Tea Party candidate and businessman Carl Paladino has defeated former U.S. Congressman Rick Lazio for the Republican nomination for New York's upcoming governor race. Paladino's victory is widely seen as a surprise and a major victory for Tea Party conservatives over the moderate GOP in New York state. Paladino will run against New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic candidate, in November. Here's how Paladino won and what it means.
- Ran Against Albany, GOP Establishment, Good Taste The New York Times' David Halbfinger and Michael Barbaro say Paladino "rode a wave of disgust with Albany to the nomination for governor of New York on Tuesday, toppling Rick A. Lazio, a former congressman who earned establishment support but inspired little popular enthusiasm." He "jolted the Republican Party with his bluster and belligerence."
The result was a potentially destabilizing blow for New York Republicans. It put at the top of the party's ticket a volatile newcomer who has forwarded e-mails to friends containing racist jokes and pornographic images, espoused turning prisons into dormitories where welfare recipients could be given classes on hygiene, and defended an ally's comparison of the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, who is Jewish, to "an Antichrist or a Hitler."Yet Mr. Paladino, 64, energized Tea Party advocates and social conservatives with white-hot rhetoric and a damn-the-establishment attitude, promising to "take a baseball bat to Albany" to dislodge the state's entrenched political class.
- 'Wackadoo' Is Bad News for NY Republicans The New York Daily News' Bill Hammond laments Paladino as a "wackadoo" pushing a "brand of ill-informed Tea Party rage" that "spells almost certain disaster for his fellow Republicans in November - and beyond." Hammond sighs, "Carl Paladino loves to bluster about going after Albany's powerbrokers with a baseball bat, but the only thing he's likely to beat to a pulp is the state GOP's credibility. Or what's left of it, anyway."
- Will He Change November Elections in NY? Yes and no, says the New York Times' Nate Silver. His victory will "not harm Republican electoral prospects in an immediate way" because both Paladino and Lazio would be expected to lose to Andrew Cuomo by a wide margin. However, New York Republicans "have some decent reasons to be concerned" because Paladino could drag down the GOP ticket in other, more competitive races by galvanizing Democrats and depressing Republicans turnout.
- Will GOP Establishment Fall in Line? Politico's Maggie Haberman writes, "Carl Paladino is now the standard-bearer for a party that has largely shunned him, and it's a bit unclear to me how the establishment will deal with him. Will Rudy Giuliani and George Pataki now endorse him, something that's a bit hard for me to see?"
Sounds like New York Republicans think Rick Lazio is too close to ground zero