Suffolk County executive and registered Democrat Steve Levy will seek the Republican nomination for governor, his campaign spokeswoman confirmed today.
Campaign spokeswoman Rene Babich says Levy plans to make an announcement Monday in Albany.
The move is certain to excite Republican leaders pessimistic about their party’s hopes this fall, the New York Times reported.
Levy had run on the Democratic, Republican, Conservative and Independence lines in his successful re-election bid for county executive.
Republican candidate Rick Lazio says he's still confident he will win Republican and Conservative support. Lazio has secured many endorsements by local GOP and Conservative leaders.
Levy told NBCNewYork this week that he was exploring running as a Republican or independent. He met with Conservative Leaders to try and earn their support for what he calls his "fiscal conservatism."
"I would declare a fiscal emergency that would allow us to un-do many of the burdensome and byzantine laws and contracts that have been put in place by the special interest and the public employees union. I would have a hard spending cap and a local property tax cap for our overburdened tax payers here in the state," he said of the state's $9 billion deficit.
Even if Levy were to prevail against Lazio, he would likely face a tough opponent in assumed Democratic nominee Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo has yet to make his bid official. Gov. David Paterson ended his campaign for election in the wake of scandal.
Levy said his decision to run on a different party line wasn't difficult to make. "I'm happy to talk to any party that's going to adopt my contract for New York."
"I don't really care so much about the party, and I think that's the case with a majority of New Yorkers," he said.
When asked if he was socially conservative, Levy said, "I'm pretty much a moderate on the social issues. I'm pro-choice. Against partial-birth abortion. With guns, I believe people should be able to protect their family with a gun ... but it's very reasonable to have a waiting period, a background check."
He says he supports civil unions as opposed to legalizing gay marriage.
Levy earns nearly $185,000 as county executive — some $13,000 less than the county allows him to make.