The Niagara County Republican Executive Committee and Chairman Mike Norris on Tuesday endorsed Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino for governor of New York.
The Niagara County GOP originally supported Rick Lazio, but turned to Paladino, a successful Western New York real estate developer and attorney, as a stronger candidate for governor to defeat Andrew Cuomo, according to party officials.
A delegation of leading Niagara Republicans greeted Paladino outside Lockport City Hall to signal the strength of the endorsement, including State Sen. George Maziarz, Lockport Mayor Mike Tucker, North Tonawanda Mayor Robb Ortt and Wheatfield Supervisor Bob Cliffe.
"New York needs leadership unafraid of long overdue confrontation with the special interests in Albany," Norris said. "Carl will clean up Albany. It is quickly becoming apparent he will win the Republican primary in September."
"Mike Norris believes in the Republican principles of lower taxes and less government, and that's why he believes in this campaign," Paladino said. "Niagara County's endorsement proves confidence is growing among leading Republicans who know it is time to rid Albany of the ruling class and bring good government back to the people of New York."
Norris joins several Republican county committee chairs endorsing Paladino, including Cherl Heary of Cayuga County, Richard Siebert of Genesee County, Ed Morgan of Orleans County, and Nick Langworthy of Erie County.
Cliffe said he was pleased with the Niagara County GOP's decision.
"You've come to speak at our Community Center a couple of times, and you overflow the building with people eager to hear what you have to say," Cliffe said to Paladino. "I believe that you have the values that Wheatfield voters want in their leaders. I believe that you will take these values to Albany when you become governor.
"Real Wheatfield Republicans are team players, and we are happy to be part of your team," Cliffe added. "Carl, that's five counties down ... a few more to go. Good luck!"