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No protesters at Carl Paladino hearing in Albany

Protesters have dogged Buffalo School Board Member Carl Paladino ever since his racist comments about then-President Barack Obama and his wife were published in December.

But Thursday morning, when State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia commenced an unprecedented hearing in Albany to determine if Paladino should be kicked off the School Board, there were no protesters in sight demanding his ouster.

That was unexpected, even though the public had been warned that only 15 to 20 spectators would be allowed inside the small hearing room.

Live coverage: Hearing on move to kick Paladino off School Board

On May 17, about a dozen protesters from Buffalo traveled to Albany to try to meet with Elia and publicly demand Paladino be removed from the board. After being told Elia was not in Albany, they held a public protest in the lobby of the state Education Department building.

Protesters also have interrupted at least three Buffalo School Board meetings with loud chants until security guards removed them.

The hearing will decide if Paladino, the unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor in 2010 and New York State chairman of President Trump's campaign, can remain on the School Board, to which he won elections in 2013 and 2016.

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