Carl P. Paladino is jumping into the 2014 state legislative races by promising to sponsor a GOP primary opponent against incumbent Sen. Michael H. Ranzenhofer of Amherst.
Paladino, the 2010 Republican candidate for governor who in recent months has proved especially critical of several upstate GOP senators, fired off a letter to Ranzenhofer on Friday also threatening to intervene with state Conservative Chairman Michael R. Long to deny him the backing of the often crucial minor party.
Paladino accused the GOP Senate of helping to delay approval of the hydraulic fracturing natural gas recovery method in upstate New York, and expressed disappointment that Ranzenhofer would not help form an independent Republican caucus that would stand up to Senate Republican leader Dean G. Skelos.
“Your current actions and those of the past indicate that you are pledged to Skelos and he owns you,” Paladino wrote.
Paladino has also criticized Republican Sen. Mark J. Grisanti of Buffalo but is now positioning Ranzenhofer as his immediate target.
“I intend to support a primary candidate against you next year, unless of course, you resign now and let the people put a good man in the office,” Paladino wrote to Ranzenhofer.
Paladino continues to prove a voice in the Western New York GOP, as acknowledged Friday by state Chairman Edward F. Cox, who attended a Thursday fundraising event for Ranzenhofer. Cox called Paladino someone who “gets things done.”
“He’s impatient,” Cox said, noting support he lent the candidate during the 2010 general election.
“His impatience reflects the people of Western New York with respect to Albany. I’m impatient about Albany.”
Though Cox labeled Paladino “absolutely right on where we need to get in the state,” he also acknowledged the dilemma raised by the Ranzenhofer criticism.
As the GOP struggles to retain a Senate majority with the help of five Democrats, Cox said preserving that majority depends on incumbents.
“We stand for the things Carl stands for. The question is how do you get there,” Cox said.