You really can't keep a kook out of the kitchen: Republican Carl Paladino might have been stung by his poor showing at the GOP convention earlier this week, but he has no interest in giving up the desperate good fight. The real estate mogul-offensive email connoisseur vowed to gather the 15,000 signatures needed to challenge Rick Lazio in a Republican primary. "Today the real fight for reform begins...I'm the only Republican who should be the next governor of New York. And I intend to be," he said, with Ahab-like intensity.

Paladino only received 7.5 percent of the votes at the fractured convention, coming in a distant third behind Lazio and former Democrat Steve Levy (but still ahead of Mermal!). The Republican in-fighting has led to serious divisions; Paladino, a multi-millionaire, is closely-associated with the Tea Party, and plans on petitioning to create a Tea Party line. And he said he was willing to spend $500,000 to do so (to date, he's committed to spend nearly $10 million on his campaign, largely from his own funds).

Political observer Lee Miringoff of Marist College said Paladino could siphon votes from Lazio: "I think it's a major distraction and possibly a very serious threat to Rick Lazio." Long Island Congressman Peter King agreed: "We have 152 days to win this election. I want to spend all that time campaigning against the Democrats, not campaigning against each other." But Paladino can take comfort that he's got Erie County on his side: "Even though Rick has become the nominee of the party, Erie County is going to stand with Carl Paladino," said Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy.