JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – Citing an unfair press, congressional candidate Carl Paladino is addressing why he has declined media interviews and debates.

The Republican candidate for New York’s newly redrawn 23rd Congressional District spoke with WNY News Now exclusively during a campaign stop at a WNY Freedom Seekers meeting in Jamestown on Tuesday night.

In recent weeks, fellow front-runner in the campaign, State Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy, has called on Paladino to take part in not only televised debates, but also, seven debates in all seven counties the Congressional District represents.

In lieu of speaking with the news media, Paladino has spent countless hours touring the region campaigning. The reason, according to Paladino, is the lack of fair and balanced reporting.

“Well, because they (the media) wanna play gotcha, they want to give you that ‘gotcha’ question, they feel they have to balance in some way, so they’ll lie,” explained Paladino. “They’ve taken a statement I made about Hitler, and how Hitler could engage the masses, and they put that into a whole different context, and said that ‘I love Hitler,’ and that, ‘I respect Hitler.’ I have no respect for Hitler, it’s just nonsense.”

Paladino is referring to comments made in a 2021 radio interview, which was brought to the forefront in June by the left-leaning watchdog group Media Matters, a story the candidate insists was taken out of context.

In addition to the two front runners, Jamestown area resident Richard Moon, is running a write-in campaign for the seat as part of a special and primary election on Tuesday, Aug. 23.

The special election will fill the seat of former Congressman Tom Reed, who resigned for a job in the private sector. Republican Joe Sempolinski, the Steuben County Republican chairman, and Democrat Max Della Pia, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel from Tioga County, are facing off.

The ultimate winner of the GOP primary in August will take on Della Pia this fall for the full term.