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Posted by on Mar 10, 2010 in At TMV | 2 comments

NY GOP to Run a Democrat for Governor?

For those who enjoy reading about politics on the web, we should probably have a specific tag for strange stories of the day just for items coming out of New York. Given the path of self-destruction which Democrats in that state have been charting over the last few months, one has to wonder who would possibly want to be associated with them. Well, the answer just may be … the Republican Party in New York.

The Republican nomination for governor, which had for months seemed all but locked up by former United States Representative Rick A. Lazio, became a more unsettled contest on Tuesday when top New York Republicans met with the Suffolk County executive, Steve Levy, as a potential challenger to Mr. Lazio.

Revealing an unease over Mr. Lazio’s campaign, the state Republican Party chairman, Ed Cox, and the party’s nine regional leaders summoned Mr. Levy, a registered Democrat who has run on Republican and Conservative lines in the past, to Albany to make his case for the Republican nomination, according to people who attended the meeting.

Now, it’s true that Levy is very moderate as Democrats go. It’s also true that he has some fairly serious fiscal conservative bona fides and he’s never been very tightly aligned to any one given political party. But at least for the moment he is a registered Democrat. Is the GOP really experiencing such a dearth of talent in the Empire State that they have to look at recruiting from the opposite bench?

Rick Lazio has been out working the campaign trail for some time now and has definitely put in the hours and shoe leather required to demonstrate his serious intentions to run. He lost a quixotic campaign against Hillary Clinton for the Senate in 2000, and seemed to keep a fairly low profile after that, but he’s been a solid soldier for the party. He was quick to respond and obviously didn’t think much of Levy’s chances.

The Lazio campaign dismissed the notion that Mr. Levy was a political threat, and it insisted that Mr. Lazio would be the party’s eventual choice.

“We are extremely comfortable that Rick Lazio will be the nominee of both the Republican Party and the Conservative Party,” said Barney Keller, a spokesman for the campaign. “Steve Levy is a registered Democrat, so he should run in the Democratic primary. That’s where liberal Democrats belong.”

Ouch. I’m not sure how “liberal” Levy is, but he’s certainly a Democrat. But politics makes for strange bedfellows and nowhere is that old saying more true than in New York these days. (Insert your own “tickle party” reference here.) There’s plenty of time left until the primaries, so we’ll have to keep an eye on this one. But frankly, it’s hard to imagine anyone faring very well against Andrew Cuomo barring some major scandal or sea change.

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