In a sign that an intense and well-financed Republican primary for the 23rd District is about to begin, congressional hopeful Carl P. Paladino has committed $1.5 million of his own money to jump-start the campaign.
The Buffalo real estate developer, seeking the seat to be vacated by Republican Chris Jacobs, said this week that his deposit to a new campaign account may prove only the initial financial commitment. He said he has been successful in his long business career and stands ready to spend a considerable portion of his personal funds.
“I will spend whatever it takes to win the primary and general election,” he said. “This is an opportunity for me to reset the dial in Western New York.”
Paladino is preparing for a matchup against Nicholas A. Langworthy, the state Republican chairman making his first run for elective office. It is expected to result in a lively race, pitting against each other two well-known conservatives and allies of former President Donald Trump in an overwhelmingly Republican and pro-Trump district.
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Paladino, the 2010 GOP candidate for governor, is preparing for what lies ahead by seeding his campaign account and hiring several veteran campaign aides. They include Kirk Bell, who worked with Paladino in the 2010 campaign and who has also served as a chief of staff and campaign manager for Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas. Bell’s experience dates to the 1988 presidential campaign of the late Rep. Jack Kemp, R-Hamburg, and he worked as North Carolina communications director for Trump’s 2016 race.
Other staffers on the gubernatorial campaign will also have roles: Vish Burra will serve as communications director, while Scott Relan will be digital media director.
“Right now, we’re in the planning stages, but I’m going full blast to win this,” Paladino said, adding he will also soon schedule fundraising events to supplement his own contributions.
Michael R. Caputo, the East Aurora native and former Trump administration aide, said Paladino’s new financial commitment marks a departure from his campaign for governor, when he made smaller and more intermittent deposits.
“This will be a more knowledgeable approach to the campaign,” said Caputo, who managed Paladino’s race for governor and, while not part of the congressional effort, serves as an informal adviser. “From my perspective, Carl now has a profound grasp of what it will take to win this election.”
A spokesman from Langworthy’s campaign declined to discuss Langworthy’s financial plans.