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NYP: Levy May Not Make It to 50 Percent at the GOP Convention, Cox Says

April 21, 2010

Ed Cox is losing faith in Democratic turncoat Steve Levy, the Post is reporting:

State GOP chairman Ed Cox publicly raised the specter that his hand-picked candidate, Democratic Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, won’t get the 50 percent support among delegates at the Republican convention in June to get on the ballot at a Republican women’s conference this week.

The comment raised eyebrows, and came at a time when even some Republicans sympathetic to Levy are privately worrying his momentum seems stalled and they’re unclear on where he’ll scrape up enough support to pass the 50 percent he needs to make it on the line as a current registered Democrat.

Cox made the comment at the New York State Federation of Republican Women annual conference in Albany this week, after he was asked a question by a woman in the crowd about why he is backing Levy, two sources told the Knickerbocker.

State GOP communications director Alex Carey acknowledged that Cox said at some point in his response that “it is possible that he won’t get 50.1 percent,” but insisted “the majority of that answer was sort of framing the debate” with the head of the party insisting he himself isn’t steering people toward Levy.

“What he was trying to emphasize was that….he is not manipulating the various county chairs and the various delegates in any way,” Carey insisted.

Cox wooed Levy to run and has endorsed him in a primary where Lazio is running, as is Buffalo developer Carl Paladino. He’s privately told people he expects Levy will get 50 percent, and Levy’s allies had expected him to deliver it.

But with Levy’s support by most calculations still just shy of 25 percent, some insiders thought Cox could be trying to put some daylight between himself and the Suffolk County Executive – whose success or failure to get on the ballot is going to be painted as a referendum on the state chairman’s leadership.

Democrats pounced the other day on a statement from Cox that Lazio would be a “good candidate,” since the chairman and the former Long Island congressman have been at each other’s throats privately and publicly since the Levy bombshell broke weeks ago.

Carey added, “Ed has every confidence that Levy will get 50 plus 1 percent and that was not at all what Ed was suggesting.”

But Lazio’s camp zoomed in, saying, “Wiith Steve Levy stalled at less than a quarter of the weighted vote for the Republican Convention, under investigation by several newsapapers for pay to play and worse, and with a liberal record including support for Obama’s stimulus bill, it’s no wonder that Ed Cox has admitted that Steve Levy’s run is basically hopeless. We agree. Republicans have in Rick Lazio a candidate for Governor who will not be an agent for the entrenched Albany power structure. He will cut taxes, end outrageous mandates, bring real property tax relief, and bring sweeping fundamental change to New York government.”

  1. D.J. permalink
    April 22, 2010 11:59 am

    This was a comment totally taken out of context! Haberman corrected the situation:

    • John Galt permalink*
      April 22, 2010 12:45 pm

      Thank you for this link. This is an update from the Post (BUT notice how Cox NEVER actually denies making the statement):

      State GOP Chairman Ed Cox just phoned in to firmly protest the Knickerbocker item – including but not limited to the headline – about his comments at an upstate women’s GOP forum. After being asked at the forum why he’s backing Democrat Steve Levy for governor, he mentioned in his answer that the Suffolk County executive may not get to the 50.1 percent needed to get on the ballot.

      “It’s not true,” Cox said of the idea that he was losing faith in the candidate he recruited to run on the GOP line in a bold but risky move.

      “It’s people hearing what they want to hear, and I’m making clear that it’s going to be an open process,” Cox insisted – and then heaped praise on Levy, saying he’s in no way moving away from him.

      “Levy is the superior candidate and I am confident that the party chairs are going to understand that,” he said. “Rick (Lazio) has dropped from 70 percent that he had to 45 percent, and as the party chairs meet and see Steve’s strengths they will become convinced that he is a superior candidate who can win in November given his record in dealing with Suffolk County.”

      “In the end I’m convinced that the party is going to make the right choice here,” he added.

      It wasn’t clear where Cox was drawing the 45 percent figure from, since Team Lazio insists the former Long Island congressman is north of the 50 percent he needs to block Levy.

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