ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Rising Republican candidate Carl Paladino said Wednesday that he won’t stay in the New York governor’s race if he doesn’t win the Republican primary, saying the GOP can’t afford to let Democrat Andrew Cuomo win.

“We’re not going to be a spoiler to someone running against Andrew Cuomo and taking him down,” Paladino told NY1’s “Inside City Hall” political program. “Andrew Cuomo is the poster child for everything that people don’t want in government anymore.”

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The millionaire developer from Buffalo has pledged to use $10 million of his own money in his campaign and he is close to billionaire B. Thomas Golisano, the former Western New York candidate for governor who has funded campaigns at the state level as part of a reform effort.

Paladino, a conservative Republican, is trying to petition his way onto the November ballot on what he calls the Taxpayers line. He plans to use it if he wins the Republican line to compensate for losing the Conservative Party line to Republican front-runner Rick Lazio.

Paladino used the petition route to force a Republican primary with Lazio, the choice of party delegates at the state GOP convention.

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There was no immediate comment from Lazio or Cuomo.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday showed Paladino trailed Lazio 39 percent to 23 percent among enrolled Republicans questioned. That’s a gain since June 22 when Lazio had 46 percent to Paladino’s 17 percent. In April, Lazio was supported by 39 percent of Republicans questioned, compared to Paladino’s 11 percent.

Wednesday’s Quinnipiac poll questioned 380 Republicans statewide and had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.

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