With a week to go before the Republican gubernatorial primary in New York, right-wing insurgent Carl Paladino is raising the stakes by going back on an earlier promise to stand down from his newly-created Taxpayers Party line should he lose the GOP nod to Rick Lazio. Paladino now says that he will campaign actively as the Taxpayers candidate if Lazio wins the Republican primary. Squinting between the lines, I sense some failed negotiations between the contenders. Paladino's side gives Lazio's expected continuance on the Conservative line as the explanation for Paladino's change of mind. Had Lazio promised to stand down in favor of Paladino, depending on the Republican outcome, I suspect that Paladino would have been more willing to maintain the same promise to Lazio.
Coincidentally -- or not -- comes a report that Paladino, who had boasted of his readiness to spend of much of his own money as necessary to beat Lazio, is now soliciting donations starting from $25, having apparently drained his campaign fund in order to buy TV and radio ads for the last two weeks of the primary campaign. Lazio, the supposedly poorer candidate, reportedly still has half a million in reserve, though he probably hoped to save that as starter money for the general election against plutocratic nominee Andrew Cuomo. I don't watch much local news, but when I have I haven't seen any Lazio ads lately. He's still leading in the polls, and I still expect him to win, but if Paladino sticks to his new resolve and finds fresh funds for that resolve, Lazio will stay in a world of trouble from now through November. Conservative New Yorkers, however, will have something resembling a real choice this fall.