Queens GOP Prepared to Make Flip-Flop in Gubernatorial Primary?
The Post reported today that the Queens GOP led by Phil Ragusa (I guess they settled that whole two chairman dispute…) is likey to flip-flop and support lifelong Democrat and recently-turned-Republican gubernatorial hopeful Steve Levy over Rick Lazio:
One source called an endorsement “likely” by mid-week, but left open the possibility that things could change.
It wouldn’t be a huge surprise, since Team Levy has cited Ragusa – who had endorsed Rick Lazio back in January – as a possible flip weeks ago, and the Queens party leader had made clear he was leaning toward the Democratic Suffolk County Executive after he filled out a Republican registration card (which won’t take effect until after November).
But it comes at a time when Levy is trying to put together a string of support in a bid to regain momentum, and Queens is a very large county. However, it’s unclear whether they would be unified or how much peel-off could be expected.
Levy announced three counties backing him in the past week, as questions were raised about whether he was stuck as he tries to pry crucial committee support from Lazio. Levy needs 51 percent to secure a spot on the GOP line, since he’s still a registered Democrat.
But they were tiny counties. Lazio hit back with his own support, Greene County – a region loyal to Levy booster John Faso – yesterday.
Ragusa couldn’t be reached for comment.
It’s also not clear whether Queens is already being counted in Team Levy’s tally when he and his allies say he has 45 percent of support, though one would imagine it is.
Ragusa has a good relationship with state GOP chairman Ed Cox, who recrutied Levy to run as a Republican for governor.
We all know Lazio has seemed somewhat meek as of late as a candidate, but we don’t see either Carl Paladino or Steve Levy for that matter gaining any traction in the bid to be the next governor.
Newsday reported last week that “former Rep. Rick Lazio has a 3-1 lead over Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy and Buffalo developer Carl Paladino in the race…according to a new poll. However, 40 percent of GOP voters were undecided.”
That doesn’t bode well for any Republicans in general, but Steve Levy has consistently polled blow Lazio in a hypothetical match-up against presumed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo (who is apparently not announcing his campaign until next month).
But with Queens prepared to flip-flop, you have to ask yourself what exactly are they and Steve Levy’s other supporters turning to as evidence of his credentials to be a serious GOP candidate?
Both Levy and Paladino have had embarrassing events blow up in their faces this year. Levy’s past and his acquaintances from years ago have been the subject of discussion over at The Daily News, while Carl Paladino made a fool out of himself recently with the revelation of campaign emails he sent featuring racist and sexist themes (not to mention BESTIALITY).
Lazio, while not generating genuine excitement in the GOP, has not had a scandal as of yet and continues to poll better than the other two candidates.
So, why Levy?
Does this have anything to do with the fact that New York State GOP Chairman Ed Cox’s son is running in the very county over which Steve Levy exercises great authority as Executive, not to mention in his previous party? Is that a deal I smell?
I hope not.
The man has done nothing to support the GOP in his entire career. He doesn’t even have Tom Golisano or Mike Bloomberg-like money to throw around, not that that would justify choosing him (after Bloomberg, absolutely not).
So, again, I ask “why Levy?”
The fact is that, as of yet, no one has provided an adequate answer as to why Republicans should support this turncoat Democrat.
Then, we have this from Lazio’s spokesperson Barney Keller:
“Steve Levy is delusional and has clearly been a Democrat for too long, because he’s willing to do or say anything regardless of the truth. As has been reported, well over 50% of the weighted vote publicly supports Rick Lazio, and our internal numbers show us at over 60%, not including support from Suffolk County. Finally, the Conservative Party has endorsed Rick Lazio and no Republican can win without their support. If Steve Levy truly is a Republican, he should drop out, endorse Rick Lazio, and work hard to make him the next Governor.”
Somewhat convincing. But things may change, although I doubt it.
As of yet, I’m not convinced an “R” belongs next to Mr. Levy’s name, let alone a position next to Andrew Cuomo on the ballot.
But regardless of your sentiments or mine, keep an eye out for one other thing. Let’s see if notorious flip-flopper Craig Eaton, Brooklyn GOP Chairman, is the next domino to fall Levy’s way.
Given his weakened position in this borough and his already tenuous chairmanship, he probably feels he needs to do whatever he can to appease the GOP State Overlords, Ed Cox and Company. Or perhaps Eaton’s Puppet Master Marty Golden will pull the strings and initiate the Steve Levy turnabout? We already know how willing he is to endorse Democrats.
I wouldn’t be surprised…
We’ll keep following this story for you in the weeks to come.