Lazio ex­its N.Y. gover­nor’s race

He bows out to give the GOP can­di­date a bet­ter shot against Demo­crat Cuomo.

Los Angeles Times - - The Nation - Geral­dine Baum re­port­ing from new york geral­dine.baum@latimes.com

The race to be the next gover­nor of New York be­came a two-man heat Mon­day.

In one of those the-en­emy-of-my-en­emy-is-my-friend mo­ments, Rick Lazio, a for­mer con­gress­man from Long Is­land, took him­self out of the run­ning in or­der to give “tea party” fa­vorite Carl Pal­adino a bet­ter shot at beat­ing their Demo­cratic ri­val, state Atty. Gen. An­drew Cuomo.

This month, Lazio lost badly to Pal­adino for the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion, yet kept his name on the bal­lot for the Novem­ber elec­tion as the Con­ser­va­tive Party can­di­date.

At a news con­fer­ence Mon­day, he an­nounced his de­ci­sion to re­move it but made clear it wasn’t out of any love of Pal­adino, a Buf­falo busi­ness­man with a com­bat­ive style and $10 mil­lion he has vowed to spend to get elected.

“I re­main un­con­vinced that Carl Pal­adino can bring the im­prove­ment that New York­ers need, de­serve and want,” Lazio said.

He said he sim­ply didn’t want to be a GOP spoiler.

Pal­adino, who has po­si­tioned him­self as an in­sur­gent who wants to clean up state govern­ment, is ex­pected this week to get his name put on the Con­ser­va­tive Party line. In New York and a few other states, can­di­dates from ma­jor par­ties can also ap­pear on the bal­lot as third-party nom­i­nees.

In mod­ern times, no Repub­li­can has won a race for New York gover­nor — or any statewide of­fice — with­out that en­dorse­ment.

“Game on,” said GOP po­lit­i­cal ad­vi­sor Dave Catal­famo. “Now Carl has one of the im­por­tant bell­wethers of what Repub­li­cans look for in a race. Now let’s see if he can keep up the mo­men­tum to beat An­drew.”

Cuomo has re­mained ahead in polls.

Richard Drew

NO SPOILER: Rick Lazio, right, was run­ning as the Con­ser­va­tive Party can­di­date af­ter los­ing the GOP pri­mary to “tea party” fa­vorite Carl Pal­adino, left.

Mark Lennihan

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