Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy has landed firmly on one side of the facial-hair debate.
Conventional wisdom shuns whiskers in major campaigns. So Levy was asked if he'd lose his trademark mustache if he runs for governor. "No," he said. "No one would recognize me."
Levy, who announced last week he's mulling the race, recalled that Patrick Halpin, the former Suffolk executive, removed his mustache in an election year, "and I don't think it helped."
Democrat Halpin noted that he shaved after he lost the 1991 re-election race to Republican Robert Gaffney and before leaving office.
"The mustache was getting grayer faster than the rest of my hair," Halpin recalled. "I wanted to shave it off before I ran for re-election, but figured no one would recognize me. It could have been an advantage - I could have been a fresh face."
Last summer, Gov. David A. Paterson razed his beard and kept a mustache for a few weeks before removing that, too.
LINE FORMS HERE: Suffolk GOP chairman John Jay LaValle says he hopes against a primary contest to oppose nationally targeted Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) next fall in the 1st Congressional District. "If the candidates truly are loyal Republicans and want to win the seat back, the best way to do that is to be united as a team," he said. LaValle vows fair screenings, which begin Monday. Three hopefuls drew buzz last week: former SEC prosecutor George Demos, who's raised more than $300,000; Chris Cox, son of state GOP chairman Ed Cox and grandson of late President Richard Nixon; and businessman Randy Altschuler. (Chairman Cox told colleagues he's staying out of this). But, four others have come forward: ex-CIA man Gary Berntsen, teacher Richard Blumenthal, importer James Staudenraus andRiverhead resident Frederick Meyer.
SINGLE PLAYER: Quite a list of supposed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand "rivals" in both parties soaked up attention only to punt: Reps. Carolyn McCarthy, Peter King, Steve Israel and Carolyn Maloney; Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer; Suffolk Legis. Jon Cooper; Rudy Giuliani; and Caroline Kennedy. So far, only Manhattan labor activist Jonathan Tasini, who declared last June, bothers to run. Does ex-Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford Jr. really join - or is he another comet?