The Conservative Party of New York is one of the most powerful state-level third parties in the nation. This year three candidates are simultaneously running for both the GOP nomination and the Conservative Party nomination for Governor of New York. Those candidates are Steve Levy, Carl Paladino, and Rick Lazio. However, Lazio has the endorsement of the convention and of the state chairman. Instead of splitting up the remaining vote, the Paladino and Levy campaigns have put forth one combined ticket for their supporters in the hopes of knocking off Lazio in the primary.
The supporters of Democrat-turned-Republican Steve Levy and upstate businessman Carl Paladino teamed up and nominated Ralph Lorigo and Andrew Kay as a placeholder ticket in the hopes that either Levy or Paladino gets on the ballot at next week’s GOP convention.
“My fight is over the strength and survival of our party,” Lorigo, a Paladino backer, said, as he criticized the Conservatives for going with Lazio.
He said Paladino would go ahead and petition to create “a tea party line (based on) our values…we will be diminished and our position…may be lost.”
But Long fired back hard, saying, “I don’t think we should be nominating individuals …out of fear, the fear of what might happen to us as a party.”
He added, “Leadership is about taking risks…the enemies are the liberals of this state that have brought us to where we are.”
And he said he was not concerned about the purity of his message, saying, “I have no doubt about the future of this party. None whatsoever.”
Larigo has seven days to decline to challenge Lazio in a primary.
But sources close to Paladino insisted he was moving forward, and would simultaneously petition for a tea party line while also saying he would go ahead and support Larigo staying in and challenging Lazio for the Conservative nomination in a primary.
The only way that wouldn’t happen, the source said, is if Lazio helps Paladino get the 25 percent of the vote he would need at next week’s GOP convention to get on the Republican primary ballot.
Lazio is expected to win the primary fairly easily and Paladino is expected to petition to put a new party on the ballot carrying the name “Tea Party”.