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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Leading GOP'ers eye setup for new 'Stop Common Core' party

Now a second new minor party arises out of last week's statewide election.

Created to boost Republican Rob Astorino's campaign for governor, the "Stop Common Core" line surpassed the 50,000-vote mark needed to achieve automatic ballot status through 2018, according to the unofficial count so far.

The extended uproar over high-stakes testing in public schools, and the way state officials rolled it out, became a cause for Astorino to trumpet during his failed effort to unseat Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Michael Lawler, who managed the Astorino campaign, said Tuesday that once the election results are certified next month, "we'll be talking with [GOP election law adviser] Jeff Buley about filing the paper work, electing a chairman, and instituting bylaws."

"We will work with all the grass-roots folks to support candidates for reform" -- with Common Core opposition "a major part" of the effort, Lawler said. Earlier this year, controversy rooted in the national Common Core curriculum prompted what may have previously seemed an unlikely alliance between teacher and parent advocates.

The 2015 elections will offer SCC the chance to cross-endorse candidates in local elections around the state. If its leaders choose, they could try to make their presence felt, say, in the expected re-election efforts next year of Onandaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney and Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, both Republicans, who endorsed Cuomo in the governor's race.

Legally, election operatives say, it falls to the four statewide candidates who ran on the line to move ahead with setting up a structure for the new party. The name of such third-party organizations can change once organized, as when the Tax Cut Now Party created for the 1994 election became the Freedom Party for its brief existence.

The Women's Equality Party, created by top Democrats, earlier surpassed the 50,000 mark in the unofficial election count. It had already become a flash point between Cuomo and the Working Families Party. Cuomo said in a radio interview last week of the WEP's qualification for the ballot: "That's, I think, going to be an exciting development down the road."

The governor's aide Joseph Percoco oversaw the petition process to put the WEP on the ballot. State election filings list Neil Cole as the WEP treasurer. He's chief executive officer of Iconix Brand Group, and the brother of Kenneth Cole, who's married to the governor's sister, Maria Cuomo Cole.

In October, while the Cuomo campaign was urging votes for the governor on the Women's Equality line, this organization reported contributions totalling $69,500 from nine individual donors. Robert Kleinwaks of Glen Cove was the leading donor at $30,000 and Robert J. Mittman of Manhattan contributed $25,000.

Future ballot positions are based on numbers of votes for governors. Based on the Election Day count so far, the top party behind Democrats and Republicans remains the Conservatives, followed by the Greens, Working Families, Independence, Women's Equality Party and Stop Common Core.

In New York, the ballot -- perhaps unlike the polling places -- can get crowded.

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