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In New York, Gubernatorial Candidate Vows To Stop Ground Zero Mosque

Carl Paladino, the Tea Party-inspired candidate in New York’s GOP gubernatorial primary, has cut what appears to be the first political ad referencing the Cordoba House (a.k.a. the Ground Zero mosque).

The ad, which is running across New York State except in Paladino’s native Buffalo, says, “As governor, I will use the power of eminent domain to stop the mosque and to use the site as a memorial instead of a monument to those who attacked our country.”

According to Slate, there’s not much opponents can do to stop the mosque at this point — the area is already commercially zoned to allow a religious site, the Landmark Preservation Commission voted not to give the building landmark status, and the 2000 Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act prevents religious discrimination in land-use decisions. Or as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg asked rhetorically at a speech on Governor’s Island Tuesday, “Should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion?”

Paladino has at least some chance of upsetting GOP-endorsed candidate Lazio in the New York State GOP primary September 14: The latest Quinnipac poll showed Lazio leading Paladino 39-23 percent, but 28 percent of Republican primary voters were undecided.

Unlike Lazio, Paladino considers himself a member of the Tea Party, which could well organize to get out the vote for him. The news this April that Paladino sent racist and sexually-explicit e-mails around to friends (including racist images of President Obama) led many people to see him as a sideshow, but he managed to collect enough signatures to get on the ballot. He also has pledged to spend up to $10 million of his estimated $150 million wealth in the campaign, and as Jesse Zwick wrote earlier this week, self-financed candidates, usually losers, might actually win their races this year.

This story originally appeared at The American Independent.

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