02 June 2010

Lazio gets GOP nod; rivals do not concede

Rick Lazio has avoided a primary vote and stands as the Republican nominee for governor of New York after a bitterly contested campaign against a renegade Democrat, Steve Levy, who had the backing of the state GOP chairman. Levy, who fell short of the votes needed to force the primary, has not yet endorsed Lazio, while another aspirant to the nomination, the Buffalo businessman Carl Palladino, is still considering an alternate route to the November ballot despite the scandal caused by his reported mailing of pornographic and racist e-mails. Lazio had the support of the Conservative Party following its own contested convention, Levy and Palladino having challenged him there as well. Many conservative New Yorkers consider Lazio a weak candidate, remembering his lackluster short-notice race with Hillary Clinton in 2000, but the CP leadership regards him as the most viable and legitimate conservative in the campaign. Why the Conservatives felt it necessary to convince the Republicans of this is unclear. The party leaders may be more interested in having influence over the GOP than in building up their own organization. By endorsing Lazio ahead of the Republican conclave they sought to remind Republicans of the necessity of their support, since they now held over the GOP the implicit threat of an independent Lazio candidacy had the Republicans chosen someone else. This strategy is not quite infiltration, since the Conservatives seem to think they exert influence more effectively from a distance, but it's not quite independence, either. Whether it guarantees the state's small-c conservatives genuine representation in government is a question many New Yorkers will have to ponder over from now until November.

1 comment:

d.eris said...

It will be interesting to see how conservative Republicans, nationally, react to this development, if they respond at all. Aside from the support from the CP, this situation appears to be setting up a situation similar to what happened in NY-23 with Hoffman – i.e. no primary, the nominee appears to be a weak conservative etc. The NY Times reports that Levy is now also considering a third party run:

"Minutes after the vote, Mr. Levy was defiant as he addressed reporters, saying he could not yet support Mr. Lazio because he, like Mr. Paladino, was weighing creating a Tea Party-influenced third-party line to run on."