Manhattan businessman Myers Mermel, who jumped into the governor's race a few days ago, has already begun taking a wrecking ball to the delegate tallies so painfully assembled by former U.S. Rep. Rick Lazio, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy and Buffalo businesman Carl Paladino.
Over the last two days, Myers Mermel announced personal endorsements from the chairs of Herkimer, Cortland and Schuyler counties. Then he reeled in a really big fish: The Queens GOP, which had already endorsed his candidacy for lieutenant governor, switched their support to Mermel, a significant blow to Levy.
"We believe there is wisdom in our State Chairman’s formulation with regard to Statewide races," said Chairman Phil Ragusa in a statement, referring to chairman Ed Cox's call for a gubernatorial primary, "and with the entry of Myers Mermel, Republicans will now have the option of a solid Republican Conservative."
The rest of the statement follows.
QGOP Spokesman Anthony Carollo: Our state is in a shambles. Our entire executive branch is made up of unelected officials foisted on us by democratic scandals.
As Queens Republicans we’ve watched and listened as this cast of characters have run our state deeper into debt and compounded a recession with policies essentially designed to drive out capital, the middle class and employers. Throughout it all our princely AG has stood largely mute awaiting his coronation.
We’ve seen this before. The media anoints a shiny new liberal who trots out some new rhetorical flourish while of course respecting every core liberal shibboleth. We have this again with AG Cuomo. The new sheriff of Wall Street – except that just like the old sheriff he thwarted little and saved not much. And he certainly did not clean up Albany. Cuomo is Spitzer redux and we are headed for a bad place.
The sense of Deja vu is palbable. We have been here before.
The Queens County Republican Party believes New York State needs a rock ribbed solid Republican conservative – fiscally and socially and needs one now. The moral malaise ailing our state that has generated one scandal after another does not emanate solely from one party rule, which is certainly unhealthy, but also from a failure to respect traditional values and time honored virtues. Each and every one of these public figures that have let us down with poor judgments, mortgaging out futures and our children’s futures also telegraphed a blatant disrespect for traditional values and conventions as a matter of public policy and personal conduct time and again. Our grandparents would not have afforded these people respect. Why do we?
We need a rock ribbed social and fiscal conservative that our grandparents would approve of and our kids can look up to. Someone who isn’t going to take the easy decisions or easy way out because it is politic.
In March the QGOP endorsed a candidate for Lieutenant Governor with exactly these qualities and we did so as did a goodly number of Counties in the state because we felt we owed it to our fellow New Yorkers to do a better job than the Democrats did when they nominated Spitzer-Paterson. We felt it was imperative that we endorse someone who could pick up the mantle of leadership and be trusted with it. Someone with the character and values and private sector experience to govern and make us proud and we did that when we endorsed unanimously Myers Mermel.
We felt confident that regardless of the outcome of the GOP convention with either Levy or Lazio at the top we would have at least done a great service to the future by putting forward someone of Myers Mermel’s character and ability. This reasoning still holds.
Our State Chairman to his credit has stated repeatedly that we may be stronger for it as a State and as a party if we have a Statewide primary where the strength of the candidates and their ideals and convictions are tested through the crucible of a hard fought primary election. Often on a local level for local races we have been predisposed to avoid the cost and potential for rifts that local primaries present locally given the limited funds and dimensions of such races and that logic still holds because all politics is local. However we believe there is wisdom in our State Chairman’s formulation with regard to Statewide races and with the entry of Myers Mermel Republicans will now have the option of a solid Republican Conservative.
In the face of these dynamics the QGOP has canvassed its loyal State Committee members and will vote to support a primary process for this fall and will vote to support Myers Mermel for Governor. Ultimately we believe this is fairer to everyone and in the best interest of the State. We’ve all heard the old saw about sausages and the legislative process ... "There are two things you don’t want to see being made—sausage and legislation" and candidly the back and forth and seesawing of our deliberations in making our determination has been just plain messy but we’ve gone back to the kitchen to get the recipe right because it is too important to our children’s children’s future that we get this right.
Candidlly had Myers gone for the brass ring at the inception our deliberations would have been tidier, cleaner, quicker. But now that thinks have shuffled out we know we have the choice of a solid Republican at the top of our ticket and a fair primary process so New Yorkers will have a real choice this fall."
Chairman Phil Ragusa: "In the face of a State adrift with scandal and moral relativism, fiscal chicanery and poor judgment our state could use a true conservative to right the ship of state. Myers will provide us with that kind of leadership born of conviction and the New York Times won’t be his lodestar. It isn’t an easy decision and not made lightly. There is no question Levy and Lazio are certainly preferable to another Cuomo administrative and we stand by that assessment. That our endorsed Lt. Governor Candidate has the courage and fortitude to step up to the plate and shoulder running for Governor makes him the most reliable conservative in the race for Governor and therefore the best man for the job. We can do no less. Vote for Myers Mermel."