Rick Lazio, who is seeking the Republican nomination to run for governor, Wednesday picked up endorsements from two of the most influential New York members of the party: former Gov. George Pataki and Rep. Peter King, the ranking GOP member of the Homeland Security Committee.

The endorsements come as some party officials are flirting with the idea of backing Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, who is a Democrat, instead of Lazio, a former Long Island congressman.

“(Lazio) knows the state well and he brings a fresh approach to Albany, having not been in Albany,” Pataki told the Associated Press. “After this just really horrible period of time for the people of the state of New York, we need that fresh vision, that new leadership.”

A Levy spokeswoman told Newsday Wednesday that seven of nine regional vice chairs in the state committee are “inclined to back” him for the nomination. Levy has been meeting with party leaders about getting on the ballot as a Republican.

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Whoever gets the nod will likely face Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in the November general election.

(Jason Fink)