BUFFALO - Conceding defeat Tuesday night in his upstart bid for governor, Carl Paladino remained defiant to the end, exhorting his supporters to continue agitating for a more responsive government and warning victor Andrew Cuomo to heed the calls to change Albany.
"It is our duty to keep our voices raised, to keep our pitchforks at the ready and never surrender," Paladino told a cheering crowd of hundreds at the Hyatt Regency here.
Handed the orange and black baseball bat he had promised to take to Albany, the brash real estate developer laid it on his shoulder and vowed his campaign's message of lower taxes, less spending and ethics reform would not end with his loss.
"Make no mistake. You have not heard the last of Carl Paladino," he said. "Nor have you heard the last from the people of New York State who want the government to work for them and not for entrenched special interests."
After a wild and largely negative campaign, Paladino Tuesday took responsibility for his campaign's mistakes after voting in his South Buffalo neighborhood, saying he regretted comments that damaged his campaign and called running for election "treacherous."
"Can I say I would have done things differently? Well, of course," Paladino told reporters outside his polling station, a church. "See, any of my missteps were just me, me being human."
Paladino won a surprise victory in the GOP primary only to lose ground in the polls after inflammatory remarks on gays and a nasty televised argument with a reporter.
His campaign, into which he poured $10 million of his own money, never seemed to recover, and Tuesday he seemed relieved the election was over.
"I don't think I'm going to miss it," he said of the campaign, which he called "treacherous. Very confusing in many respects."
Of the remarks that may have torpedoed his campaign, he said: "I regret them. I would have done things differently."