ALBANY - A former Republican candidate for governor is putting together a team of New York volunteers for Donald Trump.
Carl Paladino, the Buffalo businessman whose "Mad as Hell" campaign theme helped propel him to an upset win in the 2010 GOP primary for governor, sent out an email late Wednesday to his supporters, urging New York Republicans to unite behind Trump's bid for the Republican presidential nod and putting out a call for volunteers.
"We must join together as New York Republicans and support and endorse Donald Trump," Paladino wrote. "Other Republican presidential candidates dropped out of the race today realizing that they didn't have what it takes to lead the Republican Party to victory in November. I respect them for that."
A Siena College poll Monday showed Trump with support from 34 percent of Republicans polled in New York, outpacing Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who both had 16 percent.
Like Trump, Paladino made a point of eschewing political correctness in his campaign,verbally tussling with journalists while capitalizing on voter anger from the right.
Ultimately, however, Paladino was defeated soundly in the 2010 general election, losing to current Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Trump and Paladino have some political history.
In 2014, Paladino was among a group of New York Republicans trying to lure Trump into the governor's race. Trump ultimately declined, but not before appearing at a rally near the state Capitol against the SAFE Act, the 2013 gun-control law.
Paladino said he will unveil his "statewide effort" for Trump in the coming days. New York's presidential primary is April 19.
"It's growing bigger every hour," he wrote. "Don't wait any longer, do it now. It's absolutely vital that you to join me (sic) and thousands of others already supporting Donald Trump."