Paladino Primed to Leverage Upstate/Downstate Divide in Campaign

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In one of his stranger recent outbursts, Carl Paladino said the only boroughs he liked were Queens and Staten Island (because they were "just like us"). Apparently we’re going to be hearing this sentiment expressed again and again as the campaign marches on, according to political strategists.

"Part of his campaign has been to mobilize the angry upstate electorate and pit upstate versus downstate," said Buffalo Assemblyman Sam Hoyt (D-Buffalo). "I think you will see more of it."

Paladino’s strategy seems to be based around giving the upstate voters — who “feel left behind” — a candidate to rally behind, using the Democrat-dominated Big Apple as a target.

"There is no question, Paladino is a divining rod for anger," said Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf. "He can find it anyplace, and that is what he is working off."

Paladino’s camp, unsurprisingly, isn’t exactly down with this characterization. From his spokesman: "Carl has come to an important realization after traveling across this state for six months: this upstate-versus-downstate stuff is all bull, just an excuse from our legislators who don't do their jobs.” Of course, considering he trash-talked Manhattan just two weeks ago, this claim seems ... questionable.

GOP candidate Carl Paladino leverages upstate-downstate electoral rift in race for governor [NYDN]