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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Conservatives back Lazio, with an insurance policy

Rick Lazio is the preferred nominee of the Conservatives as of today. But the insurgents, Paladino and Levy, saw party member Ralph Lorigo make the primary ballot with 36 percent of the weighted vote, and Lorigo is supposed to serve as a "space holder" backup for Lazio. This has led Levy to state in his campaign propaganda that Lazio didn't "lock up" the C line as claimed, but of course chairman Mike Long sees it differently.

Our reporter Reid Epstein sent this Long quote from the scene last night: "The insurgent candidates for lieutenant governor and governor were clearly because I called the convention early. I wanted to close the gap and rally around Rick Lazio. My hope is that the Republican Party will do that."

"They have commited to me that they are going to get off the line if Rick Lazio is the Republican candidate. I believe the thing will be over right after the Republican convention."

A victory for the insurgents? Well, it seems more as if Long and his party will reap the benefit of taking out a kind of insurance -- having somewhere to go if Lazio's candidacy falls apart in an unexpected way.

The Conservatives need 50,000 votes for governor to maintain their standing ballot line.

If you consider concern over the loss of a third-party line far-fetched, think again.

In 2002, the Liberals fell off the ballot when Andrew Cuomo, their candidate, withdrew from the Democratic primary and endorsed Carl McCall for governor, thus sending less than the required number of votes to the 'L' line. The Greens too have come and gone as a standing party on the state ballot.

So it really doesn't look like much of a victory for Lazio's foes at all when party counsel John Ciampoli (the Nassau County attorney in his day job) , tells Newsday " “it’s virtually impossible” for Levy or Paladino to appear on the Conservative line in November. For that to happen, Ciampoli said, Lorigo would have to win a primary and then either move out of state, be named a judge, or die.

Despite all this, Camp Levy declares:

"The events of (Friday) confirm that the Lazio camp has been trying to sell a bill of goods all along.  They've been fraudulently claiming that he's had the Conservative Party nod locked up for months now, and here we find out that he barely gets half of the weighted vote and will face a primary on that line if he lasts into September.  It certainly must make you wonder about the predictions his team has been making about the GOP Convention.

"Mr. Lazio will now be facing a true Conservative who will be exposing the fact that he was one of the most liberal Republicans in the Congress during his tenure in the House of Representatives. "

In his counter-version of a wartime propaganda broadcast, Lazio calls the Conservative convention results a "tremendous victory."

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