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Rep. Elise Stefanik, left, and Carl Paladino

House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik has endorsed former Buffalo Board of Education member and New York Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino for the open seat in New York's 23rd Congressional District. The wealthy real estate developer was removed from the board in 2017 after using racial slurs about former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama.

Stefanik, who represents the state's 21st Congressional District, tweeted on Friday, "I am proud to announce my endorsement of my friend Carl Paladino in #NY23. Carl is a job creator and conservative outsider who will be a tireless fighter for the people of New York in our fight to put America First to save the country."

Paladino, a frequent candidate and the New York co-chair of former President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, has a history of making racist, misogynistic, and homophobic comments.

In 2010, Paladino ran unsuccessfully for New York governor. During the campaign, he made national news for circulating racist, offensive, and pornographic emails. He defended sending around a photoshopped image of the Obamas as a pimp and prostitute by claiming, "I sent it to a specific bunch of friends, okay, who somewhat enjoy that humor."

Paladino attacked LGBTQ people, telling a group of Orthodox Jewish leaders that same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry because "I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don't want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option — it isn't."

He later said that he would not "change the comments" but that he had chosen an "inappropriate word" when he said "brainwashed."

Paladino also made headlines in 2010 for sending mailers scented with rotten vegetables to illustrate his view that "Something really stinks in Albany."

Six years later, while serving as an elected member of the Buffalo Board of Education, he was asked by a reporter what he hoped would happen in 2017. His response, published by the Buffalo-based website Artvoice with misspellings intact, included:

1. Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford. He dies before his trial and is buried in a cow pasture next to Valerie Jarret, who died weeks prior, after being convicted of sedition and treason, when a Jihady cell mate mistook her for being a nice person and decapitated her.
2. Michelle Obama. I'd like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.

After those racist comments and separate allegations that he improperly disclosed confidential information about contract negotiations, Paladino faced widespread calls to resign his board seat.

When he refused to do so, the state commissioner of education removed him from his post.

Stefanik's endorsement of Paladino followed the announcement that Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs would end his campaign for the newly drawn 23rd Congressional District. Jacobs dropped out following right-wing criticism over his expressed willingness to support gun safety measures following mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas.

Stefanik, the third-ranking member of the House GOP leadership, has been under fire for her embrace of white supremacist "replacement theory," the notion that Democrats are encouraging people of color to immigrate to the United States in order to outvote and replace white people.

The winner of the August 23 primary for the Republican nomination will be the heavy favorite in November in a strongly Republican-leaning district.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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