Rick Lazio came out swinging Wednesday at a Republican event in Brooklyn against recent indications from GOP State Chairman Ed Cox that separate convention votes would be taken next month, first to designate a preferred candidate and secondly to authorize a primary between Lazio and Levy.
Cox backs the Suffolk executive for the nomination. Lazio said, beetween the cocktail hour and the dinner in the lobby of the GOP dinner at the El Caribe catering hall in Mill Basin: “I put my trust in the delegates, the people who are going to be attending this convention, to keep it straight, keep it fair. You know, we’ve got a lot riding on this. And it’s not any individual candidacy. It’s about how the Republican Party is viewed…. I think if we got a majority of people at the convention to say that Rick Lazio is the nominee of this party, that’s it. People have been talking for months, they’ve been thinking about the issues, they’ve had the oppportunity to vet the candidates, let them have a vote. That’s what a convention is for.”
Lazio, who arrived with campaign aides, was being honored and spoke to the dinner guests. Levy attended with his wife Colleen West-Levy, and worked the room, along with Cox and party executive director Tom Basile. In appearing at the dinner.
Brooklyn chairman Craig Eaton, who hosted the event, is for Lazio. He said his executive committee will vote on an endorsement next week.
Appearing at the dinner, Levy told reporters that Lazio had been invited in December, before he was in the race, and he expected at least some of the borough’s delegates to support him at the convention in Manhattan which begins June 1. Levy also told NY1 reporter Josh Robin on camera that Lazio failed to bring money, excitement or plans to the campaign and that he’d have a better shot against Andrew Cuomo, the expected Democratic nominee. Lazio backers Rudy Giuliani and George Pataki represent the old guard of the party, Levy suggested.
At the convention, Levy, a Democrat until a few weeks ago, would need more than 50 percent of the weighted vote to make the ballot on the GOP line since he cannot officially become a Republican until after the election; Lazio needs only 25 percent of the weighted vote to make the ballot. So operatives are looking over rules and procedures.
Lazio replied, “I'm going to win the convention.
“People say desparate things… (Pataki and Giuliani) are experienced people who know what it takes to lead. They’re tough and people respect them. I’m proud have their support.” Giuliani was quoted by Politico (click here) as saying, “"Rick has as good or better chance of beating (Andrew) Cuomo as Steve does...there's nothing that immediately says, gee, he's going to be a much better candidate than Rick, who's been out there fighting for it, pushing for it." Giuliani also argued against changing convention rules.