Area G.O.P. split on Paladino candidacy

She argued the mudslinging coming from the Paladino camp isn't going to fix the rampant dysfunction in Albany.

"You have to be willing to work and form partnership and really negotiate to get things done," Little said. "Right now, we are seeing a lot of negativity in the campaign, which I think needs to be transformed into positive ideas."

Sayward isn't sure Paladino's fire-and-brimstone approach will actually accomplish much in Albany.

"You really do believe with all of your heart that you can go to Albany and make change happen immediately," she said. "But that just doesn't happen. New York is a huge state, it's diverse in culture and class. What's important in New York and Buffalo isn't often important in the North Country."

The Essex County Republican Committee, like most in the state, backed Rick Lazio for governor. The party didn't even let Paladino speak last spring at its state convention.

But the county's GOP cchairman Ron Jackson said Paladino's style has hit on something with frustrated voters. Jackson said he will work hard to see Paladino defeat front-runner and Democratic heir-apparent Andrew Cuomo.

"I don't know Carl very well but he sure is intriguing," Jackson said. "He's a strange person in a lot of ways."

Several recent polls have shown Cuomo's once-insurmountable lead dwindle under the barrage of insults and accusations thrown by the Paladino camp. Polls have Cuomo's lead down to less than 20 percentage points.

Jackson said it may be Paladino's bizarre behavior that is winning over a general-public inundated with slick and polished politicos.

"People are pretty sick about what's been going on down there and there's a lot of people willing to find out if that will work or not."

Last week, Paladino got into an epic throw-down with New York Post Albany editor Fred Dicker, when the antagonistic journalist pushed him on an accusation he's made about Cuomo.

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