Buffalo developer Carl P. Paladino said Tuesday he will not run for governor this year despite earlier threats to reprise his 2010 Republican candidacy on a minor party line.
But he will lead an effort to draft Donald J. Trump as the GOP candidate, he said, despite the Manhattan billionaire’s assertion last week that he will not run.
“I am not running,” he said. “But Trump will get drafted if I have anything to do about it.”
As recently as earlier this month, Paladino said he was exploring a run on a “Tea Party” line if Trump decided against a challenge to Democratic incumbent Andrew M. Cuomo. That would have involved a significant and expensive effort to collect 15,000 signatures in at least half of the state’s congressional districts to qualify for the statewide ballot.
The threat was received with anything but enthusiasm by the state’s Republican and Conservative hierarchy, which hopes to confront Cuomo this year with a united front behind Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, the apparent Republican candidate.
Paladino had also earlier discussed a candidacy on the Conservative Party line, believing he could gain enough support at the minor party’s convention to qualify for the ballot. But State Conservative Chairman Michael R. Long controls the authorization for a non-Conservative to run on his line and is already committed to Astorino.
Paladino, meanwhile, told The Buffalo News on Tuesday that he has reconsidered running again.
“I don’t feel it appropriate for me to be a spoiler, no matter who the candidate is,” he said, adding he will go to the Republican State Convention in Rye Brook in May ready to lead a movement to draft Trump – who he said has so far not discouraged the effort.
Paladino was slated to discuss his plans Tuesday night on the Fox Business Network.