Aug 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Nick Langworthy defeats Carl Paladino in N.Y.'s 23rd district primary

Carl Paladino in the lobby of Trump Tower in 2016 in New York City.

Carl Paladino in the lobby of Trump Tower in 2016 in New York City. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

New York GOP chair Nick Langworthy defeated Buffalo developer and former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino in the Republican primary for New York's 23rd Congressional District on Tuesday, AP reports.

Why it matters: The result is something of a loss for the "Ultra MAGA" wing of the Republican party and a victory for establishment Republicans, who hoped to keep the gaffe- and scandal-prone Paladino far away from the halls of Congress.

  • Former President Trump did not make an endorsement during the bitter primary battle, though both candidates heavily emphasized their connections to him.
  • The newly drawn seat was not contested by retiring Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-N.Y.) or former Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), who resigned in May.

By the numbers: Paladino outraised Langworthy $1.5 million to $370,000 as of the beginning of August, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

  • Paladino also had a powerful backer in Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), who reportedly held a tele-rally for him the night before the election.
  • But Paladino's long history of scandal came back to haunt him during the race – particularly his praise of Hitler in a 2021 radio interview.

The big picture: Paladino’s loss underscores an increasingly clear reality for right-wing primary challengers: Trump’s endorsement is a make-or-break asset.

  • Paladino wasn't the only ultra MAGA candidate to lose their primary on Tuesday.
  • Florida House candidates Laura Loomer and Anthony Sabatini also fell short, as did Robert Cornicelli, a challenger to Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.), according to AP. None had Trump's nod.

What’s next: Langworthy will face Max Della Pia, the Democratic nominee, in the general election for the seat in November.

  • Langworthy is favored in the general election — the district voted for Trump by more than 13 points in 2020 and Cook Political Report rates it "Solid R."
  • Della Pia lost a special election to complete Reed's term on Tuesday, per AP.
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