Kudos to the Niagara County Republican Committee and its new Chairman Mike Norris for getting out front in the race for New York State Governor. Norris and the Niagara County GOP Executive Committee unanimously endorsed candidate Rick Lazio at the party's Holiday Victory Party at the Holiday Inn in Lockport last night.
Lazio is an energetic and individual who is no stranger to Western New York, having spent a significant amount of time during his run for United States Senate in 2000.
According to his website, Lazio has spent much of his adulthood in the private sector, so he obviously understands the constraints of working within a budget, something so many of our Albany politicians are unable to comprehend these days. It's also worthy to note that Lazio started his political career on the local level as a county legislator, working his way up to a United States Congressman.
While no one knows who will ultimately be the gubernatorial candidate on the Democratic side, I'd be a little less inclined than most to think that Andrew Cuomo is a lock, given history after his disastrous primary against Carl McCall for AG in 2002. Cuomo cannot once again risk alienating the minority community, as he did on '02.
Paterson has said he is in the race 'til the end - good for him, we hope he does stay in, though we wish he'd understand the fact that he has nothing to lose politically and should start calling out those who are inhibiting progress in Albany by name. Unfortunately, that's not his style - he wants to play nice and hopes to persuade the legislature to do the right thing. He's so naive is laughable.
Irregardless, a primary between Cuomo and Paterson will be a bloody one, with a multitude of racial overtones. Cuomo can't afford that if he wants to be politically viable now and into the future.
For the Niagara County GOP to come out early in the race for the governor's seat is a smart move politically that can pay dividends later. And Lazio is a formidable candidate who will be tough to beat, no matter the opponent.