BUFFALO, NY - Does outspoken and controversial Carl Paladino have what it takes to resurrect a gubernatorial campaign against Andrew Cuomo in 2014? The state's conservative party thinks so.
Paladino made a name for himself with his "Mad as Hell" campaign while running for governor in 2010, and now the state's conservative party chairman says Carl could make a comeback.
While Paladino and Conservative Party Chair Michael Long have not personally spoken with each other about this, Long told 2 On Your Side's Melissa Holmes by phone that if the Republican Party does not come up with a bonafide candidate to wage a strong campaign against Gov. Cuomo in 2014, he wouldn't be opposed to Carl running for governor on the Conservative line.
"I think he has a very big following around the state of new york in regards to the safe act. He has not like a lot of candidates do run for office and fade away. He's certainly not a guy who has faded away," says Long.
The big reason the Conservative Party is showing support for Paladino is because there's a good chance the GOP may not have a strong candidate to challenge Governor Cuomo in 2014.
Long is also hopeful that by Paladino running a successful campaign, it would launch the conservative party above the GOP as the second strongest party in the state.
So is Carl interested in running? That's the million dollar question. Paladino told the Buffalo News last month that if the Republicans don't get rid of Senate Co-President Dean Skelos and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb he would quote- seriously consider taking a Conservative nod in order to put the Conservative Party on Line 2.
Paladino tells 2 On Your Side he won't comment on whether he's running for governor.
In his run in 2010, Paladino was beaten badly by Gov. Cuomo. Just before the November election in 2010, the governor, according to the Siena Research Institute had a 58 to 33 percent lead over Paladino and beat him by more than 1.3 million votes.
Political experts say one sign that could show Paladino is considering a run is if he starts accepting a bunch of speaking invitations from different groups. Our experts also say if Paladino were to run he'd really have to focus on cutting into Cuomo's support downstate. But, so far, Paladino has been supportive of Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, a Republican from Albany.