Leaders of the state Conservative Party are giving their critical backing to Republican Rick Lazio for governor.
The endorsement at a meeting of the Conservative Party in Brooklyn boosts Lazio a day after two challengers arose to challenge him for the Republican nomination.
State Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long says Lazio won the vote by a ratio of 5 to 1.
No Republican has won statewide in New York without the Conservative Party endorsement.
Lazio faces challenges for the Republican line from conservative Democrat Steve Levy and Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino. All three candidates say they expect to be in a Republican primary this fall.
Levy is the Suffolk County executive and Paladino rushed an appeal to Conservative leaders late in the week seeking their support.
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is expected to announce his Democratic bid soon.