The New York Tories

A curious wrinkle in the New York gubernatorial race: Rick Lazio, who lost the Republican nomination to Carl Paladino last week, is still on the ballot as the candidate of the Conservative Party. What makes this odd is that the Conservative Party exists mostly for the purpose of pushing the Republicans to the right, sometimes endorsing the GOP nominee and sometimes advancing a more conservative alternative. In this case, the Republicans nominated the more right-wing candidate and the CP is backing the guy who's closer to the center.

Dan McCarthy explains: "The Conservative Party thought Lazio would win the Republican nomination and preemptively nominated him for the CP line as well -- the better to garner votes for the CP in November and presumably to curry favor with Lazio and the Repubs also. This cynical strategy has backfired: now if Lazio folds his campaign, which is realistically what one would expect, the CP will have a hard time getting 50,000 votes on its gubernatorial line -- that's the threshold a party has to meet to get automatic ballot access the next time around."

I have no love for Lazio (an establishment hack) or for Paladino (a guy who wants to use eminent domain to block the Park51 project, and who has proposed a kooky plan to house welfare recipients in former prisons). The Democrat isn't appealing either. If I were a New Yorker, I'd probably cast a protest vote for the Libertarian candidate, or maybe the Manhattan madam. But I hate to see a third party lose its ballot status -- especially in a state like New York, where ballot fusion is legal and smaller parties thus have more influence (read: more chances to cause trouble). So I hope the CP pulls through this.

Even if Lazio exits -- and it's not yet certain that he will -- that doesn't mean the Conservatives will be stuck with an inactive candidate on their ballot line. The tricky thing is finding a substitute who can get those 50,000 votes. Party chair Mike Long has told the Daily News that he isn't eager to endorse Paladino. The Dennis Hopper lookalike "strikes a chord on lots of issues that we stand for and believe in," Long explains, but party leaders "think, quite frankly, he is really irresponsible in his demeanor, in his character." We'll see if they stick to that assessment if their automatic ballot berth is on the line.

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  • Mo||

    I'll probably vote for Redlich. I have no desire to vote for Cuomo, Paladino or even Lazio.

  • Eliot Spitzer||

    Vote for me!

  • ||

    What concerns me more is the fact that parties' access to the ballot is somewhat predicated on past election performance.

    It's almost as bad as Prop 14 or the jungle primary system in Louisiana.

  • Alice Bowie||

    I'm sorry, Carl Paladino will NOT WIN in NY. You can take that to the bank.

    He was asked the other day if he believe abortion should be banned for incest. He said " that's what adoption is for"

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    So.... He's consistent?

  • Apologetic California||

    The NY GOP is such pathetic trash. Even when California is at its libtarded worst, hell and high water would have to come together to reduce the number of GOP seats here to equal that of NY, which is just TWO!

  • Woodrow||

    Thats because Upstate New York is a lot more liberal than inland California.

  • Robert||

    They have not fought a good retreat over the past 2 decades.

  • BakedPenguin||

    If I were a New Yorker, I'd probably cast a protest vote for the Libertarian candidate, or maybe the Manhattan madam...

    Funny, I thought she was the LP candidate.

    Anyway, fuck pragmatism (lesser of two evuls!). If you're not voting your conscience, you're throwing your vote away.

  • ||

    party leaders "think, quite frankly, he is really irresponsible in his demeanor, in his character."

    Holy shit.

    Does he roam the streets at night, caning women for wearing lipstick and high heels, like some sort of Taliban Morality Police enforcer?

  • Dello||

    Why doesn't the CP just throw its hat in with the Dems long enough to get the votes? It seems like nobody takes them seriously anyway, so what's the loss?

  • MJ||

    How many people are would vote for Democrat on the Conservative Party line? What's important for qualifying rules to the Party is not how many people vote for a candidate, but how many for the candidate on that Party's line.

  • Robert||

    Here in the Bronx we in the Conservative Party have frequently endorsed Democrats for various offices while the statewide leadership, and in most of the counties, they've been in bed with the Republicans.

    In the Bronx we did endorse Lorigo in the primary for governor, and even running a no-money campaign against Lazio he still lost only 40-60. No way we're voting for Lazio in the general. Better for the Conservative Party to lose its line and start over -- and this is the leadership saying this, i.e. the people who actually use the ballot line. If we can't get Lazio off the line (and there are few and dwindling options for doing so, all of which require his cooperation), I say we vote for Paladino on the Taxpayers line and help it get ballot status, then get involved with it. It might help bring in younger members; the Conservatives have been aging on avg. for years.

  • Cal Ulmann||

    I will vote for Redlich in the General Election. I voted for Lazio in the Republican primary mostly as a protest.

  • ♥♥♥||

    Conservative Party abbreviation = CP.
    Child Porn abbreviation = CP.

    Coincidence?

  • Jason||

    Communist Party abbreviation = CP.

    Coincidence?

  • ||

    Chinese Communist Party = CCP
    Union of Soviet Socialist Republics = CCCP (in Cyrillic)
    Crappy Civilian Conservation Corps Policies = CCCCP

  • guy in the back row||

    Cuomo will probably pay Lazio to stay ont he ballot to drain GOP votes.

  • Gene Berkman||

    A historical parallel - in 2002 The Liberal Party nominated Andrew Cuomo for Governor, and he lost the Democrat primary.

    He failed to sign the paperwork to take his name off the ballot as the Liberal candidate, but he dropped out of the race. The Liberal Party ended up getting 15,000 votes for Cuomo - they needed 50,000 - and they lost ballot status after 56 years as a qualified party.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Lazio burned up all his compassion credits long ago, after Hillary used her "oh, noes, mean man is gonna attack me on live television" moment to get elected to the Senate.

  • ||

    Maybe Paladino should quit the race so he doesn't steal votes from Lazio. And then the GOP can worry about how the hell they're going to stay on the ballot next time.

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