in a Republican primary next year. “I intend to contact them,” he said, refusing to give any names. “She has to suffer for her mistake.”
After the rally, Keis, the county Republican chairman, said, “I don’t think they accomplished anything. We showed our support for Cathy. This is what America is all about,” he said of Paladino’s criticism of Young.
Russ Thompson of Tea New York, warmed the crowd up for Paladino, outlining how six Upstate Republican senators including Young, “threw us under the bus” by naming Flanagan majority leader to succeed Skelos.
Thompson got into a verbal scuffle with Mark Williams, the county American Legion commander, who was carrying a sign supporting Young.
Thompson made reference to Williams circling the park with the Young sign, at which time Williams, the county’s public defender, walked toward the gazebo waving his sign and saying he was a veteran.
Thompson thanked Williams for his service and asked him to keep walking.
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)