According to the NY Post, there was a "secret" vote by NY's GOP senators last week, "to put party Chairman Ed Cox on notice that they want former US Rep. Rick Lazio - and not a turncoat Democrat - as their candidate for governor." That "turncoat Democrat" is Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, who is looking at running on the GOP ticket. This all seems like a flashback to the 23rd CD race, where a bunch of county chairmen "selected" a bad candidate, who ended up dropping out, and endorsing the Democrat, rather than the Conservative challenger. Now, Rick Lazio is no Dede Scozzafava, and I don't think Levy will run on the Conservative line, if Lazio gets the nod, without a primary.
What concerns me is whether they will support a fair primary, or try to keep Levy off the ballot. These guys may be in the minority statewide, but they hold alot of power in the state party. NY State has a large emerging "grass roots" conservative movement, though it's not as "activist" as in some of the other parts of the nation. Most of us are working so hard just to get by, we don't have the time to attend rallies, and few of us have ever talked to any elected or party official. We know that most of these people are corrupt blowhards.Still, they have records to run on, and more people than ever are able to find those records, in the information age.
This is where the new "grass roots" movemet comes in. People are becoming more politically active online, as in the real world. Many conservative voters who had "given up" on voting are being brought back in by the wave of people who are "newly" active in politics. The rallying cry in NYS is "stop the spending," and people are looking for candidates whose record reflects that. They are tired of having the party "anoint" candidates that they have to hold their nose while voting for.
I voted for Lazio, when he lost to Hillary. Unfortunately, other than remembering that he had a decent voting record, I don't remember much about him. I loved it when he approached her, with a pledge to sign, at the debate, but can't remember what the "pledge" was about (probably about not raising taxes, or something like that). He was roundly condemned for that, but my point is that he just wasn't very impressive. He might have great ideas, but will he have what it takes to be the voice of fiscal sanity in Albany?
Levy, I don't know as much about, other than he's drawn fire over illegal immigration issues, in the past. He also is having a showdown with the Suffolk County Legislature over hiring new police, who are paid the highest salary in the world, apparently (sarcasm, there. They're highly compensated, compared to Nassau County and NYC). He wants to fund 70, the legislature wants 200. That's two things I like about him, but I have to look into the rest of his record as S. C. Executive. If he runs in the primary, I'll be sure to write about it. He seems more willing to "go against the grain," which is what our state needs right now.
Thanks to the Post, we know that the "long knives" are out for Levy, already. Of course, he's dealt with plenty of that from his own party, in the past, and he is still a sitting county executive. I think the GOP senators are scared, because he may represent the exact threat they fear the most: the voice of voters from both parties, who are saying "the party is over! STOP THE SPENDING!"
NYS is in bad shape, and there is a huge public spending machine in place, now fully owned by the Democrats. The GOP ran themselves out of power by being part of it, and disaffecting so many voters. Now that a natural constituency is emerging around the "tea party" movement, they need to listen to the people, and at least allow them to have a choice of candidates for governor.
Update: Levy has switched to the GOP, and entered the race. I also read that he was endorsed by the Conservative Party in his last race for county executive. I like this guy!