Rick Lazio today releases a rather pointed quote from Ed Diana, the Orange County executive who announced his endorsement of the Republican-ex Congressman for governor today -- pointed, given that Lazio's rival is Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy:
"I strongly endorse Rick Lazio for Governor. He is the only candidate in this race with a long record of cutting taxes, reducing spending, and standing up against the special interests. He understands how desperately Counties need mandate relief, Medicaid reform, and educational funding reform. He will be an excellent partner to work with and to have in Albany. I am proud to support him."
Earlier the Siena Research Institute published this poll (click here) showing AG Andrew Cuomo leading Lazio 59-21 head-to-head and Cuomo 63-16 over Levy. Among Republicans, Lazio touts it as good news that he's beating Levy three-to-one according to Siena. But the Levy camp, through spokeswoman Renee Babich, put out this statement:
"First of all, the poll was conducted while Steve Levy was still a registered Democrat, so the results are skewed. Secondly, it would seem that after campaigning for more than a year, Mr. Lazio would have been much better positioned in a general election against Andrew Cuomo. Steve has been a candidate for less than a week and already his numbers are on par with Mr. Lazio's for the general election. Once statewide voters get to know Steve Levy, they will defect to him as rapidly as the Republican leadership has over the last several weeks."
UPDATE: Steve Greenberg of the Siena poll says the poll was conducted during a period when there was publicity in several news media outlets about the prospect and machinations surrounding Levy's campaign. Still, most voters in the state, including most Republican voters, do not know who he is.
But of course in months ahead, "people will know a lot more" about him, based on what both he and his opponents tell them, since "campaigns are education sessions for voters," Greenberg said.
UPDATE: For their part, the Lazio forces stated:
"Today's Siena College poll shows that it is inconceivable the Republican Party will nominate a liberal, Obama stimulus supporting, John Kerry and Al Gore endorsing, tax hiking, registered Democrat like Steve Levy. The vote for Obamacare last night by Democrats in Washington and the failures of Democrats in Albany is exactly why we need new ideas and new leadership, not more liberal Democrats like Andrew Cuomo and Steve Levy. Rick Lazio will fight higher taxes, stand up against outrageous Medicaid mandates, and drain the ethical swamp in Albany. He is the only candidate who will provide sweeping and fundamental change for New York. That's why Rick Lazio is destroying Steve Levy."