As vote counts resume around the state this week, another defeat may still await Carl Paladino, the irascible Buffalo developer who lost his run for governor three weeks ago.
Before winning the Republican primary Sept. 14, Paladino funded a petition drive to put his startup Taxpayer Party and a slate of candidates on the ballot. There was some chat back then that even if Paladino lost for governor, he could have a hand in future local races, especially if his new ballot line drew enough votes.
For an automatic spot on New York ballots over the next four years, a party needed 50,000 votes for governor. Did Taxpayers make it? "We don't believe they did," John Conklin, spokesman for the state Board of Elections, said Friday. "Unofficially, it looks like the party did not. But I don't have all the figures."
Counties are supposed to send ballot results to the state board by next Monday. But "a number of counties will probably not be able to make that date," Conklin said. Counts and challenges grind on in several close races this week - a few of which will decide control of the State Senate.
One irony is that the Conservative Party, with Paladino as nominee, did well enough to secure the best third-party ballot spot, Row C, behind the Democrats and Republicans. For a short time, Conservative chairman Michael Long stood by Rick Lazio, the GOP primary's loser, as nominee. Paladino's men threatened to fund Taxpayers big-time if Long and his executive committee didn't switch.
Election-night results showed the Taxpayers line fizzling badly on Long Island. In Suffolk, it garnered 2,424, or two-thirds of 1 percent, for governor. In Nassau, it was 1,470 - four-tenths of a percentage point. Even pro-prostitution candidate Kristin Davis tallied 1,425 in Nassau.
Meanwhile, the Independence, Green, and Working Families parties are all expected to make the 50,000 mark. Conklin said the Libertarian Party - its candidate Warren Redlich targeted by unfounded eleventh-hour attacks that he blamed on Paladino allies - may also be close to automatic ballot status.
The last relevant posting on the Taxpayers website says, "The most recent report states that the amount of votes received in districts that Paladino won were on par with the Green Party, who cleared 50,000 votes. This means nothing until we see some official numbers."