Lazio Wins GOP Nod for Governor

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Gubernatorial Candidate Republican Rick Lazio came on New York Nightly News to tell us why we should vote for him. (Published Friday, Jun 22, 2012)

    New York's Republican party has picked former U.S. Rep. Rick Lazio as its nominee for governor.

    Lazio, a former Rep. from Long Island, received 59 percent of the weighted vote in the first ballot. 

    "Here in New York, there are many who are discouraged. Some have given up, left our state and searched for opportunity elsewhere. We can do better. The people want change, they want to chart a new course and look for responsible leaders who can move us forward," said Lazio.

    Democratic Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, running as a Republican with the backing of state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, sought a second vote to attempt to get on the ballot as a Republican. 

    In that second round, he got 42 votes,  -- meaning he failed to secure a spot in a Sept. 14 primary as a Republican.

    Outside the convention, Levy told NBCNewYork that this was "a fair and open democratic process."  He called the process "democracy at it's best," and said he may still seek a third party challenge on a Tea Party or another line.

    Levy added that Democratic nominee Andrew Cuomo is still the candidate he "is most" afraid of.

    Lazio, meanwhile, also focused his sights on Cuomo.

    After coming to the stage to the tune of Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind," Lazio took aim at his Democratic rival.

    "Looking to Albany and Andrew Cuomo is not the answer, said Lazio. "Andrew Cuomo’s special interest allies will not make the change we seek easy. They prefer the status quo. They know that Andrew Cuomo won’t take on the Albany establishment. Andrew Cuomo can’t take on the Albany establishment – because Andrew Cuomo is the Albany establishment."

    He even stole Carl Paladino's line, calling for New Yorkers to "reject the status Cuomo."

    Buffalo developer Paladino, who also failed to get on the Republican ballot, has vowed to petition his way to a primary. Libertarian Warren Redlich recently announced candidate Myers Mermel also sought the nomination.

    The dissension within the convention was most obvious when the Suffolk County Republican Chair John Jay LaValle said the Republicans will lose by three million votes because registered Republicans are outnumbered in New York. 

    "We cannot win with our registrants alone." LaValle said. Critics in the crowd shouted "He's a Democrat!"

    Another asked, "What would our grandfathers say?"

    LaValle implored the crowd to remember that the GOP welcomed both Ronald Reagan and Rudy Giuliani into their party in the past.

    "What about the proverbial open tent?" LaValle asked. "Are we just going to say everyone's welcome?"
     
    As the convention began, Cox was welcomed to the stage with reserved applause, a visible side effect of the controversy over his decisions as Chairman.

    Despite the infighting on display Republicans tried to keep the focus on their battle against Democrats in November.
     
    Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino mocked Democrats' efforts to reinvent themselves as the "new Democratic party" at their convention last week in Rye.

    ”'New democrat' is really one for the ages,” said Astornino, implying a disconnect between the party's labels and reality. 
     
    Cox vowed the Republicans will win some of the statewide elections in November, but the Democratic opposition is fierce and well funded.   In some races the chances may be slim but the slogans were catchy - for instance:  "It's time to chuck Schumer."