Pataki Gives Paladino a Last-Minute Endorsement


george-patakiEmbracing a man who once called him a “degenerate idiot,” former Gov. George E. Pataki on Monday endorsed Carl P. Paladino, the Republican nominee to be New York’s governor. The vote of confidence by Mr. Pataki, the last Republican to occupy the governor’s mansion, came at the 11th hour but was perhaps the most prominent endorsement of Mr. Paladino’s campaign.

“While I don’t agree with my party’s nominee for governor on any number of issues, we do agree on three essential Republican-Conservative core beliefs: the need to cut taxes, reduce spending and shrink the size of government,” Mr. Pataki said in a statement.

The two men have had a prickly relationship. Mr. Pataki was an early victim of Mr. Paladino’s anti-establishment fervor. In September, Mr. Paladino called Mr. Pataki an idiot in an interview with The Daily News. He later explained that he meant only to convey his frustration with the state of the Republican Party after Mr. Pataki left office in 2006.

Despite Mr. Paladino’s words, Mr. Pataki said in September that he would still consider an endorsement if Mr. Paladino was able to turn “anger into policies.”

While Mr. Paladino has said he does not seek out endorsements, he had made a deliberate effort to smooth things over with Mr. Pataki.

“I stand strong with Governor Pataki to lead this revolution to take back our state,” Mr. Paladino said in a statement on Monday. “The man who slayed the first Cuomo says I am the man to beat Mario Jr.”

The two men met in September at Mr. Pataki’s offices in Manhattan and chatted for an hour. They met again on Sunday at a Republican Party breakfast in Westchester County.

While Mr. Paladino and Mr. Pataki are not close, they are said to have a cordial relationship.

Mr. Pataki, asked at the breakfast on Sunday if he would endorse Mr. Paladino, was silent, responding only that he was there to support Harry Wilson, the Republican candidate for state comptroller. In his speech, he did not mention Mr. Paladino by name.

Mr. Paladino said Sunday that he was not disappointed that Mr. Pataki had not supported him publicly. He praised the former governor’s leadership.

“The governor is one of my heroes, O.K.?” Mr. Paladino said. “He created the setting, O.K., for us to come in and finally put this progressive movement to bed.”

{NY Times’ City Room/}