Stick with Rick, Part II
Second, let us discuss the impact that nominating a Democrat, Steve Levy, over Rick Lazio will have on our party’s electoral prospects in 2010.
Looking at New York State, we have an enrollment disadvantage when competing against the Democrats. That disadvantage requires two things. First, it requires that we maximize turnout from our own party membership. Second, it requires cross over appeal to non-Republicans. I am confident that nominating Steve Levy would actually dampen both prospects.
Many Republicans in New York State are discouraged and dispirited after a series of less than stellar election cycles over the past few years. There are times when our party’s membership wonders aloud if their candidates and office holders truly stand for and fight for Republicans principles. We all witnessed the disaster that was the special election in NY 23 just a few sort months ago. Do we want to repeat a mistake of very recent history? Do we want to give the Republican nomination to someone who will not have the support of rank and file Republican activists and voters?
Consider the public concession that our party’s leaders would be making if they choose to support Steve Levy over the current presumptive nominee, Rick Lazio. “Our party is bankrupt of ideas. Our party is bankrupt of dynamic personalities. We have no other choice but to go on bended knee to a well known Democrat.” It is a desperate move. The Republicans of New York State would smell it as desperation. And what is most important – such desperation is unnecessary. We ARE NOT bankrupt of ideas. We ARE NOT bankrupt of dynamic personalities.
We would have a hard time motivating Republicans to turn out and vote this fall in maximum numbers if they see us in effect running up the white flag on the gubernatorial nomination.
Cross over appeal is another issue that we need to be aware of. Some have suggested that Steve Levy will appeal to his fellow Democrats to vote for him if he gets the Republican nomination. I am not convinced. He has a documented history of making insensitive and even inflammatory statements. Some significant members of the black and Hispanic communities have already come out in opposition to him as a candidate for statewide office. We should not look to a sub-optimal candidate that will automatically alienate those constituencies. How can he possibly draw in non-traditional voters to the Republican line on the ballot with that kind of baggage? I wonder if abandoning Rick Lazio for this candidate might not actually do more harm than good on this issue of appealing to non-Republican voters.
And let us not forget, these two effects that I have just outlined will not just be felt by the gubernatorial candidate. No, these will be felt by all the other races on the ballot this all as well: comptroller, attorney general, senators, assemblymen, local and municipal candidates. Republicans who stay home in November will stay home for all of those races as well. If we fail to draw those outside the Republican Party to vote for our highest profile candidate, our gubernatorial candidate, we do a disservice to all of our candidates on the ballot this fall, by hindering their efforts to draw on non-Republican voters.
2010 is too important an election cycle. Too important to recovering congressional seats across New York State to fight Barack Obama’s leftist agenda. Too important to regaining the majority in the state senate prior to redistricting. Too important to stopping the decline in New York State by retaking the gubernatorial office with a quality candidate. Too important not to stick with Rick Lazio.